SOTT Draft Profile: Mike Martin
The next few weeks here on State of the Texans we will be doing some draft profiles of some particular players who could possibly fit into the Texans plans. We are not going to try to piece together scouting reports, but we enlist help of bloggers who actually cover the respective player and their school.
In this profile we look at one of the most put together defensive tackles of the 2012 NFL Draft class, Senior from Michigan, Mike Martin. The Wolverine measures at 6’1″ and 306 lbs. Martin will not project to one of the top picks in this year’s draft, but he has the skill set to be in the NFL on sheer determination. Martin is a physical specimen and put that together with his “high motor” the team that drafts him might get a solid football player for some years to come.
We talk to Zach Travis from Maize n Brew, a site dedicated to the Michigan Wolverines to find out more about the intriguing Mike Martin.
Can you give us some background on Martin?
Mike Martin came out of Detroit Catholic Central as a four-star recruit in the 2008 class that was half formed by previous coach Lloyd Carr and half by new coach Rich Rodriguez. Martin was one of the highest rated players Michigan brought in and was especially well regarded because of his extensive wrestling background. He got playing time as a true freshman in 2008 and got various second and third level All-Freshman team honors. His next two years were spent anchoring the two worst Michigan defenses of all time — most of the failings are attributed to poor play/depth in the back seven and horrible scheme a la Greg Robinson. He got some redemption in 2011 as the new coaching staff came in and revamped the defense moving it back to a 4-3 under. The defense’s output improved dramatically and it was Martin and fellow lineman Ryan Van Bergen that were at the center of that turnaround. All that culminated in the Sugar Bowl where both Van Bergen and Martin played almost every defensive snap because of injuries and depth issues, and still managed to take up residence in the Hokie backfield most of the night.
It seems like Martin is a campus favorite, is he?
Yes. Outside of Denard Robinson Mike Martin is probably the most beloved member of the team. Most people were loathe to say anything good about the defense in ’09 and ’10, but there were few criticisms of Martin. The fact is his play continually stood out despite having little to no help in the back seven for two straight years. Martin has always come off as a great guy and you hear a lot of stories about how nice he is to people around campus. When the team won and won big in 2011 it was guys like Mike Martin that most fans were the happiest for.
What are Martin’s strengths and weakness?
Strengths are definitely his power and quickness. As I mentioned before, the wrestling background was a big deal as he came out of high school, and you can certainly see it the way he plays on the interior. He doesn’t move like you expect a guy of that size to move and he has made some pretty incredible plays (e.g.. forcing a pitch on the speed option from the 1-tech spot, blowing up triple teams for TFLs). On top of that he is a workout warrior that was always one of the strongest guys on the team. His weakness is probably just a bit of size and consistency. Size shouldn’t be as big a problem on the next level (surprisingly enough) because he will be playing his natural position, but he has had a few stretches in the last two seasons where he hasn’t had the impact many have expected, but he also dealt with some nagging injuries so it is hard to pin anything specifically on his motor or skills.
Is Martin better suited for the nose tackle or 3 technique? Or can he play multiple positions?
Martin can play both the 1-tech and 3-tech spots, and he has the athleticism to pass rush from the outside on passing downs (one thing defensive coordinator Greg Mattison loved last year was crazy blitz packages that moved guys around, and Martin was one he really liked to experiment with). In the long run I think Martin’s size, quickness, and penetrating ability probably mean he is slotted for the 3-tech spot. One of the great tragedies of his Michigan career was that the Wolverines could never find a true two-gap eating NT to allow Martin to swing out to the 3-tech and feast on a bunch of single blocks from opposing guards. If Martin played last year as a 3-tech next to a very good NT I think he would have been one of the most productive interior linemen in the country.
How do you see Martin projecting at the next level?
I am a bit of a homer, but I really think with Martin’s skill set, understanding of the game, and work ethic that he is going to be a pro for a long time. I don’t think he will ever be an All-Pro caliber lineman, but he is good enough to be a quality starter for the better part of the next decade. Any team that gets him will be lucky to have him, and it will certainly have a lot more interested fans in all the Wolverine fans wishing Martin well.
Please excuse the language on this one.