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2018 NFL free agency: Could DE/OLB Kareem Martin follow James Bettcher to Giants?

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Martin is coming off his best season

Arizona Cardinals v Indianapolis Colts
Kareem Martin
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The New York Giants need scheme versatile players for the multiple front style new defensive coordinator James Bettcher is expected to employ. They need defensive end depth because Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul have played far too many snaps the past two seasons. They need outside linebacker because, well, because right now they don’t have any.

They might be able to find all of that in one place, or more precisely player, if they can pry defensive end/outside linebacker Kareem Martin away from the Arizona Cardinals.

Martin, 25, did little for the Cardinals his first three seasons after being selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

In 2016, Martin played only 33 defensive snaps for Bettcher, Arizona’s defensive coordinator. In 2017, though, he played 457 snaps — more than he had his first three seasons combined. Martin started 10 games in 2017 after starting only four total in his first three seasons.

One scout told me that the “the light turned on” for Martin, 6-foot-6 and listed at 272 pounds, when he became comfortable at the outside linebacker. That same scout told me he could be a “huge asset” for the Giants, but that he would be “shocked” to see the Cardinals let him get away.

Martin was just 21st among 26 free agent “edge defenders” graded by Pro Football Focus in pass rush productivity. In 256 pass rush snaps he had 19 total pressures and a pass rush productivity score of 6.6. Devon Kennard of the Giants is 22nd on that list with a PRP of 6.4 that includes just 14 pressures in 305 pass rush snaps, though four of those were sacks to one for Martin.

PFF rated Martin 10th among those same edge defenders in run stop percentage at 7.3 percent. For what it’s worth, Kennard was 17th at 5.5 percent.

Martin would not be the “answer” for the Giants as they search for dynamic edge players to help their defense in 2018. He appears, however, to be a useful player with some upside who could provide the Giants help in an area where they need it.