Quan Martin 2023 NFL Draft Profile

(Photo: Michael Reaves, Getty)

Every few years in the NFL Draft, a non-powerhouse college football program produces a bevy of NFL talent at a certain position group. That is the case with Illinois defensive backs in the 2023 NFL Draft. Cornerback Devon Witherspoon is a likely first-round pick and safety Sydney Brown should come off the board early in the second round. Lost in the shuffle is 5’11” 194 lb safety Jartavius ‘Quan’ Martin, who may become the best of the bunch. Martin generated a lot of buzz with his outstanding athletic testing at the NFL Combine so let’s see if his tape lives up to the hype!

Strengths: Martin combines his high football IQ and elite athleticism to be an excellent run defender. From a single high position, he has a quick downhill trigger and relishes the opportunity to mix it up in the run game, showing no desire to let his teammates do the work. He makes fantastic reads, diagnosing run plays and the RPO mesh point well. Martin possesses elite closing burst to capitalize on what his eyes see and get to the football. Once there, he is a reliable tackler. Martin’s speed offers him sideline-to-sideline range against the run and allows him to prevent broken runs from turning into touchdowns by tracking down ball carriers. He takes good pursuit angles as well. Overall, Martin is a safety you can be comfortable with as your last line of defense. In addition to being a great run defender, Martin excels in coverage. In man coverage, he possesses the fluidity to open up his hips, the quickness to mirror receivers, and the speed to carry vertical routes. Martin reads the quarterback really well and uses his length to break up passes. When targeted downfield in man coverage, Martin does well to turn his head around and make a play on the ball. If Martin gives up a step or two, he has the burst and length to recover. In addition to his value in man-coverage, Martin thrives as a deep safety. He reads the quarterback well and makes good decisions on which cornerback to help, and gets there in a hurry thanks to his explosive athleticism. Martin is reliable in zone coverage as well, once again making good reads and reliably picking up his assignment. 

Weaknesses: Martin currently lacks outstanding route anticipation, as wide receivers often gain an advantage on him when they make a route break. Although he routinely recovered thanks to his physical traits, he should fix this as NFL receivers will be tougher to recover against. Martin possesses a thin frame, which could compromise his durability and which make it difficult for him to bring down much bigger ball carriers single-handedly.

Bottom Line: Martin is one of my absolute favorite players in this draft class. He blew the roof off the NFL Combine with his athletic testing and those traits certainly show up on tape. He is also an extremely smart player though, and his ability to read and react makes him an excellent run defender. Martin has plenty of value against the pass in man coverage and zone coverage and makes plays on the ball. Martin has a slight frame that hopefully holds up in the NFL and doesn’t compromise his health or ability to reliably tackle bigger ball carriers in the open field. Martin is a first-round talent and is in contention to become the best safety in this draft class.