Dallas Cowboys Potential 2012 Draft Pick: Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma State
There are rumors circulating that the Cowboys are interested in Alabama safety Mark Barron in the first round. In my scouting report on Mark Barron, I wrote the following:
Barron reminds me of a young Brian Dawkins in that he isn’t afraid to lay a lick on ball-carriers but also isn’t a glorified linebacker. Barron is far superior to Dawkins in coverage, though. His most valuable trait is his versatility, as he played free safety, strong safety, slot cornerback and even linebacker at Alabama. With so many responsibilities, it is impressive that Barron seems to play with proper leverage and remember his responsibilities. On a defense that was so loaded with talent that everyone probably appears better than they were, Barron still stands out to me.
I like Barron, but does he warrant a top 15 pick? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t appear a trade down is likely. With Barron the top safety on the board (by far), someone will take him earlier than he might otherwise go. That team might be the Cowboys.
If Dallas passes on Barron, though, there are options later in the draft. One popular name is Markelle Martin from Oklahoma State. My scouting report on Martin is up now at the Times. Click the link to check it out. Here’s a preview:
I watched four full games of Markelle Martin’s, and I was surprised. The Oklahoma State prospect is supposed to be the top true free safety in the draft, but he looks to have a poor understanding of zone concepts. That stuck out again and again as I watched Martin. Let me show you what I mean.
At the 49-second mark in the video below, Martin has deep half responsibility in Cover 2. This means he is to cover the deep area from the middle of the field to the sideline. As the play develops, you can see no one threatens Martin’s zone down the sideline. The slot receiver breaks off his route and the outside ‘Z’ receiver runs toward the middle of the field. When Martin saw no one threatening the deep sideline, he should have immediately floated back toward the center of the field. He didn’t, and the result was a big completion.
You can see poor awareness again at the 2:55 clip. In that play, Martin is lined up at Oklahoma State’s 5-yard line to start the play. He immediately backpedals, but there’s no reason for it. With very little field behind him for receivers to get open, he should sit on routes, even if he has a “deep” responsibility. A single receiver threatens Martin’s zone, but he continues to backpedal.
I’m not a fan of Martin’s in the least. To me, he’s too big of a project to be considered even in the middle rounds. He’s a “true” free safety and that could tempt the ‘Boys, but he shouldn’t be relied on to fix the back part of anyone’s secondary.
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