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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Around The Draft: Marcus Martin

60 prospects in 60 days (around the draft in 60 days - because I procrastinated at 80, I guess).  36 prospects down, by my count. 37 here in a minute, actually, but still.  That puts me at 6 behind, but that's for another day. For today, one.

I've yet to do a center, and while there's no realistic need for me to do a FB or a third-phase specialist like a kicker or snapper, center could be in play with a Best Player Available type approach. Not to unseat Ryan Kalil - being the only guaranteed guy longterm, I feel like they'd do what it takes to keep Ryan.  He'll be an interesting case study in the Dave Gettleman voidable years situation - Kalil's current contract voids in '16, after which he'll be 32.  After '15, his signing bonus proration is gone, that leaves the team with a lower cap hit for '16 and potentially the ability to re-up around the void.

Or not, he could just be toast like the other voidable guys.

At any rate, Martin.  Another USC center.  Carolina held two last year, Kalil and the now-retired Jeff Byers. Martin doesn't fall far off Kalil's mark, as a powerful and athletic interior offensive lineman. He has a mean streak, though it gets too aggressive (attempts to pancake where he could just control, so he sometimes fails).  He does it all well, understands the game.  He has guard experience, which is where he'd have to start out in Carolina and eventually take over for Kalil.

He has to become more technically sound, and he has to beat that knockout punch nonsense out of his game or get better at it.  The need-based reasoning?  Martin fulfills a way to get out of an expensive contract eventually, tightens up a short term weakness (none of the RG are good, and Amini Silatolu at LG is growing an injury history).  Best case scenario?  You end up so good at RG that you can have more of them at tackle.

It's a long shot, and I don't want the team to cycle away Kalil.  But, it's an option.  And in a world where you might be paying Cam Newton $20 million, Luke Kuechly at least $12 million, and same for Greg Hardy, a $10 million center is tough to swallow.   You can keep the strength strong at a cheaper price.

Again, not the way I'd go, but it makes sense.
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