Kamal Martin’s versatility fits Packers’ linebacker room

Sports

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 06: Nate Stanley #4 of the Iowa Hawkeyes passes the ball under pressure from Kamal Martin #21 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the fourth quarter of the game on October 6, 2018 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Iowa defeated Minnesota 48-31. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Packers’ newest linebacker is ready for his turn.

With its fourth pick in the NFL Draft, Green Bay chose Kamal Martin out of Minnesota, 175th overall.

It was the first need-based pick of the draft for the Green and Gold.

Sticking with a unique theme of Green Bay’s selections, Martin’s player profile includes experience at the quarterback position – he was even committed to Eastern Michigan as a signal caller until right before his senior season.

It wasn’t until his freshman year at Minnesota that he became a linebacker.

“Yep, started as a quarterback and I played a little bit of defense my senior year of high school,” the former safety said. “Ended up playing outside linebacker and moving my way up to inside linebacker the past couple years, and you know it’s been a blessing.”

A rookie to the inside linebacker position, Martin saw his draft stock bumped a bit because of a knee injury sustained during the 2019 season. He missed five games overall but says he feels “100 percent” despite sitting out the Gophers’ bowl game in January.

Standing 6’3″ and weighing in at 240 pounds, Martin already looks the part of an NFL linebacker.

“I would consider my biggest strength to be being able to combine my athletic ability with how well I know the defensive side of the game,” Martin said.

“You know just being able to use my length and my range and speed, and chunking down ball carriers and just being prepared when it comes to Sundays.”

The rookie will look to compete right away with the likes of Oren Burks and Christian Kirksey at inside linebacker. With the departure of Blake Martinez, Green Bay returns a room thin on snaps.

What Martin lacks in experience, he could make up for in physicality. The rookie’s mindset is likely music to Packer fans’ ears.

“Always been a fan of the physical side of the football game,” Martin said.

“I feel like that’s one of the reasons why we fall in love with the game, just because there’s nothing like it and there’s nothing like that physical side where you truly get to punish opponents, especially in the cold.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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