Martin's production increased dramatically over the final eight games of the 2013 season. The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder closed the season with 28 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks during that stretch.
"Kareem was a great leader who played a major role in our turnaround last year," said UNC head coach Larry Fedora. "He played extremely well in the second half of the season and was among the nation's top defensive ends in sacks and tackles for loss. The Cardinals are getting an excellent person and a tremendous player."
Martin's versatility and athleticism were positives for his draft stock. He moved inside to play rush tackle during in certain personnel packages last fall, while also working out at linebacker for potential 3-4 defenses during his pro day at UNC in March.
Arizona head coach Bruce Arians told reporters following the selection that Martin could see time at either the Will or Sam linebacker position in his 3-4 base defense.
"For us, the Will linebacker is really a defensive end," Arians said. "And the Sam, you're standing up and you're setting the edge of the defense, which he has good enough strength to do. I think he's probably more comfortable with his hand in the dirt. We'll just see how that goes."
Martin is UNC's fourth defensive end and seventh defensive lineman selected in the last five years.