January 23, 2014 // NFL Fighting Irish

Zack Martin Skyrocketing Up NFL Draft Boards at Senior Bowl

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Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin (70) is awarded the game's MVP trophy against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankees Stadium. Notre Dame won the game 29-16. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin (70) is awarded the game’s MVP trophy against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankees Stadium. Notre Dame won the game 29-16. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If there is one player greatly improving his draft stock down in Mobile, Alabama this week at the Senior Bowl, is Notre Dame offensive tackle and two time captain Zack Martin.  Notre Dame’s anchor on the offensive line for the last four years is skyrocketing up draft boards this week with a dominant performance thus far in practice.

Here’s just a sample of the some of the rave reviews Martin has been getting so far this week.

NFL.com’s Charles Davis writes that Martin could be the top tackle in this year’s draft:

Notre Dame’s Zack Martin might be the best tackle in this year’s class. Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews has kind of been given that spot, but Martin is showing this week that he has a strong case for that title. - NFL.com

NFL.com’s Huguenin says Martin looks like a first round pick.

Notre Dame’s Zack Martin wasn’t necessarily a common name when the nation’s top offensive linemen were mentioned this season, but he has the look of a first-round pick….. (Mike) Mayock said he thinks Martin can play left tackle, but “worst-case scenario, you move him inside and he’s an All-Pro guard.” – NFL.com 

Martin and Pitt’s Aaron Donald have been the two prospects drawing the most praise this week and on Wednesday the two squared off in practice when Martin got some reps at guard.  The result?  Martin was the first lineman to get the better of Donald.

The one knock on Martin heading into the Senior Bowl were his arms.  The NFL Draft is driven by measurables in many ways and Martin does not possess prototypical arm length for a NFL offensive tackle.  Martin did, however, measure with 32 1/4 inch long arms which was slightly longer than pundits expected and longer than the arms of 2013 first round pick Justin Pugh – another elite college tackle that didn’t have “long enough” arms.  The New York Giants selected Pugh with the #20 overall pick in the draft.

Coming into this week Mel Kiper had Martin just inside the first round in his latest mock draft. Based on the praise Martin’s been getting all week by draft experts, it looks like that projection might be conservative as many now have Martin as a potential top 20 pick – just like Pugh was a year ago. In fact, it is looking possible that Martin could end up getting selected higher than Stephon Tuitt.

Now, a lot can change between now and April, but one thing is certain.  Zack Martin has helped himself out tremendously this week and has made himself a lot of money by moving up draft boards in the process.

A lot has been talked about this off-season already about replacing Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix, but not not much has been said about replacing Martin – a man started more games in his career than anyone else in Notre Dame history.  Part of that is because Notre Dame has much more depth along the offensive front, but depth alone is not going to replace Martin.  Notre Dame is losing an all-time great, albeit a sometimes unnoticed one, in Martin and will be just as hard, if not harder, to replace than either Tuitt or Nix.

Should Martin get selected in the first round, Notre Dame could have three first round picks in the same draft for the first time since the 1994 NFL Draft if Nix and Tuitt are also selected.  In ’94 Bryant Young, Jeff Burris, and Aaron Taylor were all selected in the first round.  In fact, all three hear their names called on the first night of the draft, Notre Dame will have six first round draft picks under the watch of Brian Kelly in the span of four years.  Notre Dame’s three previous head coaches combined for just three first rounders – Jeff Faine, Brady Quinn, Luke Petigout,  - in their combined 13 years at Notre Dame.

 

Comments to this Article

  • Michael the Archangel commented on January 23rd, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Anyone who has watched the way Zach Martin competed against Murphy at Stanford,
    and Pitt’s Donald and AZ.St. Bradford and Sutton, not to mention star power
    when against MSU and $C, or Van Noy from BYU, shouldn’t be surprised.
    And that was just last season!
    The length of his arms is the stumbling block? Really?
    And Russell Wilson is too short to make it as QB in the NFL,
    like Joe Montana (third round pick) didn’t have the “arm strength” to make it.
    yad! yada! yada!
    Hawaii might not be the site for future pro bowls, but Zach Martin, be it as OG or OT,
    will be in attendance as one of the selected participants in the near future.

    Replacing his leadership and consistent outstanding performances will be challenging.
    Thanks for the memories, Zach. Wishing you good health and at least one NFL GM
    with the good sense to have the eyes to see the opportunity he has with you.

    [Reply]

  • duranko commented on January 25th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Lads, welcome to Notre Dame’s Future!! We’re no longer featuring a depth chart of string and sealing wax as we were under the Lawrence Fat Boy.

    THIS IS A PROTOTYPE:

    GREAT player leaves (Martin-the pros know it even if AA voters don’t)

    THREE studs waiting in line to battle furiously for his position of LT
    (Stanley, Elmer and McGlinchey) it will be a donnybrook, with TALENT!

    A great assistant coach balancing the shining example of the Departed and d motivating the three candidates to grab the brass ring.

    THIS is Notre Dame football!

    We’re back lads, and ‘s happening all over the depth chart!!

    [Reply]

  • Michael the Archangel commented on January 28th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1937327-notre-dame-football-how-do-the-irish-replace-zack-martin

    [Reply]

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