Going into the 2012 NFL Draft, Alabama star Trent Richardson was the prized possession among running backs. The Cleveland Browns traded several draft picks to move up and select the Heisman candidate with the third overall pick.
But there were other highly touted backs that had first-round grades and the Bucs made a move of their own in order to secure one. Tampa Bay traded its second- and fourth-round picks to move up and draft Boise St. running back Doug Martin with the No. 31 overall selection.
And while Martin had played well up until this point in the season, the youngster had his coming out party against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football.
Martin demoralized the Vikings' defense on national television and was largely responsible for Tampa Bay's 19-point beat down of Minnesota. He even outplayed All Pro running back Adrian Peterson in his own building.
The Muscle Hamster carried the ball 29 times for 135 yard (4.7 YPC) with one touchdown. Martin also had 79 receiving on three catches, including a 64-yard screen pass that he took to the house after making several defenders miss. Martin established a new career-long carry, career-long reception, and a career-high in rushing, receiving, and total yards.
It was truly an amazing performance for someone playing in just his seventh NFL game.
Martin now has rushed for 543 yards with three touchdowns, while averaging 4.2 yards per carry. He also has 16 catches for 224 receiving yards with one touchdown.
For comparisons sake, here is what the other two running backs selected in the first half have done up to this point:
CLE RB Trent Richardson – 348 rushing yards (3.4 YPC) with four touchdowns, 24 receptions for 197 yards with one touchdown.
NYG RB David Wilson – 87 rushing yards (5.8 YPC) with one touchdown, one reception for three yards.
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