School: Oregon State
Pos: Running Back
Draft Eligible: 2025
Who is Damien Martinez?
Martinez was a 3* in the composites and attended Lewisville in Texas where he was a dual sport athlete as he also put time in track and field. Martinez rushed for over 4,300 yards and 66 touchdowns while at Lewisville High. He chose to attend Oregon State and held offers from Kansas, San Diego State and Georgia Tech. Martinez broke out as a true Freshman for Oregon State and earned honors of Pac-12 Freshman of the year. Martinez heads into his true Sophomore season looking to capitalize off a productive Freshman season.
Advance Metrics courtesy of Campus 2 Canton
I wanted to compare metrics against other elite running backs who were freshmen or sophomores last year. These show the efficiency Martinez had on arguably the worst team of the running backs I ran the data points against.
Martinez gets a new quarterback as Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei becomes the starter for the upcoming season. Martinez closed out his Freshman season with 982 yards with 7 touchdowns and 6.1 yards per carry. Great efficiency from the Freshman. One would imagine Martinez gets a higher workload as he showed to be more efficient than his running mates in Deshaun Fenwick and Jamious Griffin.
Martinez is a decisive runner, with good vision. Martinez finds the open lane and makes his cut and powers through. He isn't easy to get down and has good size. Even with his track background, he isn't a runner who bounces out his runs. Martinez is more of a battering ram, he'll bounce off defenders to gain additional yards. What I enjoyed while watching his tape is his legs are always moving, trying to gain additional yards and refusing to go down when the first defender grabs him.
At this stage of his game, he is a pure runner. Martinez only had 4 catches all year long. It could be a scheme issue but we'd like to see him triple, if not quadruple that number this year and see him handle dump offs. With Uiagalelei as the quarterback, he does often check down. More receiving work is in the range of outcomes. While watching his tape, he is a straight line runner, he will chose to run over a defender instead of making him miss, it's a sign of a tight hipped runner and there are concerns of how well he will test based on what I've seen on tape.
He is a hold at cost right now. What he did as a freshman was great and the team around him this year is unknown, with more receiving work, we can see a boom in his value. He'll get a bigger work load and base off that his value will hold, if not enhance. I wouldn't categorize him as a buy, just because of the offense around him and question marks with game script.
His testing will be interesting and his hands are a question mark, but watching his tape, it's hard not to see a young Marshawn Lynch. Someone with good vision, makes one cut and goes, always has his feet moving to gain additional yards and someone who is hard to bring down at first contact. Running backs are being devalued and they get pushed down because of it. I can see end of day 2 draft capital, possibly early day 3 if he doesn't get pass work the next two years.
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