Doug Martin is one of this class’s most complete and promising backs. Among other attributes, his combination of vision, balance, and burst stands out on film. He projects as a three down back at the next level, with the receiving and blocking ability necessary to see playing time early. Expect Martin to be the second running back off the board, potentially as early as the middle of the first round.
In the NFL, the 5’9” Doug Martin will be gaining the majority of his yards between the tackles. As a compact runner with a low center of gravity and good acceleration, he showed the ability to pick up the tough yards while at Boise State. Martin is an energetic runner, fighting for every inch. His combination of vision, balance, and elusiveness in a phone booth often allows him to turn losses into short gains or big plays. Though he could be considered a rugged back, he lacks elite power.
Against WAC competition, Doug Martin proved to be an effective outside runner with burst, speed, and the ability to make defenders miss in space. He utilizes excellent vision outside the tackles, finding cutback lanes and exploding through the hole. While he may lack a third gear in the open field, Martin has the speed to turn the corner and uses his blocks well.
Martin has been productive as a receiver and shows natural hands out of the backfield. Though his height limits him in terms of adjustment to poorly thrown balls, several of the top pass-catching backs are under 5’10″. After the catch, Martin’s burst and elusiveness make him a threat. He projects as a three-down back at the next level and should prove to be an effective option in the passing game.
Though he holds the ball tight to his body, Martin’s ball security is something that must be improved. At Boise State, he fumbled eight times in fifty games (6 lost.) When running, he rarely shifts the ball from one hand to the other relative to defenders or the sideline.
Vision, Instincts & Awareness
Among Doug Martin’s most noteworthy qualities, tremendous vision may define his game most. He is very good decision-maker, scanning the field and finding small seams. His ability to make something out of nothing consistently impressed me while watching the Broncos. Due to his vision and lateral agility, Martin is a very effective cutback runner excelling both in and outside the tackles. Typically his patience is an asset, but he occasionally stalls in the backfield and is taken down for a loss.
Despite weighing in excess of 220 pounds, Doug Martin is among this draft class’ most elusive backs. Utilizing his great vision, he excels making defenders miss in space. He displays good stop & start ability and has some wiggle to him. On several occasions he’s even flashed a lightning quick spin move. Martin is very tough to bring down in the open field. His energy stands out on film as he runs through arm tackles and gains yards after contact. He runs with exceptional balance and a low center of gravity, rarely going down on the first hit. Occasionally, often attempting to spin through contact, he’ll turn his back on the field, losing leverage and balance. Ultimately, his ability to win one-on-one matchups with defenders in space allows him to pick up extra yardage consistently.
While there is certainly room for improvement in this area, Martin heads into the draft as one of the few backs competent in pass-protection. His performance in pass blocking drills in Mobile drew high reviews, and it did not appear to be a weakness in the games I watched.
Doug Martin has a relentless running style and keeps his legs moving on contact. While he lacks exceptional power, he runs through arm tackles with energy and low pad level. With nimble feet and excellent balance, Martin often picks up yards simply due to an extra effort.
Size, Speed, Strength & Agility
In terms of size, speed, strength, and agility: there is not much to dislike about Martin. In the athletically limited WAC conference, he has proven to be a rare find. At 5’9” 223 with a physique that has inspired the nickname “Muscle Hamster,” his compact build is perfect for withstanding punishment in the NFL. On the field, his strength evidenced by his yards after contact. While he lacks true breakaway speed, Doug Martin displays impressive burst and the ability to turn the corner. His combination of light feet and acceleration allow him to change speed & direction effortlessly. Martin’s lateral agility and skill as a cutback runner have made him a dangerous player to defend against. Displaying plenty of wiggle, he avoids tacklers in space and in tight areas.
By all accounts, Martin possesses great football character. Through his years in Boise, he displayed a remarkable worth ethic and dedication to the game. His running style demonstrates his competitiveness and his toughness. In 2011, Martin missed the majority of two games two due an ankle injury, but he does not appear to have any long-term durability concerns. Also worth noting: he was excellent when relied upon to return kicks for the Broncos, averaging 28.4 yards per return during his college career.
There is nothing holding Doug Martin back from developing into an excellent starter at the running back position. Several names that have come up while discussing him with others include: Ray Rice, Jonathan Stewart, and Frank Gore. While there is no way to be sure Martin will reach that level, he is a prospect with few flaws and a laundry list of strengths. His upside is high as a potential three-down, workhorse back.