NFL Draft Prospect Interview – Kareem Martin, DE North Carolina

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Jan 20, 2014; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad quarterback Tajh Boyd of Clemson (10) under pressure from North squad defensive end Kareem Martin of North Carolina (95) at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

PS: Were you a double-double guy in high school or a 6 hard foul guy?

KM: I was a triple-double guy.  Any given night, you know, I could give you a triple-double.

PS: What were the triple-doubles made up of?

KM: Points, rebounds and blocks.

PS: Was there a point where you seriously thought about going for basketball coming out of high school?

KM: Going into high school, I thought about potentially focusing on basketball, but I couldn’t stay away from football and by the time I really started to develop in basketball, I didn’t necessarily have the skill set to be a top level, Division-I basketball player and I knew football was the better choice for me.  I had the most success at it, so stuck with football, because I knew I could go the farthest with it.

I played like a power forward/center and even though I was bigger, I always wanted to play at a top level program.  I could have probably went to a smaller school to play basketball, but I felt like I wasn’t worth it.

PS: Did you and some teammates ever go play pick up with the men’s team at UNC?

KM: Shot around a little but, never anything really serious.  I considered maybe wanting to walk on after the season, but I was just so tired from the grind of football season.  They always had talented players on the basketball team, so I felt it was better for me to concentrate on football.

I definitely think I could be a walk on guy for our basketball team.  Just be that guy to go in and get fouls and rebounds.  I definitely think I could contribute to the team, get a dunk here or there.  Use of the five fouls and that would have been my night.  But you know, I didn’t want to risk any injuries and mess up my potential football career, just having fun on the basketball court.

PS: How would you describe the way you play defensive end?

KM: I don’t think you can necessarily put it into one category.  I do a lot of things.  One thing I try to play with is just length; just use my length to hold off blockers and that’s the biggest thing.  In the run game, hold off blockers, use my length to shed tackles and then the passing game as well; just going from speed to power or just power all the way.  I think that kinda describes me.

PS: Who is the best competition you faced during your career at North Carolina?

KM: The past few years, we’ve had great offensive linemen, so practice was always tough going against guys like James Hurst and Jonathan Cooper and those guys, so sometimes the games would be a little bit easier.  My freshman year, I’d say when we played against Miami (Orlando Franklin), they had a left tackle that was really good a few years back.  He was one of the better guys I went against that I can remember.

PS: How big was it for you to get to go down to the Reese’s Senior Bowl?

KM: It was big.  Getting the opportunity to go down to the Senior Bowl was a big honor.  Every great defensive lineman that came before me; they’ve all went down to the Senior Bowl, so I just wanted to continue that and go down there and showcase my talent.  I was going against some of the best guys and wanted to see how I stacked up against the best competition.

PS: How do you feel like you did?

KM: Once I got used to the scheme and the coaches, I thought I got better every day and leading up to the game, in which I thought I had a pretty good game myself and that’s the biggest thing; showing the teams that he’s taking the coaching, he’s learning the technique in a short amount of time.  He’s also being productive and that’s the biggest thing they want to see in the NFL; that’s production.  And if you can give them that, you can be there for a long time.