Just days away from one of the biggest tryouts of their career, NFL Draft Expert Mike Mayock holds high expectations for wide receiver Marqise Lee and center Marcus Martin among the seven Trojans attending the NFL Draft Combine.
Mike Mayock believes that first and foremost Marcus Martin, who declared for the NFL Draft following his First Team All-Pac-12 Honors during his junior year, should be the best center on the board heading into the 2014 NFL Draft.
S/O to @beatsbydre for getting us right for our combine experience!! @ScreamMulahASAP @teamlee1 #A1 #USCtotheNFL pic.twitter.com/doRvbV7XqY— Dion Bailey (@dbailey_18) February 18, 2014
After suffering a gruesome injury during the Trojans final regular season against UCLA, the starting center continues to go through rehab and recovery in Irvine, Calif. to regain full health this Spring.
Martin has showed an ability to stand strong in pass protection, playing both center and guard over three years. And that, combined with good showings under full health, could allow him to benefit significantly from the newly scheduled Draft that officially starts Thursday, May 8th.
Outstanding-sized, barrel-chested finesse pivot with center-guard versatility. Grades out highly as a position-sustain blocker and possesses untappped strength and power in his body. Lacks desirable grit, toughness and finishing strength to maximize his talent and is stronger than he plays. Has instant-starter potential as a center or right guard, but could stand to benefit from some time to be groomed.
-Instant Analysis via Nolan Nowrocki of NFL.com
If there is any part of his game that could be better showcased, experts say Martin struggles to dominate the way he is capable of and is also considered a soft puncher. It should be interesting to see whether Martin will participate in full contact pass pro drills at this weekend's combine, but should be healthy for Pro Day on March 12th.
The schools all-time leading pass catcher is also among the nation's best as Mayock notes that Marqise Lee, along with Sammy Watkins of Clemson, are the top wide receivers to watch in the NFL Draft.
While best known for his talents breaking open quick routes into long touchdown gallops, experts say Lee's durability and lack of tackle-breaking abilities at the next level could hold back his transition into an elite-level NFL player from day one. (Though, that seems a tad bit off in my opinion because Marqise Lee was very good at making moves and fighting for the extra yards during the last three years.)
Nawarocki and Mayock are among many of the top experts that say Lee remains on of the top offensive prospects available in this draft, and will certainly be a first round pick if not as high as a top-10 selection.
After nearly two months of training, Lee told Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times that he is all set and ready to impress in Indianapolis, following a somewhat up-and-down injury plagued junior season for USC. "All I've got to really do is be myself," he told the Times. "Nothing crazy." "I'm going to get it done like I'm supposed to."
Lee has shown his fair share of outstanding ability, especially against Stanford (this year) and Oregon (in 2012), while also battling some dropped passes issues. Along with next month's Pro Day, this exposure could be an excellent opportunity for Lee to showcase his outstanding vertical ability and confirm why scouts were so high on Lee following his Biletnikoff winning sophomore campaign back in 2012.
"@proactivesp: Fine tuning! @TeamLee1 #combinecountdown pic.twitter.com/U1SG0uEbnu" last week of training we ready— Marqise Lee (@TeamLee1) February 11, 2014
There should be plenty of story lines to watch this weekend for all seven Trojans that will be in Indianapolis this weekend for the 2014 NFL Draft Combine, which can be seen in its entirety on NFL Network.
Whatever unfolds this weekend, rest assured plenty of discussion will take place surrounding not only the seven Draft Combine guys but also Morgan Breslin and Demetrius Wright, who both sound excited about proving their worth on Pro Day.