Summary: Martin is one of the better safeties in the 2012 draft class, and is in the running as the top free safety prospect. The quick and rangy Martin does an excellent job of patrolling the deep part of the field. He has good instincts and takes good angles to cover up receivers running deep. At times, he has been beaten by double moves, but generally he is skilled at not letting anybody get behind him.
Martin is a good open-field tackler. He also is a hard hitter who looks to make receivers pay for running across the middle of the field. He has the quickness and agility to cover a variety of receivers. He can match up on tight ends, slot receivers and running backs out of the backfield. Coming from college football's version of arena football, the Big XII, Martin is experienced against a variety of high-powered passing attacks. He had good games against some of the elite quarterbacks in college football over the past two seasons, including Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Landry Jones and Nick Foles.
Martin had a quality week at the Senior Bowl. He can play bigger than his listed measurements and never shies away from getting physical. While he is good at breaking passes up, he doesn't intercept many passes so his ball skills are incomplete.
Martin looks like a solid second-day pick. If an NFL team needs a center-fielder type safety, he should get serious consideration.
As a senior, Martin recorded 74 tackles (59 solo) with five tackles for a loss, 11 passes broken up and two forced fumbles. Martin had an impressive performance with nine tackles and a tackle for a loss against Luck's Stanford Cardinal to end the season.
Player Comparison: Danieal Manning. A quality comparison to Martin is the Texan veteran. Manning was a nice addition for Houston last season after playing five years for the Bears. Like Martin, Manning does a good job of covering the deep part of the field. Manning (5-11, 209) is similar size to Martin, and both are instinctive players who provide good range. Manning was a second-round pick of Chicago in 2006, and Martin should be selected on the second day of the 2012 NFL Draft.
NFL Matches: New England, San Diego, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay, Baltimore, San Francisco
There are many teams that could consider Martin on the second day of the draft. The Patriots badly need safety help, and they have two second-round picks. The Chargers need a complement to Eric Weddle, and Martin would provide two rangy safeties for San Diego. Cincinnati could also use a complement to Reggie Nelson, assuming they are able to re-sign the veteran.
The Cowboys will be looking for a starting safety, as Abram Elam is entering free agency. Green Bay may need a safety if Nick Collins is unable to return from his neck injury. The Lions could use an upgrade at free safety to pair with Louis Delmas. Baltimore may seek some defensive back help, as Ed Reed won't play forever. The 49ers need a safety after the previous regime blew a pick on Taylor Mays.