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NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Doug Martin is Setting Standards for Future NFL Running Backs

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone have Doug Martin projected for 2,000 all-purpose yards going into his rookie season?

A somewhat unknown running back out of Rutgers, Martin took center stage for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, and showed a glimpse of the future of NFL running backs.

Martin is the proverbial dual-threat running back. We’re talking 1,454 yards on the ground, and another 472 through the air. He proved as a rookie that he can beat nearly any defense, from anywhere on the field. Martin broke loose for 20-plus on 15 different occasions throughout the season.

In reality though, he was up-and-down during his rookie campaign. He’d have one lights-out game, followed by an average performance, but there weren’t any times where you would’ve called Martin bad in 2012. Overall, given expectations, he crushed it.

When I say given expectations, I’m of course referring to the fact Martin was selected with the No. 31 pick in last year’s draft. After Russell Wilson, Martin was clearly the steal of the draft. He outrushed top RB selection Trent Richardson, by a long shot.

While Richardson is the best traditional RB from last year’s class, I believe Martin to be the future of the position in the NFL. Given the ever evolving spread and pistol offensive schemes across the league, backs like Martin will become the standard.

Teams will need more dual-threat backs as the offenses continue to move to pass-friendly themes. I’m of the opinion that every team needs a player like Martin. You see them across the league – Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush, Jacquizz Rodgers - just to name a few. Sure, all the teams aren’t going to get talent like that, but they do need players like the aforementioned backs.

There will always be a place for bruisers in the game of football, but at least for the foreseeable future, expect teams to go after more dual-threats like Martin. On the other side though, it will be interesting to see how the defenses evolve to stop these players along the way.

 

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