Detroit Lions Draft Prospects: Jonathan Martin


Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 312 lbs
Arms: 34″
Hands: 9-7/8″
40-yard Dash: 5.33 sec
Bench Press: 20 reps
Watch his combine workout here.

Mel Kiper released his fourth mock draft of the 2012 draft cycle and he now has the Lions taking Martin with the 23rd pick in the first round. He adds this comment:

"The Lions can’t go wrong with either the best corner or tackle option here. In this scenario, Martin fits what they’ll be looking for to bring the O-line up to par. An athletic tackle, he should develop into a great pass protector for Matthew Stafford. Jeff Backus has played forever, the Lions have enough pieces elsewhere and must target the line."

Kiper’s reasoning highly suggests a drafting for need approach. He sends his highest rated tackle to the Lions since two of the three picks that preceded them in his mock took away two worthy cornerback picks in Dre Kirkpatrick and Stephon Gilmore. That’s not the way the Lions have drafted under Martin Mayhew but while the strategy isn’t realistic, the pick may or may not might be depending on who you believe.

ESPN ranks Martin as the fourth best offensive line prospect in the draft and number 26 overall while CBS Sports has him third among his positional peers and 19 overall – definitely in the ballpark for the Lions with the 23rd pick. However, Wes Bunting’s rankings on the National Football Post are less favorable for Martin. There he ranks as the 61st prospect overall despite being the fourth best tackle on Bunting’s board.

Why the big difference?

Jonathan Martin is an athletic tackle and has the brains to boot – he turned down a Harvard education to take an athletic scholarship to Stanford. That will all play for him but Bunting in particular sees through that to note some concerns. It’s important to note that Wes Bunting’s ranking is a bit of an outlier compared to the rest of the draft expert pack but he’s a respected name and he definitely has his reasons. Here is what he has to say in his NFP scouting report on Jonathan Martin:

"He’s got the NFL size, length and overall athletic skill set. However, he’s not a natural anchor player and doesn’t strike me as a guy who is ever going to be real physical at the next level. He can mirror in space, but struggles to stick through contact and isn’t real heavy handed. Looks like a finesse tackle who will get over drafted because of athletic talent, but is going to have a hard time keeping the edge clean at the next level."

Considering the Lions’ current situation at tackle, they do have the luxury to make a pick partly based on potential but they don’t have the luxury of missing on the pick. It’s at the point where the Lions need to have someone to replace Jeff Backus. It’s OK if the guy they tab as his successor isn’t ready to step in now, but they had better be sure he’ll be ready to step in when Backus calls it quits. Is Martin that guy? Tough to say and that means the risk-reward isn’t right for me if I’m making the Lions pick at 23. Of course, the scenario changes if the Lions are able to trade back or if Martin is still available when the Lions pick in round two.

These videos can be a little bit hard to follow because of the nature of offensive line play but just try to focus on #55, the left tackle.

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