Take a look across the New York Giants defensive front, and you'll notice a distinct trend. They're giants. Not only in name, but in stature.
Some teams like their defensive linemen (particularly pass rushers), favor smaller and quicker, such as the Colts with Peyton Manning. The Giants, however, have historically favored linemen with rare combinations of size and athleticism.
While the 4-3 front demands good athletes at both levels and every position, the Giants have taken it a step further with their defensive front. They have actively tried to assemble a defensive line rotation that is both deep and exceptionally athletic. They want to be able to dominate the line of scrimmage with 4 linemen, put pressure on the quarterback and stop the run, or at least occupy offensive linemen enough that the linebackers have a clean shot at the running back.
So with that in mind, let's take a look at Kareem Martin from North Carolina
- Prototypical size. 6-foot-6, 272 pounds, 35 inch arms, 10 inch hands. If you were building a 4-3 DE, he would look like Martin
- Excellent athlete for his size: Broad jumped 10-feet, 9 inches, vertical of 35.5 inches, 7.20 second 3-cone drill, 4.33 second short shuttle. All of those but the vertical beat Jadeveon Clowney, who was 10 pounds lighter.
- High football IQ. Recognizes play fakes and screen passes well. Also seems to understand gap discipline and contain.
- Uses his size and length well.
- Flashes good closing speed, and shows a good motor.
- High character and team leader (voted captain).
- Needs to work on his hand use. His Long arms and massive hands should be a strength in his game.
- Pad level needs to be more consistent. It could be a coaching issue, but it might also indicate a lack of bend.
- Inconsistencies in hand usage and pad level lead to inconsistent play.
- Needs to do a better job protecting his legs and dealing with cut-blocks.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Yup. Martin would likely slot in as the LDE with Robert Ayers to bookend JPP & DaMontre Moore. Martin is simply massive and generally uses his size well, though improving his technique would make him a terror.
He shows the versatility that the Giants love in their prospects, playing at left end, right end, and end in 3-down sets. Eventually he might be able to slide inside on passing downs, however like Jason Pierre-Paul, Martin doesn't have the hand-fighting aspect of the game down well enough to win inside.
The tools are all there though. Prototypical size, absurdly long arms, very good athleticism... Martin has everything the Giants love in a defensive lineman.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 50
Mocking The Draft - 115
CBS Sports - 55
Draft Countdown - 66
Draft Tek - 57
Like a lot of high-upside players, there's a lot of variation on how people feel about Kareem Martin. His biggest problems seem to stem from inconsistent technique. If he can get that sorted out, maybe sit behind an established defensive end for a season or so, Martin could be a monster off the edge. He has the kind of size, length and lower-body explosiveness that is just rare, and if his talent can be harnessed, his upside is sky-high.
Teams should also like that he is (according to what I've read) a high-character guy, team leader, and a high IQ player.
I'll admit, I wasn't terribly high on Martin when I first started watching him. He seemed like a poor man's Quinton Coples, and more of a 1-gap 5-tech (a la Coples or JJ Watt). But the more I've watched him, the more he looks like a fit for the Giants defense, albeit on the left side.