Offensive line was a big need heading into this year’s draft and the Chargers made sure to grab at least one guy on the first two days when they selected offensive tackle Trey Pipkins with their third round pick.
I personally would have liked to see them double-dip at the position or at least take someone that could/should start immediately but Tom Telesco (and Daniel Jeremiah) believed Pipkins was the best tackle available at the time of the pick and trusted their gut on the matter.
It was a head-scratcher at the time, and time will inevitably tell if he was worth the pick. At this moment, all we know is that he dominated at the Division II level and has a personality that can light up a room.
But the Chargers seemed determined to continue digging for offensive line help by signing a trio of linemen as UDFAs. Those three include OG Chris Brown, OT Blake Camper, and the most intriguing one of all, OT Koda Martin who was a grad-transfer from Texas A&M and played his final season for the Syracuse Orange.
Some quick facts about Martin:
- He is the son of Syracuse QB Coach, Kirk Martin.
- Son-in-law of Syracuse Head Coach, Dino Babers, as he married his daughter, Jazzmin Babers, a former All-American volleyball player at A&M.
.@CuseFootball OL Koda Martin walking out on senior night to hug his father in law (and head coach) Dino Babers. Koda lives with his wife at the Babers’ house- they split trash duties pic.twitter.com/NIIJGSU1l8— Olivia Harlan Dekker (@OliviaDekker) November 9, 2018
While with the Aggies, Martin started by redshirting his freshman year in 2014 but was named the Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year. In 2015, he played in eight games as the team’s top back-up offensive linemen. He collected his first starting experience (four games) as a redshirt sophomore and played in all 13 contests that year.
He became the full-time starter at left tackle for the Aggies in 2016, starting 12 of 13 games. At the team banquet following the season, he was also awarded the team’s Weight Room MVP.
Deciding to spend his final year of eligibility with his dad, and eventual father-in-law, Martin transferred to Syracuse and was instantly slotted into the right tackle spot where he started all 13 games. He was named a third-team All-ACC selection as he led the team in snaps played (1,111) and was second on the team in pancake blocks with 31.
The Orange offense was historic in 2018 as they set school records for total points (523) and rushing touchdowns (38).
To put the cherry on top of a long career, Martin was the recipient of the Thomas S. Pirro Award for Character and Coachability. (In-law bias, perhaps?)
At any rate, Martin already has all the intangibles that Telesco wants in a player. Good character, lengthy-experience, and productive.
Manvel’s Koda Martin showing how to pull and fit up on a LB on counter pic.twitter.com/A5f2GjfH8v— Kirk Martin (@graciouswon) October 30, 2017
While at A&M, Martin showed the propensity for pulling, and he did it from the left tackle spot which means a longer distance to travel and more room for error. He does a nice job here getting and sticking to the defender. These types of movement skills are a good indicator of whether or not he can succeed in this offense as Lynn loves to pull his linemen, guards and tackles, alike.
Martin also has adequate athleticism for a tackle. During his pro day with the Orange, Martin was clocked at around 5.00-5.12 in the forty. This doesn’t mean all that much for an offensive lineman, but still sheds some light on how fast he can get up to speed with the half-dozen steps before contact on kick-out blocks.
Koda Martin – Syracuse Tackle— PFF LA Chargers (@PFF_Chargers) April 30, 2019
6'6" 304 lbs.
▪️71.1 Offense Grade (7th among ACC Tackles)
▪️2,250 Career Snaps Played
▪️7 Career Sacks Allowed pic.twitter.com/CglDsgsUxS
According to Pro Football Focus, Martin’s 71.1 overall grade was good for 7th in the ACC among tackles and only allowed seven sacks across 47 career games played.
In the end, I believe Martin has the best chances to stick on the roster out of the three current UDFAs. Right tackle is the spot of need along the Chargers’ front five and that experience and success there in college will help him out quite a bit. Plus, having spent a full season at left tackle as well, the coaches will take note of that versatility.