Dec 28, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive tackle Zack Martin (70) blocks against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half of the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankees Stadium. Notre Dame Fighting Irish won the game 29-16. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: The Cowboys Select OT Zack Martin

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With Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel watching from the green room, the Dallas Cowboys chose to help out their veteran quarterback instead, selecting offensive lineman Zack Martin out of Notre Dame with the 16th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Cowboys are off the clock, and right tackle Doug Free is on it. The veteran is entering the final year of his contract and will be a free agent in 2015. Martin is sure to push for the starting role at right tackle in camp this year, and he also has position flex to challenge the existing Cowboys guards Ron Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau.

Ever since head coach Jason Garrett became a principal in the war room in 2011, the Cowboys have used their first-round pick to address a position of immediate need. They drafted tackle Tyron Smith in 2011, when they returned only two starting offensive linemen; they drafted cornerback Morris Claiborne in 2012 after losing three corners in the offseason; they drafted center Travis Frederick in 2013, after a dismal showing by the entire interior offensive line the year before.

With the offensive line playing pretty well down the stretch in 2013, and the Cowboys returning all five starters, the Martin pick breaks a three-year pattern of using first round picks on immediate needs. Perhaps the value was too great to ignore. Few mocks had Martin slipping as far as the Cowboys at pick 16. Martin played mostly tackle while at Notre Dame, but CBS Sports ranked Martin the top offensive guard in the draft

Here is the scouting report on the newest Dallas Cowboy:

Courtesy CBS Sports:

STRENGTHS: Very good at keeping his feet underneath him while keeping his butt low to handle both speed and power. He does play with good quickness (but not explosiveness) off the snap, showing knee bend and core strength to anchor, as well as the lateral agility to mirror more athletic defenders. He also shows better athleticism than you might think when blocking on the move, demonstrating above average straight-line speed to get to the second level, as well as the nastiness to bury his target into the ground.

WEAKNESSES: With less than ideal length and lateral range, Martin’s NFL future may lie inside at guard, where he never played in college. The move to guard is necessary because Martin does not possess great height, arm length or foot speed. He chucks his way back (rather than sliding) for an effective if not aesthetically-pleasing form of pass protection.

COMPARIES TO: Logan Mankins, OG, New England Patriots – Mankins has been one of the NFL’s most valuable offensive linemen since being selected by New England in the first round of the 2005 draft, and has anchored the Patriots’ front line with top-notch instincts, toughness and versatility despite lacking elite athleticism. Martin exhibits many of the same traits, and should draw first-round consideration.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Dallas Cowboys Zack Martin

  • Chad

    Somewhere, OldFrog and David are crying (for completely different reasons). Whether you like it or not, he’s one of us now. WELCOME TO THE FAMILY ZACK!

    • Old Frog

      Are you kidding? I’ve already posted I’m bouncing around like a young frog. Finally got my guard. Welcome Zack! Enjoy the ride.

      • Chad

        I figured yours were tears of joy! Haha

  • saywut

    They should have taken C.J. Mosley or traded down. They will move Free to OG or cut him. Martin isn’t a solution to Dallas’s problem. And, Dallas’s problem? Defense. Their defense stinks – period. You release Ware and Hatcher and have no solution at those positions.

    • Chad

      As long as that pick took, I’m sure they tried. Jerry may be miffed about not getting a good value of trading down from last year, and wanted to make up for it by asking too much now.

    • Old Frog

      Free stays at Tackle and Martin plays Guard. Bernie and Leary duke it out for the other Guard spot. Now….run the damn ball!

      • Chad

        Bernie takes that all day.

    • PaulTX

      They need that RDE, the edge pass rusher. Only Barr and Clowney fit that role, and the next guys that do are in the #20-50 range. It looks like they tried to trade. Were you watching the live feed from the war room?

    • Old Frog

      I hear your frustration and I’m sure you’re not alone but keep the faith. They still have 10 picks and I’m sure many if not most of them will be defense. Lots of quality players left.

      • John

        You called it Frog – tip o’ the cap to you, sir. :)

        • Old Frog

          Every Frog has his day. Only took 3 years. Missed on DeCastro and then Warford but finally got it right this year. Now I can relax and enjoy the next 10 picks.

  • Bill Smith

    How do you Not trade down,, still add a nice piece and have more picks?? Steve Jones was on the phone, then threw it angrily, why not have these Potential deals already in place, you Know some good players will slide down, they always do..So the worst defense in the league does nothing to improve it.

    • PaulTX

      I don’t think they could find a trading partner.

    • Brent G

      Gotta have a dance partner. McShay (yeah one guy) had him rated #9. Value and a need pick.

  • Bill Smith

    PS See what happens when a team like the Niners rips you off last year, moving up all those spots for only a THIRD rounder?? Now the rest of the league wants to do the same.

  • Demboys

    Quit crying in my eyes all the good d-line guys that warranted the 16th pick were gone and so was shazier u should be happy they got an o-lineman which is very helpful and can still get some good def players in this deep draft. Face the facts the elite d-line players were gone and martin was well worth that pick in my eyes. Wished we coulda traded up with st louis at 13 but they prob wanted our 2nd rounder and cant give that up this yr