Inside linebacker Blake Martinez was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 131st overall pick in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He is Stanford’s first inside linebacker draftee in over a decade after David Bergeron was last taken in the sixth round of the 2005 draft.
Martinez is Stanford’s third selection in the 2016 draft, following Joshua Garnett (San Francisco) and Austin Hooper (Atlanta). This also marks the second straight year in which a Stanford player has been taken by the Packers, after wide receiver Ty Montgomery was selected in the third round last season.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker and team captain had a tremendous senior season in 2015, being named to the All-Pac-12 first team and earning second-team All-America honors after leading the Pac-12 with 140 tackles. He also finished in seventh in the conference with 101 tackles as a junior in 2014, when he earned an All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection.
Martinez had a knack for finding the play wherever it went on the field in his time on The Farm, combining great instincts with good angles to the ball and solid tackling ability to serve as one of the primary factors in helping Stanford’s rush defense finish first in the Pac-12 in 2014 and third in 2015.
The big linebacker was also deceptively good in coverage throughout his career, picking up five total interceptions, including three as a junior in 2014.
He was also particularly impressive at the NFL Combine, where he finished fifth among linebackers in the bench press, second in the three-cone drill and third in the 20-yard shuttle.
Martinez was the third defensive player taken in the draft by the Packers, who were looking to address a need at both inside and outside linebacker in their base 3-4 defense to give Clay Matthews’ linebacking corps some depth. He was the second straight linebacker taken by Green Bay, who also selected Kyler Fackrell from Utah State in the third round. Martinez will likely compete for immediate time on special teams, which he played at Stanford even while starting on defense, and will likely have a shot to compete for immediate playing time at linebacker as well.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu.