Jartavius Martin, DB, Illinois | NFL Draft Scouting Report

As his scouting report details, Illinois DB Jartavius Martin is an interesting name to watch for the 2023 NFL Draft.

The defensive back position in the NFL is in a constant state of flux relative to its value — especially as more teams look for hybrid-type players. It wasn’t long ago we saw Jamal Adams get traded for first-round picks, despite being extremely limited in coverage and relegated to playing in the box. Yet, a true ball hawk who can line up across a secondary can turn a defense around.

Jartavius Martin is one of the available defensive backs in this year’s NFL draft and has a lot of mixed opinions as to where he should expect to hear his name called. Below is everything you need to know, detailed in Martin’s scouting report.

Jartavius Martin NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Defensive Back
  • School: Illinois
  • Year: Senior

In high school, Martin was not the most sought-after recruit. He was rated a three-star prospect by both 247Sports and ESPN and a two-star recruit by Rivals. He was the 101st safety in the nation by ESPN and 105th by 247Sports. As an overall recruit, he was ranked as the 206th recruit in the state of Florida by both ESPN and 247Sports.

Martin played for varsity head coach James Chaney at Lehigh Acres, where he recorded 87 tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovery as a senior. He took a big jump from his junior year when he only made 38 tackles. His college career followed a similar pathway.

After verbally committing to Illinois in July 2017, Martin played in 10 games and started eight as a freshman. He was second on the team in interceptions. As a sophomore, he had half the tackles and no interceptions, making only five starts. It was in the middle of this year that he made the switch from cornerback to safety.

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As a junior in 2020, it was an even quieter season for Martin. He didn’t make his first start until December. In his 2021 junior season, he started to regain the promise from his freshman year. He had 55 tackles (fifth on the team) and was second on the team in pass breakups.

He cemented himself as having NFL potential in his senior campaign. Among his 2022 accolades:

  • All-Big Ten Second Team (media)
  • All-Big Ten Third Team (coaches)
  • Accepted an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl
  • Started all 13 games at STAR position
  • Team leader in solo tackles (51)
  • 22nd in the entire nation in passes defended (14)
  • Second on the team in pass breakups (11)

At the NFL Combine, Martin came out with an excellent Relative Athletic Score, proving himself to be a stellar athlete. His 9.26 ranks him 69 out of 927 of all safeties since 1987 in the database. It is that athleticism that could have teams take a chance on him, as well as his development throughout the entirety of his college career. The only reason his RAS wasn’t even higher was his height and weight were both below average.

Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Jartavius Martin

Strengths: Productive cornerback who is watching his draft stock soar. Effectively diagnoses plays, shows ability in man coverage, and is effective facing the action. Displays good route recognition, stays on the receiver’s hip, and is effective backed off the line of scrimmage.

Keeps the action in front of him, tracks the pass in the air, and has an explosive burst to the ball out of his plant. Effectively times pass defenses, wraps up tackling, and gives effort defending screen throws.

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Weaknesses: Indecisive and loses focus. Slow transitioning with opponents when placed over the slot receiver. Inconsistent during Senior Bowl practices.

Overall: Despite producing the prior four seasons, Martin was overlooked by scouts entering 2022. He responded with a terrific campaign that included three interceptions and 11 PBUs, which really put him on the scouting radar. Martin comes with solid size, but he’s limited to playing in a zone system or backed off the line of scrimmage.

Jartavius Martin Combine Measurements and Results

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 194
  • Arm Length: 31 1/8″
  • Hand: 9 5/8″
  • Bench Press: 15
  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.46

Illinois DB Jartavius Martin Current Draft Projection

According to Tony Pauline’s big board, Martin is projected to be a sixth-round draft pick, holding a grade of 3.38. Tony sees him as more of a cornerback than safety. Corner is where Martin started his college career before switching to safety midway through his sophomore season. If the size concerns have NFL teams not believing in him as a safety, then teams may try to project his elite athleticism as a corner who needs a ton of work.

Prospects that teams love as athletes but also need positional development often get drafted in the later rounds or are priority undrafted free agents. Martin likely gets drafted but might have to wait a while if teams don’t see him as a safety.

One team who could have several opportunities to draft Martin is the New York Giants. They have needs at both cornerback and safety. In the later rounds, when you can draft a player with position versatility and elite athleticism, you jump at the chance. The Giants could actually jump on Martin at pick No. 89 overall.

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While that’s way above where Tony sees him projected, it only takes one team to fall in love with your skill set. If the Giants want him, they may not be able to wait until Rounds 5 or 6, especially if a defensive back run pushes Martin up the board.

Also, don’t forget about division rival Philadelphia. Their defense was heavily overrated last year and lost some key contributors. Notable among them was safety/cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson. As of now, they have zero picks between 94 and 219 and may need to pull the trigger at 94 if Martin is a player they believe can fill a similar role for them that CJGJ did.

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