How Marcus Martin Fits with the San Francisco 49ers

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How Marcus Martin Fits with the San Francisco 49ers
Associated Press
USC's Marcus Martin will compete immediately for a starting center job with the 49ers.

The San Francisco 49ers kept with the theory that it all starts with the offensive line when the team's name was called with its first pick in Round 3 of the 2014 NFL draft.

Entering the round, the 49ers made some moves before landing at No. 70 overall. With that pick, general manager Trent Baalke landed one of the top centers in the draft—USC's Marcus Martin.

The 49ers did not perhaps need a center entering this draft. 

At the outset, San Francisco's front office seemed perfectly content with letting veteran center Jonathan Goodwin go via free agency. Additionally, the 49ers extended backup O-lineman Daniel Kilgore's contract—essentially giving him the chance to take over the position.

Yet general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Harbaugh love competition, and simply handing Kilgore the job of starting center seemed too easy.

 

Positives

According to his profile page on CBS Sports, Martin already possesses the body of a veteran NFL offensive lineman. He also has a bit of nastiness to his game—an element the 49ers will love on their roster as they face off against some of the elite defenses in the NFC West.

Further bolstering his game is the fact that Martin plays at both the guard and center position.

This gives him added versatility when the 49ers assemble their depth chart entering 2014.

 

Negatives

At 6'3", Martin is not ideally as tall as one would perhaps like a guard to be. This suggests that Martin will likely stay at the center position at the NFL level per CBS Sports—a position at which he has only one year of experience.

Fortunately, shortcomings and flaws—inherent to many rookie O-linemen—should be easily coached up by offensive line coaches Mike Solari and Reggie Davis.

 

Final Thoughts

Martin was ranked by CBS Sports as the top center available in this year's draft. The 49ers get their hands on him with their first pick in Round 3.

USA TODAY Sports
Martin should enter 2014 as the favorite to win the starting center job.

The pick promises immediate competition at center, perhaps lending credence to Martin becoming the eventual favorite over Kilgore—at least in the long run.

Martin's added versatility is a lovely bonus for San Francisco as well. Depth on the offensive line is never a bad thing.

But at the start of 2014, it could be a player like Kilgore who is backing up Martin.

 

As always, be sure to stay tuned to this author's coverage and analysis of each 49ers pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

 

Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, covering the San Francisco 49ers. Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.

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