Offense gets help in fifth round

Quarterback, offensive lineman will compete for backup spots

The last time the Green Bay Packers picked up a quarterback by way of the Atlanta Falcons things worked out pretty well. While nobody's expecting Ingle Martin IV to become the next Brett Favre, the Packers used their first pick in the fifth round to select the 6-foot 2-inch, 224-pound quarterback/punter out of Furman University and added some depth to the quarterback position.

For his part, Martin sounds excited about getting a chance to watch and learn from the future Hall of Famer.

"To have a chance to get up there with Brett Favre and watch him play is a tremendous opportunity and one I'll be looking forward to," Martin told reporters.

On the surface, Martin, the 148th overall pick, is an intriguing prospect. He began his collegiate career at the University of Florida under head coach Steve Spurrier. But with Rex Grossman and Chris Leak on the roster, Martin's opportunities were few and far between. He started the first four games for Florida in 2003 but suffered a concussion against Miami and was replaced by Leak. In 2004, Martin decided to transfer to Furman (Greenville, S.C.) where he started every game during his final two seasons, setting new school records for passing yards (5,761), passing touchdowns (42), and total offense (6,277). He also finished second in career passing efficiency (147.65) and third in completion percentage.

"He's a very talented kid and we think he's got a really good arm," said general manager Ted Thompson. "He fits the size requirements that we are looking for. I had (quarterbacks coach) Tom Clements and (head coach) Mike McCarthy do studies on him and we felt very comfortable that he would be an interesting guy to take on the second day. It's been my philosophy – and I learned this from Ron Wolf – that if you have the luxury and flexibility in terms of picks, if you find a guy on the second day that you like, you take him, put him in there and see how it works out."

In 2005, Martin set new Furman single season records for passing yards (2,959), passing touchdowns (22) and total offense (3,193). He earned All-American honors as quarterback and punter last season, averaging 42.5 yards on 34 punts with 11 that were downed inside the 20-yard line. In 27 total games at Furman, Martin shattered school records by completing 410 of 669 passes (61.3%) for 5,761 yards, 42 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He rushed 139 times for 524 yards and eight touchdowns.

Though the handwriting was on the wall at Florida, Martin says he learned a lot from both Spurrier and Grossman.

"Rex was as good a player as I've been around," said Martin. "Just watching him make the plays he did taught you a little bit about competing. He was a guy who was out there every day and trying to throw a touchdown pass on every play. It's that kind of fire that all quarterbacks try to play with. From Coach Spurrier, I learned a lot as far as fundamentals, the game, calling plays and defenses. He is just a great technician and I wish I could have played for him for all four years."

Tight end converted to tackle
The Packers also beefed up their offensive line in the fifth round, tabbing 6-foot-4, 300-pound tackle Tony Moll of Nevada with the first of their two compensatory choices awarded by the NFL. Moll is an interesting choice in that he played tight end his red shirt freshman year and for the next two seasons at Nevada before moving inside to play tackle for a little more than a year.

"It was definitely a need for the team," Moll explained when asked about switching from tight end to offensive tackle. "We had an opening when we lost our senior tackle to the 49ers. My head coach came up to me and asked me if I wanted to make the change and it was a really easy decision for me to make because we had a really good tight end coordinator at Nevada. So I knew it would be a good switch for me."

By all accounts, Moll has made good progress on the adjustment and continues to work very hard. Packer coaches are hopeful that the experience Moll gained should serve him well as he takes his game to the next level.

"He was a weak-side tackle so he had experience playing on both sides of the line of scrimmage," said Packer offensive line coach Joe Philbin. "From a physical standpoint, his frame fits our mold. He's a tall guy and weighs a bit over 300 pounds. He runs very well for a man of his size so we're excited about having him. Character-wise, I think he's going to be an excellent fit."

As to making the transition from tight end, Philbin added, "A good football player is a good football player. If a guy knows how to block and has good leverage, those are things that, as a coach, are hard to impart. Certainly, there will be a learning curve for him but we're happy to have him."

Thompson agreed. In fact, he cited Moll when he was asked if any of his second draft players had athletic ability that particularly stands out. "He's a naturally big-boned kid that is going to get bigger," said Thompson. "He's very athletic and has all of the qualities you look for in a tackle pass blocking in our league. He's a very interesting prospect."


Tom Andrews began covering the Packers in 1974 as a reporter for Milwaukee radio stations WZUU and WOKY. He has been a contributing writer to Packer Report since 1999 and his articles have also appeared in the Green Bay Packers Yearbook, Packer Profiles, Packer Tracker and Sports Collectors Digest among other publications. Andrews is also president of Andrews Media Ventures, a Milwaukee area media and communications consultancy. Email him at toma@andrewsmediaventures.com.


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