The first week of free agency has come and gone, and the Chicago Bears have not added a single piece to its offensive line. Both coach Lovie Smith and coordinator Mike Tice have professed confidence in the group currently on the roster. Yet GM Phil Emery said last week that he's looking to make some upgrades up front.
Chicago brought in G Anthony Herrera last week for a visit but beyond that, they have shown no interest in the current crop of free agent offensive linemen. So it's likely Emery will add pieces from the upcoming draft.
The biggest need is at left tackle, where J'Marcus Webb struggled mightily last season. With Frank Omiyale gone, finding a pure left tackle in the draft and letting Webb, who has experience on both sides, play swing tackle makes a lot of sense.
There aren't a lot of NFL-ready left tackles in this year's draft yet one player has been falling down draft boards of late and could be available when Chicago picks at 19th overall.
Stanford's Jonathan Martin was a consensus top 12 pick a month ago. A flu bug hit him during the NFL Scouting Combine and he did not participate in the majority of the drills. Without a chance for teams to see him up close, some analysts have him falling into the middle of the first round.
Let's go to the film and analyze Martin's all-around game:
OT Jonathan Martin
Jason O. Watson/US Presswire
-As a run blocker, shows good awareness at the second level. Easily locates linebackers and knows how to use angles.
-Moves feet well as run blocker. Knows how to position himself between defender and ball carrier.
-In pass protection, very quick into his drop. Wide first step.
-Great balance. Sinks hips well. Quick feet.
-Extends arms well to drive speed rushers past the quarterback.
-Phenomenal awareness on stunts and blitzes.
-Has experience on both sides of the line.
-Not a power player. Relies more on technique than brute strength.
-Cannot consistently drive defenders out of the hole.
-Does not explode off the ball.
-A finesse pass protector. Can get blown back by the bull rush.
-Plays too high sometimes, causing him to lose leverage.
-Finds defenders but doesn't finish blocks at the second level.
Martin is your prototypical finesse left tackle. He doesn't offer a whole lot in the run game and will never be a mauler, so his best fit is on the left side.
That said, he has very good technique, quick feet and great awareness as a pass protector. His lack of strength could create problems with powerful edge rushers in the NFL. He needs to bulk up.
At Stanford's pro day today, in front of representatives from all 32 NFL teams, Martin failed to impress. He did not quell the worries about his lack of upper-body strength, putting up a measly 20 bench press reps at 225 pounds. His 40-yard dash time was also a mediocre 5.26.
On the positive side, his arms measured at 34 inches, which is great for a left tackle, who must use arm extension to keep defensive ends out of the backfield. Short-armed blindside protectors don't typically last long at the next level.
Due to his illness at the combine, Martin had one shot to impress NFL scouts and he came up short. This makes it even more likely he'll fall to the Bears at 19th overall.
Left tackle J'Marcus Webb performed as well as a turnstile at times last year. Jay Cutler was constantly under duress from the blind side. Martin could be a long-term option at left tackle, assuming he can build strength. The club could then push Webb into the swing role, where he's best suited.
If Martin falls to Chicago at 19th overall, Emery will have to give him strong consideration. There are some red flags with Martin but he's an NFL-ready tackle that should have a 10-year career in the NFL. It's unlikely he'll ever be dominant but at the very least, he'll be reliable.
If I'm making the decision, I take Martin. Some time in the weight room should improve his strength. He already has NFL-level technique, footwork and football smarts. If he can add a little power and explosiveness, he'll be worth the first-round pick.
The first video below from 2010 shows Martin squaring off against Arizona's Brooks Reed, who currently plays for the Houston Texans. This is the bad Martin, who repeatedly loses his balance and gets pushed into the backfield.
If Martin doesn't build strength, you'll see a lot more of the first tape in the pros. If he does bulk up, you should see a lot more of the second.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.