Michigan's Mike Martin ranks among top 4 defensive tackles in every combine event
INDIANAPOLIS -- Mike Martin arrived at the NFL Scouting Combine hoping to shake up the perception he isn’t athletic enough to be an early-round draft pick.
He had no idea it’d be his hotel doing the shaking.
“The hotel we stayed at, there was a freight train that rolled right by it -- like, a freight train,” the former Michigan defensive tackle said in an interview Monday. “Like, in the middle of the night, every hour-and-a-half, a train would go through and shake the whole hotel.
“The first day, I didn’t know there was a train that ran through it, and I literally thought there was an earthquake that night, in the hotel. I ran out of my room in the middle of the night and was like, ‘Holy (crap)!’”
It was just another hardship during a weekend of hardships for the participants. They had 4 a.m. drug tests after late-night team interviews, for example. They weren't given complete schedules, keeping them on their toes. And so on.
It's designed to help sort the top prospects from the riffraff, and Martin responded spectacularly well. He came to the combine touting his bench press, but it was his overall performance in the field drills Monday that will leave the greatest impression.
He finished among the top four defensive tackles in every event, a display of power and speed.
"The scrutiny and the pressure and everything that goes into the combine, and it all comes down to one day," Martin said. "It’s all a mental grind, and the last day, physically, you just got to be on top of your game.
"The feedback from coaches was very positive, and that’s all I can really ask for. ... I did a really good job of boosting my draft stock today and put myself in a really good position going into the draft."
Martin entered the weekend ranked the No. 13 tackle by ESPN and No. 10 by CBS. He remains slightly undersized at 6-foot-1, 306 pounds, but likely will get a bump in the rankings after his combine performance.
A look at his field numbers (at 306 pounds, mind you):
40-yard dash: 4.88 seconds, third among defensive tackles.
Three-cone: 7.19 seconds, third among defensive tackles.
20-yard shuttle: 4.25 seconds, second among defensive tackles.
Vertical jump: 33.5 inches, fourth among defensive tackles
Broad jump: 113.0 inches, first among defensive tackles.
Martin said he poured more of his preparation into those drills as the combine drew near.
"My goal was to come down here and show my athleticism, and how smooth I transition getting out of the hole and making cuts," he said. "My strength wasn’t really something I was trying to showcase, because everyone already knows I’m strong.
"But there was a question mark on how athletic I was, and I think I definitely (answered) that."
As Martin channeled his combine prep into the speed drills, he backed off slightly on the bench press. That helps to explain why he posted only 36 reps, well short of his goal of 50.
Of course, "only" is a relative term here. Martin fell 13 reps short, but still finished second in his position group. Memphis' Dontari Poe had 44.
"It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t necessarily disappointed by it either," he said. "I was more worried about doing all the drills and showing my athleticism. I knew I was going to get a good amount of reps on the bench."
Martin said because he did so well in Indianapolis, he does not expect to run or lift at Michigan's pro day March 15. He said he probably will do only positional drills with coaches.
For now, he will return to his Novi apartment and resume workouts at BarwisMethods, although his regimen will transition into more football-specific work.
He'll also be rubbing shoulders with a pair of NFL defensive linemen, LaMarr Woodley and Brandon Graham. Both are former Michigan stars.
Martin hopes to join them as the Wolverines' next NFL defensive lineman. And now, he's one step closer.