04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Titans' picks: Round 3/82 - Mike Martin, DT, 6-1, 306, Michigan...Martin could be the best value of the Titans picks. He will step in and do the dirty work that has to be done in the trenches, and already considers Lions star Ndamukong Suh a friend and mentor he wants to pattern his game after. - The Sports Xchange
A lifelong fan of the Wolverines, there was little doubt where the 2007 Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year would choose to matriculate. A four-star recruit by all of the major high school scouting services, Martin also won the Michigan Wrestling State Championship in his junior season (after having no prior wrestling experience), and broke T.J. Duckett's former Michigan high school shot put record on his way to a state championship.
Martin used that combination of strength and hand/foot control to earn Freshman All American honors after his first year in Ann Arbor. Appearing in 12 games as a reserve defender and on special teams, he made 20 tackles with 4.5 for loss and two sacks. He continued his development in 2009, starting all 12 games on the nose. He was credited with 51 tackles, 6.5 for loss and 2.0 sacks, and received the Richard Katcher Award as the team's best defensive lineman.
In his junior year, Martin won that prestigious award again, along with second-team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches, after he started 12 games, registering 37 tackles, six for loss and 2.5 sacks. He missed the Purdue Game on Nov. 13, 2010, due to an ankle injury that plagued him for the rest of the season.
Martin earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2011, racking up a career-high 54 tackles and three sacks to go along with six tackles for loss.
At 6-1, Martin is undersized height-wise, but he has a thick, compact build on his wrestler's frame. He fires off the snap with a relentless attitude and uses his low pad level and violent hands to tear through blockers.
Martin's long arms allow him to keep his opponents from grasping a firm hold of him. With good lateral agility, power and a relentless motor, Martin got the better of Ohio State's Michael Brewster, a possible top 100 pick, on numerous occasions during Senior Bowl practices.
Martin is an undersized nose tackle with loads of experience in a 3-4 defense. But he lacks a consistent anchor against double teams and just does not have the right frame to be an NFL starter. Because of his ability to penetrate against one-on-one blocks, Martin could be a solid rotation player in a 4-3 scheme as a three-technique tackle and move to the nose on passing downs.
Pass rush: Provides some secondary interior pass rush, getting most penetration when playing three-technique. Possesses only adequate burst off the snap even when directly over the ball, and his initial pop leaves room to be desired. Hands could be much more violent when trying to gain control of the block. Can bull rush his way past running backs in pass protection. Preferred pass rush move is an arm-over swim move while simultaneously pulling lineman forward. Once momentum is stopped, lacks a critical counter move to progress into the backfield. Spies the quarterback if stoned at the line, but lacks the height and vertical to knock down passes.
Run defense: Uses more hustle than brute strength to stop the run. Gets skinny to split double teams, using good short-area quickness to make a play in the backfield. Runs the line very well, making plays on the ball when he beats blocks on the backside. Rarely goes to the ground, showing good balance from his high school wrestling days. Constantly moving his hands, readjusting them into proper placement. Occasionally too high (despite his short stature), and bows out his arms, hampering his ability to press and lock out. Does not hold his ground while facing a double team, first instinct is to roll away to make a play, which can create a large hole.
Explosion: Does not test offensive linemen with quickness or strong initial punch. Rarely first off the snap. Able to swim past single blockers to penetrate into the backfield. Does not attempt to split double-teams, takes a step back and waits to chase down plays.
Strength: Low center of gravity and generally low pad level allows him to play with initial strength and leverage at the point of attack. Upper-body only average, however, struggles to shed one-on-one blocks or sustain leverage once out of his stance. Pad level rises late in the game.
Tackling: Catch-and-drag tackler who rarely drives ballcarriers to the ground. Very good short-area quickness to make plays between the tackles. Displays agility and secure tackling to corral backs in the backfield, also chases plays from the backside to prevent cutbacks.
Intangibles: High-motor, high-character leader. Worked at Ndamukong Suh's summer football camp. Played through two sprained ankles (Iowa, 10/16; Penn State 10/30), missed only Purdue (11/13). Won team's Richard Katcher award the past two seasons for being the team's best defensive lineman.