Much has been said about the New Orleans Saints undrafted-free agent class that the organization absolutely knocked out of the park after the 2013 NFL draft. In most circles the Saints had an amazing class, especially because of linebackers Chase Thomas and Kevin Reddick.
Not many have said anything about former Nebraska linebacker Eric Martin.
Dane Brugler over at CBS did some digging and came up with some unheralded undrafted rookies from around the league. For the Saints, Brugler bucked the popular trend and selected Martin as his guy:
As the Saints transition back to a 3-4 defensive scheme led by new coordinator Rob Ryan, Martin has a good chance to stick on the roster as a versatile pass rusher. He was a little-known reserve as an underclassman at Nebraska, but the light bulb seemed to go on for him as a senior, finishing 2012 with team bests in sacks (8.5) and tackles for loss (16.5). Martin has only average physical tools, but he’s able to win with intensity and initial burst and power to dominate blockers one-on-one using his length effectively. There are some concerns about his ability to digest an NFL playbook, but if the Saints are patient, Martin could be a diamond in the rough.
It is a bold move going away from Reddick and Thomas, both players who should have been selected in the draft. They both have a legit shot at making the final roster, especially with the inexperience in a 3-4 currently plaguing the roster.
Martin did not make a splash until his senior year with Nebraska when he recorded 8.5 sacks. At just 6’1″ and 237 pounds, Martin is undersized and may have trouble making a serious impact during the preseason. He certainly has some quality pass-rushing ability about him, but it’s hard to imagine Martin makes a serious push this preseason given the wealth of talent already on the roster—including his fellow undrafted rookies.
Give Martin a year or two to develop and he could find his way on to the field with the Saints. Unless Martin picks up the NFL game insanely fast and turns heads all preseason, he’ll at least have a potential spot on the practice squad.