The Arizona Cardinals picked up a physical specimen in Kareem Martin. At 6-6, 272 and speed, the team has decided to make him a versatile defensive player. Head coach Bruce Arians has said that Martin will play outside linebacker, but also move inside to the defensive line in some sub packages.
In college, he played defensive end in a 4-2-5 base defense, so playing 3-4 outside standing up will be different. In his introductory press conference, he said that in the new scheme "there are some things I have never done before," but he trusts his coaches to get him ready.
What he emphasized more than the position change is the transition between levels of competition. "The NFL is a faster paced game than in college, so it's a lot more communication," he explained. "I've seen that from the first couple of practices."
He is adjusting to different positions and terminology. He does, though, expect to have the defense "down pat" in about a month.
While Martin doesn't know exactly yet how he will be used by the team, he knows it won't be in just one spot. "They'll move me around from defensive line to outside back, wherever I can make plays from," he told reporters.
He did admit that he is much more comfortable playing "with his hand in the dirt" on the defensive line, and he believes "before it's all said and done," he will develop into a 3-4 defensive end. "It's a fun position," he said, explaining why he prefers that to playing standing up. "It's a grind down there.
He views himself a lot like Calais Campbell -- tall (he is 6-6 and Campbell is 6-8) and with room to grow in his frame. Campbell came into the league weighing around 275, but grew into his frame to weigh 295, where he plays at.
Martin has the right attitude to start with. He said he is hanging around Campbell, John Abraham and Darnell Dockett, "just trying to get in their hip pocket" and learn what he needs to so he can have a successful NFL career.
He sees himself developing into a defensive end. Should he stay around his weight and be more like a John Abraham? That would make for a fantastic career.
At the same time, the genius in taking Martin in the draft is that he has potential either way. He could replace Darnell Dockett or even Calais Campbell at some point if he bulks up. He could also become an elite pass rusher.
I think it is smart to play him outside to start, as he will be able to be succeed early at getting to the quarterback. That is what he does best. As he grows, he can gradually take on more responsibility on the defensive line.
How do hope he is used? What do you think his future will be in the league?