2023 NFL draft Lions film review: Western Kentucky DL Brodric Martin provides much needed help on the interior
As the 3rd Round of the 2023 NFL Draft was coming to a close, it felt like the Detroit Lions were done for the night. It felt as if they were going to walk away with Hendon Hooker, Sam LaPorta and Brian Branch to make day two of the draft a success.
Shockingly, the Lions moved up to the 96th overall pick and selected Western Kentucky defensive lineman Brodric Martin. The redshirt Senior defensive lineman stands 6-foot-5 and 337 pounds. While he didn’t get an invite to the Scouting Combine, he did perform at the Western Kentucky pro day. Here’s his results from that pro day:
40-Yard Dash: 5.36
3-Cone Drill: 8.16
Vertical Jump: 25″
Broad Jump: 8’4″
Not overly explosive or fast but when you put on the tape, you can see a physical defender with a motor that runs hot. Prior to playing for Western Kentucky, he played at North Alabama. After 25 games there, he transferred to the Hilltoppers where he played 28 games. Let’s dive into the film and breakdown what Martin does well and where he fits in Detroit!
Active hands and active feet
Through the two games that I watched of Brodric Martin in the last 12 hours, it immediately stood out how he’s always got his eyes locked into the backfield. Whether it’s the quarterback or the running back, he’s searching to find a way to get back there. Due to his size, it’s difficult to move him so he’s able to maintain his gap when battling 1-on-1 against a guard or center.
Looking at the play above, you’ll see Martin aligned as a zero-shade (outside shoulder of the center). As the ball is snapped, he shrugs off the center before working his way to the guard. In the process, watch his feet move while he keeps his head up to search for the football. As the quarterback takes the designed run up the middle, you’ll see Martin quickly redirect to the quarterback to help with the tackle.
Length and power to fight pressure with pressure
As an interior defensive lineman, it’s important to have the ability to squeeze blocks down. To accomplish this, you’ll need to create separation and fight pressure with pressure. For Martin, he saw a significant increase in total snaps played in 2022 compared to prior years. Last season, he had 500 total snaps (per PFF) played on defense and that’s well over 200+ snaps from his first season at Western Kentucky.
Watch the play above and you’ll see Martin aligned in the A-gap. As the left guard steps down, Martin does a great job staying square and uses his 34 3/8″ arms to create separation. In the process, he keeps his pad level low while using his strength to drive the guard into the small opening.
Also, the Hilltoppers linebacker (#1) does great job meeting the pulling tackle into the hole to make the tackle. It helps with Martin playing in front of that linebacker as he eats up space and drives the opposition into the hole to make rushing lanes smaller.
Going into the 2023 NFL Draft, it was evident that the Detroit Lions needed to address the interior of their defensive line. It’s been nice to see Alim McNeil and Isaiah Buggs carve out roles there, but they needed more. Most importantly, they needed size. Detroit get that by selecting Brodric Martin from Western Kentucky.
His massive frame and overall strength is going to be tough to beat in the A and B-gaps. Per PFF, Martin played all over the defensive line for the Hilltoppers. He had 189 snaps aligned as a nose tackle and over 200 snaps aligned as a 4i-technique against both left and right tackles.
When watching Martin, I loved his motor. It consistently runs hot and he chases down offensive players on a consistent basis. At 337 pounds, his weight will have to be monitored, but he should provide an impact as a rotational player on early downs. There are times that he struggles against double teams and there are times that he raises his pad level when searching for the backfield. He’s an older player that will be 24 years old next month, but he adds much-needed size and depth to the Lions’ interior.