Jumps Off the Tape, Marcus Martin: Runaway truck

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC center Marcus Martin blocks like a runaway beer truck, but he needs refinement for the NFL. Danny Kelly's puts another unheralded prospect under the microscope in the latest edition of his "Jumps Off the Tape" series.

When scouting NFL Draft prospects, there are always players who "jump off the tape" to me more than others. Why? It's tough to say -- "draft scouting" is a subjective field and there are hundreds of variables to consider. Within, there are going to be different biases and different priorities in terms of which skills or tools to look for at the different positions among evaluators.

This series of short scouting reports will aim to pick out a play, or a couple of plays, that jumped out to me as representations of why I am in a certain prospect's corner. It's incomplete evaluation, but meant to highlight what a player can do and why those skills might project to the NFL level.

Marcus Martin, USC: 6'3, 320

I get the feeling that among fans and draftniks, the center position is one of the hardest positions to get excited about. That said, I really like how Marcus Martin plays. He's still a bit raw as a technician, instead relying on physicality, but he shows some really interesting attributes that project to the next level, particularly in a zone-blocking scheme, where movement skills are a must.

First though, any center must pass protect, and Martin shows below an ability to mirror and then re-anchor against probable first-round pick Louis Nix.

Nix isn't a pass rusher by any means, but he's a load, and Martin handles him one-on-one.

Below, on a combo block with his right guard, Martin really demonstrates why I like him: he plays like a runaway beer truck from the center position.

The Bottom Line:

Martin is young and is coming out a year early, so there may be a bit of a learning curve, but his physical potential is very intriguing. He plays with the tenacity and physicality that you love to see from that spot, can anchor against top-flight nose tackles, and is spry enough to get into the second level and block a linebacker 10 yards downfield.

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Final note: When building their NFL Draft boards, scouting departments watch every single snap of a particular draft prospect's season. Within those hundreds of snaps, there are likely some great plays and some bad plays, and a multitude of nondescript plays in between. Scouts must determine how consistently a player can display the good traits and figure out how easily coaches can mitigate or coach out the bad. This report is just a jump-off point.

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