Summary: For the majority of this decade, the Notre Dame offensive line has featured a Martin being a tough lineman at the point of attack. Zack Martin was a good left tackle for the Fighting Irish and immediately turned into one of the better guards in the NFL. Nick Martin has already been blocking on the inside at guard and center. Like his older brother, Nick Martin could be a quality NFL starter quickly at the next level.
Martin started 11 games at center in 2012 as the replacement for Braxston Cave. In 2013 and 2014, he was very solid with reliable pass protection and good contributions in the ground game. As a senior, Martin played his best. He was a steady pass protector and effective at helping to open holes in the ground game.
In the NFL, Martin looks like he could be a quick contributor. He enters the NFL with good technique, including good hand placement, balance, knee bend and anchorability. Martin is quick to the second level in the ground game and effective on screens. He has the mobility and athleticism for a zone- or man-blocking scheme. Notre Dame ran some plays of both - with a favor toward zone - over the years.
Martin could stand to add some power to anchor against heavy bull rushers in the NFL. He may not have the frame to get much bigger, so he would be better off helping on double teams rather than going one-on-one against speed rushers or heavy nose tackles.
In the 2016 NFL Draft, Martin could be a second-day selection.
Player Comparison: Evan Dietrich-Smith. Martin reminds me of Dietrich-Smith. Dietrich-Smith (6-2, 308) is balanced as run and pass blocker. Both have good technique, athleticism and balance. Martin is slightly bigger and could have more power. In the NFL, I think Martin will turn into a center who is comparable to Dietrich-Smith.
NFL Matches: San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Washington
In the NFC West, San Francisco has a huge hole at center, so Martin could provide a quick upgrade. The Seahawks traded away Max Unger last offseason and their offensive line disappointed in 2015. Martin could be a long-term center to work with Russell Wilson.
The Texans could lose starter Ben Jones in free agency. Martin could also be an upgrade over the pedestrian Jones. Likewise, Stefen Wisniewski could leave Jacksonville in free agency. However, the Jaguars are more likely to address the defense rather than take an offensive lineman like Martin.
If Alex Mack choses to opt out of Cleveland, the Browns will have a huge hole at center that would have to be addressed. Cincinnati should upgrade over Russell Bodine.
Peter Konz was a bust for Atlanta. The Falcons need an upgrade in the middle of their line. The Redskins are another team that could use improved play in the middle of their line. Martin could form a tough interior trio with Spencer Long and Brandon Scherff.