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How did Mike Martin do?

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Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 10115
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:36 pm    Post subject: How did Mike Martin do? Reply with quote

Just wondering how the mini-hulk did for the Titans. Is he a "future 16-game starter" or are you still searching for the guy to really plug up the interior of that defensive line? Is he better than Casey or do they play different roles?
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Joined: 30 Dec 2009
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Location: Delaware
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He played solid for the most part and can eventually become a 16 game starter. He's definitely not on Casey's level, at least not yet anyways. Needs to work on holding the point of attack and his pass-rush moves. Still would prefer another beast DT to pair with Casey and Martin and Klug would be great rotation guys.

Avery Williamson
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Joined: 02 May 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since I'm writing an article reviewing him over at TitanSized, I figured I'd go ahead and post what I've got here.

This past year, the Titans selected three players in the draft that vastly outperformed early expectations. The first two, Kendall Wright and Zach Brown, have gotten a lot of attention for their play, and rightly so. But in my mind, the most impressive player from this year’s draft was 3rd pick Mike Martin, defensive tackle out of University of Michigan.

Mike Martin came into a crowded field at defensive tackle; Jurrell Casey, our outstanding 3rd round pick in 2011, had locked down the starting nose tackle spot. SenDerrick Marks looked like he had finally turned the corner in the preseason and locked down the undertackle spot. Finally, Karl Klug was supposed to be our pass rushing specialist, a high impact rotational player. Unfortunately for the Titans, neither Marks nor Klug made nearly the impact we had hoped for.

But a silver lining was found− rookie Mike Martin. I, along with most, believed Martin would be a “control the interior” power tackle, fantastic at eating double teams and stopping the run. What I didn’t expect was the skill he showed as a passrusher, and the multitude of ways he would accomplish that. But should we have been? Let’s roll back the clock…

College Career

Mike Martin came into Michigan as a four star recruit, with ranking him as a #12 DT in the nation. As a true freshman, he rotated in, collecting 20 tackles. In his sophomore season, he seized the NT position, and ended the year with 51 tackles, 8.5 for loss, and two sacks. His junior and senior years produced similar stat lines; 37-6-2.5, and 64-6-3.5. Good stats, yes, but not nearly as dominant as many top prospects.

But NFL draft scouts missed two things. First, Mike Martin was easily the best player on a bad defense; the plays he made, he made on his own. Second, he was playing the nose position in a 3-4 defense; the impact of the nose is never felt in his stats, but in how much he improves the play of those around him. And by that metric, Mike Martin was one of the most outstanding players in the nation.


If his college career wasn’t enough to put Mike Martin high on the draft boards, his combine should have. In all six drills, Martin ranked in the top four of defensive lineman: 3rd in the combine at bench press, 3rd among DTs in the 40 yard dash, 4th in the vertical jump, 1st at the standing long jump, 3rd at the three cone drill, and 2nd in the 20-yard shuttle.

Those numbers are absolutely shocking; not only did he dominate in both leg and arm strength drills (he’s also known to squat over 700lbs), he showed similar dominance in the agility and movement drills. Of those drills, the standing long jump and three-cone drill stand out the most. The standing long jump is the best proxy for raw leg power− incredibly important in stopping the run, and a fairly good proxy for pass rushing potential. The three-cone drill is nearly as valuable; it shows a players ability to accelerate from a flat start and reaccelerate after changing direction− both important proxies for explosion off the snap and raw pass rushing ability.

Any scout watching this performance should have put Martin very high on their sleeper list. If Martin was 3 inches taller and 30 lbs heavier, that performance would have made him a top 10 pick for any 3-4 team. And that, in the end, is what dragged down Martin’s stock; 3-4 teams didn’t think he was big enough to anchor their middle, and 4-3 teams worried he lacked pass rushing ability from playing nose in a 3-4 in college.

Year in Review

(In Progress)

Looking Forward

Mike Martin appears to have a very bright future with the Titans; he’s clearly shown enough ability to get a shot at starting, and at minimum, he’ll be a heavy part of our rotation. He does have two things working against him. First, Jurrell Casey has clearly locked down the nose tackle position in our 4-3; there is very little chance that Martin could take that position, given Casey’s play. Second, Martin’s current skillset make him unsuited to start at the UT position in our 4-3; if he wants to secure that starting spot, he needs to continue to improve his pass rushing ability, and expand his limited arsenal of moves.

Martin currently relies too heavily on his abilities to bull-rush and control the offensive lineman’s movement to create pressure; while he adds value on every play by pushing his blocker backwards and collapsing the pocket (shown by the number of pressures he was credited with), only on a few plays against physically weak guards will he create the sack on his own (imagine the [too common] plays where Amano just gets thrown backwards by the opposing tackle).

In the run game, there’s not much more you could ask for. Martin has an astounding ability to hold his ground in the middle, especially against power runs. He could improve slightly in holding ground when he has to move his feet (against outside zone runs, tosses, etc.), but he still does an excellent job. One thing I’d like to see more is penetration− Casey has shown an excellent ability to slip his blocker on a few plays a game and blow up the running back, and if Martin could do that on a more consistent basis, our run defense would be a lot scarier.
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