As the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft draws to a close, the Detroit Lions appear to be ready for the night. It looked like they would select Hendon Hooker, Sam LaPorta and Brian Branch, making the day two draft a success.
Surprisingly, the Lions moved up to 96th overall and drafted Western Kentucky defensive end Brodridge Martin. The redshirt senior defensive quarterback is 6-foot-5 and weighs 337 pounds. Although he was not invited to the Scouting Combine, he did appear at Pro Day in Western Kentucky. The result of this professional day:
40-yard dash: 5.36
3 cone drills: 8.16
Vertical Leap: 25 inches
Long jump: 8'4 inches
Not very explosive or fast, but you can see the physical defender with the engine revving hot when you put the tire on. He played for North Alabama before playing for Western Kentucky. After 25 games there, he was traded to the Hilltoppers where he played 28 games. Let's take a look at the film and explain what Martin does well and where he fits in Detroit!
Active hands and active feet
From the two games I've watched Brodridge Martin in the last 12 hours, it's immediately noticeable how he's always watching his back. Whether it's a quarterback or a running back, he's found a way back there. Its size makes it difficult to move, so it can hold its own in 1v1 against guards or centers.
If you watch the game above, you'll see that Martin is shadowed as a zero (from the shoulder center). When the ball is struck, it is shot from the center before finding its way to the goalkeeper. Watch his feet move as he lifts his head in search of the ball. When the tackler makes the desired move up to center, watch Martin quickly turn to the linebacker to help tackle him.
Height and strength to handle pressure with pressure
As a deep linebacker, being able to hit blocks is important. To achieve this, you must create separation and fight pressure with pressure. For Martin, he sees a significant increase in the total number of shots played in 2022 compared to previous years. He had 500 tackles last season (per PFF), more than 200 more than his rookie season at Western Kentucky.
Watch the show above and you'll see Martin lining up at the A-gap. When the left guard dropped, Martin did a good job of staying upfield and using his 34 3/8 inch arms to create separation. He held the pad as he used his strength to push the guard into the small opening.
The #1 Hilltoppers quarterback also did a great job shooting in the pack pit. This helps Martin play in front of the linebackers while eating up space and pushing opponents into the hole to minimize passing lanes.
Going into the 2023 NFL Draft, it became clear that the Detroit Lions needed to improve on their defensive line. It's great to see Alim McNeil and Isaiah Buggs take on those roles, but they need more. Above all, you need size. Detroit got it by selecting Brodridge Martin from Western Kentucky.
His massive physique and overall strength will be hard to beat in the A and B areas. According to the PFF, Martin plays all defense for the Hilltoppers. He has 189 strikeouts and over 200 strikeouts in line as a 4i technique against lefties and righties.
When I saw Martin, I loved his bike. He constantly overheats and constantly rushes offensive linemen. At 337 pounds, his weight is worth watching, but as a rotational player, he should make an impact on early downs. There were times when he struggled against the doubles team and occasionally lifted his pad while looking for the baseline. He is an older player who turns 24 next month, but he adds much-needed dimension and depth to the Lions.
The story originally appeared on Lions Wire