The Houston Texans need center Nick Martin to have his best career season to date in 2019.
It is simple for the Houston Texans and their center Nick Martin: he needs to become the rock of the offensive line in 2019, or things will continue to trend downward for the unit as it did in 2018.
The Texans selected Martin in the second round (50th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft and this past season — being a part of an offensive line unit that wasn’t very productive — he didn’t grade so well by Pro Football Focus.
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In 2018, Martin graded as the 21st-best center in the NFL, as the then-third-year player had a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 59.3, including a solid pass block grade of 79.1, but a run block grade of 48.5, playing a total of 1,164 snaps.
It is also no secret the Texans are standing behind Martin for the foreseeable future because he still does have high potential, but everything still hasn’t all meshed together. The good news is this could be the year all of Martin’s talents, skill and potential do mesh together, and for the Texans, they really need that to occur.
Martin is the unsung or low-key member of the Texans that they need to have vast improvement for the simple reason he is so important to their offense. He is always the first player off the ball, and as a center he is the captain of the offensive line, making calls that could make or break a blocking scheme.
Sean Pendergast of the Houston Press recently wrote about potential contract extensions and one of the players listed was Martin. Pendergast wrote the following about the Texans center in the article:
"“In a very interdependent position group, he hasn’t exactly been surrounded by a bunch of world beaters on the offensive line.”"
That is a great way to look at how Martin has fared in his time in the NFL because the statement by Pendergast is right on target. Martin has had very little help on the offensive line, and to be honest, the belief should be we haven’t seen the best of the starting center.
This season, Martin is in the final year of his rookie contract, as he’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the ’19 season, and depending on how the Texans view their center, he’ll most likely be receiving a contract offer extension sooner rather than later from the franchise.
It is easy to say that because the Texans need to have some stability on their offensive line starting roster at some point, and for the future, having a veteran like Martin in the middle would be ideal. The Texans offensive line is going to be young in the very near future with the likes of 2019 draft picks Tytus Howard and Max Scharping being inserted into the starting role at some point in their career.
Keeping a player like Martin who knows the ins and outs of the NFL would be key, but he’s going to have to show improvement with his run-blocking abilities and possibly tweak his pass-blocking skills some as well. He has the talent to be a complete center in the league … it is just his run-blocking skills need to better than they were a season ago.
Again, Martin is the unsung key for the Texans’ offense, and though Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are the stars and playmakers of the offense, everything starts with Martin up front. When Martin is at his best, so too will be the Texans offense in 2019.
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