Cowboys Draft: Please Stop Calling Zack Martin The Safe Pick

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Mar 20, 2014; Notre Dame, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish former football players Zack Martin (left) and Chris Watt run a drill during Notre Dame pro day at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Stop calling Dallas Cowboys’ offensive lineman Zack Martin a safe pick. Because it’s wrong. He’s not a safe pick. Far from it, actually.

How about a good pick? Nope. Wouldn’t call it that.

How about a great pick? Nope. Wrong there too.

Drafting offensive lineman Zack Martin with the 16th pick was the “best” pick for the team. It was the correct one. Martin gives the Dallas Cowboys three offensive lineman drafted in the first round.

2014 Projected OL Starters:

  • LT | Tyron Smith | Age: 23 | Height: 6’5″ | 2011 1st Round Pick
  • LG | Ronald Leary | Age: 25 | Height: 6’3″
  • C  | Travis Frederick | Age: 23 | Height: 6’3″ | 2013 1st Round Pick
  • RG | Zack Martin | Age: 23 | Height: 6’4″ | 2014 1st Round Pick
  • RT | Doug Free | Age: 30 | Height: 6’6″


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

Games are won in the trenches. On both sides of the ball. That’s how the Cowboys did it in the 90’s.

The spotlight went to Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin. But without a dominant front line, there is no need for a spotlight.

Everything starts at the front line.

A strong front line gives Tony Romo the confidence to stick with the running play. It gives him the confidence to drop back and check his reads. But most important of all, a good front five gives Romo quality protection and insurance for someone who has had two back surgeries recently.

The best way to secure your investment is to keep investing in it. Choosing Zack Martin over safety prospects (Calvin Pryor to Jets and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Packers) was smart.

You don’t play defense when your offense is owning the time of possession (now that they have a front line to run the ball). You don’t have to play from behind and add pressure to your defense when you grab early leads.

This all starts at the front line. Adding Zack Martin alone doesn’t solidify the process. But pairing Zack Martin with Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick lubricates the fabric of what makes NFL teams great — the offensive line.

And the guy who made this pick deserves a little credit.

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