The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Safety Plan: Interview with Oklahoma State Safety Markelle Martin

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Jonathan Bales

My last scouting report at the NY Times was on Oklahoma safety Markelle Martin.  Shortly following the post, Markelle’s team contacted me to do an interview, and I of course accepted.  Many of the old-time DCT’ers know I used to do more pre-draft interviews, and I can tell you Markelle has been (by far) the most well-spoken of the bunch.

From speaking with Markelle, I can tell he’s a Jason Garrett type of guy.  He’s incredibly hard-working, intelligent, and loves to play football.  Don’t be surprised if Markelle is on the Cowboys’ radar later this month.

How is your draft prep going? What kinds of things are you doing?

It is going well.  Since I injured my knee just after beginning my draft prep, I have been doing a lot of weight lifting.  My weight lifting is basically the same as it was in-season, but with more emphasis on flexibility.

On the field, I’m back into position drills and really working on my technique.  I’m working to make sure I have no false steps and that my mechanics are great.  I’m doing a lot of ball drills and working a ton on eye control.  I typically spend about 90 minutes on the field each day, then another 30 minutes or so watching film.

What sort of film are you watching?

I’m reviewing my Oklahoma State film to see what I did well and what I can improve upon.  I want to make sure I don’t make the same mistake twice.

Have you gotten a lot stronger with so much time in the weight room?

My strength is about the same as prior, but my endurance is much better.  I think that is important so I don’t tire out during games, and my muscular endurance is the best it has ever been.

How disappointing was it to not participate in the Combine?

I was pretty disappointed.  I knew for a while I wouldn’t be able to participate, but once the time came I got a little antsy and wanted to get out there.  I really wanted to compete against the best players in the country.  I participated in interviews and helped our free safety with his on-field drills and technique.

What were your Combine interviews like? Did they ask you anything really weird?

No, nothing too strange.  Almost all of it was scheme-related.  They asked me about different plays and had me run through some of the things we did at Oklahoma State.  A few teams asked me if I prefer playing free or strong.

What did you tell them?

I like both.  I think I am versatile and can play any position.  I played the nickel spot in college too.

What are your biggest strengths as a player?

I love the game.  I have a desire to get better and I think it shows in how I prepare for games.  I’m always staying a half hour or hour after practice to study extra film.  I really want to improve and I work hard to do it.

Do you pattern your game after any current or former NFL players?

Yeah, I really like the old Miami safeties.  I try to make my game like a combination of Sean Taylor and Ed Reed.  I want to be able to hit like Sean, but fly around in the secondary like Ed.  I think it is important to be versatile enough to do both of those as a safety.

Do you check scouting reports and mock drafts a lot?

I try my best to block it out, but it is difficult.  Of course I look at things people are saying about me.  I like to read the positive things and feel good about that.  I use the critical stuff as motivation.

What would you be doing if you weren’t playing football?

I think I’d be a motivational speaker of some kind.  I love to speak to kids, and I want to show them they can do anything.  I think I would definitely be involved with football in some way.  I’d probably be a coach and a speaker.

Any idea where you’ll watch the draft?

I’m not sure, but probably just at home with my family.

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