Quarterbacks are often thought to be the most important players in the NFL. There’s a lot of concern for the Dallas Cowboys and the health of Tony Romo going forward. It’s true that he makes the team go, but he’s useless if he can’t remain upright. Rookie Zack Martin‘s intelligence and versatility make him indispensable.
It’s a pretty bold statement to anoint a player who’s never played a snap as a professional as such a vital piece of the puzzle. After people watch Martin, it all makes a little more sense.
While at Notre Dame, Martin played 50-of-52 games at left tackle, but is thought be smart enough and athletic enough to play any position on the offensive line. That’s why the Cowboys are looking to plug him in at right guard and even gave him some snaps at center in OTA’s.
He won’t play that position, as Travis Frederick proved himself during his rookie season. However, it never hurts to take snaps and be ready for any scenario.
Jason Garrett has been so impressed with what he’s seen from Martin.
“He’s a really, really smart football player. You can tell in how he played on college tape and you can tell from minute one since he’s been here, both in the classroom and on the field. The game comes very easily to him from a mental standpoint. He doesn’t seem to struggle with the different looks, playing different spots. There’s a lot of poise and confidence. Now, he’s got a long way to go. Don’t get me wrong, he’s young to this whole thing. He’s had about 10 practices with us … but the versatility, we viewed him as a guy who could potentially play five offensive line spots.”
There’s no doubt that the Cowboys view him as a very important piece. If the plan is to use him in varying spots, it gives the team flexibility. They can move on from right tackle Doug Free next year if he demands too much money. Martin also provides depth if any player along the offensive line gets injured.
If Martin suffered an injury, then it would be a huge blow to Dallas. Not only would they be losing a key young player, they’d lose depth and athleticism, and also create a bigger target on Romo’s back.
He may not be at a sexy position on the team, but this rookie will be the most important player for the Dallas Cowboys as they look into the future.