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New Packers LB Kamal Martin offers coverage and special teams value

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Scout Brandian Ross praised Kamal Martin’s ability to line up against tight ends, but the former Minnesota linebacker also loves special teams.

Minnesota v Purdue Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Packers entered the 2020 NFL Draft with a noteworthy hole at inside linebacker. With the 175th pick, they finally addressed it, selecting linebacker Kamal Martin out of Minnesota.

Martin, listed at 6-3 and 240 pounds, missed several games during his final season as a Golden Gopher and didn’t test this spring, leaving the Packers with some potential big question marks in their scouting report, especially since they were unable to bring Martin in for a visit and the corresponding medical check.

However, Packers scout Brandian Ross said the team was able to run down enough details on Martin’s athletic background and injury history to feel good about the selection.

For his part, Martin believes his knee injury is an non-issue and won’t limit him in his rookie season.

“I’m gonna be 100% fine. It’s not going to be a big deal at all,” he told reporters on a conference call Saturday afternoon.

Ross told reporters the Packers were intrigued by Martin’s varied skillset, one which allows him to contribute against both the run and the pass. He made repeated, specific mention of Martin’s ability to line up against all types of pass catchers, especially tight ends.

“He’s a guy who can cover tight ends down the field,” Ross said. “He has length and size that allows him to be more physical with those tight ends who like to stretch the seam.”

Martin, who was recruited by Eastern Michigan as a quarterback, switched to linebacker shortly before he committed to Minnesota. He quickly took to the position, enjoying the opportunity to shut down opposing offenses for a change. He’s also a career-long special teams maven, and said he anticipates doing special teams grunt work for the Packers as long as they need it.

“I love special teams. I love making plays on all different phases. And you definitely need plays on special teams to win games.”