2012 NFL Draft: 5 Reasons Why Boise State's Doug Martin Is a Steal

Sean LeahyCorrespondent IIMarch 5, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 5 Reasons Why Boise State's Doug Martin Is a Steal

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    The 2012 NFL draft is full of names already considered to be household, as well as those names that comprise the sliding scale of degrees of anonymity, and running back Doug Martin of Boise State is a player poised to move from the latter category to the former.

    Although Martin may not be the first name many associate with the Broncos, his offensive versatility and statistical contributions were every bit as paramount to the team's success as quarterback Kellen Moore's.

    At no point during his senior season was his significance more abundantly apparent than in Boise State's 56-24 win over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl, Martin's last collegiate contest. He finished with 301 all-purpose yards, including 151 on the ground, in addition to running back the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. This was the first time that such a monumental opening had been rendered by a player in a bowl game since Ohio State's Ted Ginn did it in the 2007 BCS title game.

    Being that Martin is projected to go no earlier than the second round, here are five reasons why he will be a potential steal in the upcoming draft this April.  

Statistics Stack Up

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    Not only did Martin rush for 1,299 yards on 263 attempts for a 4.9 yard-per-carry average and 16 touchdowns, but he also caught 28 passes out of the backfield for 255 yards and had 338 yards in total kickoff returns, with an average per return of 33.8 yards.

    When his totals in these three categories are placed in the company of such top-tier backs like Alabama's Trent Richardson, Miami's Lamar Miller and Washington's Chris Polk, who have been more hyped in this year's draft coverage to this point, Martin fits well within the bunch.

    In fact, Richardson is the only of the three to have finished with more all-purpose yards than Martin. Nevertheless, his stats on the year give him the right to be considered in the conversation of potential top backs, not to mention that in two games this season he did not have a rushing attempt, a further testament to his impressive season stat line.

    Richardson: 1,679 rushing, 338 receiving, 66 kickoff return; total: 2,083 yards

    Martin: 1,299 rushing, 255 receiving, 338 kickoff return; total: 1,892 yards

    Polk: 1,488 rushing, 332 receiving, 4 kickoff return; total: 1,824 yards

    Miller: 1,272 rushing, 85 receiving, 162 kickoff return. total: 1,519 yards

True All-Purpose Back

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    As reflected in the last slide, Martin's statistical output proves him to be a truly versatile individual. This is the kind of diversity that can work in a player's favor come draft day when teams are looking for intangibles to separate the potential possibilities during any given round or pick.

    Additionally, for a player like Martin who, despite his productivity, will more than likely have to prove himself in various facets of the pro game before being given the opportunity to be a featured back, his diversity will get him the looks he will need to establish himself.

Collegiate Success

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    The Broncos posted a record of 50-3 during Martin's four years, including winning every bowl game they participated in during that time. The immediate accolades and credit are attributed to the play of quarterback Kellen Moore, and rightly so, as his accomplishments are well documented, including being a two-time All-American, as well as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

    Despite this, even Moore realized the importance and necessity of Martin to his successes as a signal-caller for the Broncos.

    “He makes my job a whole lot easier,” quarterback Kellen Moore said after the Las Vegas Bowl win. “Bottom line, if you can run the football, you can do so many things off that…he’s just been so consistent. He gets positive yards every play. He’s as good as any running back in the country.”

    The fact that Martin played in a winning program, in which despite his fantastic output he still deferred to Moore in terms of publicity and media coverage, is a testament to his team-first attitude. This being another highly sought-after intangible that franchise front offices love to see from a young player coming into a professional system.

Killer Combine

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    The NFL pre-draft combine can be a positive and negative revelation, depending on the player, and his status prior to this testing ground. For Martin, the combine provided further reinforcement of his validity in the conversation of legitimate running backs who could have an impact at the NFL level.

    In relation to his fairly under-the-radar status prior to the combine, Martin posted some extremely visible and impressive numbers at this year's combine, which will surely result in an upward shift in his draft day status. 

    40-Yard: 4.55 (13th out of 27)
    Bench Press: 28 reps (t-first with Utah State's Robert Turbin)
    Vertical Jump: 36" (t-eighth out of 27)
    Broad Jump: 10' (t-fifth out of 24)
    Three-Cone Drill: 6.79 (second out of 22)
    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.16 (t-fifth out of 21)
    60-Yard Shuttle: 11.29 (second out of nine)

    Official numbers courtesy of NFL.com.

Anonymity Advantageous

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    Although he has recently brought himself closer to the center of the dialogue involving this year's top running back prospects, with his showing in the Las Vegas Bowl and the combine Martin was able to play much of his collegiate career in the shadow of a highly touted quarterback prospect.

    Although this proved the talented running back could coexist in a system in which he was a not the most sought-after media target on game day, it also allowed him to quietly put up big numbers somewhat off the radar. This is not a potential deficit against his skill set or numbers. It is, however, an indication that despite the hype others, such as the Richardson's, Polk's and Miller's of the college football world received, Martin is a very quiet, yet substantial option to any team looking for a legitimate multi-purpose back.