USC Trojans product Marcus Martin is arguably the best center in the 2014 NFL Draft class, and I have him ranked second overall behind Colorado State’s Weston Richburg. Martin has been making the rounds lately on pre-draft visits, as the National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson reports that he has met with the Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers, Carolina Panthers, and Buffalo Bills in recent days. We’ve already known about the Lions visit that took place on Monday, but the news of visits with the Bills and Chargers are new.
The Bills and Panthers don’t make much sense as landing spots for Martin as a center, because both of those teams are already locked in at center with Eric Wood and Ryan Kalil locked in. I mean, Kalil is one of the best centers in the league. That said, Martin can also play at guard, so the Panthers or Bills could take him in the middle of the draft in order to add a solid starter at that position. The Panthers definitely need some guard help as well as tackle help with key veteran starter Travelle Wharton leaning towards retirement and depth guy Geoff Hangartner already on the retired list.
Dominic Raiola is still going strong, but he isn’t getting any younger either; Martin could be his heir apparent. The Chargers seem to make the most sense as a landing spot for Martin of these four teams, and it has to do with more than just USC’s proximity to San Diego. Nick Hardwick is still a solid starter in this league, but he’s very close to retirement and barely decided not to hang up the spikes this offseason. The Chargers need to look for a solid center of the future, and Martin would be an excellent choice.