When the San Francisco 49ers drafted C/G Marcus Martin in the third-round (No. 70) of this year’s draft, I knew it was typical GM Trent Baalke selection. The former USC product who has an elongated wingspan of 34-inches while being extremely athletic for his size, has been something Baalke covets. Not to mention, Martin has the strength and versatility to play both center and guard, you can see where his value lies. However, with the 49ers drafting Martin out of USC, it reminded me of another high draft pick in recent memory, as the 49ers drafted G Chilo Rachal in the second-round (No. 39) of the 2008 NFL draft.
Another former Trojan who had the potential to be great, Rachal instead had an up-and-down tenure with the team. In four seasons in San Francisco, Rachal started 38 games while eventually losing his starting spot to G Adam Snyder in 2011. Now, with Martin on board in 2014, what can the Forever Faithful expect from another Los Angeles native? Well considering Martin adds more versatility while being equally effective in both the run and pass, he should make a bigger contribution while playing beyond his rookie-contract with the team.
At 6-3 and 320 pounds, Martin is a high character kid while being named a team captain as a junior. A young man who is wired right, look for him to make a splash during rookie minicamp, as the big, physical, and aggressive Martin has the intangibles to take his game to the next level. A big player that has similar size to T Anthony Davis, could the 49ers possibly also use him as a swing tackle? He certainly has the wingspan, but for now just watch him maul defenders in the run game as he should turn heads in the coming weeks.
Aside from his strength in the run game, it will be his pass protection that separates himself from Rachal. I hate to say it but Rachal was a huge liability in pass-protection. An offensive lineman who rarely had his head on a swivel, Martin is the exact opposite, which is a good sign for QB Colin Kaepernick.
With the 2014 season coming together as they prepare for the grueling season ahead, we will just have to wait and see how Martin and the other prospects develop as they get acclimated to NFL game speed.