Dolphins take Stanford OT Martin in 2nd round
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - Tackle Jonathan Martin protected Andrew Luck's blind side for three years, so the Miami Dolphins figure he's ready to play in the NFL.
Miami selected Martin in the second round of the draft with the 42nd overall choice Friday. He decided to turn after his junior season with the Stanford Cardinal and was projected as a potential first-round pick.
"He's used to playing a very demanding position,'' Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said. "They entrusted him with protecting Andrew for three years.''
Martin began starting as a freshman at Stanford. He said he benefited from playing with Luck, taken with the first overall pick Thursday by Indianapolis.
"It helps you learn how to play with the spotlight on you,'' Martin said. "Being on the national stage for a lot of games helps to prepare you to play in the NFL.''
In the third round, the Dolphins selected two players who were more productive in 2010 than in 2011 - Miami Hurricanes defensive end Olivier Vernon and Missouri Tigers tight end Michael Egnew.
Vernon was the 72nd overall selection and the first from Miami, Florida or Florida State to be drafted. He had six sacks as a sophomore in 2010 but was suspended for the first six games last season after an investigation showed he took extra benefits from a former booster during the recruiting process.
The Dolphins were so impressed by Vernon's offseason workouts that they believe he can make an immediate impact, Ireland said.
"We trust what we see,'' Ireland said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he has a big year, a big career also.''
Egnew had 90 receptions for 762 yards and five scores as a junior in 2010, then made 47 catches as a senior after Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert departed.
"I like the vision that we're getting a guy who can run down the middle of the field,'' Ireland said.
Martin was the fourth Stanford player drafted. He played left tackle in college, and the Dolphins hope he can quickly win a starting job at right tackle to complement Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long.
Switching positions isn't an issue for Martin, who said he's well aware of Long's work.
"He's going to be a Hall of Fame left tackle,'' Martin said. "He's a guy I modeled my game after. I've been a fan.
"I'm excited to play. I'll play left, I'll play right - wherever the team needs me.''
Martin, who watched the draft with family and friends at his home in California, said he was frustrated to last until the second day but pleased to wind up in Miami.
"I don't think it could have worked out better for me,'' he said.
Scouting reports say the 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin is athletic and intelligent - he majored in the Classics at Stanford - but needs to improve his strength. Ireland conceded the youngster can improve in that area, but said he'll fit well in the West Coast offense the Dolphins will run under new coach Joe Philbin.
"There are not a lot of things not to like about the kid,'' Ireland said.
Vernon had 18 tackles in six games last year and decided to turn pro rather than return in 2012 for his senior season. Mindful of the suspension, he said his college career could have been better.
"I would characterize it as not fulfilled,'' he said. "I didn't get to fulfill everything I wanted to at UM. Now it's my time to start a new chapter.''
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Vernon is the first Hurricane taken by the Dolphins since Vernon Carey in 2004. As a Miami native, he's well aware the Dolphins have endured three consecutive losing seasons.
"I'm a person who brings another winning mindset to the team,'' he said, "because we need to get back on track.''
Egnew will provide a potentially enticing target at tight end in Philbin's offense. He said his style of play resembles Pro Bowlers Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
"I'm definitely a pass catcher, but I'm through and through a blocker as well,'' Egnew said. "I just want to learn everything I can and be the best I can.''
The Dolphins took Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with their first-round pick Thursday. They have five picks Saturday and remain in the market for a receiver and a safety.
"We have a couple of things we want to try to address,'' Ireland said. "We'll see how the board marries to the need.''
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