When the Detroit Lions selected Western Kentucky defensive tackle Brodric Martin, it surprised a lot of people. It’s not that the Lions didn’t need a nose tackle—general manager Brad Holmes had made it pretty clear they wanted someone to loosen the high-snap burden from Isaiah Buggs. It’s that Martin was viewed by many in the media as a late-round prospect.
Turns out Martin was pretty surprised by the selection, too. Expecting to get drafted on Day 3, Martin was in a Tuscaloosa hotel with his mom, setting up for the party on Saturday. He had stepped away and got some dinner at the rooftop restaurant of the hotel. That’s when the call from Detroit came in... on Friday night.
“I got the call from coach (Dan) Campbell, and I’m just like [confused look]. And he said, ‘Do you want to be a Lion?’ And I said, ‘Yeah? Yeah!’” Martin said. “I ran down six flights of stairs just to get down to the TV and to my momma, because she was down there setting up for the party for the next day.”
Obviously, she was thrilled.
“I ain’t never seen my momma jump. Never, ever in my life. My momma jumped at least this high off the ground and hugged me,” Martin said, gesturing about knee-high. “And I was like, ‘This is probably the best feeling in the world.’ I don’t even know if I could jump that high.”
Obviously, some will hear this story and get even more concerned that the Lions reached on this pick. However, Martin did drop a little extra intel about his draft process on the Detroit Lions Podcast this week.
“I heard third round from one team, that was the Giants,” Martin said about projections of where he’d land in the draft. “They could (have) drafted me in the third round.”
Instead, the New York Giants ended up using their third and fourth-round pick to jump 16 spots to take Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt at the top of the third round. With the Giants now without a pick until Round 5, Martin thought he was safe to leave the party setup and get that something to eat. Then the call from Detroit came just a few minutes later.
“When I had got that call, I’m just like, ‘What?” Martin said. “This is crazy. Then I took them six flights down.”
Martin is likely to become quickly a fan favorite, as he expressed his gratitude over and over during his rookie minicamp media session.
“I’m blessed. Like this is surreal. I still don’t believe it,” Martin said. “I walked up in here and I seen the locker with my name on it, and I just — I ain’t gonna lie. I about shed a couple tears. This is just it, here and happening. I come in here smiling every day. I ain’t frowned yet. I’m just smiling, man. This is a blessing.”
But don’t sleep on his impact on the field, either. Martin has extraordinary size and length, and while there will be a pretty significant jump in competition for him in the NFL, the Lions know what they have in Martin and are expecting big things.
“When you identify a guy at that size, that’s that powerful, is that athletic, and has that kind of rare length that he has,” Holmes told radio station 97.1 The Ticket. “And look, there are a lot of defensive linemen that are big and have length and are powerful—but he plays hard, he plays like how we want to play. He’s relentless, he chases the ball, he’s instinctive, he can find the football.”