LB Blake Martinez
The Giants, for at least the past three seasons, fielded one of the least athletic linebacker corps and were among the NFL’s most vulnerable in coverage, but one acquisition has changed much of those misfortunes.
Blake Martinez, signed on the first day of free agency this spring, has emerged as one of the Giants’ more consistent defensive players and brought some stability to the front seven.
Through five weeks, Martinez is Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 ranked linebacker in the NFL, with an overall grade of 81.2, and while he has been just mediocre in coverage with a 65.6 mark, PFF lists Martinez as the league’s premier run-defending linebacker with a 90.3 grade.
“I think the way he’s approached it this year, grabbing the scheme, being a leader of our defense,” Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said Thursday. “The fundamentals are showing up. His footwork. The way he’s impacting the passing game. I really think he’s playing at a high level, I know he’s never satisfied … I think he’s playing the best football of his career right now.”
Martinez has missed three tackles, according to PFF, but is holding opposing quarterbacks to a 93.8 passer rating when targeting him. As Patrick Graham’s defense continues to improve, Martinez has the chance to be even more productive.