2020 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Kamal Martin
Weight: 245 pounds
If Martin lays his hands on the ballcarrier, the play stops. With a firm grip, he initiates violent contact tackles. In watching Gophers games, Martin’s lower half acts as a loaded spring during the hit. From every conceivable angle, he will attempt to jolt the target.
While not a classic backpedal-and-run ‘backer, Martin excels in the short to intermediate zone area. Since the Raiders play a great deal (almost too much) zone, this speaks to Martin strength. If paired with active, coverage linebackers, Martin will force route disruption, that delays and affects the timing. When asked to cover, Martin uses feel more than blinding athletic talent to keep the prospective target in front.
During his career at UM, Martin start to develop a feel for the ball. In earlier games, you could see the guessing aspect and he would look disjointed and out of place with his reads. Now, Martin appears supremely confident in attacking.
Straight downhill with no nuance or hesitation. This tact allows Martin to pinpoint the ball and make the play, often in traffic. On the outside, Martin gathers speed, which is not ideal. However, he will use this force to drive his tackle.
If the Raiders intend to replace Vontaze Burfict with a similarly skilled middle linebacker, martin fits the bill. His physicality and ability to patrol the middle and stop the run aligns with Paul Guenther’s system. Martin will shoot the A gap on either blitzing or run support. More importantly, Martin could actually be a better athlete than the current version of Vontaze Burfict. Now, Burfict hovers around thirty, with concussions, and the league, watching his every move.
Granted, Martin will not fly down the seam with a fleet-footed tight end. Yet, he will punish everything in front of him. In the short to intermediate space, Martin style plays among the mass of blockers. By discarding blockers, blowing up quick-hitting plays, Martin will show his worth. While he may not appear as a first day or even second day option, the Raiders need to completely renovate and rebuild the linebacking corps. Currently, the Raiders lack talent and depth at the position. On a positive note, Martin brings both of those traits to the table. As mentioned, Martin makes sense for the type of defense that Paul Guenther envisions the Raiders should play. Although not a perfect fit for every defense, Martin’s toughness will make Mike Mayock pay attention.