The conversation about centers and the New York Giants in this 2014 NFL draft usually revolves around one guy, Colorado State's Weston Richburg. However, it's really a two-man race, as USC's Marcus Martin enters the fray. He's widely considered to be close to, if not equal to Richburg. Let's take a look at why.
- One of the more powerful lower body centers out there. Won't pancake you, but certainly has the ability to move you off the line of scrimmage with his leg drive.
- Can't be a more perfect prototype size than Martin. 6-foot-3, 320 pounds with 34-inch arms and 10-inch hands. Can't construct dimensions any better than that.
- Like Richburg, he's smart. Knows when to disengage and when to buckle down. Awareness is high and big reason he's thought well of.
- Nice, wide base. Can plant his feet down and dig in. Is not bothered by power moves as much as most centers might be.
- Good pass protector, and has decent athletic ability to get upfield into the second evel.
- Upper body strength out of proportion to lower body. Weak there, with a soft punch that often times forces him to waist bend after not connecting.
- Lateral agility isn't there. I can see interior speed rushers giving him some trouble.
- I see him whiffing at times, and while he's athletic enough to recover, he does leave that production on the field when he's capable.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Absolutely. He's got instant starter ability at a position where the current leader is tenuous at best. He's an athlete at the position and has untapped potential in that regard. He is powerful enough to hold up against NFL caliber players and will need developing to handle the speed guys. As a run blocker, I think he's better than Richburg at the line of scrimmage, but inferior when going downfield.
Marcus Martin (Center USC) vs Washington State 2013 (via Aimal Arsalla)
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Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - Not in top 100 (Will likely change with update)
Mocking The Draft - 133
CBS Sports - 76
Draft Countdown - 38
Draft Tek - 60
That's a huge range. You go as high as 38 and as low as 133. I happen to agree most with CBS Sports' ranking. I've got Martin rated at a high third-round level, which is a bit lower than what I have Richburg as (low second). The reasoning here is that I think Richburg's movement skills and agility are more valuable than Martin's lower body superiority.
It's debatable as to who has the higher upside. Richburg is better right now and with some strength training, he could become a complete center. Martin has the power part down, and shows enough flashes of athleticism that he can clean up his mistakes and become dominant. Certainly the body type goes to Martin. It's up to personal preference, and I don't think you can go wrong either way.