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Road to the Draft: Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford
6-foot-5, 312 pounds
Draft projection: Top 20

Lowdown: Martin produced on the field, protecting the blind side of Andrew Luck for three years. He has a prototypical frame and started 37 of 39 games over the past three college seasons. He’s leaving school with a year of eligibility to go. He will be a strong consideration for the Buffalo Bills, who own the No. 10 pick. The question: Is he an elite enough athlete to warrant a top-10 pick? He’s clearly a finesse tackle, not a punishing, physical player. But in today’s spread-happy passing game, that’s what teams need most out of their left tackle.

Says ESPN analyst Mel Kiper: “Excellent collegiate left tacklebut how well he’ll deal with the best pass-rushing DEs he’s ever faced on a play-by-play basis in the NFL is the big question that could push him into the latter stages of Round One.”

Nevertheless, Martin’s production speaks: Three years of high quality play in a great offense against top competition.

Intelligence is another asset. Coming out of high school in North Hollywood, Calif., Martin resisted a strong recruiting pitch from Harvard. Both of Martin’s parents are Harvard graduates, and it’s believed he would have been the university’s first fourth-generation African-American student. Martin’s great grandfather on his mother’s side graduated from Harvard in 1924 and knew W.E.B. DuBois, the famed sociologist, historian and civil rights activist (and a Harvard man, as well.) Martin majored in classics - ancient Greek and Roman history. He said he’s about half a year away from graduating.

Martin has no regrets about diverting from the family footsteps.

“No, not for a minute,” he said in an interview at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “I wanted to play football at the highest level. I wanted to go to BSC Bowl games. I wanted to compete for national championship, try to get up there, so I’m happy with my decision.”

---Mark Gaughan

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NFL Draft
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