Mike Martin Is My AFC South Crush of the Week

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistMay 4, 2012

I like Martin more when he's harrassing Boilers.
I like Martin more when he's harrassing Boilers.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Sometimes you come across a player that you just want to root for.

In researching my "What to Expect" series this week, I did a little digging into Titans third-round pick Mike Martin.

The result is a serious swoon.

Martin is bright, eloquent, a good leader and a heck of a productive football player. He was a two-time second-team All-Big Ten selection. He had 64 tackles in just 13 games his senior season. For a nose-tackle, that's incredible production.

He's basically the polar opposite of second-round pick Zach Brown, who seems to have been chosen for potential rather than production. I wonder if to play such a grind-it-out position in the NFL, it's far more important to have heart and drive than raw skill.

That's not to say that Marin isn't skilled. He clearly has great leverage and is strong. The point is just that there are a lot of big, strong guys in the NFL. That's not what got him drafted. That's not what gives him a chance to make an impact for the Titans.

Martin was part a difficult and turbulent rebuild in Ann Arbor, and helped provide an emotional anchor to a team that is finally back on the upswing after the dark "Rodriguez years."

I'm pulling for Martin, even if he is a Wolverine. I admire players who helped to steady the ship and get to see their storied programs return to glory. I have no love for Michigan, but college football is better and more interesting when they are good. I'm glad his efforts were rewarded with a spot in the NFL.

So hugs and kisses, Mike. You are my AFC South Crush of the Week.