Kareem Martin Scouting Report
Kareem Martin, 6-5/272
By Charlie Campbell
Occasionally looks like a natural pass-rusher
Has some pass-rushing moves
Enough speed to get around the corner
Flashes potential as a run defender
Has some strength
Quality run-defender who can hold the edge
Uses bull rush to blow up runs in the backfield
Good fit as a 4-3 base end
A little stiff, needs to improve ability to sink his hips/shoulder
Doesn't seem to study or set up his tackles
Needs to improve preparation
Disappears for stretches
Not a good fit in a 3-4
A few years ago, Martin looked like he could be the next big thing for North Carolina football. In 2010, the Tar Heels had two defensive ends, Donte Paige-Moss and Quinton Coples, who produced good sack totals, but for 2011 Martin, a sophomore, beat out Paige-Moss for a starting spot despite Paige-Moss' 7.5 sacks in 2010. Martin started the 2011 season strong and looked like he had the potential to be a superstar. However, that never happened as Martin turned into a quality college player who just was't an elite play-maker.
Martin recorded 40 tackles with four sacks, seven tackles for a loss and six passes batted in 2011. He didn't take the next step as a junior as he totaled 40 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, three passes batted, one forced fumble and four sacks in 2012. 2013 was the senior's best season as he notched 82 tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up. Martin started the year off quietly, but he was red hot during the second half of the season.
The team that drafts Martin will get a nice project who could develop into a quality starter and pass-rusher. He has a nice combination of size and speed. Martin could use some work on his agility for dipping his shoulder and hips to get around tackles, but is a good athlete. He has the strength to fight off offensive tackles and hold his ground in run defense. Martin can beat tackles with speed off the edge and can close on the quarterback quickly when he gets free. Continuing to refine his moves, his shedding of blocks and learning how to set up offensive tackles will be vital to Martin panning out.
Martin is extremely inconsistent and never really played up to his potential. He would hot at times and seem like an absolute force. Martin also had the tendency to disappear for long stretches. Even in the good totals he put up as a senior, his sacks came in bunches.
For the NFL, Martin could turn into a good player if he is drafted by a team that has a good coaching staff to develop him. Martin needs a stable defensive line coach who believes in him and wants to work with him. If Martin lands in a bad situation, he could easily be a blown pick.
Opinions of Martin are highly varied among scouts. WalterFootball.com knows some who feel Martin should go in Round 2 and others who don't like him at all and think of him as a third-day pick. The team that likes him enough to pull the trigger will probably select him on Day 2, but some teams will see that as being overdrafted.
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Player Comparison: Michael Johnson. Coming out of Georgia Tech, Johnson was a similar prospect to Martin. They both had good skill sets with some production as a senior, but never fully reached their athletic potentials in college. Johnson fell to the third round before the Bengals took him, and that was a great landing spot as they developed him into a quality pro. Johnson had four seasons of modest sack production, including 3.5 last year, but had one big season of 11.5 sacks in 2012. I could see Martin's career following a similar track.
NFL Matches: Jacksonville, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Cincinnati, Seattle
There are a lot of teams that could consider drafting Martin on the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft. Teams that run a 4-3 defense need to be stocked at defensive end, so just about half the league could consider drafting Martin on Day 2.
The Jaguars, Raiders and Buccaneers are all very weak at defensive end with huge needs to improve respective their edge rushs. Atlanta also needs edge rushers after missing John Abraham last year.
The Cowboys will have to replace Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware is aging. Martin could be a nice project for Rod Marinelli as a second- or third-rounder.
The Bears could part ways with Julius Peppers, but even if they keep him, they need youth at defensive end. Martin would make some sense with Phil Emery's track record. The Bengals also could let Johnson leave in free agency. Martin would fortify Cincinnati's ends with Margus Hunt and Carlos Dunlap.
Likewise, the Seahawks will have a need at end if Michael Bennett isn't re-signed.