The Tampa Bay Buccaneers now have all but one of its 2012 NFL Draft class under contract after signing first-round pick RB Doug Martin on Monday. The team announced that he signed a five-year contract. However, because of the new CBA, contracts from picks 17 through 32 in the first round can only be four years but may include a fifth-year option, which is a roster bonus. So, Martin's deal carries the fifth year as a roster bonus. The Buccaneers other first-round pick, S Mark Barron, remains unsigned.
Martin, who is coming off of a terrific set of practices earlier this year during Senior Bowl week, was selected 31st overall out of Boise State University, where he started 25 of the 51 games he played.
“He has similar ability to former Rutgers and current Ravens’ star, (RB) Ray Rice, in that he has a compact build, excellent vision and running instincts as well as the ability to catch the football out of the backfield,” new Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage said. “Enter new head coach Greg Schiano who coached Rice at Rutgers and this appears to be a perfect marriage. With an eye for this kind of player along with trying to change the character of the Tampa locker room, Doug became an obvious target for Schiano and Co. He should be able to make an immediate contribution on and off the field for the Buccaneers.”
During his collegiate career, Martin collected 3,431 yards rushing, the fifth-most in school history, and 43 touchdowns, the third-most in school history, on 617 carries (5.6 ypc avg.). The versatile back also totaled 67 receptions for 715 yards (10.7 avg.) and four touchdowns and 26 kickoff returns for 739 yards (28.4 avg.) and one touchdown, while adding 32 special teams tackles. A first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection in 2011 and All-Western Athletic Conference in 2010, Martin became just the fourth Bronco to rush for 1,000-plus yards twice during their career.
As a senior, Martin carried the ball 263 times for 1,299 yards (4.9 ypc avg.) and 16 touchdowns. He also recorded 28 receptions for 255 yards (9.1 avg.) and two touchdowns, in addition to 10 kickoff returns for 338 yards that included a school-record 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
Martin recorded six 100-yard rushing performances as a junior, finishing with 1,260 yards and 12 touchdowns on 201 rushes (6.3 ypc avg.) in his first year as a starter. In his sophomore year, he recorded 765 rushing yards and a team-leading 15 touchdowns despite not starting a single game. That season, he also added 16 defensive tackles and a forced fumble as he shifted to cornerback for the first three games of the season.
Martin will compete against third-year RB LeGarrette Blount for the starting job, but most personnel sources believe the rookie will take the job from Blount by the end of training camp. What Martin will need to prove early on is that he can handle playing in passing situations, where Blount has struggled pass blocking. Martin was seen as a potential three-down running back by most draft analysts.
“Again, RB Doug Martin might represent the best value of any of the Senior Bowl first-rounders because the Bucs know exactly what they will be getting from him as a rookie. He is capable of helping right away with his quality football demeanor and on-field dependability,” Savage added.