In round one of the 2012 NFL draft the Miami Dolphins drafted their franchise QB in Ryan Tannehill. In round two the ‘Phins drafted an offensive tackle from Stanford University. A guy who protected the blindside of #1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck. Welcome to the NFL, Jonathan Martin.
The 6’6″ 310 pound Martin was ranked only behind Matt Kalil (taken #4 overall by Minnesota Vikings) and Riley Reiff (#23 overall to Detroit Lions) as far as o-lineman go for this years draft. Miami allowed long-time tackle Vernon Carey to walk away in the off-season, thus an opportunity was born for Martin. He mainly played left tackle at Stanford, but did see some action at right tackle. Word is he has certain work to do to get up to NFL standards, but he is off to a good enough start to be considered the starting right tackle for the 2012 Miami Dolphins. The left tackle is spoken for (Jake Long…check out my Jake Long article here) but it is looking like Martin has a chance to move to the right side with success in the League.
New Dolphins head man Joe Philbin has a ton of experience working with o-lineman. Philbin acknowledges that Martin is a work in progress, but rumor is he does see things already that point to Martin being a legit starter for this team. Coach after coach marvels at Martin’s football IQ. Strong mental game, developing a mean streak too. Very good run-blocker. He has an excellent understanding of angles, and how to support the running game. His speed/athleticism allows him to be effective in “pull” scenarios. Good pad levels too. In college he was adept at getting into the second level and issuing blocks vs linebackers/safeties. Martin is currently more of a finesse blocker, rather than power.
Martin does need to step up his pass protection at the NFL level. He can be susceptible to speed rushers. When beaten by a quick first step Martin struggles to get himself back into the play. At practice he is going against the fantastic Cameron Wake. That will surely hone his skills. Already we see a difference from day 1 to now as far as Martin adjusting to speed rushes. Philbin teaches/preaches technique and Martin has technique areas that require improvement. Philbin will help Martin vs speed rushes, and help him use his hands better (at college his hands often ended up in the wrong places, but his skill vs collegians was enough to overcome – cannot count on that vs NFL defenders). Philbin will also help Martin with his footwork. He is quick, but at times his footwork can be sloppy (again, good enough at the college level – not going to cut it vs NFL competition)
At his size it is hard to believe that Martin would need to ratchet up his strength, but he does. This is surely doable considering he is working with NFL coaches/trainers/facilities.
The right side of the Dolphins o-line is in for a major re-vamp, and Martin has a chance to be an everyday part of that. 16 starts at right tackle up for grabs, and word is Jonathan Martin is staking claim.
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