Detroit Lions General Manager Brad Holmes made a bold move during the 2023 NFL Draft, trading up to the 96th overall pick to select Western Kentucky’s defensive tackle Brodric Martin. The maneuver cost the Lions three draft picks, but the investment demonstrates the organization’s high expectations and confidence in Martin’s ability to make an impact on their defensive line.
Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 330 pounds, Martin’s imposing presence will bolster the Lions’ interior defensive line, which struggled against rushing attacks last season. He joins Isaiah Buggs, Benito Jones, and Alim McNeill in giving defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn a variety of options for the interior.
More Than Just a Nose Tackle
Martin’s versatility is a key asset; he’s not merely a nose tackle. He shared with Lions media:
“Well, my favorite spot is just anywhere over the center… I’m a defensive lineman, not just a nose guard. I’m a defensive tackle, I’m a defensive lineman. I’ve been everywhere.”
NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein projected Martin as a Day 3 selection, stating that he offers “Day 3 draft value as a rotational interior lineman.” Martin’s talent and size will undoubtedly make a significant impact on the Lions’ defensive line.
Motivated by Tragedy
Brodric Martin’s journey to the NFL has been fueled by tragedy. His older brother, Brandon, passed away from leukemia in 2021. Martin recalls, “He was like probably the father figure I never had… He was my everything, he’s my motivation.” This source of inspiration is evident in his relentless work ethic, which will undoubtedly serve him well in the NFL.
After discussing the tragedy of losing his brother, Martin shared:
“Every time I step on the field, I carry his memory with me. He’s my inspiration, and I’m determined to make him proud.”
The Journey to Detroit
Martin began his college career at North Alabama before transferring to Western Kentucky, where he played for two seasons. In 28 games, he recorded 62 tackles, six tackles for loss, four sacks, and three passes defensed. He also earned an invitation to the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl.
The Lions’ front office and coaching staff, including Head Coach Dan Campbell, were impressed by Martin’s film and pro day performance. “He just has a lot of physical traits that get you really excited about his upside,” said Holmes. “He’s a big man, he’s athletic, he plays hard, he chases to the ball… we’re really excited about his upside.”
Additionally, Dan Campbell praised Martin’s work ethic and character, saying:
“Brodric is a true fighter, and that’s exactly what we want in this organization. He’s got a great story, and we believe he will be an important piece of the puzzle in our defense.”
Strengthening the Lions defensive core
Martin’s work ethic, motivation, and talent make him a great addition to the Detroit Lions. As he prepares for his rookie season, expect him to serve as a rotational defensive lineman, primarily lining up at nose tackle. With his unique blend of size, athleticism, and determination, Martin is poised to make a significant impact on the Lions’ defense.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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