UNC Tar Heels defensive end Kareem Martin is a top 2014 NFL Draft sleeper for some, as he could be a very good value for teams looking for pass-rushing help in the mid-rounds of the draft. Martin had a very strong combine with a forty time in the low 4.7s and had 82 tackles with 21.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks last season as one of the top ten pass rushers in college football. The athletic DE also had a strong pro day, so those measurables will likely push him from the third round into the second.
Martin is getting some solid interest before the draft, as ESPN’s Adam Caplan reports that he will visit the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, and Carolina Panthers. Two of those teams are locked in at defensive end and don’t really need a pass rusher, but the Cowboys could really use some more pass rushing help. The Vikings already have Brian Robison and Everson Griffen re-signed long-term (if Martin slips, I could see them scooping him up, though) and the Panthers have the dynamic duo of Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson, but the Cowboys are looking for help with Jeremy Mincey and George Selvie as the projected starters.
Neither Selvie nor Mincey, who was signed in free agency after the Cowboys decided to let Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware (cap casualty) go, are bad players, but it’s better for them to be the No. 2 and 3 DEs on the roster instead of the starters. The Cowboys need a talented pass rusher, but they probably aren’t going to go for a guy like Kony Ealy in the first, and I doubt Demarcus Lawrence falls to them in the second. Martin could be a reach in the second but probably won’t be there for them in the third, so they could take him in the second to beef up their pass rush if they believe he is worthy of that selection.