Image Via: Monday Morning Sports Session
With the NFL combine now over and with the start of college pro days and free agency upon us, I thought it would be a good time to look at a very real scenario that could play out on draft night and land Carolina and Dave Gettleman right in the cat bird's seat for the second year in a row to snag a player that represents a need while also being the best player still on the board.
First Round, With The 28th Pick Overall The Carolina Panthers Select: Zack Martin OT Notre Dame
Per CBS Sports:
Strengths WeaknessesSTRENGTHS: Very good at keeping his feet underneath him while keeping his butt low to handle both speed and power. He does play with good quickness (but not explosiveness) off the snap, showing knee bend and core strength to anchor, as well as the lateral agility to mirror more athletic defenders.
He also shows better athleticism than you might think when blocking on the move, demonstrating above average straight-line speed to get to the second level, as well as the nastiness to bury his target into the ground.
WEAKNESSES: With less than ideal length and lateral range, Martin's NFL future may lie inside at guard, where he never played in college. The move to guard is necessary because Martin does not possess great height, arm length or foot speed. He chucks his way back (rather than sliding) for an effective if not aesthetically-pleasing form of pass protection.
COMPARIES TO: Logan Mankins, OG, New England Patriots - Mankins has been one of the NFL's most valuable offensive linemen since being selected by New England in the first round of the 2005 draft, and has anchored the Patriots' front line with top-notch instincts, toughness and versatility despite lacking elite athleticism. Martin exhibits many of the same traits, and should draw first-round consideration.
--Rob Rang and Derek Stephens (2/2/14)
PLAYER OVERVIEWMartin lined up at both guard and tackle at the Senior Bowl and routinely stymied the competition with quickness, power and overall technique.
Though Martin lacks the prototypical size of a modern NFL tackle, he has exhibited impressive technique and better-than-average strength, and after a strong Senior Bowl showing, many scouts believe he could not only play on the outside at the next level, but could do so very well.
He's instinctive, tough and technically sound despite lacking elite athleticism, and his biggest appeal to NFL scouts may be his versatility as many believe he could step in and succeed either at tackle or guard, as a pro.
I know everybody seeing this is saying to themselves in their heads or out loud "SMOKEWAGON'S GONE MAD" (most likely rolling their eyes and saying this guy doesn't know squat.) Well at least give me a moment to explain the method behind the madness that for at least one more draft, a player that seemed unattainable or improbable to be there when the Carolina is selecting will still be on the board. Well first off lets start with the teams drafting in front of us in the first round. I will start my point from the 12th overall pick to the Giants and work my way back to us, this is where everything will fall into place. Don't concern yourself with the picks before that because none of those decisions save one the St. Louis Rams and whether they take Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews with the 6th pick. (That's right Atlanta is going to trade up to grab J. Clowney at number 2 overall after Houston takes a QB with the 1st overall pick.) Now lets get back to the Giants and how it affects us. It is common belief NY will take Martin or Taylor Lewan if they are sitting there at 12th overall to help repair their o-line in the same manner Carolina needs to. Well since the moving around in front of New York has happened, there now will be 3 options at OT from them to chose from and that is either who is left from either Matthews or Robinson, Lewan, and Martin. The Giants will most likely take the leftover from whoever St. Louis passed on. So now here we go.
Miami and Arizona are ahead of Carolina drafting at back to back spots 19th and 20th overall and are in need of OT's also. Well Eugene Monroe will most likely have resigned with Baltimore so that leaves Miami and Arizona to have battled it out for Brandon Albert the other top shelf free agent offensive tackle on the market this year. It doesn't really matter where Albert lands it will have the same affect on the situation anyway you slice it. Just for kicks, will say Arizona lands Albert for the sole reasoning that they are closer than Miami for a playoff run. That then has Miami doing deja vu and taking another Michigan OT in Taylor Lewan with their first round pick.
Now to Zack Martin, all the other teams drafting after that will most likely not be looking at OT with their draft boards. The only potential hickup I can see is what direction will New Orleans go. I am under the thinking they will still be looking at the defensive side of the ball early and try to nab a 3/4 rush linebacker for Rob Ryans defense. In the end Carolina has fate look down on it at least one more time and are able to land an offensive lineman they had no business getting.
Notre Dame vs Michigan State 2013, Zack Martin is number 70 playing LT.