ESPN identifies Mike Martin as a top 25 breakout prospect

Submitted by Moleskyn on July 22nd, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Aaron Schatz over at ESPN put together a top 25 list of potential breakout players for this next season (LINK, $). Here's what he had to say about Martin, who came in at #17:

Martin, a third-round pick in the 2012 draft, led all Titans defensive tackles last year with 8.5 hurries. That's surprising considering he's more of a classic nose tackle rather than a penetrating three-technique. Scouts considered Martin a blue-collar grinder whose best strength was his solid base. But in his first year in Tennessee, he was faster than advertised and showed a variety of pass-rush moves. Martin was considered a possible first-round pick until he really struggled during his senior year at Michigan. That was partly due to a scheme change, although oddly, the new scheme he struggled in was actually more similar to what he's playing now in Tennessee. He should be in line for a jump in playing time despite the signing of Sammie Lee Hill.

A couple other notable players are Ronnell Lewis of the Lions (#23), and Ryan Mallett (#8).



July 23rd, 2013 at 12:21 AM ^

Martin was 2nd team all B1G as a junior and 2nd team all B1G as a senior.  He had one more sack as a senior and the same number of TFL, though he made more tackles as a senior.  He also played the second half of 2010 on a bad ankle.

The writer is just an idiot for thinking he ever struggled in college, much less as a senior when he put together one of the best season's we've ever had from an interior DL.


July 23rd, 2013 at 8:51 AM ^

When I was young I thought that writers were automatically smart people, and that it was rare to be proven wrong.

Now I automatically start out thinking that any writer is a dope, and it's rare that I'm proven wrong.


July 22nd, 2013 at 10:08 PM ^

I have to say... the initial scouting report they had on Martin was pretty terrible.  Wasn't his speed and penetrating ability something that set him apart from the get-go?  Also, did he really struggle his senior year?  I don't know about you guys, but I remember him being awesome.


July 22nd, 2013 at 10:10 PM ^

I'm glad the first two posts have said this. When I read that part, I was like "Huh?" and just thought maybe my memory was failing me. That's the first and only time I've seen someone say he had a rough senior year.

R Kelly

July 22nd, 2013 at 10:11 PM ^

Yeah, the author clearly never watched Mike Marin play a single down at Michigan.  I don't have a problem when national sports writers don't know as much about the players on my favorite teams as I do, but for god's sake, don't just make stuff up.


July 22nd, 2013 at 10:13 PM ^

Piling on here, but all kinds of FAIL in that:

* "That's surprising considering he's more of a classic nose tackle rather than a penetrating three-technique."

* "Scouts considered Martin a blue-collar grinder whose best strength was his solid base."

* "... he really struggled during his senior year at Michigan."


July 22nd, 2013 at 10:15 PM ^

He was down-right dominant most of the time and I don't ever remember Martin getting 1st round hype because he was undersized (right?)

Ahhh, this dude is also from football outsiders. The same people who said MSU has a chance to win the BCS title this year. You guys are losing credibility at a frightening pace


July 22nd, 2013 at 10:14 PM ^

I love that he's getting recognition. Anyone who watched him play on a regular basis while he was at Michigan, knew he had what all the tools to be successful in the NFL.


July 22nd, 2013 at 10:17 PM ^

Was he ever considered a first-round pick? Most of the reports I remember dismissed him because of his height. The writer should have interviewed a few of the guys who had to block him.


July 22nd, 2013 at 10:26 PM ^

To further discredit the above scouting report, here is a slow, underperforming senior Mike Martin forcing a pitch on a speed option.  Also, I now miss Mike Martin a lot. 




July 22nd, 2013 at 10:32 PM ^

Wow their assessment of him coming out of college couldn't be more wrong. First round talent, strength and performance his senior year. The only negative was that he was undersized according to the NFL scouts

Monocle Smile

July 22nd, 2013 at 10:39 PM ^

Looks like they skipped looking up film AND stats. When your NOSE TACKLE has 64 tackles in a season, he's not just a space eater and he's not having a lousy year.


July 22nd, 2013 at 11:19 PM ^

I was thinking the same thing. What's Mallet going to do, unseat Brady? The NFL tends not to give back-ups much opportunity to shine, unless the starter gets injured. Even sucking painfully bad isn't enough to get some starters ousted midseason.

I've been seeing Mallet get talked up a lot of places, which is kind of surprising given how little he's played.


July 22nd, 2013 at 11:43 PM ^

Mallett has the raw abilities and potential to be a good NFL QB, so I don't necessarily think he's bad. But I just don't see how or when he'd be given the chance to play.

The logic seems to be that he slid in the draft for character reasons and has stayed out of trouble. People talk about him like he's been in cyrogentic stasis or something and hasn't spent the last couple of years not playing football.


July 23rd, 2013 at 8:26 AM ^

That was my initial thought too. I didn't include their analysis, since I didn't want to copy/paste too much from a paywalled article, but their basic reasoning is more that he's got good skills, the biggest drawback was character issues, but that hasn't been a problem since he got drafted, and that his value is more as a trade target than a fill-in for Brady. Schatz is kind of assuming that the Pats would be able to get a nice package deal in return for Mallett, and that Mallett would then shine wherever he got traded. I just don't think the Pats are going to trade him though. They've got their QB of the future, and who knows how many more years Brady has in the league.

Marley Nowell

July 22nd, 2013 at 11:04 PM ^

I thought Aaron Schatz was pretty good about this stuff but that paragraph is completely wrong. Mike Martin is a classic penetrating DT who only played NT at Michigan because he was far and away the best DL we had.


July 23rd, 2013 at 12:38 AM ^

and due to the fact he was far and away the best player on the D-line he also continually faced double-teams.  This may explain the "down year" comment, but then again Martin didn't objectly have a down year.  If anything he showcased his talent by playing effectively despite the additional blocking attention.


July 23rd, 2013 at 12:00 AM ^

Did he even watch Martin at UM? Did anybody that he talked to watch Martin at UM? Pro tip: when writing a scouting report on someone, it helps to, you know, actually scout them.

Space Coyote

July 23rd, 2013 at 9:11 AM ^

Pretty poor scouting report above. The biggest thing that is clearly hurting this report is the description "he's more of a true Nose". No, no he's not. He was a nose at Michigan because Michigan had no one else to put there. Martin is a quick twitch guy with fast hands that can shed blockers and disrupt the backfield. That screams 3-tech of 3-4 DE.

Now I understand why he was a third rounder, as he didn't have a ton of measurables that screamed at you, and he didn't fit his "defined" position, but it's no surprise that he has done well in his role. His versatile enough to play the nose position, because he has very good technique, but he can definitely do more than that for you, which people who watched his tape and understand football concepts could have told you.

Space Coyote

July 23rd, 2013 at 9:12 AM ^

FWIW, and I'm not trying to bash NFL scouts because I am not one of them and they are likely better than I would be. But while most of them understood how I described Martin, and I don't think they graded Martin out extremely poorly, for all intents and purposes, many NFL scouts relatively kind of suck. For the most part, they are failed coaches that didn't really know what else to do. They watch some film and lean way too heavily on things like the combine and pro-day results. For how much access they have to these players and programs, they should be considerably better at their jobs than most are. Many coaches, especially college coaches, will tell you the same thing about pro scouts. Their biggest problem is probably not being able to understand how college players will fit into their team's system, or what can generally be considered poor communication with the true coaching staff. This is why a player like Cato June, who was a pro-bowler in Indy, got a huge contract in Tampa and essentially flamed out soon after (along with some injuries). He fit into Indy's scheme perfect, some scouts said "look at that production", and then he didn't fit into Tampa's system.

A big reason the Pats have been successful is because they've been able to hire good coaching minds at those scouting positions, as seen by how they've had their guys rise through the ranks unlike many other places. But that's a big aside that only has a little to do with this topic. And yes, I understand I just said "I'm not trying to bash" them and then pretty much just bashed them. Consider it a Ricky Bobby "with all due respect" type thing.


July 23rd, 2013 at 9:45 AM ^

It seems like most sports analysts don't really know what they're talking about.  The fact is, they're selling a product more than anything, which is why they've always got to say something 'unexpected' or 'surprising'.  In this situation I think it has less to with him not knowing a thing about Mike Martin, though he probably doesn't, and more that he's trying to keep the readers attention so he creates conflict where there is none, that's what ESPN does.