When scouting NFL Draft prospects, there are always players who "jump off the tape" to me more than others. Why? It's tough to say -- "draft scouting" is a subjective field and there are hundreds of variables to consider. Within, there are going to be different biases and different priorities in terms of which skills or tools to look for at the different positions among evaluators.
This series of short scouting reports will aim to pick out a play, or a couple of plays, that jumped out to me as representations of why I am in a certain prospect's corner. It's incomplete evaluation, but meant to highlight what a player can do and why those skills might project to the NFL level.
jumps off the tape
OT/OG Zack Martin, Notre Dame: 6'4, 308
Martin is one of the cleanest prospects in this year's draft, in my opinion. Everything he does seems to be fundamentally sound, solid technically and he's effortless in his movement. Watching him pass protect is the thing that jumps off the screen to me -- balance, fluid kick step, easy athleticism, strong hands, solid punch, quick reset ... he's just stable and proficient.
Sets with a wide base and flat back, shocks the blitzer at the point of attack and punches so hard he pushes the rusher to the outside into his own teammate inside, stacking and stifling both.
Smooth kick slide. Punches so hard the outside rusher almost falls down. Replaces his hands quickly and efficiently so the rusher isn't able to get into his body and/or establish any leverage.
Just running a clinic.
The Bottom Line:
Martin is a tad on the short side at 6'4 for the left tackle position, so many feel that he'll move to the inside in the pros. I'm not so sure -- he may get some looks at right tackle before getting moved to guard, but I believe he'll do fine at either spot. He's tough, dependable and what jumps out on tape to me is how easily he controls the action around him. He's a calm and effortless technician, but this belies his salty demeanor.
Final note: When building their NFL Draft boards, scouting departments watch every single snap of a particular draft prospect's season. Within those hundreds of snaps, there are likely some great plays and some bad plays, and a multitude of nondescript plays in between. Scouts must determine how consistently a player can display the good traits and figure out how easily coaches can mitigate or coach out the bad. This report is just a jump-off point.