When Boise State Football is discussed, certain topics come to the forefront. The strangely wonderful blue turf at Bronco stadium. The Broncos’ consistently prolific offense that’s paired with an excellent defense. And lastly, how often this team from the Mountain West Conference gets screwed by the BCS system.
Considering how well Chris Peterson’s offense has played over the last six years, it’s surprising how few Broncos have been selected high in the draft. Titus Young and Ryan Clady are the names that stand out, and running back Doug Martin will join that group this weekend.
After taking over as the full-time starter in his junior year, Martin lit up the Mountain West Conference. Excellent performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine have pushed Martin into first-round consideration.
Weight: 223 Pounds
Born: January 13, 1989
40-yard dash: 4.55
Vertical jump: 36 inch
Broad jump: 120 inch
3 Cone Drill: 6.79
20 yd Shuttle: 4.16
Bench Press: 28 reps at 225 Pounds
Arm length: 30 1/2 inches
Hands: 9 inches
2011: 13 GP 1,299 Yards 16 TD 28 REC 255 Yards 2 TD
2010: 13 GP 1, 260 Yards 12 TD 26 REC 332 Yards 2 TD
2009: 13 GP 769 Yards 15 TD 8 REC 68 Yards
2008: 11 GP 107 Yards 3 REC 54 Yards
What the experts say
Martin isn’t a dynamic size/speed back, but there aren’t many negatives to his game as a back. He plays fast, runs low, is natural through the line of scrimmage and has a skill set somewhat similar to former Alabama RB Mark Ingram last year. He might fall a bit because he doesn’t run overly well, but he has the skill set to start in the league.
There is no doubt that Martin will, at worst, be a second-round pick, but he could crack the first round. He can do it all. He can rip off big runs with his speedy elusiveness and cutting ability. He is also strong to break tackles and pound the ball in short-yardage situations. Martin looks like a true three-down back in the NFL who can carry an offense. He has an outside shot of cracking the first round, but looks more likely to go in the second.
Talking with Martin at the 2012 scouting combine put me in mind of another underrated college running back who gave an early indicator of the passion with which he would excel in the NFL. I remember Rutgers’ Ray Rice telling the media with no lack of certainty that those passing him by because of the “too small-too slow” conclusion would live to regret it. Rice has since become the most well-rounded NFL back not named Adrian Peterson, and I think Doug Martin could eventually meet that same standard.
During the last three months, NFL scouts admit they studied hard to better appreciate Boise State running back Doug Martin. For his part, Martin admits he has come a long ways in appreciating football in general and the NFL in particular. It was widely believed that Martin’s production at Boise State was due more to sheer will and hard work than it was any innate athletic ability that might help his move up pro football. But after a dazzling performance at the Scouting Combine, it was apparent Martin had the athletic ability to validate his production as a runner, receiver and returner at Boise State.
Martin reminds me of Ray Rice in the respect that he’s not abundantly fast once he reaches the second or third level, but his initial burst is top notch. He consistently defeats the angles of defenders as he enters and exits a hole because they misjudge his quickness, which is excellent for a back of his dimensions.
Expect both the Green Bay Packers (No. 28 overall) and New York Giants (No. 32) to consider taking Martin in the first round. The Packers won a Super Bowl without an elite back, but they would like to get a strong and physical runner who can stay on the field for three downs. The Giants released Brandon Jacobs because he would not take a pay cut and could use a power back to pair with Ahmad Bradshaw.
The more I talk to people in the NFL, the more I think he’s gonna come off the board in the first round.
Martin’s stock is rising rapidly following impressive showings at the Senior Bowl and combine. Evaluators envision him blossoming into a productive feature back in a power-based offense, but Martin doesn’t display elite traits (speed, quickness and body control) as a runner on tape. While Martin’s size and production certainly merit consideration early in the draft, he is a good (but not great) player who lacks the traditional skills associated with elite runners
With the exception of Bucky Brooks, Martin has garnered nearly universal praise from draft pundits, and comparisons to Ray Rice will certainly help his draft stock. With the departure of Brandon Jacobs, Martin would be the perfect replacement to help keep the Giants’ offense in high gear.