Dolphins 2nd Round Pick Martin Has Best Chance of Rookie Class to Start Opener

Sigmund Bloom@SigmundBloomNFL Draft Lead WriterMay 10, 2012

DAVIE, FL - MAY 4: Jonathan Martin #71 of the Miami Dolphins talks ot the media after the rookie minicamp on May 4, 2012 at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Many teams expect their first-round picks to become instant starters, but in Miami, the second-round pick has created expectations of playing with the first team from Day 1.

Stanford OT Jonathan Martin was slotted in the first round by many after successfully protecting Andrew Luck's blindside for three years, but he slipped in the second round. The Dolphins, sorely needing help at right tackle, were happy to snap him up, and at least one Miami scribe sees Martin starting the season opener against the Houston Texans.

Ben Volin, of the Palm Beach Post, has Martin as the only "immediate starter" among the team's rookie class. Volin cites the success the team has had with Mike Pouncey and Jake Long as "solid starters from Day 1", and the fact that switching from left to right tackle isn't "rocket science" as factors contributing to his belief.

Martin told Izzy Gould of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the switch back to right tackle after not playing the position since high school was "strange", but that he was training different muscles and "getting it".

He's not alone, as Gould wrote that Martin "looks very much the part of a player contending for a starting job at offensive right tackle" after the team's minicamp last week. 

Head coach Joe Philbin liked Martin's knee bend and footwork in the initial practices, according to Gould, although Martin isn't getting ahead of himself when it comes to visions of starting. "I haven't given it (starting) a lot of thought. It would be awesome if it worked out that way, but it's a long road to get there."

Martin and Dolphins are fortunate to have one of the very best left tackles in the business, Jake Long. That luxury plus the AFC East's lack of premier pass-rushers outside of Mario Williams almost ensures that Martin will indeed have a shorter road than most to that "awesome" outcome of starting in the NFL.