Former Gopher, Kamal Martin is Pushing for a Starting Job in Green Bay
Kamal Martin was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The former Minnesota Gopher has turned a lot of heads, since stepping on the training camp practice field.
In fact, most reporters around the Packers have Martin fighting for the starting inside linebacker position. Green Bay reporters can’t say too much because they have been muzzled by the Packers organization and aren’t allowed to say who is getting what reps, at each position.
I don’t like to copy/paste this much for an excerpt out of another article but this entire section (below), written by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, is just too good to leave any of it out.
Packers’ rookie of the summer so far: Kamal Martin. Details of what he’s done in the ESPN daily camp report: https://t.co/Mq50mpoUzv— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) August 26, 2020
Demovsky on Kamal Martin – ESPN
With all the focus this offseason on the Packers’ top-three draft picks — quarterback Jordan Love, running back AJ Dillon and versatile tight end Josiah Deguara — fifth-round pick Kamal Martin quietly went about his business in relative anonymity. Not anymore. Practice after practice, Martin has stated his case to be the starting inside linebacker next to Christian Kirksey. He’s in competition with Oren Burks and Ty Summers, but he might already have the edge.
In the same team period on Tuesday, Martin blew up a run play, getting Jamaal Williams on a tackle for loss, and then shed a block to stop a screen pass before it could get going. Based on the way he moves, it would be hard to tell he’s a rookie coming off knee surgery from an injury that occurred in his final college game at Minnesota. Perhaps he’s been able to digest the Packers’ defense so quickly because of his background reading defenses as a quarterback. In fact, he originally committed to Eastern Michigan as a quarterback but changed his mind when the home-state Gophers offered him the shot to play there as a linebacker.
“A lot of this game is mental — 90 percent of this game is mental and 10 percent is physical,” Martin said. “The more you know in-between the lines it will be beneficial on the field.” — Rob Demovsky
You can find slob jobs for Kamal Martin on the feed of every Packers reporter who has access to practice. Green Bay was, apparently, bad at inside linebacker last season (at least that’s what I’ve seen on the internet). With that being the case, Martin sliding into the starting role shouldn’t shock Gopher fans, who know how smart and talented he is..
Kamal Martin vs the Minnesota Vikings – Week 1
This is just a friendly reminder, that the Green Bay Packers open their season at US Bank Stadium in just 13 days. If Kamal Martin does grab that starting spot by week 1, he will be introduced as an NFL player for the first time, in his home state. That’s a cool week 1 side story.
Hopefully it’s his worst game of the season.
If you don’t want to take Rob Demovsky’s word on Kamal Martin, here is Matt LaFleur talking about how impressive Kamal has been (plus some of the other slob jobs I mentioned earlier).
Matt LaFleur was asked about former #Gophers LB Kamal Martin today:— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) August 22, 2020
“The first thing that jumps out is he is a long, athletic guy and he’s very intelligent. I think he works hard at it. It’s just going to come down to getting those reps and feeling comfortable in there…” pic.twitter.com/EKFh8n1KqE
Kamal Martin just had a couple flash plays in run defense. He’s been the Packers best rookie thus far.— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) August 30, 2020
Love hits Shep down the seam on a gorgeous throw for a touchdown. Great day for Shep too!
There’s an open competition at ILB. Not sure I’d rule out the rookie.— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) August 22, 2020
Packers ILB coach Kirk Olivadotti on Kamal Martin:
“Kamal is a guy who really worked at it with all the Zoom stuff. When he got in here, he was mentally in a really good place, especially for a rookie.”
Rookie Kamal Martin just blew up a running play. Again. Then comes off block nicely to defend a screen. Hard not to notice the fifth-round pick from Minnesota.— Mike Spofford (@mikespofford) August 25, 2020
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan