WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT KEVONTE MARTIN-MANLEY?
Well, he's the all-time leader in career receptions at Iowa -- that's nothing to sniff at. KMM was able to set that record in part because of a surplus of opportunities -- he was virtually a multi-year starter at Iowa and never got hurt. But he also set that record because he ran good routes, has good hands, and got decent separation from defenders more often than not. That made him a consistent option for Iowa quarterbacks and they rewarded him with plenty of opportunities -- which he duly converted into catches.
WHAT DID HE DO THAT WAS SO GREAT?
As you can tell from KMM's stats (below), he wasn't the most explosive receiver -- he didn't catch a lot of touchdowns and he didn't have a lot of big yardage receptions. Instead, KMM was the quintessential possession receiver. He kept the chains moving time after time. An incredible number of his receptions went for first downs. He wasn't afraid to go across the middle of the field and he did a good (though not great) job of getting separation from defenders. KMM was also a capable and willing downfield blocker, which was a must in a run-heavy offense like Iowa's.
HOW ARE HIS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES?
KMM doesn't have high-end measurables. He's 6-0, 205 and ran a 4.51 40 and a 4.20 20-yard shuttle at Iowa's Pro Day. Those sort of measurables could be problematic in the NFL.
PRO DAY RESULTS
WHAT ABOUT THE BAD?
Again, Martin-Manley isn't the most physically imposing receiver -- he's not particularly big and while he's not slow, he's not a speedster, either. He was generally good at getting open and finding holes in defense in college, but he's going to have to prove that he can get open at the pro level. The biggest issue for him is going to be proving that he can get separation on NFL defenders out of the slot (his likely role in the NFL).
WAS THIS A GOOD SIGNING?
I think Martin-Manley's productivity is worth taking a flyer on him as an undrafted free agent. He caught plenty of passes at Iowa and displayed good route running and pass-catching ability during his four years at Iowa. He's not afraid to go over the middle and take a hit and he did an excellent job of converting first downs for Iowa. Those are pretty useful skills. Can he consistently get open in the NFL? Well, that's the $500,000 question. I don't have the answer to that, but I'm glad that he'll get a chance to find out.