Jartavius "Quan" Martin, Illinois
Fighting Illini defensive back Jartavius "Quan" Martin is an interesting prospect in that he is a lot like Dax Hill. Martin played all over the field at Illinois. Like Hill, Martin spent the majority of his time in the slot. Also, he is expected to make the transition to safety just like the former Wolverine did.
Martin’s 4.4 40 gives him the speed that the Bengals covet in their secondary. He is fast enough to run with receivers and recovers quickly when he is beaten. He is also fast enough to chase down running backs if they get loose in the secondary.
His versatility is something that a lot of teams will value as well. While at Illinois, Martin was charged with covering receivers, tight ends, and running backs out of the backfield. So, none of that will be foreign to him. Also, Illinois’ defensive coordinator was free to do things like corner blitz with their star corner, Devon Witherspoon, knowing that Martin could easily rotate over to cover the other team’s receiver.
Martin is not shy about coming up in run support either. Sometimes he can get a bit too eager to deliver a big hit.
Dax Hill is expected to take over the Jessie Bates role full-time this season. Cincinnati will still need some depth behind him. It could be a great idea to have someone who plays like Hill backing him up. It would also allow Anarumo to do some interesting and original things in the secondary in hopes of confusing opposing quarterbacks.
Right now, the biggest downside to the Bengals selecting Martin is his draft status. The team could get Merriweather or Taylor II, potentially, on Day 3 of the draft. It would appear that Martin will go off the board in the third round at the latest. Mock Draft Database and ESPN rank him 85th overall. PFF ranks him 100th as of today. The Bengals have the 92nd pick in the third round.
Martin finished last year with 64 total tackles, two forced fumbles and three interceptions.
With Bates in Atlanta, Cincinnati could look for free safety depth behind Dax Hill. Taylor II, Merriweather, and Martin are three excellent options that can do just that. Martin can also add depth at the slot and outside corner.
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