Mocking the Draft: Second Round, Second Time Around

via stanforddaily.com

In the previous Round 2 post  I covered the DTs who might or might not also be DEs, since they were the majority of the players I found who were mocked to the Steelers. The second round list is as follows:

  • Bronson Kaufusi, DE/DT (WalterFootball)
  • Blake Martinez, ILB (WalterFootball)
  • Darian Thomas, S (Kadar)
  • Chris Jones, DT (Brown)
  • Austin Johnson, DT (drafttek, nfldraftgeek)
  • Kenny Clark, DT (McShay)
  • Tyvis Powell, S (Ransom)

These were culled down from the original 11 prospects, mainly for handsomeness, although at least one was culled for what you might call a bad case of being a wide receiver (Tyler Boyd, an otherwise sterling prospect.)

Here’s my take on the non-defensive linemen.

Blake Martinez, ILB

via stanford.edu

I have a soft spot for Stanford men. Anyone who can make it there academically while playing football at a high level is exceedingly impressive in my book.

Not all Stanford grads turn out spectacularly well, of course. Running back Toby Gerhart was a Momma favorite who went on to have a disappointing NFL career. You could almost say the same for Andrew Luck, although the end of that story isn’t written yet.

But after a slow start our own Stanford guy, David DeCastro, is proving to be what we all hoped when he fell to the Steelers.

Martinez is a Management Science and Engineering major. Since I know you need to know these things, here is what this means (at least at Stanford:)

The Department of Management Science and Engineering leads at the interface of engineering, business, and public policy. The department’s mission is, through education and research, to advance the design, management, operation, and interaction of technological, economic, and social systems…graduates of the program are trained as engineers and future leaders in technology, policy, and industry. 

Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) provides programs of education and research by integrating three basic strengths:

  1. depth in conceptual and analytical foundations
  2. comprehensive coverage of functional areas of application
  3. interaction with other Stanford departments, Silicon Valley industry, and organizations throughout the world.

The analytical and conceptual foundations include decision and risk analysis, dynamic systems, economics, optimization, organizational science, and stochastic systems. The functional areas of application include entrepreneurship, finance, information, marketing, organizational behavior, policy, production, and strategy. Close associations with other engineering departments and with industry enrich the programs by providing opportunities to apply MS&E methods to important problems and by motivating new theoretical developments from practical experience. MS&E’s programs also provide a basis for contributing to other areas such as biotechnology, defense policy, environmental policy, information systems, and telecommunications.

Got all that? Me neither. But it sounds like you need to be pretty smart. Here’s what Martinez had to say about a Standford education:

I think the best thing is just Stanford in general, no matter what degree, they make you think outside the box. It’s not just cookie cutter … here’s these little fundamentals, think outside of the box and see how you can mold these things to be able to answer this question … I feel like that’s helped me where I have these fundamentals on the field, okay, looking at this team, how can I use these little things to maybe make this player miss, make this tackle one yard in the backfield instead of a couple yards down the field.

This quote was from an article about Martinez on Acme Packing Company, the SB Nation Packers site. Eating clean is more than a personal choice, it‘s a mission:

[Martinez] has a vision of changing things when it comes to food consumption in our culture.

“I am really into nutrition,” said Martinez. “Right now I am just learning the aspects of starting my own business and I want to eventually do something that cuts down fast food chains tremendously.”

“I am doing research with certain doctors and seeing how I could get this done,” he added. “I think the main excuse with people and fast food is that it’s cheap. For two dollars you could get a whole meal. I know I am not going to be able to get it down to two dollars for healthy food, but as close as I can get it to where people believe it is doable for them now.”

Acme Packing Company author Evan Western was obviously quite taken with Martinez:

Blake Martinez is quietly a very funny person. Walking out for his media availability at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, Martinez cracked a joke before he even sat down at the table:

“My teeth good?” Martinez asked, rubbing his upper front teeth with his finger. “I just had a chocolate bar…er, protein bar. I don’t eat dessert. Ever.”

Martinez sounds like one of the cleanest eaters that you’ll find here in Indianapolis. While other prospects have admitted to loving pizza, chicken wings, and other junk food in their spare time, Martinez is having none of it. “It’s one of the things I pride myself on. I haven’t had soda for eight years. Don’t drink. Don’t have any sweets.

Western also discussed his college stats, and noted:

Martinez is currently projected to be selected on day three of the 2016 NFL Draft, and he recognizes that a linebacker in that range needs to make an impact on special teams before he will see the field on defense. In fact, that is exactly how his progression went at Stanford: “I think (special teams are) huge. Ever since I came from HS to college, it was one of the things I pride myself on,” Martinez said. “My freshman year, I walked up to our special teams coach and I just told him ‘hey, I want to be on special teams. Let me show you what I can do.’ I feel like that’s kind of what molded me as a player to what I am now. It allowed me to get those fundamentals from tackling a guy, getting off a block, making those blocks, and learning those little things to eventually, when I am a starter, to do them real-time in the fire of things.”

Martinez didn’t have a particularly impressive combine performance, but his Stanford coach said:

“Some guys are hard to see on film,” Cardinal coach David Shaw said. “Some guys, you need to see live. With Blake, it was the combination of quickness, size, speed and his physical nature.

“The first time I saw him in a drill, plant and drive and initiate contact with another human being, I said, ‘This is a middle linebacker, this is the guy.’ “

Shaw told ESPN:

Blake has the combination you’re looking for. He’s a guy we needed to have in there. He has a linebacker’s mentality, a shark mentality. He’s on a seek-and-destroy mission.

Martinez didn’t even know where Stanford was when they recruited him—he thought it was on the east coast. He got various offers from schools, but the two he considered the most were Oregon and Stanford:

My parents, once I had all of my offers lined up and everything, said to me ‘alright if you don’t choose Stanford, we’re never going to talk to you again.’ And I was like ‘alright Mom and Dad I kind of want you to talk to me still so I’ll go!’”

“It ultimately came down to Stanford and Oregon and I went to both of their camps and had to showcase my abilities to see if they even would offer me,” he recalled. “After both camps were done, I got scholarships from both and being a high school student I was like ‘Oh Oregon! That’s everything a high school player wants. It’s Disneyland for football there.’ But everyone told me that the next four years was going to set up the next 40 and I took a step back and thought that I can’t pass up this opportunity.”

Clearly he made the right decision. He has enormous respect for Shaw and for the program:

He’s taught me a lot on and off the field. How to present myself in everyday life, to come into a class and be the student who will become a best friend of that teacher and on the field teaching me the fundamentals of every single portion of the game even if it’s on offense. Just knowing the game of football so it can help me later on in my career.

Leaving high school I told myself I wanted to go somewhere where I could be at the top and be the best player I could be and throughout this whole time, it’s upheld that.

The footbally stuff:

Once again cbssports sets just the right tone for this post:

Looks the part of an NFL linebacker with broad shoulders and an athletic, well-distributed frame.

 

 

I noticed that from the picture, actually. But there’s more:

Highly aggressive run defender who attacks the line of scrimmage, showing no hesitation to take on blockers at the point of attack. Balanced, coordinated athlete who shows creativity in slipping under or spinning through would-be blocks.

NFL.com graded him at 5.32, noting:

Full-­time starter over the last two years who plays with the temperament and ruggedness that Stanford wants in the middle of their defense. Martinez is a muscled-­up, throwback linebacker in a league that covets twitch and play speed over throwback traits. His special teams ability and overall tackle production is a big plus, but his draft stock might not match up with his elevated college production due to concerns over his quickness.

But Gil Brandt, who was present at his Pro day, wrote:

Linebacker Blake Martinez — 6-1 3/8, 242 — had a 34-inch vertical jump and did the 60-yard long shuttle in 11.68 seconds. Martinez moved very well in his positional workout, and displayed good instincts. Martinez is an ultra-competitive player.

Martinez’s draft grades are all over the map, so it’s entirely possible he would make it to the lower part of the third round. That would be pretty sweet for us, although admittedly not so much for him…

Goodness—I must like this young man! I didn’t intend to write a novel, but I’ve gone on so long that I guess the other prospects will have to wait for the next post to get their due. They are both safeties, so it should make for some interesting comparisons.

For the Round 1 posts, click here and here and here

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