Tennessee Titans Mike Martin Pick Continues Trend of Getting Bigger on Defense

Marlon MaloneyCorrespondent IApril 27, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Mike Martin #68 of the Michigan Wolverines awaits the start of play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans snagged Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin with the 82nd overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Martin, who comes in at just over 6'1" and weighing 306 pounds, fits second-year defensive coordinator Jerry Gray's formula of adding bulk to the team's defense.

Leger Douzable, Panel Egboh and Lamar Divens were already added to the squad through free agency and signal that Gray was unhappy with what he got out of his defensive line last season.

The Titans rush defense struggled in 2011, giving up 4.5 yards per rush—good for 22nd in the NFL—and allowing a staggering 128.3 yards rushing per game.  

ESPN AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky summed it up best here:

"On runs up the middle, Tennessee yielded 4.5 yards per carry (ranking 28th), gave up six runs of 20 yards or more (tied for 28th), gave up 52 first downs (32nd) and allowed 338 yards after contact (23rd)." 

Sen'Derrick Marks and Shaun Smith have been put on notice with this pick. Marks has consistently been a liability in run defense since being drafted by the team in 2009 and offers nothing in the way of a pass rush.

Shaun Smith, the other veteran defensive tackle left on the roster from 2011, admittedly came in out of shape and struggled mightily for it. 

"I didn't feel like I played to the ability that I should have," said Smith. "I didn't play at a high level."

The Titans found some great value in the third round last season with Jurrell Casey, especially in run defense, but the rest of the team's tackles were unreliable in the category throughout the season.

Martin doesn't possess any great skills as an interior pass rusher, but he does have a nonstop motor and excellent hand and foot quickness, which will allow him to be a constant factor in run defense.

The Titans found themselves a hard worker who dealt with double teams consistently as the best player on a bad defense.

There's great value on this pick and it's been a solid three rounds for rookie GM Ruston Webster.