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Lions see 'a lot of upside' with third-round DL Brodric Martin

Brodric Martin was planning a draft party for family and friends at a local hotel near his home for the Saturday of draft weekend expecting to be a Day 3 pick somewhere in the fourth to seventh rounds. Martin and his mother, Karen, were at the hotel Friday night setting up for the next day's festivities when Martin received a phone call.

The call was from head coach Dan Campbell asking Martin if he wanted to be a Detroit Lion in the later stages of the draft's third round.

"I was on the sixth floor just grabbing something to eat and I had gotten the call from coach Campbell," Martin said this past weekend during Detroit's rookie minicamp. "He said, 'Do you want to be a Lion?' I said, 'yeah.' I ran down six flights of stairs just to get down to a TV and my momma because she was down there setting up for the party and all that for the next day."

Martin made it downstairs in time to get a big hug from his mom and to watch his selection on television.

A massive defensive lineman at 6-foot-5, 330 pounds with long arms, Martin transferred from North Alabama to Western Kentucky in 2021 recording 31 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in his first season with the Big Red. He was honorable mention All-Conference USA as a senior, starting all 14 games and notching 31 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two pass breakups playing predominantly nose tackle.

The Lions love Martin's size and physical tool set, but coming from a smaller school like Western Kentucky they also know it will take some time and some coaching for him to start to realize his full potential.

"The thing about Brodric is he's got to develop some more but there's a lot of upside with the guy," Lions assistant GM Ray Agnew said of Martin ahead of last week's open rookie minicamp practice. "First of all he's big, powerful and strong. He's got some technique stuff (to work on), but everything about him is fixable.

"I think our d-line coaches do a great job of teaching him how to play the game. But he's a big, powerful man that when he strikes blocks you see the offensive lineman go back. There's a lot in that body. We're excited about him."

The Lions gave up a fourth-round pick and two fifth-round picks to move up to select Martin in the third round, so they obviously love his potential in the middle of their defense.

Martin isn't naive in thinking he doesn't have a lot to learn, but he's also confident and expects to contribute early on while still developing his technique and striving to reach his full potential.

View photos from offseason workouts on Monday, May 15, 2023.

"I want to play this year," Martin said. "I want to do this now. Although I came from a small school and all that, I'm looking to play. There's nothing about waiting that I want to do. I want to play now. I want to be in Kansas City first game."

Martin said he's currently studying film on veteran players like Fletcher Cox, Chris Jones and Raekwon Davis, big interior defenders who match Martin's length and long arms. He's trying to learn what he can about their play style and the things that have made them impactful in the league for a long time.

Martin joins Alim McNeill, Isaiah Buggs, Levi Onwuzurike, Christian Covington, Benito Jones and others for playing time along the interior of Detroit's front. Martin's size and length make him unique among the group. How quickly he picks up coaching and technique work will go a long way in determining just how quickly and how much impact he can have early on.

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