Even though the Dallas Cowboys‘ defense was in much more need of a first-round draft pick, the selection of Zack Martin is vital in maintaining what was arguably the team’s top unit last season.
Already having one of the best left tackles in Tyron Smith paired up with one of the best rookie centers in Travis Frederick, Martin becomes the third offensive lineman selected by the Cowboys in the first round in the past four years.
Not only did the Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines last season, but now they also have one of the youngest offensive lines. With Tony Romo‘s ailing back, the Cowboys have ensure that for the rest of his career he will be behind what should be a dominant offensive line, and that should keep Romo starting every game of the season for at least a few more years.
The versatility of Martin puts the Cowboys in a position where an injury to a key offensive lineman will not devastate the team. Martin started the majority of his games at Notre Dame at the tackle position, and in the NFL he is expected to play the majority of his snaps at the guard position. Martin’s additional experience playing all over the line allows the Cowboys to move him around to accommodate an injury if it is necessary.
The Cowboys are never short of playmakers on offense, and now they have built an offensive line that will make everything they do on offense a lot easier. Even though some of Romo’s most spectacular plays are from his scrambling out of the pocket, the offense will function better and have fewer turnovers when Romo has enough time in the pocket to find open receivers.
The Cowboys have the kind of offensive line that ensures they are built to have a balanced offense. DeMarco Murray has the ability to be a game changing running back, and a strong offensive line should give the Cowboys’ play-callers all the confidence in the world in their run game. The days when offensive success was completely dependent on the play of Romo should now be behind the Cowboys.
In addition to adding a great amount of injury insurance to the offensive line itself, Martin also gives the Cowboys injury insurance at the running back position. While backup running backs may not have the same ability to take over the game, the Cowboys have the kind of offensive line that will do enough to ensure that they will at least have a consistent running game even if the top option is not there.
The balance that this offensive line should bring will give the Cowboys the ability to sustain long drives. This is where the defense begins to benefit from the selection of Martin. Keeping the Cowboys’ defense on the sideline will keep them fresher and less injury riddled when on the field.
Martin is the latest piece of what has become one of the youngest and most promising offensive lines in the NFL. The offensive line is central to having success at any kind of offensive play, and the Cowboys’ offensive line should be a position not strength for many years to come.