Dolphins Take Stanford OT Jonathan Martin In Second Round

Posted Apr 27, 2012

There is nothing like hearing your name called out by a Hall-of-Famer during the NFL Draft, and that was the case tonight for new Miami Dolphins offensive tackle, Jonathan Martin from Stanford.

Martin was introduced as Miami’s second-round pick (42nd overall) by former Dolphins center Dwight Stephenson, who was taken in the second round back in 1980. The fact that a Hall-of-Fame offensive lineman won’t be lost on Martin and the franchise, and he protected the first overall pick in the draft, quarterback Andrew Luck.

“It’s amazing. I’m just so excited to be a member of the Miami Dolphins. It’s a dream come true,” said Martin, who was a classics (ancient history) major in college and a three-year starter for the Cardinal. “It’s an amazing city, an amazing fan base and there’s an amazing history behind the team and I just can’t wait to get down there and work.”

Offensive line was a defined priority for the Dolphins according to General Manager Jeff Ireland and new Head Coach Joe Philbin, especially after taking a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick on Thursday night. Martin’s size (6-foot-5, 312 pounds) and experience in Stanford’s pro style offense were all pluses.

But Ireland was pretty clear about the fact that there is plenty to like about Martin on and off the field. There’s a reason Martin was the fourth player from Stanford taken among the first 42 picks, with Luck and guard David DeCastro (24th overall to Pittsburgh) going in the first round and tight end Coby Fleener taken with the second pick (34th overall) in the second round by Indianapolis.

“He’s big with long arms, played left tackle and he’s athletic,” Ireland said. “He’s a very good kid and a high character guy who was a three-year starter there at Stanford. He’s a junior coming out early, he’s young at 22-years-old and there are not a lot of things not to like about the kid. The only thing is he’s a little bit of a projection form left tackle to right tackle. He’s played in an unbalanced line on the right hand side.

“In this scheme, we’re not going to be as much a power scheme as we’ve been in the past, so his athletic ability and the fact that he’s a natural knee-bender and has quickness and his ability to play in space transfers to this scheme probable a lot better than any other scheme. So getting out in a zone scheme and running and cutting off the backside or front side is going to fill this his ability and skill set very well.”

Martin started 37 of the 39 games he played in at Stanford and was credited with 293 knockdown and 50 blocks that directly resulted in touchdowns for the Cardinal. He was a first-team All-American last season and chose Stanford over Harvard and UCLA, with Harvard being where his parents went to school.

Ireland is the one who called Martin to tell him he was about to be chosen by the Dolphins, and the last time he was in Sun Life Stadium he was on the winning end of Stanford’s 40-12 rout of Virginia Tech in the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl. He is confident that he can succeed as a right tackle in the NFL if he’s asked to make that switch.

“I’m so excited to play behind a player like him. He’s going to be a Hall-of-Fame left tackle,” Martin said. “He’s a guy I’ve modeled my game after for years and I’ve been a fan. I’m excited to play and I’ll play left, I’ll play right, wherever the team needs me. We did zone blocking, we did power and we did lots of different blocking schemes at Stanford while I was there.”

Being tasked with keeping a player the caliber of Luck upright comes with a lot of pressure and Martin handled that without incident. He is comfortable knowing that he can handle the pressure of playing at the highest level and having learned a very big playbook at Stanford doesn’t seem too concerned about what it’s going to be like in Miami.

Much like Tannehill’s familiarity with offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s offense at Texas A&M will be a benefit to him early on in training camp, such will be the case for Martin because of the system he played in at Stanford. Ireland looked at that as another check mark in the favorable column for his pick.

“This is a smart young man with a really high test score and the terminology is going to be a little bit different,” Ireland said. “But it was a pretty complex pro scheme there so the complexity of the terminology will not be an issue for him learning a new offense. It was a high tempo offense in some cases and he’s used to playing with a demanding quarterback position in Andrew and we’re very happy with the pick.”

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