He racked up nine tackles and a pass break-up in the 2010 Cotton Bowl against Ole Miss, then won player of game honors in the 2010 Alamo Bowl after returning an interception 62 yards for a touchdown and breaking up two other passes in the team's 36-10 dismantling of Arizona.
He made some big plays even when coming off the bench (four pass break-ups) and playing special teams (four tackles, blocked punt) as a true freshman. In 2009 he moved into the starting line-up, breaking up a team-high 11 passes during the season. As junior, he intercepted the first three passes of his career while again reaching double-digits in deflections with 10.
Though OSU coaches list Martin as a strong safety on the depth chart, his combination of ball skills, closing speed and willingness to make the big hit make him one of the more versatile safeties in the class. Look for teams to consider him a potential top 50 pick at free or strong with another season where the big plays come in the biggest games.
Man Coverage: Not a major liability in man coverage. Good enough foot speed and length to stay with slot receivers in four-wide sets on short patterns. Reads receivers' routes and anticipates throws at the first down marker. Best lined well off the line of scrimmage, though, due to high, stiff backpedal. Also lacks elite speed to recover if beaten on double move.
Zone Coverage: Covers a lot of ground in a hurry when in space. Reads the quarterback's eyes and see the routes very quickly, then has straight-line speed to arrive with or just after the ball. Aware in the red zone, stays on the back line to take away fade throws. NFL quarterbacks may take advantage of his aggressiveness in man and zone, eyeing up short routes and going over the top behind him.
Ball Skills: Capable of making quarterbacks pay for late throws. Closes to the ball quite well and possesses the hands to snatch throws away from his frame. Straight-line speed allows him to return the pick to the end zone. Not fully consistent on making the interception in front of receivers, but gets to the ball regularly.
Run Support: See the ball well, even when deep, and explodes to the ballcarrier on stretch plays to either sideline. Cognizant of tight end and linemen blocks when coming downhill; won't bully them one-on-one, but frees himself whenever possible by extending his arm.
Tackling: Unleashes big hits on receivers, making them hear footsteps later in the game, using closing speed and tenacity to arrive with maximum impact.
Strong upper body allows him to drag down backs to the ground in the space. Ducks his head and swipes too often on open field tackles, however, and will draw the occasional personal foul flag. Not asked to blitz often, but should be solid in that capacity once learning how to beat pass blocks with his hands given his strength and tenacity.
Intangibles: Plays through the whistle, sometimes on the other side. Very good student, won 2010 team award for his academic performance. Missed 2011 spring practices after having surgery on his left shoulder, also missed time in 2009 with a hip injury."
However, seems to play out of control far too often, isn’t a very good open field tackler, fails to routinely breakdown vs. the run game and consistently will whiff in space and slip off ball carriers.
Needs to improve in this area of the game. Has some savvy as a blitzer off the edge, but is routinely pushed past the pocket. Does a much better job taking proper angles toward the football in coverage. Displays a burst out of his breaks, times up the throw well and will disengage ball from man on contact.
Has the ability to sit into his drop and keep his feet under him initially. When he doesn’t need to open up his hips, he looks clean when asked to click and close, taking good angles toward the throw and displaying “plus” closing range.
However, has a tendency to get upright anytime he’s asked to transition out of his breaks. Exhibits natural fluidity in the hips when forced to turn and run, but it takes him a couple steps to get up to full speed.
The same is noticeable in coverage when he’s forced to re-direct. Too often allows pad level to get upright and will get leggy trying to collect himself.
Possesses the burst and closing speed to put himself around the football, but far too often waste motion collecting himself or is forced to turn his back on the play. Possesses natural range in the deep half, displays a second gear vertically, just needs to become cleaner with his footwork.
Impression: A gifted athlete with a good burst and range in the deep half. However, wastes motion out of his breaks and isn’t a very good open field tackler. Possesses slightly above-average instincts, but will make more plays on the football when he tightens up his footwork. A potential starter only at this stage because of his intriguing athleticism."
Is praised for outstanding character, including leadership, but inconsistent tackling tempers his draft value - is a hitter, not a consistent tackler (particularly in space), and misses too many seeking the killshot.
Can be a step late running the alley and takes some questionable angles."
Martin has a way to go in the run game and isn't the most sound of tacklers. But he can lay a hit really well and can be an intimidating force at times. He is far from an elite safety, but in a weak class he's one of the better ones.
- Despite not having over the top size, Martin is an intense hitter when he's moving upfield. Still, Martin isn't a technically sound tackler and is often dragging the ball carrier down.
- If Martin wants to hold up better against the run, he needs a to get much stronger.
- Is used in pass coverage much more than against the run so Martin is usually Oklahoma State's last line of defense.
- Is much better than most defensive backs at this stage at reading the quarterback's eyes.
- Shows good instincts and quickness to break on the ball when is in the air. Martin looks to have loose hips that he can flip open to change direction with hesitation.
- Martin should test really well in the postseason, especially in speed and agility drills.
- Had some academic issues early in his career that caused him to miss the Fiesta Bowl in 2008."
Also doesn’t get into the backfield much; had 55 stops in 2010; runs extremely well for a SS with a reported 40 time in the 4.45 range; also has a 37-inch vertical;
Good coverage safety who can turn and run with most receivers; also has decent hands and ball skills; also shows good range and instincts in zone; had three picks and 7 other pass break-ups last fall; has been dinged at times in his career and missed spring practice this year after undergoing shoulder surgery."
Like most safeties, you don't want him in man coverage all too often, but that skill will develop as a professional. Of the senior safeties, he's one of the best draft prospects (if not the best).
He's an aggressive defender that plays downhill. He is a brutal tackler that can hit like a ton of bricks, but he'll be taught to break down and wrap up more often than not.
The NFL is more about not giving up big plays more so than it is all about making big plays. Martin, while having a knack for making big plays, needs to do better not to give them up. He can be beat and sometimes gets caught being over-aggressive, whether taking a bad pursuit angle or playing the wrong assignment.
The upside here is that these flaws are mental mistakes that can be coach-corrected. All the physical tools are there for a good, quality pro."