Breaking down Notre Dame's Ron Stanley and Nick Martin

Notre Dame, which currently is ranked 10th or 11th depending on the poll you look at has several quality NFL prospects. Many of the better prospects are underclassmen and until they declare for the draft, I won’t write them up. As I have mentioned before, I have come to the belief that most underclassmen should remain school and not enter the draft early. The reason for this is over the past two years, over 190 underclassmen have entered the NFL Draft and 40% of those players have gone undrafted. Several who did enter the draft got drafted much lower than they anticipated. Why does this happen? The players are fooled into believing that they are better than they are. They are getting advice from people who don’t have any idea as to what the draft process entails. Thus they are believing faulty information. The only way to stop this high flow of players into the draft is to better educate the players as to the whole process. What many of these kids don’t understand is that they are not mentally or physically ready to compete with men for jobs in the NFL. Ron Stanley – Tackle Stanley is a senior who will graduate with his class but he still has another year of college eligibility. As a freshman in 2012 he played in the first three games but because he didn’t play after that he can return to play at Notre Dame in 2016. The chances of that are slim to none as Stanly came very close to entering the 2015 NFL Draft. Having said that, I feel Stanley still needs another year of college football. There is no question that he will get drafted high (first round) because he has some traits that few have, but I don’t feel he is ready to play in the NFL. When Stanley is on his game, he is very good and can be a dominating player. The problem is we don’t see that type of play every game or even throughout each game. Stanley has almost a perfect frame for a left tackle.  He will measure at about 6’6 – 317. He is tall with very long arms, excellent feet and overall flexibility, he can bend, move laterally and recover. There are not many who have his athletic traits. Stanley has good but not great strength. He has good snap reaction, comes off the ball, stays low and gets to his blocks. He can be inconsistent getting movement because he doesn’t always play with power. When he is fired up and wants to get movement, he can. He did just that in the LSU game last December. There are other times when you see him get stalemated. For the most part he is good getting to the second level, can adjust on the move and make a productive block. In pass protection, he can set quickly, has a good punch and can mirror as well as any tackle in the country. Still, he gets lazy with his technique and can and does get beat both with speed and counter moves. He is a natural bender and shows very good ability to anchor versus bull rushers. Overall, Stanley can be very frustrating to watch. When he is good he is very good but he can also be very average. You expect him to win on every play and he doesn’t. I don’t feel his mental toughness is where it should be and reality is, it may never get there. While Stanley will get drafted high and has the talent to be a very good NFL left tackle, there is also a bust factor with him and that is because he lacks a top degree of mental toughness. He will be a risk/reward pick for some team but the reward level is high. Nick Martin – Center Martin is a fifth-year senior and a three-year starter for Notre Dame. He has started games at both guard and center and that versatility increases his NFL value. He is the younger brother of Dallas Cowboy guard Zack Martin and he is also a team captain. Martin has adequate size for a center at about 6'4 – 305. He has average arm length and good strength and power. When compared to his brother, he is not as athletic nor as powerful as Zack. Martin is a smart player and makes all the line calls for Notre Dame. He can snap and step and get into his block. He has better than average bend and shows some explosion through his hips. He can get movement with his blocks but he will overextend at times and fall off. For the most part he is good getting to the second level. As a combo blocker, he consistently does a good job getting from the first block to the second. In pass protection, he can make the short snap and set quickly. He has adequate feet and balance and generally does a good job mirroring his opponent and anchoring. He plays with fairly good bend. What I like about his game is that he is very alert and does a good job adjusting to stunts and blitzes. He is an excellent competitor and plays snap to whistle.  Overall, I see Nick as  mid-round type of player who will be an eventual starter in the league. As a rookie he will dress because he can play both guard and center. I don’t see him as being an ideal guard because he isn’t a top space player but a team can get by with him. I’d be surprised if he isn’t a starter by his second year. What will separate him from other players is his intangibles and leadership skills. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe  

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