What's up fellow Pat fans, hope you all are having a good holiday season. But who cares about the holidays when you could start preparing for an event months away. That's right, it is time to analyze the NFL draft. So every week I will try to introduce 1 difference maker who can help out our squad. Last week we talked about Washington TE Austin Seferian Jenkins, and this week we are going to talk about UNC DE Kareem Martin. If you have any thoughts, or any corrections and further insight, please leave your comments below. (And vote on the poll, because polls are cool.)
January 2nd: The following are the current positions of need on the patriots roster at the moment. (In tiers of importance)
Tier 1: Interior Offensive Line, Tight End
Tier 2: Pass Rusher, Cornerback, Defensive Interior, Wide Reciever
Tier 3: Quarterback, Inside Linebacker
1. Andre Carter is old, let's talk Defensive Ends: Kareem Martin
Kareem Martin is UNC's 21 year old senior Defensive End. His true freshman year, he played in 11 games and started 3. He finished the year with 16 tackles, 1.5 for loss, and a pass breakup. His sophomore year, Martin started all 13 games. He finished the year with 40 tackles, 7 for loss, 4 sacks, and 6 pass breakups. His junior year, Martin started all 12 games while earning second team All-ACC honors from the coaches and media. His finished the year with 40 tackles, 15.5 for loss, 4 sacks, 3 pass breakups, and a forced fumble. His senior year, Martin started all 13 games while earning All ACC honors. He finished the year with 82 tackles, 21.5 for loss, 11.5 sacks, 3 pass breakups, and 3 forced fumbles.
I will say it now, I was very critical of Rob Ninkovich's 3 year extension. I thought while he was underrated by media, he was overrated by pats nation. This season he has proved his worth, and along with the development of Chandler Jones the Patriots finally have a formidable tandem at defensive end. Along with Andre Carter, the Patriots defensive front has been able to survive. While the Pat's base defense is a 4-3 scheme, they spend a lot of time in the nickel, as well as kicking Chandler Jones inside on third downs while bringing in a third DE. Earlier, Michael Buchanan filled that role. But Buchanan lost his role once the Patriots brought in veteran Andre Carter. Carter is the consummate pro, but he is 34. While the more popular choice is to draft a DT, the DE position needs depth. They made a mistake cutting Marcus Bernard in the pre-season, and Jake Bequette has not developed. 2
Kareem Martin has his limits, but could prove to be a valuable piece for a defense moving forward. His production his senior year was a little staggering, 82 tackles for a defensive end in 13 games is pretty incredible. Martin has NFL ready size at 6'6 265, and has experience in 4 man and 3 man fronts, while operating from both end spots. He is active with his hands, and has plus pass rushing ability as well as run defense ability. Martin is not very explosive, or at least he is not always very explosive. He shows glimpses of some great athleticism, but he is definitely not elite in that category. His first step is not Dominique Easley like, but it is NFL caliber. He has the ability to bend and dip, which will help him at the next level. His effort is usually superb, which has been a talking point about UNC defenders recently. Martin shows good tackling ability, which is helped by technique+arm length. A perfect game that described Martin's ability as a defender was UNC's victory against Cincinnati in this years bowl game. (Link Below) He shows versatility on the line, strong hand usage, good run defense, but some poor explosion off the snap. I have also provided a link to Martin's page on draftbreakdown.com, where you can access newly added game tapes of his play.
At the moment, Martin's draft stock ranges from late second to late 4th round projections. That should change through the draft process, and will probably end up around the mid third. His athleticism will come into question during pre-draft workouts, and could cause him to slide on draft day. Nevertheless, Martin has been productive against good competition for 4 years now, and has really improved every year. At least, Martin comes into the league as a valuable piece of a dline rotation. At most, he could become an every down player.
Pros: Size, balanced game (pass, run defense), hand usage, versatility, First Step
Cons: Elite Athleticism, strength, disengaging from blockers
Pro Play Comparison: Chandler Jones (Comparable trait: Flexibility, hip bend, size)
Weekly Patriots Mock Draft:
Round 1: Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt
Round 2: Bradley Roby CB Ohio St.
Round 3: Dominique Easley DL Florida
Round 4: Arthur Lynch TE Georgia
Round 6: Jonathan Brown LB Illinois
Round 6: Spencer Long OG Nebraska
Round 7: Ted Bolser TE Indiana