Ross Martin, K
The battle at kicker isn’t one of the top storylines at camp, but every now and then something comes out that may indicate Ross Martin is really close to taking the job away from 2017 seventh-round pick Zane Gonzalez.
Cleveland.com columnist Terry Pluto was the latest scribe to sense the winds of change, writing that he had a feeling Martin was close to defeating the incumbent.
In the preseason Week 2 loss to the Bills, Gonzalez got the opportunity kick an extra point, but it was who got the opportunity to kick a 31-yard field goal, which he converted.
The Browns didn’t want to hand the job to Gonzalez, who fought off incumbent Cody Parkey for the job before the 2017 season.
Gonzalez struggled early in the season, but got comfortable and played decently in the final weeks of the season. He missed two of his first five attempts but was successful on 13 of his 15 attempts dating back to Oct. 22, 2017.
Martin, 25 spent the 2016 and 2017 preseason with the New York Jets. After being cut, Martin actually took a job as an IBM trainee in New York City. He had to find a park 80 blocks away from his Manhattan office so that he could keep up with kicking should another team come calling, according to The Canton Repository’s Steve Doerschuck.
The Walsh Jesuit product played at Duke and was more accurate than Gonzalez, who played at Arizona State (89.3 percent compared to 82.8).
"“The guy (Martin) has made some really strong kicks. Is he in the competition? Yes he is.”"
Gonzalez can make kicks from beyond 50 yards but didn’t start doing so until his senior year at college. In that final season with the Sun Devils, he converted from 59 yards. He was 7-of-9 overall.
Martin had eight successes from beyond 50 yards.
Again, this competition isn’t talked about often, but it’s one to keep your eye on, especially since the man responsible for drafting Gonzalez, Sashi Brown, is no longer picking the final roster.