Why Doug Martin is an option for the Seahawks

Doug Martin's style is comparable to Baltimore's Ray Rice

This week I mocked Boise State’s senior running back Doug Martin to the Seahawks in round two. The pick raised a few eye brows, with people questioning why the team would spend such a high choice on the position with Marshawn Lynch likely to be re-signed or at least franchise tagged before hitting the open market. I suppose it all comes down to the importance of the running game for this offense. Pete Carroll made it a priority upon his arrival in Seattle and it’s why he appointed Alex Gibbs and then Tom Cable to coach his offensive line and coordinate the running game. Carroll wants to run the ball, and run the ball with authority.  

The Lynch trade was an inspired move, collecting a legitimate first round talent at a bargain price. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh wasn’t being cute when he referred to Lynch as, “definitely a Top 2 or 3 running back in the National Football League.” He went on to collect 167 total yards against the Ravens after that glowing review. Yet consistent physical punishment comes with the position and it’s why so many backs lose their edge when they hit 30. We saw what the Seahawks offense looked like without Marshawn Lynch in Cleveland, and this front office is well aware that even the best laid plans can be spoilt. Re-signing Lynch is a must, but so is making sure their investment is protected.  

Doug Martin might not be quite ‘Beast Mode’ but he has a similar physical running style and a knack of gaining extra yards after the initial contact. You’ll see in the tape below that he’s also no slouch, with the ability to weave through tackles and break off big gains. He’s a compact 5-9 and 215lbs and enjoyed a productive career with the Broncos, scoring 47 total touchdowns in three seasons. A determined runner with good vision and a patient running style, Tony Pauline this week suggested he could be a first round pick, stating, “We continue to hear nothing but good things about Boise State running back Doug Martin. Several scouts have stamped Martin with a first round grade. And though a first round grade does not necessarily mean Martin ends up a top 32 pick, he won’t be far off.” There’s a very real possibility Martin could be drafted on day one.  

The Seahawks have so far used a change of pace back to spell Lynch and offer more flexibility on third down. Justin Forsett is a free agent, while Leon Washington’s role as a ball-carrier hasn’t truly progressed even if he still has a lot of value as a kick return specialist. It may be that if Seattle’s front office is indeed looking at running back’s early, they’d prefer a Lamar Miller or David Wilson to offer a different skill set to Marshawn Lynch. At the same time, the Seahawks had so much success pounding the ball last year and the concept of a Lynch-Martin one-two punch does appeal. It also gives the Seahawks options for the future, especially if they only re-sign Lynch to a one-year franchise tag contract. Miller and Wilson may only ever be supplemental backs, while Martin appears to primed for a greater workload.  

Of course, it could be a moot point on April 26th if Trent Richardson falls to the #11 or #12 pick. Depending on which defensive players remain on the board, Seattle could end up with the most dynamic running back combo the league has ever witnessed. ESPN’s Todd McShay updated his mock draft yesterday and had the Seahawks taking Richardson in the first round. McShay: “Richardson is a top-five talent but will likely slip a bit because of positional value considerations. Falling this far would be a surprise, but none of the teams in the top 10 have a pressing need at running back. If none of them ignore need to take the best player available, the Seahawks will feel like they’ve won the lottery.”  

I don’t expect Richardson to fall to Seattle, with Cleveland and Tampa Bay very likely suitors for such a talented player. Even so, imagine the prospect of Richardson and Lynch working together in the backfield. It’s an enticing idea, but an idea not too far detached from a Lynch-Martin combo. Believe it or not, the Seahawks may consider a healthy stable of running backs the next biggest priority after improving the front seven on defense. And while quarterback remains the team’s greatest need until it’s finally solved for the long haul, it could be a situation that’s at least improved before the draft even takes place.  

Doug Martin tape vs Arizona State, Nevada, New Mexico (2011) and Nevada (2010) courtesy of JMPasq and Aaron Aloysius  





  1. tompage

    I’m pretty sure the Seahawks will add or more backs they expect to make the roster either through the draft or free agency. I also think it’s unlikely Forsett is resigned, he averaged a pitiful 3.2 yards per carry last year. Doug Martin is an interesting prospect. When he took his shirt off for the weigh-in at the Senior Bowl, the media said he looked like a body builder so we know he’s in shape and his a good work ethic. I like a little bigger back but Ray Rice has proven a running back does not have to be big to be very productive. It seems like there are more pressing needs for our second round pick, but who knows. I would bet money we take Richardson in round one if he is there when we are on the clock, he is too talented a player to pass up, and a touchdown maker.

  2. james nguyen

    Since I’ve read the initial mock draft with martin in the second, I’ve been watching more tape of him on YouTube. It also caused me to watch more tape of other running backs such as Chris Polk, Wilson from Virginia tech, Cyrus gray, and Lamar miller. I still believe Trent Richardson is the best back but comparing Doug martin to him, they are not that far off from each other. Your right about one thing, if lynch goes Down then we are going down in flames, courtesy of tjack. After careful evaluation, I believe he is the second best back in this class that fits the Seahawks running style. I would be ecstatic if we were able to get him in the second. However the nation is catching on and once the combine is over, Doug martin will likely enter the first round or early second. Most mocks have a large run on receivers and corners going early but I believe it’s a run on rbs that is going to happen. The reason I say that is because it’s a passing league, but to be effective passing the ball, the run game has to be establish first.

  3. TJ

    Doug Martin is an excellent RB. As a Boise State alum, I have watched every one of Martin’s games at BSU. His nickname at Boise State is the “muscle hamster.” In addition to his tough, physical running, he is an excellent receiver and blocker. I don’t know his 40 time, but he has been able to find the perimeter and get upfield too. Boise State uses a zone running game, so he would be a good scheme fit with what the Hawks are doing. I’m not sure how I feel about a RB that high, but if they take one, I would be thrilled to get Martin. I mentioned this on another thread, but Martin reminds me a lot of Ray Rice.

    Another Boise State player worth watching is Shea McClellan. He has been a standout DE for the Broncos, but was moved to LB during the senior bowl where he got good reviews. Not sure how well he would fit the Hawk’s scheme, but he is a good football player.

  4. Doug

    I love this guy, he will make an impact for whoever drafts him. He really has a knack at finding the gap and following his blockers.
    No need to convince me with this player. I just love the thought of the 1-2 punch of Beast paired with another powerful back. Man, TR would be the absolute chicken soup, and this guy in rd 2 would be just fine as well. Plus, I heard he was just lighting up his pick-ups in pass protection too..
    I bet he will be pretty happy about not wearing that blue-man uniform anymore…hehe

  5. Norm M

    If Richardson were to fall to 11 or 12 I would be ecstatic if they drafted him, even with glaring need of a pass rusher. He is a rare talent that does not come around every year.

    I was wondering your thoughts on which back Seattle would pick if both Martin and Polk were available when Seattle picks in the second? I really like what I have seen of Martin but it would seem that Polk with the bigger body and yards after contact ability would compliment Lynch in our offence. A steady diet of Lynch and either of these two backs would soften up any defense. I have felt all along that with our run heavy offence a second running back who can spell Lynch or god forbid, replace him for a game or to in the event of an injury, is mandatory and well worth a secound round pick. The thought of watching another Cleveland game makes me sick. Really appreciate the work and thought you put into your write-ups, keep up the great work.

  6. jim J

    I wasn’t that impressed with Polk in the Senior bowl. DT were making one handed tackles on him.

  7. Norm M

    Jim, I agree the senior bowl was a poor showing but one game does not tell the story. If you look at the game tape from the regular season and the bowl game you see a back that fights for every yard and was not easy to bring down. Another plus is that the offence Polk played in is much closer to what Seattle runs then what Martin played in at Boise State. Not that it makes as much of a difference for a running back as it does for other offensive positions. Still curious to see what others think. I did not watch a lot of Boise State games due to my location so I am interested in a comparison of the two.

  8. david

    i had heard that Polk showed up senior bowl week out of shape, so if thats true, what does that say about his Off season mindset, just saying, he played good during his Collegiate career which is why id want him, just dont know if this thing is a every year thing? or just a one time thing, and kind of let himself go in celebration of him going to the NFL.

  9. jim J

    I liked Pead in the Senior bowl, he is quick and can be used as RB or for kick returns.

    You are right, Polk had a good year, but I didn’t watch him play in the regular season.

    Trent Richardson faced a tough defense in LSU and played well. There is a small chance he would fall to us, lets say 10% chance. THat would change everything.

    I am really hoping that one of Richardson, Coples or Upshaw fall to us. I would be almost as happy with Ingram.

    In the second round, I would prefer to double up on defense with another DE or a DT with a strong motor. We just need some young people that never stop trying for the QB, that can penetrate, and our good tacklers.

  10. Clayton

    I am not sold on Doug Martin as the best fit for the Seahawks with the second pick when David Wilson and Lamar Miller could possibly be on the board. One of the main things brought up is Martin’s power running style other then playing Georgia what solid defensive teams did he play against? If I want someone to come in to back up Marshawn I want someone that has shown he can run against the big boys. Both Miller and Wilson’s careers have shown they can run against solid run defenses. At 5-9 Martin is already against the common mold of RB’s and their really has not been anyone in the league since Barry Sanders and currently Ray Rice to say these small players will have the same success. If we are to lean towards a RB I think Wilson brings in more power running then Martin and Wilson more speed to the outside. Both Wilson and Miller are faster and bigger, meaning they probably can withstand more punishment. My two sense. Keep up the great work.

  11. Fletcher

    I would love to have another big back like Polk or Martin, I don’t think there is any chance Richardson falls to us. That said, I would rather take Osweiler or Cousins in the second and hope Polk falls to the 3rd. As for Martin being too small, take a look at Ray Rice and MJD, two elite running backs, who are both 5’7-5’8 and 210-215 lbs right in Martin’s ballpark.

  12. Brik

    Don’t forget about Maurice Jones-Drew Clayton and i don’t think Micheal Turner is that tall. Mark Ingram is only 5″9″ to the best of my knowledge. More and more guys that are “undersized” are having bigger impacts in the NFL. I think the more important thing is the 215 lbs and not the 5’9″. Warrick Dunn was a small dude too and he had a nice long career. As long as he has some speed being shorter is an advantage, quicker cuts, better acceleration, harder to see behind the big offense and defensive lines for the linebackers and safeties.

  13. Brik

    sorry i was writing that about the same time as Fletcher

  14. thebroski

    Are we for sure thinking that we are going after another bruising RB? Why not a real change of pace back like LaMichael James? We would only spend a 3rd or maybe as low of a 4th round pick for him. He certainly fits the touchdown-scoring/playmaker mold that Pete mentioned in the end of season press conference.

  15. Ryan

    This is why I love reading your blog. When I saw Doug Martin in the mock I was initially disappointed. After you shared tape and your analysis I actually hope we go Martin in rd 2. I really like what I see when he runs.

    Very few backs have the combination of explosiveness and grit to them like he does. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Chris

    Trent Richardson! That would be awesome. Was this post about someone else cause I didn’t hear anything except we might get Trent Richardson.

  17. TJ

    Thebroski – Doug Martin isn’t a big bruising back. He is only 215 lbs. He can make tacklers miss and has good enough speed to run away from people. He just happens to be very strong and physical, able to deliver a blow if he needs to. He also has excellent receiving and blocking skills. He is an all-around player.

    Clayton – Don’t get caught up in the big school argument. Martin comes from the same conference as Marshall Faulk and LaDanian Tomlinson. He comes from a better conference than Chris Johnson, Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams, and Matt Forte. If a guy can play, he can play.

    I’m not sold on drafting that particilar position so high, because we have greater immediate needs. I do however see the logic. If Lynch goes down, the Hawks are in deep trouble. There is no other RB on the roster who could adequately replace Lynch for more than a breather. I would be 100% on board with Martin over either Forsett or Washington as an every-down back. I would also be on board with Richardson if he fell to #11/12 because he is a special player. It would be a similar situation to 2000, when Seattle drafted Shaun Alexander, even though Ricky Watters was still playing well.

  18. Nate Low

    I’ve been a big David Wilson fan, hopeing he’d go under the radar and end up a third round pick. Now, it looks like there will be a run on the second tier running backs in the 2nd round.

    Doug Wilson seems to be one of the three potential complete backs in this draft (Richardson and Miller being the others). Based on the provided video, I’m most impressed with his vision and patience. His ability to instincually cut and go fits perfectly the mold of the Hawks zone blocking system and his patience to let his blocks develop is a rare attribute in rookie running backs. His pass catching ability is obviously impressive. He doesn’t seem to have the speed to turn the corner on the sideline but he does have the ability to juke and run over defenders on both the outside and inside lanes.

    Check out 1:44 on the ASU tape and tell me that’s not a Lynch-esque Beast Mode run.

    As Rob argued, if the Seahawks want to continue relying so heavily on the run game, they’ll need to get a guy to spell Lynch as well as someone to be his successor in case of injury and/ or fatigue. WIlson can be that guy and, though I personally would prefer a QB, would be a good pick in the 2nd round.

  19. Jarhead

    So this has nothing to do with Doug Martin, but why is the Bleacher Report so clueless?? Okay I know it’s just schmucks like us writing on there, but it seems every other Seattle article is “Matt Flynn is the savior of the Seahwaks!” And fans there eat it up! Anyhow, I should just stop even visiting the site but I guess it’s like a car crash I can’t look away from. I am the only who believes that Flynn is the most overhyped QB in all of football this offseason including pros AND college? Why would throwing multiple years and $50+ million at GB’s backup make any sense for the Seahawks? Anyhow, I wish more fans would visit this blog and see how many better options are just waiting for the Seahawks. I don’t like Tannehill OR Cousins but see them as more desirable options to Flynn. Oh and if it’s not Flynn they are saying “What about Jason Campbell?” What?! Am I the only one who’s crazy and everyone else is sane? Like a Twilight Zone? A guess there are a lot of ‘fans’ in Seattle who want the quick fix and just have it be POOF! Superbowl! I actually am excited to see who we draft and follow his growth and progress as we prepared to implement him into our system. Anyway, Bleacher Report sucks, and Down With Flynn!

  20. Doug

    That’s what a primetime huge game will do for ya Jar.
    I would take him in a second myself, but I would NOT drop big time starting QB money for him, thus, I wouldn’t get him. Because Miami is going to pay him a lot to go there.

  21. jim J

    If we are willing to drop big money for an injury prone Rice, why not for a healthy Flynn? I don’t like it, but unless we can get the top 2 QBs from this draft, we won’t have anything worth building on. Now I know there has been a lot of speculation about a few other Qbs that might become starters someday years from now.

    Flynn showed he can start right now and play well.

  22. Micah

    Clayton, after watching David Wilson and Doug Martin, I have to take Doug Martin. His vision is ridiculous, and he has the balance of a ballerina with the power of a bulldozer. He sets up his blocks near perfectly, and seems to almost always get a gain, even when the play gets blown up. He doesn’t try to dance around to the edge like David Wilson and end up losing yards. He’s always falling forward and runs through contact consistently. As others have said, being 6′ and 215 is not better than being 5’9″ and 215. Martin’s pad level is consistently low, running even more compact than his frame which will make him hard to bring down due to elementary physics. The only time he gets upright is when he’s making himself narrower to dodge a tackle. He also showed plenty of receiving ability in the tape. I would also argue it makes more sense to get a set of running backs that fit your system and philosophy than getting change of pace backs. You need at least two running backs that fit your system because injuries happen.

    I would not be against the Hawks trading up to get him at the end of the first, especially, if they traded down to get someone like Osweiler. I, for one, don’t much care for the defensive talent in the first round beyond a few players, and am not a fan of Upshaw at 11/12. I would consider Upshaw at 18+, but I think he’ll be limited as a linebacker and unexceptional against the pass. I feel the reverse on Melvin Ingram and would rank him in the same range. Both guys have too short arms, and not enough body length. I might be willing to take Doug Martin in the teens. His video has left me more impressed than any of the other running backs in the draft, but I haven’t yet seen Trent Richardson. I want “muscle hamster!”

  23. Rob

    Jarhead – It’s just one of those natural life moments. First car, first house, first beer… first time you realise that Bleacher Report really sucks. Journalism should never be about mass production and making sure more people visit site A then site B. It shouldn’t be about email spam and creating competition between amateur writers without any guidance or advice. The quality of an article should never be judged by how many ‘hits’ it gets, and that’s what BR is about.

    Jim J – I would dispute that Flynn has shown he can start right now and play well. He’s actually shown he can perform well on a given week for one of the most talented offenses in the NFL. Put him in a different scheme with less talent and we’ll see how he goes. His skill set matches a lot of the concepts Green Bay run, but the offense in Seattle has a lot of different demands. We can’t assume he’ll automatically produce over 16 games what he produced in two against New England and Detroit. It’s since been reported by reliable sources that Seattle has no interest in Flynn, so it appears to be a moot point anyway.

  24. Christon

    I can see it a little bit how he reminds you of Marshawn, however, I think Robert Turbin out of Utah St. reminds me more of ‘Beast Mode’ and he could potentially be there in the fourth. Martin is definitely a possibility tho as we will probably on have Lynch for one more year.

  25. Bill

    Finally! Someone that agrees with me!

    Heres the reasoning-

    1-Marshawn Lynch has a truly unique skillset(read-inner violence waiting to be unleashed). So teams prepare to stop that however they can (8 guys in the box)

    2-Teams dont face anyone like Marshawn the rest of the season, so its really hard to prepare for someone like him when you dont see a back like him week in, week out.(Read-Backs like Ray Rice, Reggie Bush, Willis McGahee) Marshawn is not a typical running back. He’s like a hockey player with kleats in the backfield.

    3-So, logically, a third down back with a more typical skillset (Forsett, Washington) seems like a nice(read-Tea and Biscuits, things a poodle would say, etc…) change of pace from the probably-should-see-a-shrink, borderline psychotic, ultra-violent beast mode of a man that is Marshawn Lynch.

    4-Teams see these kind of backs every week, they probably have one on their team. So they say OH! THIRD DOWN! EZ MODE!! WE CAN TAKE DOWN THIS GUY!! And they do. Bye Bye Forsett/Washington/(insert generic, ineffective running back here)

    Obviously, Marshawn Lynch can’t play every down. Questions are being asked as to how long he can continue to run like this, even though hes only averaging around 20 carries a game at 25 years old.(Actually 19, and for reference, Shaun Alexander in his prime(04-05) was getting around 23 carried per game…may not sound like much, but its almost a 20 percent differance)

    My guess is at 30 hes done. Thats 5 more years. Washington is pushing 30, Forsett hasn’t proven effective here(although I like the kid and wish him luck with whatever happens to him). Point is, we need another back.

    Why not have TWO Marshawn Lynchs? Double your Fun! TASTE THE RAINBOW MOTHER F*****ERS!!!! Come on! Screw the change of pace!! You wanna play smash mouth football, have a pair of secretariat-stud like running backs that can punch you in the mouth and run 50 more yard over 5 of your defenders! Dont woose out and put in a flashy, why-dont-he-just-run-forward-instead-of-backwards type of back like washington!

    So please, draft another physical, tough, run over defenders type of back. Whats the worst that could happen? With the new rookie wage scale, it aint like we’re out 50 million dollars.

  26. Rob

    Hard to argue with that, Bill. You make some very valid points.

  27. Jarhead

    Hahaha Okay that line got me laughing at my computer Rob, about firsts in life. And you are correct, sir. I’ve been spreading the Scott Enyeart knowledge like wildfire about the hawks and no interest for Flynn but no one wants to listen. Whatever to them. So my question above all questions is this: You said in this mock that is not necessarily what YOU would do, but what you think the Seahawks might do- so what makes you think that Seattle would find more value in Doug Martin in the second round than either Osweiler (whom we’re both high on) and Cousins who would theoretically both still be on the board? Do you believe they feel another quarterback in a later round after taking Martin would be favorable to taking one of the QB’s early and going RB later?

  28. Turp

    Just to add on and agree with what Bill says – this draft is not rich in defensive talent. Even despite our need at pass rush, I am quite fine with taking two offensive players in the first two rounds. Based on Rob’s evaluations, I would love a draft of Osweiler/Martin. Osweiler could potentially add another dimension to our offense that Tjack does not possess (see…career), and Martin could add another one as well – we don’t have ANY competent backs on the roster until we sign Lynch (sorry Leon/J-Forse fans).

  29. Dave

    I don’t know as much as many others posting here but learning more reading your posts Rob! Nice job. I know LaMichael James hurt himself and I know he’s a smaller back but I see such speed and exciting plays with him. Kind of reminds me of Darren Sproles a little. Should we get him? Would we want him? Do we need him, compared to other backs in the draft?

  30. Rob

    Jarhead – I think that’s about right. It could just be the direction they are leaning positionally in this particular class.

  31. Meat

    I am late to the party, but I wanted to echo Jarhead’s disgust with Bleacher Report. Not only are the articles based in twilight zone reality but the people that comment are just as silly and appear to make zero sense, imho. I only go back every once in a while like I am driving by a car wreck. Flynn is all that is talked about and nobody seems to think Seattle needs TD maker!

    I agree with Bill’s post. I like Forsett and he is active in the community, but he Seattle needs an upgrade in depth. Lynch and another back is needed. Martin cuts so well and follows blockers. He appears to be a better receiver than Lynch.

    I would love Richardson though. Seattle not getting RGIII but getting Richardson or Upshaw would be a nice surprise.

  32. Jay

    Doug Martin is a power runner who lacks that 2nd gear and isn’t much of a breakaway threat. He doesn’t fill the need, that Lynch lacks in this offense. In fact, he is too much like Lynch and basically has the same type of flaws. We need a true 3rd down back, (ala Darren Sproles) to compliment Lynch. Guys like David Wilson, Isaiah Pead and Ronnie Hillman would be much better options for this team and would be a true compliment to Lynch.

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