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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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones Johnny Manziel Tony Romo Zack Martin

  • PaulTX

    I was surprised at how many people were screaming over Romo and the offense last year. We were 8-8 and one game from making the playoffs despite having the worst defense in the league. That says a lot for our offense, and the only weak link was in the middle of our line, and it looks like that has been fixed now.

    As far as defense, imagine if Spencer, Hatcher, Ware, and Lee were all healthy. It would have been a totally different season. Lee is back and Melton is arguably better than Hatcher. As far as Lawrence goes, it’s not fair to assume he can put up Ware’s sack numbers, but if he can do 75% of what Ware did and stay healthy, I would consider him better than Ware.

    • [email protected]

      I think the pick of Zach Martin is a great pickup because I think he’s a player that can play anywhere on the line. He is a great run blocker and great in pass protection. Look how the Cowboy’s of the 90′s did it they had a great line players.

    • Chad

      We might have gotten by this year with Ware, it was the cap figure that killed it. I don’t see why D-Law shouldn’t match Ware’s 2013 season, if not improve on it.

      • cowboysmaniac

        6.5 sacks was Ware’s 2013 number.

        • Chad

          It was 6 even (if ESPN, NFL, and the official Cowboys sites are all wrong then I’ll be wrong with them), but still not enough to warrant the kind of money Ware was due. Had we knocked the cap figure down around $8 Mil, we might still have 94 with a star on his helmet.

    • David

      Here is how the defense can be rapidly improved next year. You run the fn ball more behind this new stud line and keep the defense off of the field and fresh. Also the defense needs to stay healthy.

      • PaulTX

        I still think we are weak in coverage. Mo and Carr cannot trust this safety group over the top, so I’m not sure how much their play will improve. If Marinelli doesn’t stay in the zone the whole game like Kiffin, maybe things improve.

        • David

          Oh I agree I do not think the Cowboys safeties can take this defense anywhere beyond average to good.

          • PaulTX

            We can’t cut Carr and Scandrick until 2017 without taking a major hit, but we definitely have to improve our DBs before then. I am of the opinion that a team should be constantly drafting to replace WRs and DBs to have talent while keeping the cap low.

          • David

            Why cut Scandrick he is their best corner right now? And he does not have a huge contract.

          • PaulTX

            He got beat out by Mo and Carr. I’m not sure he’s that great.

          • David

            Last year Mo got benched for him. And even if Mo comes back and plays great, Scandrick is regarded as one of the better slot corners.

          • cowboys maniac

            Scandrick is flat out better than Mo. The team fought it, seeing how Mo is a 1st and 2nd round player in one, but that’s how bad he played – they had to sit him. Take away that terrible trade up for Mo and this team has Brockers in the middle next to Melton and the LB to boot. It’s quickly time for Mo to show up or get out of town

          • David

            I dont even care about Brockers. They would have drafted Wagner in the 2nd round. Could you imagine Lee and Wagner at LB’s.

        • Earl Robertson

          Yea and Scrandrick even though had a fair year last year you can’t trust him he has no big play skills and he is usually a liability in coverage

    • Earl Robertson

      Not sure Melton will be better then Hatcher. Hatcher career could have been a lot better if he wasn’t waste in that sorry 34 for so long

      • PaulTX

        He’s cheaper, younger, and not causing problems in the locker room. That’s already better, but I guess the verdict is still out until season starts.

        • Earl Robertson

          Yea he is cheaper and younger but he has been hurt also and I never heard anything about hatcher being bad for the locker room in fact he was about the only one that I would say was a leader. But I am with you I’m hoping Melton can filled his spit but it isn’t going to be easy Hatcher had a great season last year

  • Greg Hill

    A first round pick for a guard? With short arms and lack of height playing tackle is out of the question. Guards are a dime a dozen in the NFL and don’t cost much in salary. Overpaying underachieving players has created cap problems. How many more years will I hear cowboy fans make excuses for not making the playoffs?

    • cowboys maniac

      The OL will be a strength. A dime a dozen for Bernie and Livings yeah-you go 8-8. Get some great ones and we’ll see soon enough. I’m sure Romo’s spleen, lungs, and collarbone are happy they aren’t following your philosophy. :)

  • claytonryan0412

    I’m happy that our line will be dominant for years to come but time of possession goes down the drain if we don’t run the ball. I’m praying this new offensive coordinator fixes that even though he likes to throw the ball a lot.

  • Greg Hill

    Everyone talks about the great offensive line of the last super bowl teams. Here they are and how they became cowboys: Erik Williams OT drafted 3rd round, Mark Tuinei OT undrafted free agent, Nate Newton OG undrafted free agent, Kevin Gogan OG drafted 8th round and finally Mark Stepnowski C drafted 3rd round. Is it necessary to have three 1st round picks on the OL when the current defense is pathetic?