The Green Bay Packers made their first defensive selection in the 2020 NFL Draft with their fourth pick, selection number 175 in the fifth round of the draft. With that pick, the Packers chose Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Kamal Martin.
A captain for Minnesota last season, Martin’s size at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds is ideal for the middle of a defense. Martin was involved in numerous big plays as a senior, with a pair of interceptions and two forced fumbles in just eight games.
However, there are limitations to his game. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein says that Martin is “slow to diagnose” the play and “lacks feel for blocking schemes,” suggesting that he too often allows offensive linemen to get their hands on him at the second level. He will provide some special teams ability early, however, and has good explosiveness when making tackles, and could find himself in the running for some rotational snaps on defense in time.
Here are several other comments from NFL Draft analysts and Packers media members about the Packers’ selection at 175.
5.175: ILB Kamal Martin, Minnesota
Tough, physical kid. Captain at Minnesota. Plays with an edge. Run-and-hit LB. This fits with the theme for the draft: toughness. https://t.co/8sSjUkqmka— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) April 25, 2020
The Packers selected #Gophers LB Kamal Martin. He is an excellent tackler who will fit nicely as an ILB in Green Bay's system. If you need someone to wrap up in space, this your guy.— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) April 25, 2020
Martin is a very physical player who also made an impact off stunts/blitzes. Lots of potential. pic.twitter.com/wRipBWbb28
New #Packers LB Kamal Martin was @dpbrugler's No. 20 ILB.— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) April 25, 2020
2 INTs, career-high 66 tackles in 2019. Played several different positions. Had some injury issues, missed a lot of tackles and was suspended twice. @PFF didn't like him, projected him as a UDFA
LB Kamal Martin - Minnesota— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) April 25, 2020
6'3 245 Sr
HS QB, LB/S
Started as EDGE at Minnesota
Then heavy blitzer/downhill LB
Moved to Nickel/SLB over Slots
Pros - Physical POA, Length, Zone Instincts, Special Teams Upside
Cons - Misses Tackles, Run Instincts, Production, Injury#Packers