You know the overriding opinion on Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin. He could be a good offensive tackle in the NFL, or a Pro Bowl-caliber guard. Whatever team drafts Martin will weigh as much.
Martin was a four-year starter for the Fighting Irish, an All-American and the MVP of last season's Pinstripe Bowl. Quick, try and think of the last offensive lineman to earn MVP honors in a bowl game. That qualifies Martin's importance to the Notre Dame offense.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly considers Martin the best offensive lineman he's ever coached. That's saying something considering Kelly coached Joe Staley at Central Michigan.
Agility/movement: At Notre Dame, Martin showed enough athletic ability to get out on the move to block linebackers in space. Lateral agility and keeping up with speed rushers to the outside is one of the negatives about Martin.
Pass blocking: Speed can give Martin trouble as he's not the quickest moving to the outside. Where Martin looks good as a pass blocker is when defenders try and make a move to the inside. Martin's second step is quick and can seal off the inside rush lane in a hurry. He shows off a devastating punch at times. Martin has slightly shorter arms, so he'll have some trouble keeping his hands on longer defensive players. Stanford's Trent Murphy considers Martin the best blocker he's ever faced.
Quickness: Martin gets out of his stance and into his set in a hurry. This is evident because Martin is rarely out of position. He'll often be engaging a defender first, which gives him the advantage.
Run blocking: Run blocking is where Martin's demeanor and power come into play. He routinely showed the ability to overpower defensive players at the point of attack. Martin is a technician as well. He keeps a base that makes him hard to push around and uses good handwork.
He can also get out on pulls. On some running plays, Martin would pull to the right through the B-gap, opening a lane for the runner. He gets down the line in a hurry and can bulldoze any linebackers firing through the gap.
Strength: The strength Martin possesses is impressive and on display every game. He's a powerful blocker, which is a reason he's a good candidate to move inside to guard. He is strong throughout his frame and looks like he can even add more bulk if needed.
Technique: Regularly shown good technique. Keeps a good base, sits down in his stance and shuffles his fee properly. That's what starting four years will get a player. Martin is as technically sound as any lineman in the draft this year. His technique helps overshadow any type of athletic limitations he may have.
Final word: Martin is right up there with Texas A&M's Jake Matthews as being the most technically sound offensive lineman in the draft. He keeps a good base, has proper handwork and doesn't have wasted motions. The question, though, is about his ability to stick outside at tackle. His size and playing style lends more to plain guard. But if he has a positional preference, it's at tackle where he started the last four seasons at Notre Dame.
"I've played tackle my whole career, and I tell teams that's the position I'm familiar with and I can be effective there," Martin said at the NFL Combine. "At the same time, I'm comfortable playing any position. I think one of my strengths is my versatility, and so I just let teams know I can play any position. They agree with the versatility point of me playing multiple positions."