Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
There’s a Google Doc shared between front page writers here at Niners Nation. In that Doc, we have all the names for players to be covered in the 90-in-90 series and it’s a free for all to see who claims which players to write about. I’ve run through all of mine, but every time I look at the list I notice one name in particular and I hope I don’t have to be the one to write about him, but here I am.
That player is San Francisco 49ers center Marcus Martin, a player who was astoundingly bad last season, and only covered it up at times thanks to the fact that Jordan Devey next to him was much worse. Alex Boone to his left wasn’t nearly as good as advertised and Erik Pears at right tackle was inconsistent at best.
Things collapsed around Martin and he collapsed on the inside. What often went overlooked is simple: Martin wasn’t the victim of circumstance or the victim of poor teammates, he was often the catalyst for those breakdowns.
You can have a left tackle miss his assignment and have the rest of the line hold up. A guard could struggle with his man and the line can still hold. But it’s rare that you can recover from a center being absolutely demolished, and that happened over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again with Martin in 2015-16.
For this post, I didn’t go back and watch a bunch of film Martin. That’s because I already have, when I broke down the sacks allowed by the 49ers last season. Just for fun I grabbed a couple of gifs from those breakdowns and sure enough, Martin is getting hammered in them.
As you can see above, Blaine Gabbert is brought down solely from the pressure allowed by Martin. To be fair, Andrew Tiller doesn’t do anything on the play, but Martin is completely overwhelmed and he clearly allows the sack.
Surely the next gif will be better, right?
Yeah ... not so much. If the gif above is hard to follow due to the angle, let me sum it up for you: Martin gets beaten badly, flails around like a fish out of water and ultimately drags himself to the ground as Gabbert is sacked by the guy he was originally supposed to be block.
To be fair to Martin, Joe Staley was also soundly beaten on the play and nobody blocked particularly well. Pears and Tiller pass the right-side edge rusher around well enough, but Martin and Staley kill the play before it ever had a chance to succeed.
Those are just a couple plays. Martin did this kind of thing all last season.
Experience: 3rd season
Weight: 321 lbs
Martin is entering the third year of a four-year, $3.069 million contract he signed as a rookie. He will have a cap hit of $822,812 next season, with a base salary of $635,000. There’s not a lot to complain about here.
Why he might improve in 2016
Martin was a third-round pick for the 49ers and certainly looked a lot better in college than he did in the NFL. He was playing on a bad offensive line in 2015 and really didn’t have many opportunities to really stand out and showcase his play. He’s a young player with a lot of upside, I just don’t know that I’m personally sold on that upside.
Why he might regress in 2016
When it rains it pours, right? Martin was terrible with a great left tackle and a decent left guard to one side and both a hologram and turnstile to his right. Even a halfway decent center can recover at least a little bit with some good players around him. Martin didn’t really do that at all. He looked bad and with a new coaching staff, he could just as easily get worse.
Odds of making the roster
I’ve about given up on Martin due to how terrible he looked last season, but that doesn’t mean the 49ers have. They’re a lot more patient than me, and smarter too, and Martin was picked in the third round for a reason. He may not be long for the team if he doesn’t make it as a starter next season, but he’s definitely on the roster, without a doubt.