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Monday, March 10, 2014

Around the draft: 59 Days, Zack Martin

It's now 59 days to the start of the '14 draft, and today is day two in my attempt to give views on prospects that might go between the 20th pick and guys into the 90s that could help out.

Today I give you Zack Martin, OT from Notre Dame.

He's an anti-draftnik type prospect - he doesn't look exceptional on tape because of odd mechanics, and he's certainly not the workout warrior.  But what you do see on tape is a guy who gets it done.

There are various knocks - he's only modestly sized at 6'4, 305, in a league where 6'6, 320 isn't outrageous.  His arms aren't especially long, so he can't keep guys from getting into his body as easily.  But, he's a polished prospect with good strength, who has good if not slightly unorthodox technique.

He showed in the Senior Bowl (where he switched to guard at times) that he was very much ready for the pro game.  He does have good, quick feet; he's fast off the snap, even without a snap count.  He's not going to give you the edge and he's strong enough to take you inside.

He reminded the average user that he's coachable, that you won't have to teach him a ton of things more than once. The most interesting thing about his style is that his pass protection is the very reactive method of chucking back a few yards instead of sliding, something Jordan Gross and Byron Bell did last year to varying results.

When the offseason started, Martin was a second round guy, and I've seen him go from a guy you'd have to argue could be a pick at 28, to a player who I've seen rated higher (CBS has him, oddly, at 12).  Even rated higher, you hear analysts wonder if he might have to play guard, which is funny.  Of course, I guess a prospect is a prospect and a grade is a grade, but I can't imagine two scouts would rate him equally if one thought him a tackle and one thought he would have to switch positions, given the risk and difference in value.

Martin here would be a good guy to take up the flag for Jordan Gross.  He's that same type lunchpail tackle that's not going to pass the Orlando Pace eye test, but he's not going to make many mistakes. He'll take his orders, execute them, and you won't regret him.  He also won't cost you so much in resources that you won't afford guys to play with him.

You could, philosophically, worry about having a rookie tackle and young guard (Amini Silatolu has 18 games experience above Division II, and 1/9th of those included season ending injuries).  I think this would be a smart enough duo inside Ryan Kalil, however.  It would allow you to look to other positions before coming back to get to RT (of course, assuming that they don't do anything else there), and let you know that Cam Newton will have some time.
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