Martin leans on veterans

The Chargers had plenty of questions regarding their offensive line heading into the NFL draft. Roman Oben's longevity, Nick Hardwick's durability and Shane Olivea's productivity have all been cause for concern. The team drafted Jimmy Martin hoping he can be part of the answer for their most questionable unit.

Jimmy Martin is a 6-foot-5, 303 lb. lineman out of Virginia Tech. He moved into the starting line-up there midway through his freshman year and never left, starting his final 45 contests. Although he played left tackle in college, the Chargers plan to work him inside.

"They have me playing left guard," said Martin of his transition. "I feel like every day I'm getting better. It seems like things move a little faster on the inside, especially in pass protection, but I'm getting used to it."

One of the reasons Martin's transition is going so smoothly is that he's been getting plenty of help from the players around him.

"The veteran guys have been great," Martin said. "Mike Goff, Kris Dielman and Scott Mruczkowski have all been showing me things as we go. I talked to Wes Sims, too, because I know he played tackle in college before moving to guard in the pros. He said he's comfortable playing inside now, so that was encouraging."

While the older players have been providing guidance, an old teammate is providing a unique brand of competition. Jason Murphy, signed by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent to compete at guard, played with Martin at Virginia Tech.

"It is awkward," Martin said. "I know we both have the talent to make the roster. We both play with great intensity and great effort. We've known each other for a while, and this competition won't get in the way of our friendship, no matter what happens."

Martin would appear to be in the more enviable position of the two, as the team valued him enough to burn a draft pick on him. Some late-round picks actually prefer to go undrafted so they are free to sign with any team, but Martin is not among them.

"Getting drafted was a great thing," Martin said. "To me, it means a team wants you more if they spend a pick on you instead of just trying to sign you in free agency. I think that gives me a better chance to make the team."

And that is Martin's sole goal for his rookie campaign - make the team.

"I want to be realistic," Martin said. "I know I'm not going to start, so I'm just worried about making the team. If I can do that, hopefully I'll get the chance to play a little bit, whether it's on offense or special teams. I'll do anything it takes to get on the field."

Now Jimmy Martin can only hope his willingness to do anything will inspire the Chargers to let him show a little something.

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