In our annual 32 picks in 32 days CSNPhilly.com mock draft, we select one player each day until the start of the NFL draft on April 26.
22. Doug Martin, RB, Boise State, 5-9220
Looking hard at linebacker Donta Hightower with this pick (the Browns run defense ranked 30th in the NFL last season), but Cleveland has a greater need at running back.
The fact is the Browns dont have a front line back. Peyton Hillis is gone, signed with Kansas City. Montario Hardesty cant stay on the field. Brandon Jackson is a part-time player at best. They need somebody to carry the ball so Doug Martin is the pick.
This is higher than most people project Martin in the draft. Most mock drafts have him going at the bottom of the first round or top of the second but he is a solid prospect, long on toughness and desire. Adding him along with wide receiver Justin Blackmon, the No. 4 pick, will really energize a woeful Cleveland offense.
Martin is built along the same lines as Trent Richardson, stocky and low to the ground. He runs with power and picks up a lot of yards after contact. He breaks tackles and has good balance. He is also quick enough to bounce it outside and turn the corner.
Martin ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash but he has such good vision and acceleration that he plays much faster. In the Las Vegas Bowl against Arizona State, he returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. One year earlier, he set a Las Vegas Bowl record with an 84-yard touchdown run from scrimmage against Utah.
Martin rushed for 28 touchdowns in the last two seasons despite missing two games with an ankle injury. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry in 2010 and averaged 34 yards on kick returns last season. He has good hands and was very effective on screen passes. He is just a good, all-around player.
Martin is thickly built with excellent strength. At the combine he did 28 reps in the bench press (225 pounds), which was better than some offensive linemen. He has a great attitude and will do whatever is asked of him. Works hard, stays in shape, loves to compete. He is the kind of unselfish player coaches love.
He really improved his stock at the Senior Bowl because he did everything well. He ran hard and broke tackles. He was a willing and effective blocker and, in fact, threw a key block on a touchdown run. He also returned kicks and volunteered to play on all special teams.
E-mail Ray Didinger at email@example.com