Prospect: Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
Grade: 7.1 (Grading Scale)
Measurements taken from the NFL Scouting Combine
Strengths: Tall, well-built end with 35” arms and 10” hands…Adequate play recognition and overall football IQ…Has more lateral quickness than expected, can change directions with suddenness…Disruptive from numerous alignments, from interior and the edge…Effective on stunts and twists, can get to the quarterback in a number of ways…Finds the quarterback well and says disciplined in his rush lanes…Has shown flashes of an effective spin move as a rusher…Possesses high-end natural strength to get pass blockers on their heels and press the pocket…Uses height and long arms to deflect passes regularly…Obvious gap-splitting and backfield disruption potential…Has enough power to reset the line of scrimmage on the edge…Packs a ton of power as a hitter or tackler…Proven positional versatility…Improved statistical outputs yearly, developmental arrow pointed up.
Weaknesses: Moves with a little bit of stiffness, not the most flexible player…Freelances from assignment too often…Inconsistent get-off at the snap, doesn’t possess the quickest first step…Plays too much of a finesse game for stretches, not utilizing strength/size advantages properly…Will struggle to disengage to finish after successful bull-rushes…Behind in development of hand usage, furthest thing from a technician…Plays with pads too high defending the run…Has issues holding ground against double teams…Struggles to recover if he loses position, gets washed out of plays…Doesn’t move laterally down the line of scrimmage well…Will miss tackles in space by failing to break down…Effort level is not always there.
Through a tremendous senior season in which he took a big step forward, Kareem Martin has cemented himself as a day two prospect. His improvements even came over the course of his final season at North Carolina. He was a better player at the end of the season, which is promising for his future.
Martin’s size and athleticism are what make him so intriguing. Those physical tools are things that can’t be taught. If able to develop the more technical aspects of his game, Kareem Martin will become a dynamic edge defender. Hand usage and pad level improvements would make a big difference.
Martin will still have value on day one. Teams should expect immediate contributions, even if he’s not slid into a starting lineup. He has a knack for disruption, both in run defense and as a rusher. When Martin gets a half-step on a blocker, it’s game over. He plays in the backfield as much as any edge prospect in this year’s class. On multiple occasions, he completely took over games.
As far as scheme fits go, a four man front makes the most sense for Martin. His versatility will provide value for any scheme though. He has the ability to contribute from the edge or interior and from two or three point stances. No matter the scheme, Martin has the ability to start right away, contribute on all downs, and make splash plays periodically.—Darren Page
North Carolina vs. Cincinnati
- Swims the LT and wins to his inside gap, chases RB to the perimeter and right into the force LB
- Keeps contain as a rusher by standing up the LT, shedding when QB tries to scramble and holding the edge, leads to a sack for a teammate
- Inconsistent usage of size and power, is no more dominant against backs and TE than against OL
- Times well with hands to get them into passing lane, has ball go between his arms though
- Presses the RT to inside gap and spins back to the outside quickly, puts heavy hit on the QB
- Stunts into B gap as a standing rusher from interior, splits LG and LT while engaging both to free up outside rusher looping back inside for a sack between the two of them
- Flashes bullrush from the outside, walks back the LT into the lap of the QB
- Absolutely pancakes the LT with a heavy punch on first contact and forces a hurried throw
- Stands up the RG by out-leveraging with pad level and gets chipped from the LT, gets pushed right into the running lane and pulls down the back for a minimal gain
- Doesn’t break down on the edge and sink hips, misses a free shot on the back when he makes a quick cut
- Loses some ground trying to absorb a double team, does keep shoulders square but too high
- Gets under the pads of the RG and walks him back into the QB, just can’t disengage and make the sack when the QB takes off
- Stands up the RT by getting under his pads, creates space & slides off to the inside for an easy TFL
- Violent hands and heavy-handed to jolt blockers and compromise their balance
- Quick off the ball from a 2 point stance, splits a gap with explosiveness and shrugs off a back with ease to force a hurried throw
North Carolina vs. Miami
- Bumps inside to 3 technique on the first third down
- Is left unblocked but gets cut down by the back on play action, poor anticipation
- Lets Seantrel Henderson run across him on outside zone, fights through inside shoulder and into the backfield, hauls down the back for a loss
- Doesn’t break down to make a tackle, comes in high as well, but has great length as a tackler
- Tends to come into contact with high pads and let blockers get to his chest
- Incredible raw power to blow Henderson back into the backfield and set a hard edge
- Stays home on the backside of a reverse, spins off a lead block and gets in on the tackle to stuff it
- Does a better job anticipating the cut block later on and gets hands up to try and bat a pass
- Takes a step inside off the ball and loses the edge on a sweep, schematic break down?
- Flashes a heavy punch to compromise anchors and work initial bullrush, but doesn’t disengage to work off the block after pressing the pocket
- Wrestles down Morris for a sack as unblocked end, tracks him well to mirror a scramble to edge
- Heavy hands to create penetration on the edge and disrupt perimeter runs
- Dips around a pull and kick on play action, puts a hit on Morris as he throws, + flexbility
- Fine motor play as unblocked backside end on outside zone, chases and puts a heavy hit on RB
- Tries to slide off a TE but can’t clear contact with hands and gets walled off when RB cuts
- Keeps outside shoulder free and slides off a poor block attempt for an easy TFL
- Struggles to get himself out of trouble when he loses gap discipline, gets washed from plays trying to combat leveraged blocks
- Jumps over a poor cut block from a back to force a hurried throw, plays it better and better
- Quick feet to change directions and fall back on zone blitz, then redirects forward on a draw play
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech
- Gets caved inside by a tight end on a off tackle run, poor diagnosis of the play
- Diagnoses a screen pass as front-side end, but looks stiff trying to back out of his rush and play it
- Instinctive play to lock up a tight end and keep him from releasing on a play action rollout
- Very passive on early pass rushes, doesn’t explode off the ball and into contact, pops straight up
- Clubs a kickout block and drags down Logan Thomas on a QB power, great use of his hands
- Bumps inside to a 3 technique rusher position on numerous third and longs
- Comes off the ball and freezes on sweep motion and fake, crashes to inside and makes a TFL when Thomas keeps up the middle
- Uses a swim move and his hands to shed and gets in on a sack, still shows little burst to him
- Gets inside the LT from the backside and chases down an off-tackle run for a TFL, highly disruptive as a run defender on a consistent basis
- Not explosive off the ball or with exceptional speed, but uses his hands well to create space and get around the corner to pick up a sack when Thomas holds the ball too long
- Slides off a block and right into the hole on a draw play, stands the back up at the LOS
Other games reviewed: Boston College, Pittsburgh, Senior Bowl practices (in person).