Zack Martin, the four-year starter at left tackle for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, has enjoyed a boost in his 2014 NFL Draft stock as a result of his impressive performance at the Senior Bowl. And while some talent evaluators are just now getting excited about him, the reality is that Martin has been in the mix to be an early draft selection for quite some time.
You’re simply not going to find a more experienced player entering the 2014 NFL Draft. Martin has started a total of 52 games for the Irish, and ended the 2013 season as an All-Independent 1st Team selection.
As a high school recruit, Martin was considered a 4-star player and received offers from Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana, ultimately choosing Notre Dame and being a big part of 36 victories during his time in South Bend.
While not the physical prototype for offensive tackle, Martin showed that he has the talent to play on the outside in the NFL during his week of practice in Mobile. Below is the FRG Scouting evaluation of Zack Martin.
NAME: ZACK MARTIN
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Notre Dame
Zack Martin presents as a player that barely meets the physical minimums when it comes to playing the tackle position; standing 6’4” and weighing 304lbs, some will suggest that he is better suited to play guard, especially because of his less than ideal arm length (32 1/4”)…Martin is a tough player with the type of demeanor you want to see from an offensive lineman; he enjoys punishing his opponent…A well-coordinated athlete for 304lbs, Martin displays the ability to quickly position his feet to gain an edge in run blocking; uses good angles to win versus longer defenders…Can drive the bus when in-line blocking; possesses enough power to move the defender and open running lanes…Strong upper body and punch; able to jolt defenders off their path and out of the play…Able to anchor versus power rushers; displays a good base and a proper fit with his hands to control the bull rushing defender…Experienced player who brings over 50 starts to the NFL.
Is a bit of a waist-bender who tends to lean forward when pass blocking versus faster defenders…Not a “Velcro” player; needs to sustain blocks for longer periods of time…Possesses average feet; tends to labor in his shuffle to keep up with speed rushers…While coordinated enough to get to the second level, Martin becomes more of an obstacle in space rather than a finisher.
On the next level, Zack Martin will be a valued commodity both on the field and as a leader in the locker room. His career starts cannot be understated, as there aren’t many players that enter the NFL which as much game-rep experience as Martin has enjoyed. On the field, Martin will provide an NFL team with a reliable, consistent offensive lineman who will show up every Sunday and complete his assignment on a regular basis. While not the most physically imposing or athletically gifted of the tackle prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft, Martin has a veteran’s savvy and understanding of angles and body positioning that will help him transition quickly to the speed and power of the NFL game. I’m not quite sold on Martin as a left tackle, as his lack of overall length will pose a problem. But he’ll be given every opportunity to prove he can be a blindside protector. Regardless of what position Martin settles into, you’re looking at a well-schooled upgrade to an offensive line with long-term starting talent.
GRADE: 7.7 (High-2nd round)