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Michigan State wide receiver Keshawn Martin is going to be an x-factor in the NFL, especially on special teams, and he's a great pickup in the 2012 NFL draft.
At 5'11'', 189 pounds, nobody is going to mistake Martin for a big-time physical threat at the next level, but he does bring a distinct skill-set that can be incredibly dangerous when used correctly. He was a play-maker during his time with the Spartans, and finished his collegiate career with ten touchdowns through the air, three rushing touchdowns, two punt return scores, and one kick return touchdown.
What Martin Brings to the Team
Martin was probably drafted with an immediate special teams impact in mind. He's a shifty returner with great vision and speed, and he should be able to translate that into the NFL right away.
On offense he looks like he will fit the prototypical slot receiver role. He's small, very quick and elusive, and he can be very effective in open space. Look for him to be utilized in the slot on slant passes, and as someone who can find holes in a zone defense with his speed and vision.
Once he gets the ball he has the skills to get yards after the catch, and he has the explosiveness to take it to the house.
What Experts Are Saying
Here's what the NFL Network's Mike Mayock had to say about Martin via Justin Rogers of Mlive.com:
"He ran a 4.4 at the combine. I like his value. He's a slot receiver who can also return punts and kickoffs. He caught the football extremely well. He's going to be a value play for somebody."
It seems like Mayock and I are on the same page here. Nobody is going to confuse Martin for what he is not, but instead try to highlight and find the value in what he is. He can be very dangerous in the slot, but chances are we'll see him make his immediate impact on special teams.
Expect Martin to make a push to be the guy that returns both kickoff and punts for the team. His speed, elusiveness and vision will make him a great candidate, and even if he doesn't take one to the house, he'll be able to set the offense up in good field position. He'll be a candidate to get on field for the offense, but he may be more of a backup or injury replacement in his rookie year.
Martin will fill an immediate need for the Texans in his rookie season in the return game. A slenderly built speedster, Martin should also work into the offensive mix out of the slot. Nice pick by Gary Kubiak and his staff.