The Atlanta Falcons need to protect their franchise player in Matt Ryan. They started out by hiring offensive line coach Mike Tice. However, they need to add more talent, and Zack Martin would be a great selection to improve the Falcons' depth and talent on the front line.
The Falcons feel the same, as The Q Sports by USA Today has reported that general manager Thomas Dimitroff has shown interest in Notre Dame’s old left tackle. Atlanta could add a ton of depth and enhance competition by bringing in the talented Irish lineman.
Falcons general manager Thomas Demitroff on the field talking with Notre Dame's Zack Martin. Falcons have a major need along offensive line.— The Q (@Qsports) January 22, 2014
University of Notre Dame
6'4-1/8", 305 pounds
2013: 13 Games Started at Left Tackle
2012: 13 Games Started at Left Tackle
2011: 13 Games Started at Left Tackle
2010: 13 Games Started—11 at Left Tackle, 2 at Right Tackle
While he's not the tallest player with the longest arms, Martin is extremely fleet-footed in his kick step and understands how to keep his body in front of the man he's blocking. He has excellent push off the edge in the running game and high-level technique in the passing game.
His frame is stout, but there's more that he brings to the table than just good technique and a solid frame. He's one of the most intelligent players on the field, and his large amount of experience and leadership will be a welcome addition to the Falcons offensive line.
He doesn't have the length that other tackles have and might be better suited as a guard. However, he doesn't have the strength or punch to be a powerful guard in a man-blocking scheme. Tice would have to coach him up, but the Irish player has the tools to succeed in the NFL.
How Does He Fit the Comrade Filter?
Zack Martin was the captain for the Fighting Irish and has been a model citizen off the field. He's got an angry attitude on the field and understands how to turn the switch on before every game. The Falcons need someone like him on the offensive line.
A 52-game starter at offensive tackle with 49 of them at left tackle means that he has experience with a ton of different looks. He's someone who could fit into either zone- or man-blocking schemes and could be a unique player as a pulling guard or tackle on screen plays.
How He Would Fit into the Falcons' plans
While he shouldn't be taken at No. 6 overall, Martin could be a legitimate consideration for a trade back up into the first round. If he does happen to fall to the early second round, Atlanta could take him and play him at either right guard or left tackle.
The Falcons love versatility like his, and his mauling ability and nasty attitude will be more than welcome on the offensive line. Martin could compete for a starting role at three different spots and give the Falcons the ability to slide Sam Baker over to the right side if needed.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.