The Next Eric Parker?
WR Eric Parker (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty)
WR Eric Parker (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty)
Posted Jul 22, 2009

Undrafted rookie WR Charles Martin has virtually no chance to make the active roster in 2009. However, he has an opportunity to stick on the practice squad and work his way into a very fluid mix for 2010. Find out why this small-school product just may become the next Eric Parker.

When scouting college prospects, Chargers GM A.J. Smith has always subscribed to the theory: “It's not where you play, but how you play.” And it was hard not to notice just how productive Charles Martin was during his time at West Texas A&M.

Martin dominated as a senior with 95 catches for 1,867 yards (19.7 avg.) and 22 TDs. And while those numbers represented career-highs for Martin, his 2008 campaign was hardly a statistical anomaly. He started his final three collegiate seasons and averaged 78 catches for 1,321 yards and 14 touchdowns during that span.

WR Charles Martin

"I hope the production will transfer," Martin said. "The big thing was, coming from a small school, a Div. II school, was just being able to open a few more eyes. I don't think that numbers necessarily are everything, but I think that, coming from my position, it opened some eyes to give me the opportunity in the NFL."

The biggest knocks against Martin are his marginal speed and his lack of experience vs. top competition. He ran his 40 in 4.62 seconds, raising questions about his ability to create separation in the NFL.

Martin's college receivers coach, Joel Hinton, believes Martin will adjust smoothly to the speed of the pro game. Hinton compares Martin favorably to another undrafted free agent with limited foot speed, former Denver Broncos standout Ed McCaffrey.

"[Martin] has the same kind of the work ethic, body type and all that kind of stuff," Hinton said. "They kind of look similar in that aspect."

All the hard work in the world won't land Martin a spot on this year's active roster, barring a rash of injuries at the position. Instead, he must work to earn a spot on the practice squad and stick around till next season. Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers, Malcom Floyd and Kassim Osgood are all entering contract years, so a spot may become available for Martin in 2010.

First, he must keep showing the Eric Parker-like traits that landed him a pro contract: strong hands, impressive agility, unbridled determination and a tireless work ethic. If he can do that, Martin believes he'd be an excellent fit in San Diego's offense.

"I think I could help move the chains and help do some stuff in this offense," he said. "Obviously, I'm young in NFL years and I have a lot of learning mentally to do, and I think that when I can catch up to speed mentally and just go out and play football, I think I'd fit in great."

Does Martin have a future in San Diego? Talk about it in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

Related Stories
Photo Gallery: Young Receivers Step It Up
 -by  Aug 4, 2009
Seahawks Sink Chargers, 20-14
 -by  Aug 16, 2009
Rookie Reaction: Charly Martin Q&A, Part II
 -by  Jun 4, 2009

> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
WR Charly Martin (profile)
[View My HotList]
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Piedra Vista HS > Alumni
Football > San Diego
Football > West Texas A&M > Alumni
[View My HotList]