Despite the New York Giants making many improvements to their team this offseason, they still have a few holes to fill in the 2014 NFL Draft. One of those is getting another offensive linemen to continue shoring up a unit that was nothing short of terrible in 2013.
Zack Martin is a popular player people have talked about going to the Giants in the first round, mostly due to his versatility. Jerry Reese was asked about Martin today during a conference call with the media and talked about that versatility.
“I think we like guys who are versatile players,” he said [via the New Jersey Star Ledger). “But we’re not going to pass up a left tackle who we think is only a left tackle because he can’t play guard or center or a different position. But the more you can do in this league, the better off you are. You may save yourself a roster spot if you get a guy that can swing from guard to tackle or from center to guard or something like that.”
Martin played tackle and started most of his career for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In watching film on him, it became quite clear why the Giants love this guy and why several local publications have the Giants taking him with the No. 12 pick this year.
Run Blocking: Martin shows very few weaknesses in the run game. He has a quick first step and fires off the line of scrimmage on. His technique is incredible, almost always staying in front of his man and keeping his pad level low to drive defenders off the ball. I loved that he never takes plays off and finishes his blocks, while also looking to punish his opponent. He has great balance and puts his body in the correct position on every play.
One thing that could prevent him from being a tackle at the next level is his short arms (32 7/8 inches) and rarely was asked to go after linebackers on run plays. His lateral quickness leaves some to be desired, so a slide to guard would definitely help these minor issues.
Pass Blocking: Martin is just as good pass blocking as he is run blocking. He plays with a wide base and moves his feet very well to keeps rushers in front of him and almost never gets beat inside (or at all when the tight end is on his side to help). He looks to engage defenders immediately, often giving him the advantage. Martin also shows good discipline when defenders try to spin on him and has strong, fast hands that he uses well.
One issue I noticed was he tended to get beat by speed on the outside. Given that the NFL is an even faster league, he would struggle to stay in front of most right defensive ends. As stated previously, he would be better served to move inside or even to right tackle.
Conclusion: Martin is an outstanding, smart and fierce player who has tremendous upside in this league as long as he lands in the right position. The leash is shortening on current left tackle Will Beatty, who is recovering from a broken leg suffered at the end of last season. While they would be more likely to move Justin Pugh to the left side and stick Martin inside, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Martin was drafted and started from day one.