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5 things you need to know about LB Kareem Martin


Here are five things you need to know about the Giants' new linebacker, Kareem Martin:

  1. Originally a third-round draft choice by Arizona in 2014, Martin played in 56 games with 14 starts during his four seasons with the Cardinals. He has 51 career tackles, eight quarterback hits, 4.5 sacks, four passes defensed, one interception and four forced fumbles.

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2. Martin reunites with Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who was hired by new head coach Pat Shurmur after three successful seasons as the Cardinals' defensive coordinator. Bettcher previously served as Arizona's outside linebackers coach before being promoted in 2015. In his three seasons as coordinator, the Cardinals finished fifth (321.7), second (305.2) and sixth (310.9) in fewest yards allowed per game. They led the NFL with 48 sacks in 2016.

  1. Last season, Martin started a career-high 10 games primarily as a weakside linebacker in Bettcher's 3-4 defense. He recorded a sack and a forced fumble in the Cardinals' Week 16 game against the Giants. He finished the season with 24 tackles, three passes defensed and one interception.
  1. Martin was signed a day after the Giants acquired another linebacker via trade in Alec Ogletree. General manager Dave Gettleman called the former Ram the team's new "defensive quarterback" as a three-down middle linebacker. They are part of a new-look linebacker room under position coach Bill McGovern and assistant linebacker coach Rob Leonard, who were both retained by Shurmur. Devon Kennard, a fifth-round pick by the Giants in 2014, signed with the Lions as a free agent. Veteran Jonathan Casillas also remains a free agent.
  1. A native of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, Martin went on to start 41 games for the Tar Heels and recorded 178 tackles (92 solo), 19.5 sacks, 45.5 tackles for loss and 24 QB pressures. His 45.5 tackles for loss ranked fifth on the UNC career list behind William Fuller (57.0), Julius Peppers (53.0), Greg Ellis (50.0) and Marcus Jones (46.0).


Martin attended Roanoke Rapids High School, where he was a standout in football, basketball and track. He was twice named the area Defensive Player of the Year and was selected the North Carolina High School Athletic Association's (NCHSAA) Athlete of the Year. He was a hurdler and long jumper for the track team. That came in handy at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, where he led all defensive linemen and edge rushers in the broad jump, beating first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney by five inches.

Photos of new Giants linebacker Kareem Martin, who previously played for the Cardinals.

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