A Hit With Kamal Martin Could Be Huge for Packers

If Martin's play from training camp translates to Sundays, he'll be a massive addition to this Packers defense.

By all accounts, Packers fifth round draft pick Kamal Martin (out of Minnesota) has had one heck of a training camp.

Before I go any further, it's important to add the disclaimers that yes, this is only training camp, there have been no exhibition games and the kid is a rookie who was selected in the fifth round, so expectations have to be relatively low.

But if Martin is able to translate his widely reported success from training camp into the regular season, it could be a massive difference maker for the Packers this season. It would represent the solidification of a position that has been a weak spot on the team for years, as the Packers would finally have two quality starters in Martin and newcomer Christian Kirksey, also reported to be having a solid camp.

The fact that Martin has a realistic shot at being an opening day starter as a fifth round pick shows the tremendous potential value he could provide for this team.

Here are some of the accounts of Martin's work during camp so far.

From Zach Kruse at Packers Wire:

From Eli Berkovits at 247sports:

Tweets from camp

Needless to say, if any player has earned the title of "camp darling" so far this year, it's Martin. As Andy Herman said, he's going to "have to prove it on Sundays," but the early returns have been quite promising.

The Packers have been in desperate need of solid play from interior linebackers for years now. If they managed to hit on Martin with a fifth round pick, that will be a major deal for this team in 2020 and beyond.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

5 points

Comments (24)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PackfanNY's picture

August 31, 2020 at 03:48 pm

I hope all of these people are right. Heck I am praying for it.

But....no mini camp, no preseason games and people are making some pretty big statements on this kid. That’s a big leap of faith..

4 points
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Bearmeat's picture

August 31, 2020 at 03:52 pm

It would be a big boon to the run defense to be able to have two true ILBs to cover up for the deficiencies of our DL - either scheme or personnel. Assuming he can carry TEs and/or RBs in the passing game...

We could really use a break like this. Crossing fingers.

16 points
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nostradanus's picture

August 31, 2020 at 04:17 pm

Let's all hope they hit BIG on Martin, that would be a major boon for the Packer Defense!!
GO PACK!!

8 points
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Lphill's picture

August 31, 2020 at 04:32 pm

This is why you need at least 1 pre season game.

4 points
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Hematite's picture

August 31, 2020 at 04:39 pm

I'm really pulling for this kid to become a solid ILB for the Packers for years to come.

10 points
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Coldworld's picture

August 31, 2020 at 05:14 pm

And that’s the key, it’s not just what he does out of the gate but what he does while he is a Packer. He is going to make mistakes like all rookies, perhaps more so than in normal years.

3 points
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mnbadger's picture

August 31, 2020 at 05:20 pm

I saw him make a few splash plays during his college days, but missed a fair amount of time as I remember it. Hopefully he's matured and recovered physically. It seemed like his teammates really respected him. As said ad nauseum, now he has to step up and do it consistently on Sundays. GPG

3 points
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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 31, 2020 at 07:13 pm

I hope he can play the same way for the Packers that he did against the Badgers.

4 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 31, 2020 at 07:21 pm

Assuming for a moment that Martin is a solid starting NFL ILB as a rookie (a leap of a fair size but not implausible), it might mean that Pettine doesn't have to find Hercules Hybrid. Instead, he will have a 240 pound ILB who can take on OGs, stop the run and provide coverage. It could really affect Greene's snaps. GB has been asking a safety to do things that their size makes very difficult.

10 points
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Bure9620's picture

September 01, 2020 at 06:06 am

It could affect Greene's snaps but I hope not....Martin was a solid player at Minnesota but really did not cover very well in college...he was a bit of a liability actually...he got burned by backs in the passing game...some FBs too (Austin Ramesh)......I am hoping the coverage assignments go to Greene, Kirksey and Burks...Martin could be a solid player but I believe he definitely has a defined ceiling..I do not see him as an eventual 3 down backer....he was a day 3 pick for a reason.......They can let Martin go bang on early downs...he can thrive in there.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 01, 2020 at 07:16 am

Martin was a player who took a while to find and learn a position. While what you say was true early, he increasingly came into his own once he settled as an ILB. I think his transition to defense and then eventually to ILB, coupled with the late injury kept him under the radar of many. Good for us. He sounds like the Martin of late in his college career is what we got, not the one from earlier scouting reports. Let’s hope so, but encouraging.

2 points
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SpikeHyzer's picture

September 01, 2020 at 10:25 pm

He actually had extremely good games against the Badgers every time out and you can't cherry pick a play or two by Ramesh.

I have a buddy who is a MN fan and says that he brings it like he did against the Badgers every snap in every game and that he can cover well enough. At least until he was injured.

He's pretty explosive and quick and has done a lot of off season work to alter his body and I think he will be a very different player here.

1 points
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cheesehead1's picture

August 31, 2020 at 08:35 pm

It all sounds good, but until we see Kamal Martin, Rashan Gary, MVS in a real game, I’ll reserve my judgement. Practice and training camp are one thing, so let’s see when the real games begin. Fingers crossed that they are as good as advertised.

3 points
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Rick1's picture

August 31, 2020 at 09:19 pm

It sounds like he has good instincts. Being a LB is being assignment sound slash aggressive. If he can be disruptive this guy could be gold in the 5 th round.

3 points
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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 31, 2020 at 10:43 pm

Martin will be compared to Queen who could have been had in Round 1 when the Packers drafted Love over him. I think the Packers will get a better return on their investment from Martin which is why they bargain shop for ILBers. I hope Martin has similar success to Blake Martinez and is appreciated instead of bashed.

0 points
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SpikeHyzer's picture

September 01, 2020 at 10:22 pm

I hope he is way better than Martinez, who deserved the bashing because he ranked dead last in the NFL in pursuit ability (gave up the most yards per play on his tackles by a very wide margin).

You can't blame that on the line. He had opportunities to make big plays and keep the defense in decent yardage situations, but he was slow to read and react and even slower of foot. He turned every 3 yard gain into 7.

One of the worst we've ever had at the position since I've been watching in 1969.

1 points
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NoNonsense's picture

September 01, 2020 at 01:55 am

Even if he played well in preseason games people would say wait till the real games begin. Heck even if he has a good rookie year, it still takes 3 years at least to truly judge a draft pick or player.

Look at Derwin James, a lot of people said Gute blew it when he traded back from 14 and then up to 18 again to draft Jaire Alexander right after James was picked. He had a great rookie year but will now miss his 2nd season in a row because of injuries. Anyone still think James was the better choice there?

Anyone here consider Oren Burks a bust? How about Josh Jackson? If these guys make big improvements this year can they change your opinion?

2 points
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Turophile's picture

September 01, 2020 at 06:15 am

I think you are only half right NoNonense. It is because of the players that DON'T shine in their rookie year the wisdom is to wait until the third season is well underway before making a judgement on them. Some players just 'click' early and you know they have NFL level talent very quickly.

Does anyone doubt that (for example) Elgton Jenkins will look good in his second year ? For me, Injuries are a separate thing, because what we are looking at is ability at the NFL level. Sure some players prove too brittle to play in the NFL (not to mention others that are just unlucky, like Nick Collins), but I doubt anyone would say Alexander doesn't have the talent to play at a high level against NFL competition.

2 points
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SpikeHyzer's picture

September 01, 2020 at 10:28 pm

Indeed, this is a violent game, and even the less violent sports are still hard on the body and there is really no such thing as injury prone. It's a big misread by the original poster to place such high value on the 2 years of injury in making the comparison to drafting Alexander.

0 points
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stockholder's picture

September 01, 2020 at 07:26 am

A CB set their draft. Size, not speed, was the question mark. They liked him, and so did other teams. He was moving up. Burks is a pick that should have never happened. BGs drafts are about athletism, not positional. The underwear olympics works, if you have players that want to be champions.

0 points
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dobber's picture

September 01, 2020 at 09:13 am

Yeah, James has had hard luck with injuries, but those aren't transitive: just because he had a major cartilage blowout in practice with the Chargers doesn't mean he would have had one in GB. I woud argue that once the path diverges, comparative field injuries don't mean much.

1 points
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Demon's picture

September 01, 2020 at 05:48 pm

Count me one who considers Burks a bust!

-1 points
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PackerBacker84's picture

September 01, 2020 at 11:35 am

Either way, the fact that he seems more sound than undisciplined shows he’s really putting his best foot forward and knows the D playbook and his assignments. Tough to say for rookies.... He will have growing pains, I’m sure. With no preseason games or rookie orientation/practices to aid his development, he’s making the most of his opportunities by standing out at TC. At this point, I’ll gladly take that. And If I’m not mistaken, Pre injury, he was rated a top 10 ILB by a few scouts.

1 points
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Branden Burke's picture

September 01, 2020 at 09:01 pm

Hearing him talk is refreshing. He sounds very intelligent, which I think helps give him the tools to be a staple player on the defense for a long time. He has great tools.

1 points
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