The NFL Draft is just under 40 days away as of this writing, and pro days are beginning to wrap up before pre-Draft visits get underway in April.
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Another D2 prospect had their pro day take place on Monday, March 19 at Penn with a special invite to participate in the event. The NCAA's all-time leading sack master – Marcus Martin – drew a crowd to see him workout not as a pass rusher, but as a fullback.
The Slippery Rock product has been overlooked thus far in the draft process because of a few reasons, the most likely being the level of competition factor and a not-so-great fit as a pass rusher in the NFL, forcing his move to the other side of the ball.
But while the buzz has not been as loud as it could – and should – be, take a look at some of the reports coming out of his pro day, and see just how much it may have affected his status as a potential draft pick.
Martin's measurements have not come across in full as of yet, but we do have some of the more important aspects of measurements to look over.
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If you compare those numbers to the full backs who ran at the NFL Combine a few weeks ago, his 40 time places him faster than one of the premier fullbacks in FBS play, Dimitri Flowers of Oklahoma who ran a 4.83. The SRU standout is also just four one-hundredths shy of Ronald Jones from USC, a more traditional running back.
He also posted more reps on the bench press than any running back did in Indianapolis, and what would have been a top-six time in the 20-yard shuttle.
While it is expected for Martin to do well compared to other running and full backs in some categories, his other measurements proved that he can make the transition to offense just off the numbers and with a little bit more finesse in his technique.
While Martin ran through some of the defensive front seven drills, his biggest workout came through receiving drills in which coaches from the Patriots and Buccaneers put him through the paces and tested his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
The Pennsylvania native was a tight end in high school at West Mifflin, and that should help him translate his skills back to the offensive side of the ball. Plus, he was able to catch the only offensive touchdown for the East team in the Senior Bowl from former Ohio State superstar J.T. Barrett.
With word out now that Martin can in fact catch the ball and has the ability to move with his feet, his draft stock could rise in the latter parts of the draft.
As of right now, Martin is likely to be a priority free agent because teams may not be willing to risk a pick on someone who may not turn out to make a perfect transition to the offensive side.
The buzz is starting to heat up on the all-time leading pass rusher in the history of college football, and his upcoming Slippery Rock pro day on March 22 – unknown if Martin will still participate – and pre-draft visits should give us a clearer picture of what teams think of one of the greatest defenders in collegiate history.
He will just have to pave his way trying to stop pass rushers and create rushing lanes if he hopes to play on Sundays.