Doug Martin

Draft Grades: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This was a potential franchise changing draft for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They made the wise decision to move back in the 1st round, which allowed them to acquire the picks necessary to move back up in the late 1st and come away with a huge haul on day one of the draft.

The Bucs passed up the opportunity to land Morris Claiborne, but still upgraded their secondary with the addition of Mark Barron. The Bucs should still be worried about their cornerbacks, but Barron will be a fun weapon for defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan to use. He’s a versatile player who can be effective when lining up all over the field.

Doug Martin was arguably the most underrated player in this draft class and the Bucs got an absolute steal in the late 1st round. He’s the next star undersized running back, following in the footsteps of Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew.

I wasn’t as high on Lavonte David as most, but he’s a perfect fit in Tampa. They’re one of the few teams that doesn’t mind using smaller, more athletic linebackers and David fits the mold perfectly. He’ll start at weak-side linebacker from day one.

Najee Goode will add some depth, and can play strong-side or inside linebacker, but he real value may be on special teams.

Keith Tandy adds some depth at cornerback, but I’m a little surprised they waited this long to address the position. They’re putting a lot of faith in Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib, and that’s a risky decision.

Michael Smith could prove to be a steal in the 7th round. I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith takes over the backup job from LeGarrette Blount before the season is over.

Drake Dunsmore can play tight end or fullback. He’ll have to battle for a job in training camp with a number of players at both positions.

The Bucs didn’t get much help on the third day of the draft and failed to upgrade their situation at cornerback, but that’s the only think holding them back from an A+. This was a phenomenal haul for a franchise that was in need of a boost. Considering the fact that the Falcons and Saints did very little to help themselves this offseason, the Bucs closed the gap in the NFC South in a big way.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Buccaneers, Draft Grades - 2012 Comments Off

Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Doug Martin, Grade A+

I typically don’t like to see rebuilding teams trade up, but this was a great move by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Doug Martin is one of the most underrated prospects in this draft class, and I fully expect him to be a difference maker from the day he sets foot on the field. Martin is no Trent Richardson, but he’s still one of the most well-rounded running backs to enter the draft in recent years.

With Martin and LeGarrette Blount in the same backfield, the Bucs will be able to wear teams down the with their running game. The Bucs have now completely overhauled their offense, and should be legitimate contenders in the NFC South this year.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Buccaneers Comments Off

Browns Offseason Priority: Find Some Playmakers

While most Cleveland Browns fans would prefer to blame Colt McCoy for disappointing offensive performance, the fact is no quarterback could have salvaged the Browns offense in 2011.

Could Griffin be the Browns superman?

Aside from rookie Greg Little, who showed some promise, the Browns simply lack the playmakers necessary to consistently put points on the scoreboard. And the issue goes beyond the wide receiver position. While a healthy Peyton Hillis will help (if he’s re-signed) even he isn’t a true playmaker. What the Browns need is someone their opponents need to game plan for, someone who can change the course of the game in a single play.

The easiest solution to this problem would be to add Robert Griffin III. While I believe Colt McCoy can be an effective starter if surrounded by a strong supporting cast, he will never have Griffin’s playmaking ability. McCoy can win with the right teammates, but Griffin has the potential to turn his teammates into winners.

But if Griffin is off the board, hope is not lost. The Browns still own three of the top 37 picks, and could acquire another if they trade down – which would make sense if the lose out in the bidding for Griffin.

If the Browns move back 5-10 slots to the middle of the 1st round they could potentially add Kendall Wright, who would immediately add a new dimension to their offense given his ability to stretch the field.

Then, either at No. 22 or in the 2nd round, the Browns could add another weapon – perhaps a playmaker at running back (Doug Martin or David Wilson) or a pass-catching tight end such as Coby Fleener or Ladarius Green.

The bottom line is this: the Browns have some glaring holes, but also have the ammunition necessary to address their areas of concern. Adding Griffin would help, but all will not be lost if they’re forced to return with Colt McCoy as the starter in 2012.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns 1 Comment

Could Steelers draft a RB to replace injured Mendenhall?

ESPN is reporting that Pittsburgh Steelers franchise running back Rashard Mendenhall, who torn his ACL in their regular-season finale, could miss the entire 2012 season.

If Mendenhall does sit out the entire year, he will have missed 28 games in five years and will be a 26-year-old injury-prone free agent heading into the 2013 offseason.

While the Steelers could certainly attempt to re-sign Mendenhall at a discount at some point during the course of the next year, a running back with two major injuries in five years isn’t exactly someone you want to build around.

So could this be the end of the road for Mendenhall in Pittsburgh?

Even if they do intend to bring him back for 2013 and beyond, this could be the year to find his long-term replacement. The Steelers obviously need a short-term solution at running back, and they could use an insurance policy behind Mendenhall if he does return [and no, 27-year-old Isaac Redman is not the future].

The best fit for Pittsburgh’s offense in this year’s class is Boise State’s Doug Martin. Like Mendenhall, Martin is short in stature but is a tough, physical, between-the-tackles runner. As an added bonus, Martin would offer the Steelers an upgrade over Mendenhall in terms of his playmaking ability in the passing game.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Steelers Comments Off

Doug Martin scouting report

Doug Martin RB Boise State #22
Ht: 5’9″

Wt: 220

Strengths:
Small, compact build makes him tough to bring down. Impressive athlete; played safety/linebacker early in his career. Exceptional balance and body control; if not wrapped up, will quickly regroup after a hit and keep plowing ahead. Effective as a receiver out of the backfield; relatively reliable hands. Hits his holes with a burst; gets up to full speed quickly. A shifty runner with exceptionally quick feet. Plenty of experience on special teams, in coverage and on returns. Experienced returning kicks; shows great vision on special teams.
Weaknesses:
Doesn’t go down on first contact, but also doesn’t have the size to break tackles once he’s wrapped up. Lack of height hurts him in the passing game; easily covered up by taller linebackers if he isn’t able to shed them quickly. Will trust his speed/athleticism too much at times, and lose yardage while trying to extend a play. Open-field speed is adequate, but not a consistent threat to take it the distance.
Comments:
Martin, who was nicknamed “Muscle Hamster” by teammates, is built like a bowling ball and fits into the Maurice Jones-Drew or Ray Rice mold. His lack of size will scare off some teams, and likely knocks him out of the 1st-round on most draft boards, but he legitimately has the combination of strength, speed and vision that should allow him to excel as a starting running back at the next level.
Videos:
2011 vs Arizona State (bowl game)
2011 vs New Mexico 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 2 Comments