In Chapter Two (Mythologies of this Size), I called Doug Martin an ”outlier to my wheelhouse size.” He literally checks all the boxes of what a successful NFL running back should be, according to size research. Yet, his durability does not match my carefully constructed theories. Let us now take a look at what exactly makes him a theory buster. From his jaw-dropping rookie campaign to his many stumbles after….here we go!
Doug Martin | Rookie Numbers – 319/1,454/11 |4.6 YPA/90.9 YPG/19.9 APG | 49 rec 472 yards 1 TD in 16 games (all starts)
Martin had a very productive but not dominate career at Boise State. He averaged 1,280 yards on the ground and 28 receptions as a junior and senior. However, he was a redshirted as a freshman. This caused some concern during the pre-draft process. The former St. Mary’s (Stockton, CA) product was also just a two-star prospect (24/7 composite) coming out. He was the 97th ranked RB in the country (159th player in CA and 1508 National overall). Martin garnered interest from four PAC-12 schools but ultimately choose the blue turf of Boise.
He was the second RB off the board during 2012 draft. Trent Richardson was the first (3rd overall, Browns). David Wilson (32nd overall, Giants) was taken one pick after Martin. What really helped Martin rise into the first round were his combine results. The former high school track athlete flashed 4.46 40-time, a 120-inch board, a 36 inch vertical and 6.79 3-cone. By the way, he also muscled up a mighty 28 bench reps.
Martin joined a Tampa Bay team that was 4-12 the previous season. The Bucs were very hopeful that he could contribute right away. Well, the man they call the “Muscle Hamster” or “Dougernaut” blossomed in a hurry. This was mostly thanks to getting fed 368 touches. However, his 1,926 scrimmage yards were a staggering seasonal total, especially for a rookie. He was targeted 70 times in the passing game. Hence, a 2,000 yards from scrimmage campaign was not that far off. Martin’s Bucs went 7-9. They were led by Greg Schiano (HC) and Josh Freeman at quarterback. Martin’s RB sidekick that season was former UDFA turned rookie stud, LeGarrette Blount. He was given only 41 rushing attempts and two targets from his seat in the Buccaneer “dog house.”
As you sift through Martin’s rookie game logs, you will find only a couple of games where he was held in check.
You will also notice Martin’s one monumental performance versus the Raiders. His 251 rushing yards were the tenth most all-time (single-game total). While his four TDs were awesome they accounted for a 25% of his entire season total. What was truly insane was that Tampa continued to feed their hamster. This was a non-playoff team who lost five of their last six games. One would think pulling back a little towards the end of the season might help Martin’s durability moving forward. Also, consider Martin had only one other season with more than 145 attempts it would seem that line of thinking would be spot on.
Martin’s second season prematurely ended after just six games. A torn labrum landed him on season-ending injured reserve. He was on pace for another 1,200 rushing yards with a per game average of 76 yards through those six games. He APG was on the rise (21.1), but his YPA was down by a full yard to 3.6. The league had figured out Martin enough to where that YPA was in jeopardy of falling even more.
During his third season, the scale back was in full effect. Martin appeared in 11 games. An ankle injury cost him the other five games and many fantasy owners. His YPA was 3.7 but his YPG and APG had fallen to 44.9 and 12.2 respectively.
Many were ready to completely bail on this former rookie stunner as he entered his fourth season in the league. Martin rewarded his faithful by returning back to his rookie form. His 288 carries turned into 1,402 yards. He also recorded a career-high YPA of 4.9. Martin held up for the full 16 games while averaging 18 APG. He was a definite factor as a pass catcher as well with 33 receptions on 44 targets for the best full-season catch rate of his career. He had only 25 receptions in his previous 17 active games since his rookie season. Yet again, the hike in touches was a result of health and not because his team was the playoff bound. The 2015 Bucs went 6-10 under rookie signal caller Jameis Winston. Running back understudy Charles Sims chipped in with an additional 158 touches for 1,090 more yards.
The 2016 season (Martin’s fifth NFL season) opened with a four-game suspension for Adderall. He claimed the drug helped maintain focus through injuries and adversity. He checked himself into a rehab facility and claimed he came through it all a more mature person. Unfortunately, Martin rushed for only 827 yards combined in the 2016 and 2017 season. Thus, signifying the of the end of tenure with Tampa. The Bucs were fairly patient with him as he missed 28 games in six years with the team.
In 2018 Martin joined a dumpster fire known as the Oakland Raiders. He was supposed to be the primary backup to Marshawn Lynch. However, Martin has started the last three games after Lynch was lost to IR for eight weeks. So far in 2018 Martin has 87 touches (76 rushing & 11 receptions on 13 targets) and zero TDs. He has a respectable YPA of 4.4 but Oakland is going nowhere fast and Martin is not likely part of their future plans.