It’s not often that we get to see a true one-on-one matchup of potential top-10 picks, but that’s exactly what we had this year when Stanford took on USC.
Stanford left tackle Jonathan Martin and USC defensive end Nick Perry were matched up throughout most of the game, and since you were probably focused on other things at the time (such as that guy named Luck), I encourage anyone interested to go back and watch them battle.
While one might expect a matchup of potential top-10 prospects to be fairly even, it was anything but. Perry dominated Martin from start (literally, check out the first play) to finish.
In this game Perry exposes Martin’s biggest flaw: his lack of quickness off the snap. On roughly 60-70% of the snaps in which Martin drops into pass protection, Perry is already turning the corner or, at worst, setting up his rip move by the time Martin is getting balanced in his stance. By the time this happens, roughly one second after the ball is snapped, Perry’s already won.
Martin is a tough, physical lineman, however. He was able to slow Perry down on occasion, preventing any serious damage (Perry didn’t register a sack) but much of the credit really goes to Luck. His incredible pocket presence and quick release allowed him to narrowly avoid a rapidly approaching Perry on numerous occasions. With just about any other college quarterback under center, Perry likely racks up at least two sacks in this game.
While Perry held an obvious advantage in this matchup, it’s worth noting that on the rare occasion that Martin was able to get in front of Perry and engage him, Martin won every time. Perry lacked the strength to push past Martin, and was essentially taken out of the play.
After viewing this game, it solidifies my opinion that Martin is better suited to play right tackle, or maybe even guard. Perry projects as a starter at the next level, and an above-average pass rusher, but he’s hardly an elite prospect. If Martin is struggling with Nick Perry, what will happen when he’s faced with Julius Peppers, Jason Pierre-Paul or DeMarcus Ware?