The Dallas Cowboys have invested a lot in their offensive line. Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin were all first round picks that helped rebuild this unit for Dallas.
Martin was their most recent pick of this group, as they added him with the 16th overall pick in 2014. Since we are now just 16 days away from the 2016 NFL Draft, let’s take a closer look at Zack Martin – the team’s only ever selection with the 16th pick of the first round.
The durable Martin would have a decorated career at Notre Dame, as he was named a team captain in his junior and senior season. He played at the left tackle position for the Fighting Irish in his three years as a starter.
In his junior season of 2012, the team went undefeated at 12-0 and played in the BCS National Championship game – which they lost to Alabama. Notre Dame would bounce back the following season, as Martin started every game on his way to a Pinstripe Bowl MVP.
Martin became only the second offensive linemen in college football history to receive the MVP award for a bowl game, as Notre Dame defeated Rutgers 29-16. Zack also set the school record for career starts by an offensive linemen this season, finishing with 52.
Martin was seen as a very solid NFL prospect, capable of playing multiple positions along the line at a high level. When the Cowboys called his name in the 2014 draft, passing on the likes of Johnny Manziel, nobody saw what was in store for the coming season in Dallas.
Martin was immediately named a starter at right guard, and the Cowboys started the season 6-1 thanks to an offensive line that dominated opposing fronts. DeMarco Murray got off to a historical start, mostly doing his damage on the ground while running behind the rookie Martin.
Ultimately, Murray finished with the most yards for a Cowboy in a single season with 1,845 yards on 392 carries. Dallas controlled nearly every game they were in thanks to this offensive line, on their way to a 12-4 regular season.
Martin would be named to the Pro Bowl in 2014, as the Cowboys great season came to a crashing halt in Green Bay during the NFC Divisional Round.
This past season, Martin had another Pro Bowl year, as the Cowboys offense dropped off in the absence of Tony Romo. While the passing game sputtered entirely, new running back Darren McFadden was able to have a resurgence behind this offensive line – rushing for the fourth highest yardage output in the league at 1,089.
Martin hopes to be a long term fixture on the right side of the offensive line for the Cowboys, as he is under contract through the 2017 season. The entire offensive line can look forward to protecting Tony Romo again in 2016, as the Dallas Cowboys hope to return to their 2014 form.
Cowboys on the Clock will once again go Beyond the Clock tomorrow and on Thursday, as the team has never selected with the 15th or 14th overall pick. Check out our most recent Beyond the Clock post right here:
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