Marcus Martin   OC   USC

TALENT BOARD ROUND 3

STRENGTHS
Marcus has the size that you look for to play his position. He has a wide body, with a wide base that can be very effective when run blocking or pass blocking. He can make all the snaps and I’m not sure I have ever seen a center snap the ball with no movement in his body and as effortlessly as Marcus does. He so smooth you could stand on his back to change a light bulb as he is snapping the ball. Marcus has played more than one position on the interior of the offensive line which makes him very appealing to teams in this draft. Marcus has solid lateral agility and moves his feet well. He has just enough foot speed to recover when he gets beat and push his opponent up the field giving his quarterback the ability to slid in the pocket and extend the play. Marcus does a good job picking up the blitz. He is smart, has the football intelligence and athletic talent to keep improving enough to make himself a starting center for the team that drafts him.

CONCERNS
Marcus has to get a lot stronger if he wants to be a starting center in the NFL. He has sloppy techniques when pass blocking and when run blocking; however, in his defense, he has played different positions almost every year and sometimes players when moved around fall into bad habits. When he pass blocks, he over extends, which leaves him susceptible to swim moves and being off balance. When run blocking Marcus stands up (after he snaps the ball and before he fires out), losing leverage and the ability to move his opponent. His upper body is weak and he tries to use his body too much when run blocking. He has a decent punch after he snaps the ball but his timing is poor and he over extends and winds up guiding his opponent instead of stunning his man on the line of scrimmage. Because of a lack of strength, Marcus struggles with players on his nose, losing his balance and is on the ground too much. I suspect this is why he was moved to the center position in the first place, that and the fact that he can make all the snaps effortlessly. In general, for a player who has played as many snaps as Marcus has played, his basic blocking techniques and strength should be much better than they are right now.

BOTTOM LINE
I expect a player who has been moved around as much as Marcus has been to lack certain techniques but I don’t expect him to lack strength, an understanding of basic leverage and not finish his blocks – unless, that is, that he is in trouble. This sends a signal to me that Marcus is not working hard enough to be an NFL starting offensive lineman. It sends a signal to me that Marcus has been skating through on his athletic ability. That is very poor for a center. Right now Marcus does not show me on film that he has the work ethic and mental stamina to be an NFL guard, much less a center. His lack of consistency in basic run blocking and pass blocking techniques for any one of the interior line positions is a bit shocking. He played guard, so firing out at a pad level to move a defensive tackle is basic. When a guard is moved to center you look to see if they have the quickness out of their stance after snapping the ball to still fire quickly. Marcus has the quickness to snap the ball, stand straight up and then get into his man before his man can get off the ball. His ability to snap the ball is unique and all his numbers suggest his athletic talent to be a very good center in the future. Then I turn on the film and all I see is an “ok” center. The film shows a lack of attention to detail for his position. Making mistakes in pass blocking is to be expected but Marcus doesn’t make many mistakes; he just doesn’t finish his blocks. Making mistakes in technique is to be expected but Marcus has made the same mistakes in technique all year long. That, he is very consistent in. He did not improve this year. He played the center position as well in the first game as he did in the last game. I understand playing different positions is difficult, but I don’t understand a lack of improvement from a player who has the talent to improve…that’s disturbing to me. Marcus has the talent to be a pro bowl center or he could just be a center but he will be a center for the team that drafts him. There is no doubt about that.

Drew Boylhart
APR/2014