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Posted on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 10:35 a.m.

Combine is critical to how Michigan's Mike Martin stacks up in loaded DT draft

By Kyle Meinke


Mike Martin finished his career at Michigan with 170 tackles, including 10 sacks.

Melanie Maxwell |

Mike Martin is one of more than 300 players who will descend upon Indianapolis this week, each trying to prove his mettle and wit to NFL brass.

He has more at stake than a lot of them.

Martin was a four-year contributor for the Michigan football team, and he missed only one start in his final three years. He became a star, despite playing for two of the Wolverines' all-time worst defenses in 2009 and '10.

As a senior, Martin was one of the most disruptive players in the Big Ten and anchored a resurgent defense that finished 17th in the country.

Scouts like him, too. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, one of the best in the business, said he thinks Martin will "be tough to get rid of. He’ll be in a rotation."

It's not a matter of whether Martin will be drafted, but when. And that's the tricky part, as he is a member of one of the deepest defensive tackle classes in years.

Mayock, though, said Martin could climb into the early rounds with a strong combine.

Headed to the NFL Combine

"I think he'll be helped at the combine because he's an athletic, quick kid, and I think he'll show well," Mayock added. "I think what the combine will show, I'm guessing, his strength on the field will translate to the weight room, and we're going to see a really strong kid that also moves well athletically.

"When you combine those two things, the nice thing for him is I think the 3-4 teams will think he's strong enough to anchor on the nose, and I think the 4-3 teams will see that he's quick enough to play defensive tackle for them."

Martin will be part of a three-man Michigan contingent at the combine. He will be joined by center David Molk and receiver Junior Hemingway, each of whom will have a four-day cycle to audition for NFL clubs via physical and mental tests, as well as one-on-one interviews.

Molk's four-day run begins Wednesday. Hemingway follows on Thursday, and Martin gets under way Friday.

Martin stands 6-foot-1, which is not prototypical size for an NFL defensive lineman. However, his brute strength makes him an attractive pro talent, and he's weighing an impressive 307 pounds.

He said a strong showing at the Senior Bowl in January quieted some of the doubts regarding his size.

"There were a few question marks about me, I guess, about me overall, and to go there and play against the nation’s best and do as well as I did opened up a lot of eyes," Martin said by phone recently.

"I was one of the best, physically in-shape tackles there, I was moving around great and I was doing very well against guys in one-on-ones. There’s nothing I feel like they can pin on me when it comes to my height, besides being what it is. So, it’s not hurting me."

Martin, a two-time strength and conditioning All-American, said he's in the best shape of his life after working out for the combine with former Michigan strength coach Mike Barwis.

He's expected to threaten the bench-press record that was set last year by former Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea (49 reps at 225 pounds).

Martin said the Houston Texans have expressed the most interest in him so far, but several other teams have been in contact with him and agent Rick Smith as well.

He is the No. 13 defensive tackle according to ESPN, up from No. 15 in December. He is No. 10 according to CBS, up from 14th in December, and he has climbed 51 spots in the overall rankings to No. 96.

Last year, the 13th tackle was taken in the fourth round. The 10th went in third round. But again, this year's talent pool is much deeper.

This week will say a lot about whether Martin's stock sinks or swims.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Michigan is rooting for you, Mike Martin!! You'll be remembered Mike, regardless of what fields you play on or what uniform you'll be wearing in the NFL.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

There sometime about the headline that strikes me wrong also. How about "crucial" instead of "critical". Crucial -an extremely important decision or result, decisive. Sorry Kyle I just "critical" is too negative here.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Hey Blu do you write much? How can you comment on Kyle when you write like a 3rd grader? Kyle I would just delete that dummy's post completely. Please insert 'feel' after the work 'just'.


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

Mike Martin is truly a beautiful soul who totally deserves to get drafted into the NFL! Always friendly to fans and would always give back to his community. A role model to many young boys, he's got brains and works hard!! Much love to you Mike! You will do great things ;)


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

break the bench record.

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Strange headline. How is some piece of farm machinery relevant to football?


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Martin's total weight: 307 lb. Breakdown: Arms 50 lbs. Legs 60 lbs Head 20 lbs Torso 40 lbs Heart 137 lbs That is why Mike Martin will make it in the pros.


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

+1 Agreed 100%.