The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded back into the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft in order to select Boise State RB Doug Martin. That move sent a strong message to the incumbent tailback, LeGarrette Blount. But in training camp thus far, Martin is sending an even stronger message to Blount and the rest of the team.
That message is simple.
Martin is ready to start the 2012 regular season as the Bucs’ starting running back. Blount and others may want to take notice to what he does on the field.
They may also want to pay close attention to what rookie head coach Greg Schiano says about Martin. It appears as if he is quite a fan of his work.
The fact that Schiano convinced the Bucs to trade back into he first round in order to draft Martin proved that he planned on him being a major part of the offense, even in his rookie year. Remember what Schiano did with a back somewhat similar in size when he was the head coach at Rutgers? Martin should.
Schiano had Ray Rice as his stud back with the Scarlet Knights. The way he used him helped him showcase his talents into making him a first round pick. Coming out of Rutgers back then, that was almost unheard of in the NFL. Well, a few years later, Martin appears headed in a similar direction with Schiano at the next level.
Rice is listed at 5’8” and 212 lbs. Martin is slightly bigger at 5’9” and 223 lbs. But both are similar in nature, as they can move the chains when given the ball, but also more than capable of remaining in on third down in pass protection or to go out and run a short pattern to pick up a first down through the air as well.
And with Martin already seeing the majority of the first round reps with the Bucs in training camp, the job may already be his to lose. Blount may not be happy with a diminished role, but those who could benefit the most from Martin starting immediately – aside from Martin himself when his rookie contract expires down the road – are the fantasy football owners who were wise enough to take Martin in their drafts over the next month. They stand the most to gain.
Between Martin’s strong play early on, and Blount’s issues with attitude amongst other things, it would be quite surprising at this point if Martin is not the Bucs’ back to own throughout the 2012 NFL season, barring injuries.