|Connelly’s Top Ten: Bruins Keep Rolling||Middlebrooks Delivers in 9th as Sox Rally in Dramatic Fashion||2013 NHL Playoffs Expert Picks: Second Round||Drew’s Grand Slam Leads Red Sox to Blowout Win Over Rays|
2011 Stats: 65 tackles, 11 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles
It’s hard to take any good from a defense that ranked 107th in the FBS.
It’s even harder to look at any positives from a secondary that allowed 266 yards per game.
But, if we had to pinpoint something, or someone, it would be Oklahoma State’s Markelle Martin. Martin was recently named to the All-Big 12 First Team after finishing third for the Sooners in tackles.
Although Martin only had three career interceptions, he has instinctive ball skills and above-average coverage ability. His strongest attribute is his tackling, to which Oklahoma State credits him as the hardest hitter in the secondary.
Just ask former Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead.
Over his career at OSU, Martin progressed every year and excelled on special teams during his first couple of seasons in Stillwater. Martin’s overall athleticism allows him to either play FS or SS, and should boost his marketability come the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
Sergio Brown, Sterling Moore and James Ihedigbo.
Before the 2011 season, chances are the average football fan wouldn’t have recognized any of these names — unless you were a spirited UMass alum.
Nothing against these guys, but the Patriots are in dire need of an upgrade at the safety position. With the absence for Patrick Chung, who has missed almost the entire second half of the season, the Patriots pass defense ranks last in the NFL.
Martin is projected to run in the 4.4 40-yard dash range, and ranks No. 2 (at the safety position) behind Alabama’s Mark Barron. With two late first round picks, Martin should be available for the Patriots taking, if they decide to go down that route.
In a lot of the sense, Martin is similar to former Patriot and current Chicago Bear Brandon Meriweather. But to Martin’s credit, he is much more sound in the tackling game. With the addition of Martin, the Patriots could play Chung in the box to help out with run support — where he is most effective.