Summary: A few years from now, people may wonder why Doug Martin wasn't a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Martin is a well-rounded back who does everything well. He is a dynamic runner, a good receiver, a functional blocker and a special-teams contributor. Entering the NFL, Martin looks like a jack-of-all-trades back who should be able to help his team immediately.
Martin averaged five yards per carry with 1,299 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns as a senior. He also contributed 28 receptions for 263 yards and two scores. Out with an injury, the Broncos missed him a lot in their one loss against the TCU Horned Frogs. Martin was the MVP of his Bowl game with a kick return for a touchdown and a total of 151 yards on 31 carries in a blow out against Arizona State.
Martin followed the season with a superb performance at the Senior Bowl. He stood out against the All-Star defenders as a runner, showed good receiving ability and was a good blocker in blitz pick-up drills. Martin was also a workout warrior at the Combine with a fast 40 (4.48), a big bench press total (28), explosion in the drills and a flawless showing on the field.
There is no doubt that Martin will, at worst, be a second-round pick, but he could crack the first round. He can do it all. He can rip off big runs with his speedy elusiveness and cutting ability. He is also strong to break tackles and pound the ball in short-yardage situations. Martin looks like a true three-down back in the NFL who can carry an offense. He has an outside shot of cracking the first round, but looks more likely to go in the second.
Player Comparison: Ray Rice. Martin's running style is a lot like the Raven Pro Bowler. Rice is a back who beats defenses with his well-rounded skill set. At the college level, Martin did the same thing and projects to do that in the NFL. The 5-foot-9, 223-pounder is a similar build to Rice (5-8, 212). Rice was a second-round pick (55th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft, but many teams are regretting passing on him now. Martin could prove to evoke the same sentiments.
NFL Matches: Cincinnati, Denver, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, New York Jets, Atlanta, Pittsburgh
The Bengals have a big need for a running back. Martin would be a phenomenal fit in Jay Gruden's offense. Denver could use a running back, and he would work well as a receiver and blocker for Peyton Manning. The Giants also have a need at the position, and Martin would fill their desire for a great athlete with production. He would be a nice value pick at the end of the first round.
Martin could go to a number of teams in the second round. Trent Richardson is likely to go to the Browns or Buccaneers. Martin could land with whomever doesn't take the Alabama product. The Jets, Falcons and Steelers all need running back help. Martin could be a good choice for any of those three teams, but he could easily go before they are set to pick.