How Good Is Jacob Martin?

The Jets signed a three-year contract to former Houston Texans defensive end Jacob Martin during free agency. We’re going to dissect him in great depth today.

Martin, a 26-year-old listed at 6 feet tall and weighing 242 pounds, was selected in the sixth round after playing college football for Temple. In his four seasons, he’s racked up 13.5 sacks, with a high of four in 2021.

As a two-star high school talent, Martin was accepted to Temple University. Martin was a backup for the first three years of his career, during which he recorded 36 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks.

In 2017, though, he was elevated to the starting lineup and exploded for 44 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and eight sacks. He made the all-AAC second team and scored a touchdown on a fumble return.

Despite not being invited to the scouting combine, Martin improved his draft stock by having a strong pro day. Eventually, he was chosen by Seattle in the sixth round.

A starter on special teams and a key reserve on defense, he has 10 tackles and three sacks in his rookie year with the Seahawks.

He was traded to the Texans from the Jaguars for Jadeveon Clowney after the 2019 preseason and spent the following two years as a reserve for the team. In 2019, he recorded 11 tackles and 3.5 sacks; the following year, in 2020, he recorded 20 tackles and three more sacks; and he made his first NFL start.

The Texans reorganized in 2021, expanding Martin’s responsibilities significantly. In 14 of the last 15 games, he was the starting quarterback. He finished the year with personal bests in every major defensive category: tackles (23), tackles for loss (5), sacks (4), and passes defensed  (3).

Martin was signed by the Jets on a three-year deal for up to $16.5 million during free agency.

How Good Is Jacob Martin?

Now listed at 242, Martin used to be listed at 250, so it’s safe to say he’s undersized. He probably put on some weight before last year’s season to adjust to the Texans’ new defensive philosophy.

At his pro day, he measured in at a trim 236 pounds, and while his vertical, bench press and short shuttle were all only averages, his 40-yard dash (4.59 seconds), broad jump, and three-cone drill were all excellent.

During his first two seasons with the Texans, Martin primarily served as an outside linebacker, though he also saw action off the ball, in the slot, and dropping into coverage on occasion. In 2021, however, he was promoted to the position of defensive end.

He was a versatile college player who typically played on the edge but also rushed from the nose tackle position.

Martin is a tenacious player who works hard in the trenches and never gives up despite being blocked from getting to the quarterback.

He was a part-time player for the first three years in the NFL after playing less than 35% of the snaps in each of his first three years in college. But in 2021, he proved he could handle a starter’s workload by playing almost 700 snaps.

Martin’s lack of size makes him vulnerable to down blocks, and once stronger defenders get their hands on him, he may struggle to stop the run.