During the next six and a half weeks, scouts and coaches alike will be taking one final look at the game film of potential draft picks. Each of them will grade the prospects that they have scouted over the past couple of years and hand over their final evaluations to Dave Gettleman, who will also take one last look. You can be sure that there will be no shortage of names echoing in and out of his inner ear as they systematically and methodically establish the 2014 draft board. Forget banging the table. How about climbing the proverbial table and stomping on it like a snot-nosed brat throwing a temper tantrum? That's how certain I want the Carolina Panthers' scouts and coaches to feel about who they covet.
Hyperbole aside, I wonder if anyone has been making a pitch for Zach Martin because the former Notre Dame left tackle would fit nicely here in Carolina. The Indianapolis native is as solid a prospect as they come. Seemingly, the lone question when discussing his NFL future is which position will he bring the most value: Guard or Tackle?
Some pundits will point to Martin's 32 7/8-inch limbs and immediately pigeon-hole him at guard, but I don't buy it. My eyes tell me that he would thrive as a blindside protector despite possessing relatively short arms for the tackle position. There's absolutely no doubt that Ryan Clady's 36-inch arms have benefited him tremendously. But what about Joe Thomas? The Cleveland Brown's All-Pro left tackle has performed just fine with his 32 1/2-inch arms. The rule of thumb is that technique always trumps measurements, no matter how good are bad they may appear to be on the surface. Will Martin be more dominant inside? Perhaps. Either way, he has all the tools to experience an extended career at the next level.
The early draft feedback seems to indicate that Martin will likely be gone by the time the Panthers make their first round selection. However, if he is still available, they should strongly consider pulling the trigger. There is enough tape to suggest that the 6-foot 4-inch, 308-pound former Walter Camp 2nd team All-American could fill the gaping hole left by Jordan Gross from day one. Not only did he perform convincingly well on the blindside throughout his college career, but he also stood out while facing extremely talented edge rushers all week long at the Senior Bowl practices two months ago. At worst, Martin becomes a pro bowl level left guard.
Now it's your turn CSR. Take a quick look at Martin's positives and negatives and tell us what you think? Be sure to check our my latest mock draft at the bottom of the page.
-Two-time team captain
-Versatility to play tackle or guard
-Extremely durable and reliable: Broke the record for most starts in Notre Dame History
-Very determined, lunch pail type work ethic
-Highly motivated because of his deep love for the game of football
-Thickly built lower body gives him a sturdy wide base
-Near flawless ninety degree stance
-Displays excellent explosion off the line of scrimmage
-True technician and student of the game
-Above average lateral agility
-Quickly engages opponent with a powerful initial punch
-Sustaining strength to extend beyond the initial engagement
-Plays with outstanding leverage and pad level
-Plays through the whistle
-Mirrors defenders movements with ease
-Superb hand placement
-Athletic enough to effectively execute when pull blocking
-Keeps his legs churning while run blocking
-Difficult to move once he locks onto opponent
-Moves well enough in space to perform combination blocks
-Above average run blocker and pass protector
-Almost always aware of immediate or delayed blitzes
-Lateral speed insufficient at times against edge speed rushers
-Less than ideal arm length
-A bit older than most prospects(will turn 24 during 2014 NFL season)
-Doesn't display road grader power as a run blocker
2014 Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 11.0
|1||OT/OG Zach Martin||6' 4"||308||Notre Dame|
|2||WR Donte Moncrief||6' 2"||221||Mississippi|
|3||OT JaWuan James||6' 6"||311||Tennessee|
|4||DE James Gayle||6' 4"||259||Virginia Tech|
|5||RB/WR/KR Dri Archer||5' 8"||173||Kent State|
|6||CB Aaron Colvin||5' 11"||177||Oklahoma|
|7||CB Lavelle Westbrooks||6' 0"||186||Georgia Southern|