Although rumors are running rampant this time of year, good information is still flowing as we approach the 2014 NFL Draft. One of the biggest things we can learn about prospects is what kind of range we'll see them picked at once the lights go up at Radio City Music Hall.
We all know that Johnny Manziel is now considered an almost surefire bet to go in the top 10, but there are a few other prospects that we can start to say the same thing about. One of those players who has made a late rise, likely into the top 10, is Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin.
One of the biggest things teams like about Martin is his versatility, and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport believes teams see him as a college tackle who can develop into a Pro Bowler as a guard early in his NFL career.
Like Martin, Mankins was a long-time starter in college at left tackle during his time at Fresno State. Though he was used to stopping defensive ends on the quarterback's blindside, his 6-foot-4 frame and shorter-than-average arms made him a prime candidate to slide to guard at the next level. The Patriots took him at the end of the first round in 2005, and all Mankins has done is develop into an All-Pro at left guard and become one of the highest-paid players in the NFL at his position.
Martin is likely to wind up being drafted significantly earlier this year than Mankins was back in 2005. Martin has frequently been mentioned as a possibility for the Miami Dolphins and the 19th overall pick, but recent reports make it unlikely he'll still be around that late. In addition to playing guard, NFL Media reporter Albert Breer has been told some teams value him as an early first-rounder because he could play all five positions along the line and would bring added flexibility to whoever picks him.
"There's going to be three offensive tackles off the board quickly," NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said Tuesday on the "Rich Eisen Podcast." "I think Zack Martin is going to be gone in the first 13 picks. So I think four offensive tackles will be gone in the top 13, maybe the top 10."
Developing into a top 10 pick would represent quite the coup for Martin and show how much value the position holds in a deep draft class. No matter where he winds up being selected, Martin will at the very least become the first Notre Dame lineman selected in the first round since Jeff Faine in 2003.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.