Mustang 'chilling' over draft

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

National Football League teams will be making big plans this weekend.

It's draft time.

It is one of the biggest, most discussed and most analyzed, events on the sports colendar.

It's going to be a big for a Canadian kid who is going to be part of all that action.

Vaughn Martin, a 22-year-old defensive tackle for the Western Mustangs, is expected to be selected on the second day, when rounds three to seven take place.

It's a rare occurrence a Canadian finds himself on an NFL draft board, especially one who only has two years of Canadian university experience.

But since Martin opted to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft, he has received plenty of attention. He was on Sportsnets Primetime Sports last night. He's been mentioned on ESPN, the Score and Sports Illustrated (SI.com).

What are Martin's plans for the weekend?

"I'm just chilling," he said. "I'll probably be on the golf course or the driving range."

Don't mistake Martin's low-key approach as disinterest.

Since the story broke Martin was looking to the NFL draft, he's attempted to keep a low profile while keeping his story in perspective. But in a world of the internet and fan interest in the NFL, not much goes unnoticed, especially with so any teams looking for hidden gems.

A six-foot-four, 320-pounder, strong and agile, won't stay hidden for long.

"When I first talked about the NFL, I didn't want to make a big deal out of it. A lot of people said 'NFL, what are you thinking?'" Martin said. "Now the story is huge. It's funny because it makes me feel even more insignificant. I'm still the same person I've always been."

SI.com featured 12 players in a story called "Draft sleepers from small schools."

"Only on rare occasions does a college player from Canada catch the fancy of NFL decision makers, and that's exactly what Vaughn Martin has done," said the story. "Five teams went to London to watch Martin work out . . . The 327-pound defender put on a show, running as fast as 5.07 n the 40 after competing 31 reps on the bench...

"Martin has the size and strength to be used at nose tackle or middle guard. The Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers not only attended Martin's workout, but also brought him to the States for an official visit."

Those were only a few of the teams that Martin visited.

A blog on the Dallas Morning News wrote: "(Martin) is viewed as an NFL project, but certainly a worthwhile project because of the measurables."

"When we started this, we had a guarantee from one team that if Vaughn wasn't drafted, he would be invited to camp by that team," said Matt Baxter, an agent with Enter-Sports Management of Atlanta, Martin's representatives. "What we try and reinforce with Vaughn is that it doesn't matter what happens, your job is to work out hard and try and be on the 53-man roster.

"I've had guys who have had a lot less attention and get drafted. But I've never had anyone who has gotten this kind of attention and not gotten drafted."

Baxter says just about all the teams have called us looking for his cellphone and three backup numbers.

"They call just before they draft you," Baxter said.

Baxter said there were players out there as big as Martin.

"But there's no one who looks like him at 330 pounds," Baxter says. "Usually a player at 330 is 50 pounds overweight."

Baxter isn't sure exactly what's going to happen at the draft, but he knows one thing for certain.

"On Thursday, Vaughn's going to be in whatever city he's going to be in at an NFL rookie camp," he said.

Martin is excited to get a chance at playing, but he's more excited for the people around him.

"People around me are getting excited. People who have helped me along the way are getting excited," he said. "That's pretty much the best part. As for me, I'm a pretty simple dude. I just want to play football."


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