Charly Martin Set to Carve Out a Role

The Carolina Panthers will field one of the league's youngest receiving corps this season. But it's not all about the three wide-outs the team drafted in April. Also in the mix is Charly Martin, a second-year pro who could make a dynamic impact of out the slot.

As the publisher of's Chargers site, I followed Charly Martin when he was in training camp with San Diego last season. He was one of the team's offseason stars and carried that success into the preseason, where he caught seven passes for 88 yards.

Most Chargers fans felt Martin was a shoe-in for a practice-squad invite, yet it never came. Instead, San Diego kept WR Gary Banks on the practice squad, due in large part to Banks' superior ability on special teams.

Martin will have to improve on special teams if he hopes to carve out a niche in Carolina. It should help that special teams are 90 percent want-to, and few players have more want-to than Martin.

"I can promise you that I'm going to give 110 percent, outwork everyone, and do everything in my personal ability to hopefully have the chance and opportunity to help this team win games," he said.

Martin is used to contributing to a winning offense. He did exactly that at West Texas A&M, where his career totals include 244 catches, 4,108 receiving yards and 44 TDs. He senior season was particularly amazing, when he caught 95 passes for 1,867 yards and 22 scores.

Martin's success at West Texas A&M came under the guidance of receivers coach Joel Hinton. Hinton believes Martin's work ethic is enough to guarantee him a future in the NFL.

"His work ethic is something no one else can take away from him," Hinton said. "Whether he's not as fast as the next guy or not as strong or something, he's going to work and do what he needs to, to make up for that difference if there is a skill difference there."

Martin's work ethic has been on full display during minicamps and OTAs. Whether that's enough for him to maintain his roster spot -- he joined the practice squad last September and jumped to the active roster prior to Week 11 -- remains to be seen.

The Panthers drafted three receivers in April: Brandon LaFell (third round, LSU), Armanti Edwards (third round, Appalachian State) and David Gettis (sixth-round, Baylor). Those three will join Martin and a host of other youngsters in the fight for playing time behind projected starters Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett.

Martin would love to be the No. 3 receiver behind Smith and Jarrett. Adapt at using his quickness and agility to make plays out of the slot, he said he studies film on players like Brandon Stokley and Kevin Curtis. Coach Hinton believes Martin compares move favorably to former Denver Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey. Either way, think quick separation and moving the chains.

Martin also has some of McCaffrey's toughness and clutch play-making ability. That's what let him dominate at West Texas A&M; he hopes to get back to it this season.

"I'm hoping I can play and have a career in the NFL and at one point start to put up numbers [like I did at West Texas A&M] once again," he said.

Is WR Charly Martin the next Wes Welker? Talk about it inside 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.

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