Martin, the No. 31 pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, is making a strong case for the award courtesy of his stellar play.
The rookie out of Boise State surprisingly won the starting job from the incumbent, LeGarrette Blount, in the offseason and has made a seamless transition to the NFL.
Martin stands at 5'9" and 215 pounds as the feature back for the Bucs offense. In six games so far in 2012, Martin has rushed 129 times for 543 yards and four touchdowns, with a stellar 4.21 yards-per-carry average while shouldering most of the load.
There is no discernible difference between watching Martin play and a veteran play. He picks his spots, displays excellent patience and uses his outstanding vision to make opposing defenses pay. So far, Martin has also displayed excellent durability and is making a strong case for Rookie of the Year.
Martin has extremely strong competition for the award, however. The No. 1 overall pick in this past April's draft, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, has thrown for 1,674 yards and seven touchdowns. The second overall pick of the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III, has thrown for 1,601 yards, seven touchdowns and has added 468 yards and six touchdowns on the rush.
The expected competition for Martin at running back is Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns, who happens to be the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft.
Richardson has carried the ball 103 times for 348 yards and four touchdowns, with a 3.4 yards-per-carry average.
In addition, Redskins running back Alfred Morris has come out of nowhere to put up even better stats thus far than both Martin and Richardson. The ball-carrier out of Florida Atlantic has accumulated 658 yards on the ground, along with five touchdowns.
Right now, Martin is well ahead of Richardson in the race. Richardson may be the more entertaining back to watch, but Martin is the more productive back to this point in the pros. He's currently behind Morris as far as stats go, but it's not an insurmountable lead.
As far as overall competition goes, Martin is well behind both Luck and RG3 for the award. Luck is a distant second, while Griffin is easily the front-runner. He's a statistical monster and propelling the Redskins to victory in every which way.
Doug Martin could end up being the best running back in the NFL some day, but he was unfortunate enough to end up in the same draft class as two once-in-a-generation quarterback prospects. The title of Offensive Rookie of the Year front-runner goes to Robert Griffin III for the moment.
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