David Yankey, the top-rated junior guard in the country by NFLDraftScout.com, will forgo his senior season at Stanford to enter the NFL Draft.
The Cardinal are known for their smash-mouth offensive line, and Yankey is widely considered one of the top pulling guards in the country. He was a unanimous All-American and named First Team All-Pac-12 by the league's coaches.
As a unit, the Stanford offensive line committed just three holding penalties during the 2013 season and Yankey helped pave the way for running back Tyler Gaffney to rush for 1,709 yards. The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Yankey will be coveted by NFL teams seeking mobile guards who can pull, square up targets on the move and knock defenders on their heels.
Yankey replaced Jonathan Martin at left tackle in 2012 - allowing just one sack - before kicking back inside, and projects best as a guard in the NFL. He'll likely compete with Baylor's Cyril Richardson and UCLA junior Xavier Su'a-Filo to be the first guard selected in May.
"Yankey has natural lower body explosion with coordinated footwork to work in tight spaces or also hold up in space, doing a nice job at the second level," NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler wrote in evaluating Yankey. "Only a junior, he might be the top interior lineman drafted."
Yankey was particularly impressive during Stanford's victory over Oregon, putting his own athleticism on display in the run game against the Ducks' fast and talented defense.
"The decision was not easy," Yankey said. "I have loved my time at Stanford and am a proud member of Nerd Nation. I am humbled at the prospect of joining a long list of Stanford alumni currently playing in the NFL."