The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Monday that they have signed No. 31 overall pick Doug Martin to a rookie contract.
The Bucs have signed all but one member of their seven-man draft class, with safety Mark Barron the lone rookie pick remaining.
Martin, 23, figures to emerge as the lead back in a one-two punch with LeGarrette Blount sooner rather than later. The Bucs’ website announcement of Martin’s rookie deal stated that new coach Greg Schiano “intends to emphasize the running game” and “utilize [Martin] heavily.”
Martin is a much more versatile back than Blount, with more wiggle as a ball carrier. New Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, the old Giants quarterbacks coach, could use Martin ala Ahmad Bradshaw and Blount like Brandon Jacobs. The Bucs’ ground attack should be much improved after a dismal 2011 season.