NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans added speed and strength during the 2012 NFL Draft. More important, general manager Ruston Webster and coach Mike Munchak said, is that they added competition at multiple positions. Webster and Munchak believe that increased competition will make everyone better as they battle for roster spots and playing time on Sundays.
Here's a recap of the Titans' draft choices:
Round 3, 82nd overall: DT Mike Martin, Michigan
Martin is expected to help the Titans reduce the success that opponents had rushing up the middle against Tennessee last season. He is also capable of pressuring and sacking quarterbacks with interior pressure. He is strong, benching 225 pounds at the combine 36 times, and knows how to use his strength through leverage concepts he picked up as a stand-out prep wrestler.
College stats: Made 37 starts and recorded 172 tackles, 10 sacks, 25 tackles for loss in 49 games. He added nine pressures and forced one fumble. In his senior season, Martin captained Michigan's defense, which ranked first in Big 10 conference play in rush defense (115.6 yards) and third-down percentage (opponents converted 31 of 103 third downs).
Martin on the advantages of being resilient:
"I'm a guy who's not going to stop. I'm a guy that the whistle is going to have to be blown three or four times for me to stop on the play. I think that (Ndamukong) Suh plays that way; he's got a heck of a motor and I just want to be that guy who can prove that he has that motor in the NFL. I feel like that is what I relied on in college. When guys would quit on a play or just decided not to finish, I was going to finish and I was going to make a play because of that."
Pass rush specialist Keith Millard on Martin's tenacity:
"He's always been the underdog type of guy, and he's always come out swinging and he's always come out ahead. He's a smart football player, just like (defensive line coach Tracy Rocker) and Mike (Munchak) said, he's a great leverage player and when you're playing on the nose and some of the blocks you have to deal with he's the perfect guy to handle it. He's a natural pass rusher, you can see it on tape, he's quick, he gets on people really quick, he reads protection very fast, he's got a great first step, he can flip his hips, he's got the balance, he's got the total package."
Munchak, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, on the challenge Martin will create:
"He is a nuisance to block for a guard. He is a guy that gets leverage. He gets in the gap, he gets the guard, he is quick off the snap. In our division, when you are playing zone-running football teams, that is what creates the problem in the middle is penetration by the nose tackle that the guard can't get the fit on the nose tackle with the center scoop block."