Martin used that combination of strength and hand/foot control to earn Freshman All American honors after his first year in Ann Arbor. Appearing in 12 games as a reserve defender and on special teams, he made 20 tackles with 4.5 for loss and two sacks. He continued his development in 2009, starting all 12 games on the nose. He was credited with 51 tackles, 6.5 for loss and 2.0 sacks, and received the Richard Katcher Award as the team's best defensive lineman.
In his junior year, Martin that prestigious award again, along with second-team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches, after he started 12 games, registering 37 tackles, six for loss and 2.5 sacks. He missed the Purdue Game on Nov. 13, 2010, due to an ankle injury that plagued him for the rest of the season.
Martin is an undersized nose tackle with loads of experience in a 3-4 defense. But he lacks a consistent anchor against double teams and just does not have the right frame to be an NFL starter. Because of his ability to penetrate against one-on-one blocks, Martin could be a solid rotation player in a 4-3 scheme as a three-technique tackle and move to the nose on passing downs.
Pass Rush: Provides some secondary interior pass rush, getting most penetration when playing three-technique. Possesses only adequate burst off the snap even when directly over the ball, and his initial pop leaves room to be desired. Hands could be much more violent when trying to gain control of the block. Can bull rush his way past running backs in pass protection. Preferred pass rush move is an arm-over swim move while simultaneously pulling lineman forward. Once momentum is stopped, lacks a critical counter move to progress into the backfield. Spies the quarterback if stoned at the line, but lacks the height and vertical to knock down passes.
Run Defense: Uses more hustle than brute strength to stop the run. Gets skinny to split double teams, using good short-area quickness to make a play in the backfield. Runs the line very well, making plays on the ball when he beats blocks on the backside. Rarely goes to the ground, showing good balance from his high school wrestling days. Constantly moving his hands, readjusting them into proper placement. Occasionally too high (despite his short stature), and bows out his arms, hampering his ability to press and lock out. Does not hold his ground while facing a double team, first instinct is to roll away to make a play, which can create a large hole.
Explosion: Does not test offensive linemen with quickness or strong initial punch. Rarely first off the snap. Able to swim past single blockers to penetrate into the backfield. Does not attempt to split double-teams, takes a step back and waits to chase down plays.
Strength: Low center of gravity and generally low pad level allows him to play with initial strength and leverage at the point of attack. Upper-body only average, however, struggles to shed one-on-one blocks or sustain leverage once out of his stance. Pad level rises late in the game.
Tackling: Catch-and-drag tackler who rarely drives ballcarriers to the ground. Very good short-area quickness to make plays between the tackles. Displays agility and secure tackling to corral backs in the backfield, also chases plays from the backside to prevent cutbacks.
Intangibles: High-motor, high-character leader. Worked at Ndamukong Suh's summer football camp. Played through two sprained ankles (Iowa, 10/16; Penn State 10/30), missed only Purdue (11/13). Won team's Richard Katcher award the past two seasons for being the team's best defensive lineman."
However, possesses a real passion for the game, displays a nose for the football and works endlessly in pursuit. Showcases good natural quickness when trying to avoid blocks in the run game as he cleanly side steps defenders in tight areas, extends his arms well and uses his strong/quick hands in order to keep himself clean. Possesses a solid initial burst in pursuit and can make plays off his frame in the run game and tackle well on the move.
Displays slightly above average anchor strength for the position, but did get a lot stronger from a year ago and I expect him to do the same this year. Isn’t real long armed, struggles with leverage at times initially off the snap and can be sealed from the football once a blocker gets their hands on him.
However, he’s a tough guy to really move off the line and always seems to locate the football and put himself around the action. Displays some initial burst off the snap as a pass rusher. Isn’t dynamic getting after he quarterback, but does have the burst to at least threat gaps inside. Does a nice job once he gains a step keeping his pad level down and working through contact.
Also, does exhibit good hand quickness keeping himself clean with some lateral agility in high areas to work his arm over. Is tighter in the hips and will fail to breakdown at times, but the guy gives you everything he has chasing from the backside and consistently is around the action.
Impression: The kind of prospect you don’t want to bet against. Is limited and doesn’t have the kind of frame to get all that bigger, but I can see working his way into a rotation as a 43 nose in the NFL and being the kind of guy coaches love."
Wrestling background is evident, as he plays with a low center of gravity, understands leverage and exhibits coordinated hands and feet — gets extension and actively tugs and rips off blocks.
Is agile and flexible to work the edges, displaying clean balance and body control, and redirects and accelerates very well.
Isn’t a natural rusher (minimal sack production) and can be moved by double teams but is a smart, instinctive, highly competitive defender who feels pressure.
Lacks elite measurables but stands out on tape and will outperform players drafted ahead of him."
Active, high-energy player had 37 tackles last fall including 2.5 sacks and 3.5 other tackles for loss while lining up on the nose; squat player with excellent weight-room strength; plays with good pad leverage, but could do a better job using his hands; athletic tackle with a 40 clocking close to 5-flat;
Former state wrestling champion in high school also has good quickness + lateral agility; still could add some bulk as he doesn’t always anchor that well against double teams; can plant and change direction and makes himself a somewhat difficult target to block when rushing the passer, but lacks much in the way of natural pass rush moves."
Tremendous weight room strength, bench presses 505 pounds and squats 700 pounds... Has the combination of strength and initial quickness to overwhelm interior offensive linemen, can slip blocks and shoot gaps well...
Stays low and wins most battles for leverage, good technique, extends his arms well and keeps blockers off his frame, gets under the pads of opposing blockers; credits his wrestling background for improving his foot and hand speed and wrestling technique with helping him against bigger opponents...
Can bull rush and overpower blockers when pass rushing, often needs to be doubled up on to be handled; solid leg drive, keeps his legs moving, can generate a push on the pocket... Plays with good balance, seldom on the ground, solid lateral mobility and does a reasonably good job redirecting...
Has the strength to anchor and holds his ground at the point inside, does a nice job restricting running lanes; does well in backside pursuit...
Hard working type who will play through injuries, has a good motor and gives 100 percent on every play, has a never quit attitude; lunch-pail type player, works until the whistle, locates the ball and hustles to make plays in pursuit...
Offers some schematic versatility, could be used as a 3-technique tackle in a 4-3 defense or as a 5-technique DE in a 3-4, and move inside to 3-4 NT on passing downs... Performed well during Senior Bowl practices, has the power to dominate in one-on-one situations.
Negatives -- Slightly undersized to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense in the NFL, frame looks maxed out, played out of position as 3-4 nose for Michigan and performed better when the Wolverines fired the Rich Rodriguez coaching staff and brought in a real defensive coordinator; lacks the height to knock down passes at the line...
Neither a dynamic nor natural pass rusher, inconsistent get-off, minimal sack production, relies on a bull rush to collapse the pocket, has reasonably quick nimble feet but other pass rushing moves are still developing; lacks counter moves when momentum is stopped...
Considering his natural strength, doesn't get good pop on his hand punch, would like to see him be more violent with his hands... Shorter than ideal arms...
Some durability issues, sustained a shoulder injury during his freshman year and eventually underwent surgery, also played through two high ankle sprains in 2010 but only missed one game; however, the ankle injuries plagued him for most of that season."
He doesn't have much of a career in store in a 3-4 scheme or as a nose tackle, but if he strengthens his base, Martin could improve into a steady starter at the next level.
Martin is undersized at 6'2" but this allows him to win more often than he loses at the point of attack.
Getting leverage and underneath the blocker's pad level sometimes puts him in a good position to release and get his arms around the ball-carrier.
His best attribute may be just finding his way towards the running lane and collapsing on it, even while engaged in a block. His athleticism is marginal and will need to improve his explosion off the line.
The combine could hurt him, but tape evaluation will keep him in the back of many GMs' minds. Martin's history as a wrestler helps him stay tenacious with a full-motor in the thick of the trenches."
Martin is a former high school state wrestling champion and record-setter in the discus and shot put, and he has only added strength at Michigan, earning comparisons to the Hulk in the process. While his sheer power – especially for his size – is likely his best attribute, Martin is also very nimble for a defensive tackle and his low center of gravity gives him the dual threat of bull-rushing or simply using his quickness to split through the line.
Martin’s production has been lacking – just 37 tackles (six TFLs) in 12 games last year following a 51-tackle, 8.5 TFL season in 2009 – he’s been stuck with incompetent coaching and ever-altering schemes (seemingly all of which wasted his talent and versatility) for the last two seasons.
This year, former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison takes over the same position in Ann Arbor, and he’s already shown a willingness to move Martin around (even lining him up at linebacker during the spring game) to take advantage of his combination of power and athleticism. I think Martin will have a breakout senior year, and with him already on the radar of some NFL draft experts (Kiper has him as 2012’s No. 2 DT), I could see him earning his way into the first round. If he drops any lower, some team will be coming away with a steal."