On Tuesday Stanford left tackle Jonathan Martin announced via Twitter his decision to enter the 2012 draft.
According to a source close to Martin, the decision was a difficult for the second team AP All-American.
Martin only made the decision after getting a first round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee and receiving positive feedback from scouts on hand for his final game, an overtime loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The 6-6, 305 pound Martin is one of a trio of talented junior left tackles expected to earn early to mid first round consideration. Based on his size and athleticism, some view Martin as having greater potential than either Southern Cal's Matt Kalil or Iowa's Riley Reiff. Martin is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated offensive tackle but is also our No. 12 rated prospect, overall.
A league source on hand for the Fiesta Bowl was impressed with Martin against the Cowboys and specifically noted that Martin's physicality impressed him.
"That's been one of the knocks people have had about him," the scout told me Friday evening on the condition of anonymity. "No one is going to confuse the guy with Jake Long in that regard, but I've seen too many so-called finesse left tackles wind up being Pro Bowlers to worry about that too much with a guy as big and athletic as [Martin] is. He'll be fine."
With the NFL shifting to an increasingly pass-happy league, athletic left tackles are as valuable as they've ever been. It is that athleticism that could intrigue a host of teams picking inside the top 20.
As such, Martin is currently projected by NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler to be drafted within the first half of the draft.