Chargers Grab Western Ontario's Vaughn Martin

The San Diego Chargers' search for a replacement for Igor Olshansky led to a most unexpected place -- Canada. GM A.J. Smith continued an NFL Draft full of surprises by taking little-known Vaughn Martin from Western Ontario in the fourth round.

Vaughn Martin (6-foot-4, 330 pounds) is blessed with terrific size for a 3-4 defensive lineman. He's sleek enough to play defensive end and beefy enough to play nose tackle. No matter where the Chargers play him, it's going to take time.

Martin played his college ball in Canada at Western Ontario. Not only was the level of competition lower, but the rules were different as well. In Canada, they use a longer and wider field and keep 12 players on the field.

Martin was born in Jamaica and moved to Canada when he was 9. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, he began playing football while he was in high school, when he was a 5-foot-11, 180-pound running back and receiver. At the end of high school, he was 6-foot-4 and more than 300 pounds.

He was committed to play at Michigan State but couldn't get in because of grades. So, he enrolled in prep schools in the United States to get his grades up. According to Martin, it was at one of those prep schools, Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y., where reaching the NFL became a dream.

"There were guys who were four- or five-star (high school) players and I was the same size and had the same athleticism and, most of the time, I was better," Martin told the Globe and Mail. "Then, one of the coaches said to me, 'You could play in the NFL.' That put it in the back of my mind and when I started working harder it became more of a reality."

Martin eventually landed at Western Ontario. He was more productive in 2007 than 2008, with 26 tackles, 15 assists and two sacks, but he attracted more attention from blockers last season.

He made sure his draft stock was pointed upward during a workout for more than 20 NFL teams in March, when he reportedly ran his 40-yard dash in 5.04 seconds and put up 33 reps on the 225-pound bench press.

The Chargers obviously saw enough of him to draft him with a fourth-round pick. He will be worked into the rotation slowly, however, meaning either Jacques Cesaire or Ryon Bingham will replace Igor Olshansky in the starting lineup at defensive end.

What are your thoughts on this selection? Talk about it in the message boards.

Info from's Packers site, Packer Report, was included in this article.

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