The book on: Kareem Martin

The North Carolina pass rusher's athleticism was evident in his on-field production and his athleticism was evident at the Scouting Combine.

Kareem Martin

Defensive End
University of North Carolina Tar Heels
Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina
Roanoke Rapids High School


The North Carolina native was a three-sport standout during his prep days and that quickness, lateral agility and power was never more evident on the football field than in the last two seasons. Martin was a dominant force in the trenches, as 45 (29 solos and 16 assists) of his 122 tackles that he recorded since the start of the 2012 season came from behind the line of scrimmage, including getting to the quarterback 18 times (13 solos, five assists).

As a junior, Martin ranked second in the Atlantic Coast Conference with an average of 1.29 tackles-for-loss per game. In 2013, he finished fifth in the nation, averaging 1.70 stops behind the line of scrimmage, along with placing eighth in the NCAA Football Bowl Sub-division ranks by averaging 0.88 quarterback sacks. Seven of his 22 quarterback pressures caused interceptions during the course of his last 25 contests.

During the agility tests at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, Martin's success as a hurdler and high jumper in high school shined through. He measured in with a broad jump of 10'-9", which not only led all the down linemen in Indianapolis, but including the linebackers that were in attendance, it was the second-best figure for the 2014 event (Ryan Shazier of Ohio State had a 10'-10" jump). Martin's vertical jump of 35 1/2-inches was also among the best for the lineman participating in the drills.

At Roanoke Rapids High School Martin competed in football, basketball and track. He was twice named the area defensive player of the year and was selected the North Carolina High School Athletic Association's (NCHSAA) Athlete of the Year. As a senior, he helped lead Roanoke Rapids to an undefeated season and a conference title. He finished his senior season with 163 tackles, 10 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, four sacks and one interception, and also had 25 tackles for a loss.

The previous season, Martin delivered 121 tackles and five sacks as a junior. The Charlotte Observer rated him the fifth-best high school player in the state and ranked him 34th among the country's defensive end. Invited to play in North Carolina's Shrine Bowl, he recorded eight tackles, including one for a loss, as he recovered two fumbles and forced a fumble which led to a touchdown, to earn MVP honors.

Martin joined the North Carolina program in 2010, starting three of the 11 games that he appeared in as a true freshman. He delivered 16 tackles and both of his quarter-back pressures caused interceptions. As a sophomore, he would begin a string of 38 consecutive starting assignments. The right defensive end managed four sacks and seven stops-for-loss along with delivering 40 tackles for the Tar Heels, but the best was yet to come.

Martin lined up on the weak side as a junior, again registering 40 tackles, but 19 of them came in the backfield, as he pulled the quarterback down four times and harassed passers on eight pressures. That performance earned him All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team recognition.

In his final season, Martin was nearly unstoppable, as the All-ACC first-team choice registered 14 quarterback pressures while his 11.5 sacks rank fourth on the school season-record list. He made a career-high 82 tackles and finished sixth in UNC annals and 16th on the league season-record chart with 21.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caused three fumbles, recovering two of them to set up scoring drives. He was named ACC Player of the Week vs. both Pittsburgh and Boston College, along with receiving national weekly honors from the Walter Camp Foundation for his performance vs. Pitt.


Martin started 41-of-49 games at North Carolina, as the weak-side defensive end recorded 178 tackles (92 solos) that included 19.5 sacks (15 solos/nine assists) for minus 132 yards, 45.5 stops (34 solos/23 assists) for losses of 183 yards and 24 quarterback pressures…Deflected 13 passes, caused four fumbles and recovered four others.

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