They never seem too distant, one running back entering a new career phase and the other beginning his. Doug Martin, after a stellar rookie year, is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ future at the position. But he sees parts of himself in rookie Mike James.

That is why Martin is quick to offer praise for the Miami product, taken in the sixth round, 189th overall, when given the chance. These are early days of relationship building between draftees and their teammates, a time when advice is given and impressions are made. Growth happens.

Late Wednesday morning, Martin stood near a practice field after an OTA session at One Buc Place and considered his evolution. A year ago, Martin lived James’ situation, fresh out of Boise State as the 31st overall pick. He became one of the NFL’s most prolific rushing talents, earning 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns on 319 carries.

He matured into an answer. Now, Martin is eager to help with any questions.

“He’s a good guy,” Martin said of James. “He’s a smart guy as well. I know exactly what he’s going through, because I was in that position last year. I know he’s in that playbook, trying to learn. I’m out there helping him out.”

James’ selection, as it relates to Martin, stands as a contrast to another Tampa Bay draft choice: quarterback Mike Glennon, a third-round pick (73rd overall). Many outside the region view Glennon as a threat to starter Josh Freeman. Coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik, however, have said this is the incumbent’s team. There is little reason to think Freeman will lose his job this fall if he stays healthy.

Still, perceptions (false or not) take on their own life in a high-speed age. Assumptions involving quarterbacks have a long existence. This development is not exclusive to the Bucs, see: Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre with the Green Bay Packers or Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez with the New York Jets. Post-draft “controversy” is predictable. It will occur again.

Yet for many reasons, James’ selection is seen as a benefit for Martin. The two players are similar in their demeanors: humble, soft-spoken, committed to improve. It is easy to picture their working relationship growing into a scenario that enhances both.