Aug 9, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive tackle Zack Martin (70) listens to instructions during practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys: Zack Martin Vs. Johnny Manziel

I was going to give a more in depth look into the Dallas Cowboys 2014 draft class this week, but there is plenty of time to cover that before and during training camp.

The more interesting story to me is how Dallas’ first round draft pick will play out. My article last week discussed how the Cowboys went the smart route by passing on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and instead selecting a much more needed and much safer bet in Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin.

The conservativeness of the pick is the real point here. First and foremost, I am going to say that Martin was a good pick and will make an immediate difference on this team in a much needed way.

“…just because you won your fantasy football league last year does not make you an expert on NFL prospect talent assessment.”
The problem is this pick is going to be retroactively judged based on the performance of “Johnny Football” this upcoming season. Consider what the backlash would be should Manziel have the breakout rookie season Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III did. Even if his production tapers off in the following years as they have with Griffin, that doesn’t change the fact that the Cowboys (and mainly owner/general manager Jerry Jones) will be criticized all season for making a poor draft decision and letting a huge talent slip through their fingers.

That’s the problem with drafting quarterbacks, it is a high risk/high reward gamble. Linemen, linebackers, these guys are generally pretty safe bets. It’s the skills positions that you never can predict how they will translate from college to the NFL, and the quarterback position is by far the most unpredictable.

How many quarterbacks were selected in the first round that went on to obscurity? Anyone remember Ryan Leaf? Okay, does anyone remember Leaf in a positive way? Quarterbacks can often and easily be a first round pick thrown directly into the trash, and that’s what makes Martin such a smart choice.

That doesn’t change the fact that if Manziel does have an extraordinary rookie season, the lynch mob will be in full force, crucifying Jerry for not being aggressive enough, for being a poor judge of talent, and ultimately the worst general manager in the history of professional sports.

This is why Jerry just can’t win with most fans. If he aggressively Pursues high performing talents through free agency or the draft and they end up being a disappointment (Roy Williams, Morris Claiborne at this point), all fingers point to Jerry as being to fault for taking such a risk, wasting money and valuable cap space on such a foolish judgement call.

Then if he plays conservative, and passes on a talent that may or may not pan out for a variety of reasons (Randy Moss and now Manziel) and they end up becoming superstars, all fingers point at Jerry for being too conservative, and for allowing such valuable talent to slip through our fingers on such a foolish judgement call.

That’s the pitfall of being in Jerry’s position. Statistics, Heismans, the so called “measurables”; none of these give you any guarantees in what essentially comes down to a crap shoot when skills players make the jump from college to the professional level.

It’s real easy for us to sit back and criticize decisions after the fact, and just because you won your fantasy football league last year does not make you an expert on NFL prospect talent assessment.

As much as I would love to be the guy who selects our players from the draft and free agency, I don’t think I could handle the backlash. Every minute decision or move made to be criticized by the media and public after they’ve had the benefit of hindsight.

But that’s the role that Jerry accepts, putting himself out there to be cursed and hated every time things don’t go right. I couldn’t handle it, I’m pretty sure that most of you couldn’t either, but when it comes down to Martin and Manziel…I strongly believe that Jerry made the right call.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Johnny Manziel Zack Martin

  • Dana

    I also agree. Manziel would’ve sit anyways. At least this season. I have faith in everything the front office is doing. I am a true fan here. Will roll with whatever path we go.

    • Alfredo

      I am glad to hear this type of loyalty to the team. TRUE BLUE TO THE BONE!

      • Dana

        Thanks! Just tired of reading all the negative bull about the Boy’s. Yes the defense was’nt the greatest. but, they were in a lot of games. just a few bad plays here in there.

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    Even if Manziel turns out to be a “super” quarterback, Dallas still made the right choice. Fans seem to forget that next year as well as in future years there will most likely be quarterbacks available that have as much potential as Manziel.

  • MrsDraWoo

    Wouldn’t it have been great if drafting Manziel and replacing Romo was the answer to all the Cowboys problems? Ultimately it isn’t. Martin, Frederick and Smith will be a force in the league for the foreseeable future.

  • David

    There is no comparison. Martin will be a future pro bowler for years and Manziel will be out of the league in 5 years.

  • true cowboys fan

    LOL another Johnny Manziel non story Jerry Jones knew he was gonna get a lot of mileage out of this story just by acting like he wanted to draft him man did he play the media bet hes getting a real kick out of all this GO COWBOYS ! ! True Cowboys Fan for Life

  • SmartThinking

    Martin will be a starting G or T for the next ten years. He may be boring or safe, but he’s very good at what he does and that’s keep out pass rushing defensemen and open holes for RB’s. It was the smart move on big Jones’ part to take him first.

    Just before the draft, it occurred to me that big Jones has spent a ton of time and money on O linemen in recent years, through the draft and buying Waters’ services for a season. He knows what an effective front five and do for a team. I’ve wanted Bernadeau replaced since the end of last season and Martin was selected,
    according to Garrett, to do that very thing. Next up is to replace Leary and this offense will have a pretty good front line for quite a few years.

  • Blake

    This is a good step towards re-balancing the offensive scheme…having a good ground game and being able to run the clock with the lead is crucial to winning…trying to win by shooting it out every week is a high risk gamble bound to fail unless you have an outstanding defense…which the cowboys don’t.
    and 1 or 2 top defensive picks and/or signings isn’t going to change that..they still don’t have a solid intimidating hitter at ILB or at when the D gets caught in pass D with a running play its like watching the keystone cops trying to tackle someone.
    I wont even comment on the D line except to say they had a few moments where they surprised peeps…but meh overall.
    I think aikman would have been average without the solid running game he had…if the cowboys get effective with the ground game Romo will win a super bowl.