After earning the team's Offensive Scout Player of the Year in his redshirt 2007 season, Martin played a bit role on offense (24 carries, 107 yards; two catches, 53 yards) but won the "Hammer" award on special teams with 11 tackles. That physicality caused coaches to move him to nickel back during spring 2009 practices, but after three games (seven tackles) he moved back to offense due to injuries at the position. It proved a smart move, as his 129 carries went for 765 yards and 15 scores.
Martin combines powerful north-south running with surprisingly agility, sometimes making it look like his upper and lower bodies aren't connected as he changes directions downfield. Though he lacks the elite speed of a Maurice Jones-Drew, Martin's low center of gravity and toughness will certainly make scouts imagine he could have similar success at the next level--making him a probable early-round pick.
Inside: Bowling-ball runner between the tackles. Flashes a burst into and out of the hole. Lowers his pads and delivers a blow into the chest of defenders. Falls forward on nearly every run due to lean. Finds creases with jump-steps and bounces into open on some plays, but buries his head too soon at times. Short build makes it difficult for defenders to find among lineman. Does not always read blocks correctly from pulling guards. Holds ball high and tight when inside. May not be big enough to move piles at the next level, but gets low and gives great effort to pick up short-yardage plays.
Outside: Good acceleration and straight-line speed to break off long runs. Cuts hard to his left and right equally well to avoid hard-charging safeties. Flashes setting up straight-on defender with inside-out cut which freezes them. Strong stiff-arm denies oncoming tacklers. Shows patience on stretch runs, plants foot and accelerates to avoid penetrating defenders or once finding a hole. Does not always move ball to outside hand. Ball gets away from his body when running at full speed; fumbled three times in 2010, twice in 2009 in limited carries. May not break away from NFL defenders as regularly as he did against non-BCS conference competition.
Breaking Tackles: Low center of gravity, strong lean, and powerful legs let him bull through arm and shoulder tackles. Good balance to spin off a hit, maintain balance and continue downfield. Lowers pads on contact and churns through cut tackles in space. Cuts quickly and even jump-cuts through traffic and past second-level tacklers. Plays through the whistle.
Blocking: Does not offer much in terms of pass protection. Often subbed out in obvious passing situations, best help for the quarterback is as an outlet receiver. Does not anchor against oncoming blitzers. Poor cut tackler, defenders easily elude him. Lacks height but possesses strength, build and attitude to improve with more coaching.
Receiving: Solid receiver in the flat, capable of running through tackles on the edge to move the chains. Flexible enough to catch passes thrown behind him. Effective on center screens, makes first man miss to get into space. Rarely goes out of bounds (unless time requires), cuts inside tacklers to get extra yardage.
Intangibles: Offensive weapon with defensive mindset. NFL body comes from excellent weight room work ethic. Teammate Matt Slater referred to Martin as a "muscle hamster" due to his compact build."
Martin exhibits a good initial first step when asked to press the line of scrimmage. He isn’t a dynamic straight-line athlete, but he plays faster than he times because of his ability to reach top end speed quickly.
He is quicker than fast, showcasing impressive lateral fluidity and balance with the footwork to pick his way through traffic, maintain balance and make defenders miss. He’s consistently able to side-step/break would be tacklers in tight areas.
He creates a significant amount of yards through contact because of pad level, balance and overall lower body strength. However, he possesses the short area quickness to plant his foot in the ground at full speed, change directions and accelerate up the field.
He possesses a good feel in tight areas, and is natural setting up blocks and running between the tackles. He displays a “plus” burst out of his breaks and can instantly separate from defenders in the open field. Martin likes to finish runs, drop his pad level well into contact and consistently makes himself small, allowing him to knife his way through tight holes and really run his legs through any type of contact.
He’s effective on the perimeter as well, setting up blocks, pressing the edge, and making his way toward daylight. Again, he lacks big time straight-line speed in the open field and isn’t a dynamic power back who can simply push the pile at the next level and run through tackles. However, he plays more powerful than his 5-9 frame would indicate because he runs with such good leverage.
Martin looks natural in blitz pick-up as well and slides his feet well laterally, is patient into contact and can anchor with success. He’s comfortable out of the backfield as well, plucking the football, and isn’t going to create one-on-one, but is effective in the screen game.
Impression: 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."
Outside Running: Martin won’t be breaking many 80-yard runs. He doesn’t possess the second gear to hit the homerun. What’s impressive about him is his ability to move laterally without losing much speed. He won’t time well in the 40 yard dash but he should be impressive in the cones. He has a great burst.
Hands: Martin didn’t catch a ton of passes at Boise but he’s got fairly average hands. He won’t be a liability in the pass game but he’s not a guy that will make a ton of plays.
Blocking/Durability: Martin has all the tools to be a solid blocker in the NFL. His instincts are really good in picking up blitzes, he just needs work on technique. Martin has never suffered any major or nagging injuries in his career. Durability shouldn’t be a concern at the next level as he looks like he can carry the football 20-25 times a game with ease.
Bottom Line: Martin is one of my favorite RB prospects in this draft. His intangibles are through the roof. He’s a Ray Rice type prospect that could wind up a steal if he slides out of the second round. He lacks top end athleticism at the position but makes up for it with good vision and instincts.
Draft Projection: Martin will be a very good value for someone in the second round of April’s draft. For my money, I would take him behind Richardson and Miller and ahead of Wilson and Polk."
Shows some tightness in his hips but steps out of ankle tackles, flashes short-area burst and good long speed and is a willing receiver and blocker.
Has terrific football character, as he is well respected by teammates and coaches, takes care of his body and is passionate about the game."
Has a compact build with a thick lower body and tremendous leg strength and drive; cut-and-go workhorse hits the hole with authority and keeps pads low making him a tough target to tackle; does not go down easily, although he will take a pounding himself; excellent short yardage and goal-line back who can move the pile;
Improving receiver who had 28 receptions last fall; has 4.5 speed and can go the distance, but isn’t that explosive in the hole; has some quickness, but isn’t going to find the secondary hole and is not elusive in the open field; very good special teams player who actually played some defense in 2009."
Runs with a slow center of gravity and a good base, will lower his shoulder and drive into contact to get the extra yards... does a good job in pass protection, rarely misses his assignment...
Would do great in a zone-blocking scheme... Great receiving ability out of the backfield, had 56 receptions over the past two years, shows soft hands and ability to pluck the ball on the run... Solid production, consecutive 1,200+ yard seasons and scored 43 touchdowns on the ground over the past three years...
Durable runner who hasn't endured any serious injuries yet in his career... Strong character, has proven that he'll do whatever it takes to get on the football field, even played a bit on the defensive side earlier in his career at Boise State...
Runs with a purpose, really seems determined and never gives up... Has the ability to be an every-down back in the NFL with his combination of size, quickness, and versatility.
Negatives -- Below-average long speed, doesn't have the top gear you look for in a feature back... Needs to be more patient, will run into his own blockers and doesn't always let plays develop in front of him... Level of competition will be questioned after playing at Boise State...
Struggled in Boise's marquee matchup of the year at Georgia when he ran 24 times for 57 yards and he did not play against TCU this year... . Is not a game breaker, is more of a grind-it-out type of running back who will churn out yards, wouldn't expect him to break many long runs in the NFL."