The San Jose Sharks defenseman had undergone surgery over the summer to repair ligaments in his ankle. Three games into the season, he aggravated the injury and was sidelined for two months. He injured his back at the gym, setting him back even further. Finally, on Dec. 7, he returned to the Sharks’ lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes. After the game, his coaches delivered some tough love: He still wasn’t ready for prime time.
Martin, who had signed a four-year, $19.4 million contract with San Jose in 2015, coached himself into some own tough love: he was determined to make the most of his situation. On the first road trip to Tucson, he treated the team to a steak dinner. He made it a point to get to know his teammates and share tips he had learned, and took 22-year-old Mike Brodzinski, a fellow University of Minnesota product, under his wing. The team wholeheartedly embraced its new big brother.
The Redskins covet both Minkah Fitzpatrick and Vea. Expect a team to move up for Fitzpatrick if he falls past No. 11, but the Redskins would be happy with either of the two.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: Arizona might have to wait until a later round to pull the trigger on a quarterback. Instead, Ridley would add another dimension as a deep threat to a potentially explosive offense and provide a needed option beyond Larry Fitzgerald.
Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio: Facing his last draft in Baltimore, Ozzie Newsome might be inclined to find Terrell Suggs’ successor with the massive Davenport, who would be well-served by some pass rushing classes at Ball So Hard University.
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State: No team gave up more yards per carry (4.9) last season than the Bolts. Vander Esch’s lateral speed and battering-ram hits would be a salve, especially if he shows more restraint in his pursuit.
He hasn’t done much with them, going 6-for-32 with just two RBI and 13 strikeouts, but a 10th start may help him catch the often walk-happy Ross with a little less zip, following his Friday gem that taxed him for 127 pitches.