There were other players the Dallas Cowboys could have traded up for in the 2014 NFL Draft, but they stuck to their plan. Johnny Manziel fell to their spot, but Jerry Jones politely passed on potential for the sure thing. Nobody will go out of their way to praise the front office for what they did, but Dallas made the biggest impact in the first round.
By selecting Zack Martin at pick No. 16, the Cowboys solidified their offensive line. They now have one of the best young offensive lines in the league. They feature Martin, Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith, each of whom has the potential to contend for Pro Bowl honors for the next decade.
After making a $100 million investment in Tony Romo, the Cowboys had to protect it. What good is a talented quarterback if he is on the ground? Dallas had to make this move to fend off the strong defensive lines in the NFC East.
This move is key for a couple of other reasons as well. It provides competition at each O-line position due to Martin’s versatility and experience at both guard and tackle. Martin will push Doug Free, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary to perform at their best. If they slack or become stricken by the injury bug they have a player in Martin who can pick up the slack.
The other big plus is that the Cowboys don’t have to haggle with Free when his contract is up after this year. If he demands too much money then the Cowboys can let him walk without missing a beat.
Some say that Dallas didn’t make a “sexy pick” in the first-round, but I disagree. Winning games, divisions and Super Bowls is sexy. The Cowboys aren’t making the flashy moves that get people talking. They are simply making the moves that build a solid foundation for sustained success.