In a surprise turn of events, 2020 5th round pick Kamal Martin is released by the Green Bay Packers.
After the 2020 season, it had looked like Kamal Martin and Krys Barnes were going to be handed the keys to the starting ILB positions. In 2020 Kamal Martin played in 10 games and started 6 of them. He finished the season with 24 total tackles (17 solo, 7 assisted), 3 TFLs, 1 sack, 4 total pressures, and 11 stops.
Earlier in the offseason, the Packers started to try Kamal Martin out at OLB, presumably to try and add depth behind the Smith Brothers and Rashan Gary. It seems as though with the addition of Devondre Campbell, Oren Burks improved play, and the lack of time Martin had to showcase his skillset at ILB, he began to fall down the depth chart.
Against the Jets, Martin had 4 total tackles (2 solo, 2 assisted) and 1 QB hit in 27 snaps taken. Martin didn’t take the field in the Packers’ first preseason game against the Texans due to an injury in practice.
What is most surprising about this release is that Kamal Martin graded out as the second-highest rookie ILB by PFF last season, with a grade of 73.3. In fact, Kamal Martin was the only rookie LB to grade above a 60 as a run defender, in coverage and as a blitzer.
Martin had a lot of potential as an ILB, but he couldn’t stay on the field. He missed the first five games of the 2020 season due to injury. Then, he missed a 6th game due to Covid-19 protocols. He re-injured himself during this offseason and missed the first preseason game.
With the release of Kamal Martin, the Packers could look to bring in another ILB.
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