Grading the Dallas Cowboys’ First-Round Selection of Zack Martin
Johnny Manziel fell past the Cleveland Browns, the Minnesota Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and many were starting to believe that Johnny Football could actually be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys at No. 16. Manziel said he was born at halftime of a Cowboys game, and he thought playing for the team he grew up watching would be a dream come true. Manziel’s dream was so close to becoming a reality on Thursday, as the Texas A&M product fell right into the lap of the Cowboys.
Instead of drafting Manziel, the Cowboys elected to address the offensive line by selecting Zack Martin. The Cowboys never know what they are going to get out of Doug Free and this pick was definitely a safe one. Seen by many as the safest pick in the draft, Martin is by far the most versatile offensive linemen in this draft class. At the Senior Bowl, Martin said he could play anywhere on an offensive line. He won’t need to play left tackle or center, as the Cowboys have two blue-chip players in Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick.
Last season, the Cowboys had one of the worst defenses in the history of the NFL. Bypassing the defense was a tough pill to swallow, but the Cowboys stayed true to their board and selected the best player available. It was reported after the draft that Dallas’ top targets were Aaron Donald, Anthony Barr, Ryan Shazier and Martin in no particular order. Barr went in the top ten to the Vikings and Donald went to the St. Louis Rams with the No. 13 pick. It was reported after the first round that Shazier’s agent was on the phone with the Cowboys when the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him a pick before Dallas. That being said, the Cowboys were going to draft Shazier if he was available.
ESPN’s Trent Dilfer said that the team that drafts Martin should move him inside to play guard. He then said Martin will become a perennial Pro Bowler. Martin will not knock over opponents like Larry Allen, but he is perhaps the best technician in this draft, similar to Frederick last year. Just a few years ago, the Cowboys had possibly the worst offensive line in the NFL, and now they have three rocks on the offensive line who will be around for a very long time.
Final Grade: A