Blake Martinez, ILB
School: Stanford | Conference: PAC-12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 239 lbs
Projected: 5th Round | Actual: 4th Round (Pick 131) by the Green Bay Packers
Blake Martinez is a highly productive inside linebacker coming out of Stanford. He's a tackling machine that does the dirty work at the line of scrimmage. This past season he was a semi-finalist for the Butkus award given to the nation's top linebacker and was named to several All PAC-12 first teams. Martinez has good size and plays physical. He was the leader of Stanford's defense in 2015 which lost 8 starters from the previous year. In 2014, Martinez was hesitant in his play. He made big improvements to his play this season when he started playing without abandon. Martinez falls into that "worker bee" category – he's an effort player that has a record of production in college but will his lack of athleticism work against him in the NFL?
Back-to-back pressures from Blake Martinez and Datone Jones lead to a Browns punt #CLEvsGB— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 13, 2016
Watching Browns gm tape delay. Blake Martinez (CDO) getting reps vs Cleveland starting offense & making an impact pic.twitter.com/NBH56id9gO— Dave Cooney (@CooneyLand) August 13, 2016
How He Makes the Packers Better and Creates Problems for the Redskins
In my original profile of Blake Martinez I figuratively pounded the table for him and defended him against all too easy (and in my view inaccurate) Shane Skov comparisons (see my conversation with Dr. Who aka one of Hogs Havens best members). Though Martinez is not the most athletically gifted linebacker he has great instincts and can read plays and get in position. All indications are he is improving in his coverage skills and also in his pass rushing skills out of Packers camp. His problem so far is, as displayed in the preseason debut, finishing the play. Despite missing a key tackle against Duke Johnson, Martinez got significant playing time and is impressing so much in camp there are rumblings he may play himself into a starting inside linebacker role in the Packers base 3-4 front.
I would have loved Martinez to be a Redskin so I’ll be interested to see who he replaces (Sam Barrington or Jake Ryan?) if he indeed grabs a starting spot. One thing is for certain the Packers got themselves a smart high motor player that will only get better despite his physical limitations. He may never become a star but Martinez has the potential to be a good inside linebacker for Green Bay. When the Packers face the Redskins this season it remains to be seen if Martinez will be apart of the starting lineup or if he will be primarily on special teams either way the Redskins better block him because he is the type of player that can quietly but substantially make a difference in a game by doing the dirty work.