BOISE, ID - DECEMBER 03: Doug Martin #22 of the Boise State Broncos gets past Bubba Forrest #28 of the New Mexico Lobos for a touchdown at Bronco Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
ESPN's Matt Williamson tried to forecast the top 10 running backs in 2015, and put one Tampa Bay Buccaneer on that list: Doug Martin. Undoubtedly we'll look back at this list in four years time and go "how could he have thought that?", but it's an interesting look at what Williamson, a former NFL scout, thinks of the Buccaneers running back.
Like Richardson, Martin will have just three seasons under his belt entering the 2015 season. In these upcoming three years, Martin should be in line for plenty of touches, but with LeGarrette Blount also in place in Tampa Bay, Martin might not have taken as much abuse as Richardson. The Buccaneers have a lot invested in their offensive line, Josh Freeman and the passing game, an area where Martin excels as well. He should continue to improve as a receiver over time.
Doug Martin certainly has the tools to be a top 10 running back. While he isn't a truly special running back, he's an all-around back who can contribute in every area of the game. More importantly, perhaps, he has the ability to be a true workhorse back. Greg Schiano can certainly appreciate that, given his penchant for running the ball at Rutgers. Does this push Legarrette Blount to the background? As I've said before, I think Blount and Martin will divide their carries like Bradshaw and Jacobs have in New York - and Martin is clearly the Bradshaw in that scenario.
There is perhaps one problem with this ranking, though. If Martin really is a top 10 running back in the NFL in 2015, it's likely we haven't seen Josh Freeman develop. No one hands the ball off play after play to a running back when they have a star at quarterback - not even Greg Schiano. I hope. Of course, if Martin doesn't become a top 10 back, was trading up for him in the first round really the right move?