#70 Zack Martin
Zachary Edward Martin was born on November 20, 1990 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Martin is an offensive guard for the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League. He played his collegiate career at Notre Dame before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Zack Martin attended high school at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He compiled quite an impressive resume during his tenure in high school and excelled in several sports.
During Martin’s sophomore and junior years he starred on the basketball team and opposing fans gave him the nickname “The Butcher” due to his style of play. Martin also competed in track and field as a discus thrower and a shot putter.
Zack Martin gained national attention, though, on the football field. He helped lead Bishop Chatard High School to back-to-back 3A State Championships in 2006 and 2007, his sophomore and junior seasons. The team finished with a 12-3 record in 2006 and a 14-1 record in 2007. In the 2006 season, Martin showed his versatility by playing both on the offensive side of the ball and on defense as a defensive tackle. He accumulated 73 tackles and five tackles for a loss on the defensive side of the ball during the 2006 season.
He earned back-to-back first-team all-state selections as a junior and senior. His most impressive season might have been his senior season when he was able to tally 114 pancake blocks. He was ranked by Rivals.com as the 22nd best offensive tackle in the nation and turned down scholarship offers from Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan before deciding to continue his playing career at Notre Dame.
Martin was also selected to play in the 2009 Under Armor All-America Game in Orlando, Florida. The Under Armor All-America Game is an All-Star game for high school seniors and was created to showcase some of the top recruits around the nation. Other notable NFL players that were invited in 2009 were running back Trent Richardson, quarterback Matt Barkley, wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, and linebacker Manti Te’o.
Zack Martin enjoyed a redshirt season in 2009 with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. After his redshirt season at Notre Dame, Martin went on to have one of the most decorated careers in the school’s history for an offensive lineman.
In 2010, he played in all 13 games. One of only 11 players for the Irish that was able to accomplish that feat that season. Again, in 2011 he played in all 13 games at left tackle for the Fighting Irish. Then, in 2012 he was named as one of the four team captains and helped lead the way to a 12-0 undefeated regular season. He also helped the team earn a trip to the 2013 BCS National Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, which they lost 42-14. Upon the completion of the season he decided that he would return to Notre Dame for his last year of eligibility.
In his final season at Notre Dame, Zack Martin was once again named team captain. This was quite an honor because he became only the 18th player in school history to be named team captain for a second time. Martin once again showed his durability and started all 13 games, setting a new school record for starts with 52 for an offensive lineman.
Even more impressive, though, was the fact that Martin was named MVP of the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl after Notre Dame defeated Rutgers 29-16. Zack Martin became the first offensive lineman to be named MVP of a bowl game since 1959 when a center from Penn State, Jay Huffman, earned that distinction.
Over his collegiate career, Zack Martin earned the honors of being named two-time All-American, four-time team Guardian of the Year, the two-time ESPN.com All-Bowl Team selection, and three-time first-team All-Independent (2011, 2012, 2013). Those are impressive accolades for anyone to claim coming out of college, and one of the reasons why he was drafted so highly in the 2014 NFL Draft.
2014 NFL Draft
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Zack Martin in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 16th overall selection.
It was said that the Cowboys were targeting linebacker Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State if he had been available, but the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him one pick earlier (15th overall). Then, it was rumored that Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones was set to draft quarterback Johnny Manziel, and even went as far as writing his name down on the draft card, but was ultimately convinced that Martin was the right player to select.
Zack Martin was not only the right selection, but he was able to come in and solidify the Cowboys offensive line along with the other former first-round draft picks Travis Frederick (2013) and Tyron Smith (2011). The Cowboys decided to convert Martin from a collegiate left tackle to a right guard in the NFL, but he has the versatility to play all five positions along the offensive line.
As a rookie, Zack Martin was thrown into the fire and started at right guard for the first practice of organized team activities (OTA’s). He replaced Mackenzy Bernadeau, who started the two previous seasons at right guard for the Dallas Cowboys.
Upon completion of his first year in the NFL, Martin was one of only four rookies to make the 2014 Pro Bowl. He was also voted into the AP 2014 All-Pro Team. He was the only rookie to make the team and the first for the Cowboys since running back Calvin Hill made the team in 1969. If that’s not impressive enough, Zack Martin was the first offensive lineman to make the AP All-Pro Team since Dick Huffman in 1947.
I don’t know how much stock you might put into it, but Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave Martin an Honorable Mention in their 2014 All-Rookie Team.
Martin’s addition to the roster in 2014 helped create one of the best offensive lines in the entire NFL. Martin & Co. helped lead the way for 2014 rushing leader DeMarco Murray, who ran for 1,845 rushing yards and scored 13 rushing touchdowns.
Zack Martin managed to avoid the sophomore slump and again was named to the Pro Bowl for a second time in 2015. Despite losing DeMarco Murray to the Philadelphia Eagles, Martin and the rest of the offensive line helped Darren McFadden finish fourth in the NFL with 1,089 rushing yards. Martin was also named second team All-Pro by Associated Press after the completion of the 2015 season.
Things couldn’t have started better for Zack Martin in the NFL and his presence along the offensive line has given the Dallas Cowboys one of the best units in the entire league. He has started 32 of the possible 32 games since entering the league and that statistic alone should be encouraging considering the troubles the Cowboys have had with injuries over the past several seasons.
There are high hopes that Martin and the rest of the offensive line will be front and center once again for a dominant rushing attack in the upcoming 2016 season. With Ezekiel Elliott now the favorite to receive the majority of carries, Zack Martin & Co. should be licking their chops for the chance to impose their will against opposing defenses around the NFL.
Zack Martin is currently the 12th highest-paid out of 66 right guards in the entire NFL. He is entering the third year of his rookie contract and is averaging $2,241,950 per season, and guaranteed to earn $8,967,798. Martin is scheduled to make $2,445,763 in 2016 and $2,853,390 in 2017. The Dallas Cowboys can then decide if they want to sign him to a long-term contract or pick up his fifth year option.
Terrance Williams Was OK, But Cowboys Need More From Michael Gallup
Just yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys declined an option on Wide Receiver Terrance Williams' contract and ended his six-year tenure with the team. One reason the veteran was no longer in their plans was the presence of Michael Gallup, who the team has high hopes for entering just his second NFL season.
It's interesting to compare Gallup and Williams on several levels. Just as Terrance's time ends, having only made a few appearance last year in just three games, Michael was a fast learner as a rookie and emerged as the team's number-two receiver by the playoffs.
Both were third-round picks, with Williams (74th) being selected just seven spots higher overall in 2013 than Gallup (81st) was in 2018.
Terrance came to Dallas when Dez Bryant was firmly entrenched as the team's primary receiver. Michael was drafted less than a month after Dez was released, but Amari Cooper soon established himself as the number-one WR midway through the year.
In both cases, the Cowboys hoped that their third-round selection would yield a player who could at least play a complimentary role as a solid roleplayer, if not regular starter.
For all his warts Terrance Williams was ultimately a solid draft pick. He started in about 75% of the games he played in and was a proficient run blocker, helping both DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott have big years. He also made some highlight reel catches in his time.
But with those big plays came some big blunders. Terrance often had a bad drop for every good catch he made. A huge mental error may have cost Dallas the 2016 season opener against the Giants. And if the team wasn't already starting to turn on him, his 2018 arrest for public intoxication seemed to push them over the edge.
That said, the biggest issue with Williams was his inability to produce without other plays drawing attention. He didn't rise to the occasion when Dez Bryant was injured. He rarely even made defenses pay for giving Dez too much attention.
At his best, Terrance was a solid number-two receiver. Plenty of teams who've spent first-round picks on receivers wish they could they'd gotten as much in return. Nobody should be disappointed with how that 2013 third-round pick turned out.
But when it comes to Michael Gallup, Dallas should hope that Williams' career is the floor for Gallup's potential. As teams key on Amari Cooper going forward, can Gallup do damage in ways that Terrance rarely could?
Even more importantly, if Cooper were to ever get injured, could Michael step up and take on a larger role? Can Dallas finally have a number-two receiver with the capacity for occasionally taking the lead?
That may be putting too much pressure on young Mr. Gallup but it's really not an unfair expectation. Recent drafts have produced highly productive third-round receivers such as Keenan Allen, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay, and Tyler Lockett.
Even more pressure comes if Cole Beasley leaves the team in free agency. While his role lessened toward the end of 2018, Cole remained one of Dak Prescott's favorite options in clutch situations. He was almost impossible to stop with just one man covering him, and that gave defenses a real dilemma once Amari Cooper arrived.
Can Gallup fill those shoes? Can he become a reliable target when the game is on the line?
In the end, all Michael has to do is be a solid starter to provide a great value for his draft selection. The Williams standard isn't a bad measure.
But if the Cowboys ever want to win more than just the occasional playoff game then they need another receiving threat who truly punishes opposing defenses. They need the next Alvin Harper, not the next Terrance Williams.
We can only hope, as the team does, that Michael Gallup is up to the task.
Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.
Since Kris Richard has taken over the back-end of the Dallas Cowboys defense, they have clearly shown a bias towards a "type" of cornerback. Richard, looking to build this Dallas unit in a similar form to his Seattle teams, has prioritized long corners both in height and arm length.
As his responsibilities within the organization increase, it's only fair to expect Kris Richard to have more say in who the Cowboys' defense acquires in terms of talent. This means we should anticipate more defensive backs who fit his type, such as Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr.
So why does Lonnie Johnson fit the mold of what Kris Richard tends to look for? Well, for starters, he is 6'3" and 206 lbs with 32 1/4" arms. He's a long corner with excellent size and the trait profile which indicates he could be the perfect candidate to play cornerback in Dallas.
But while he might look great on paper, the tape is always the most important factor for evaluating and projecting talent. And, for Johnson, the tape isn't all-that great. Despite his length, Johnson struggled mightily in press-man coverage at Kentucky. Too often he is late or ineffective with his hands, leaving him susceptible to being blown by by the opposing receiver. He often loses balance due to poor footwork, and is rather average with his hips and quick change of direction.
Where Johnson was his best in college was in zone coverage, playing his deep third of Kentucky's cover-three look. Rarely did he allow receivers behind him in zone coverage, and displayed good instincts when deciding whether to jump routes or play more conservatively when playing in that deep third. He was not nearly as comfortable underneath, and Kentucky didn't ask him to play in that role too often. Because of how big he is, Johnson is able to contest at the catch point regularly, yet he only deflected 9 passes in 2 years.
What gives me the most hope for Lonnie Johnson as a prospect (besides his length) is his Senior Bowl performance. Johnson impressed daily at the Senior Bowl, looking more comfortable in man coverage and playing much better in his press technique.
Was this Johnson becoming more comfortable over time and a sign of things to come at the next level, or was it an anomaly that we shouldn't read too much into? The answer to that question is up to the individual teams, but his combine performance will play a huge role in how those teams answer.
As I've discussed already, Lonnie Johnson Jr. fits what Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks. He is long, tall, and relatively athletic, making him a clay piece for a coach like Richard to develop.
The question is, however, how much development can really occur? The highs for Johnson are rather high when he maximizes his natural abilities on the field. But too often he is sloppy in technique, or looks lost in man coverage. Whether or not Richard can "fix" Johnson completely may never be seen, but teams (especially this one) could fall in love with him as a prospect for what he can become if it all comes together.
Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson
NAME: Rodney Anderson
CONFERENCE: Big 12
POSITION: Running Back
CLASS: RS Junior
JERSEY: No. 24
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma Like, Comment, and Subscribe for More! Follow my Instagram: @szhighlights Songs: - "Don't Know Me" by Trae Tha Truth - "Better Days" by Trae Tha Truth I do not own any of these highlights or music clips.
Before we get into the player, we should really try to get to know Rodney Anderson the person. He attended Katy High School in Katy, Texas, one of the powerhouse HS football programs in the state. He was a four-star recruit who received offers from Auburn, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. He originally committed to Texas A&M, but changed his mind and decided to go to Oklahoma instead. He had an up-and-down career on the football field at Oklahoma because of injuries, but did graduate with a degree in Arts and Sciences in May 2018 and is pursuing his Master's in Human Relations.
Rodney Anderson has the ideal size and athleticism to become a featured back in the NFL. He shows good patience and vision on film to allow his offensive lineman to secure their blocks before sticking his foot in the ground and exploding through the hole. He runs behind his pads and shows good strength, loose hips, and balance to run through arm tackles. More than capable of picking up those "dirty yards" and is surprisingly slippery as a runner in the open field.
Anderson is capable of playing in a power scheme or a zone heavy scheme like the Dallas Cowboys deploy. He has been featured in a number of rushing concepts including gap/power, read action, and power sweeps. His talent also carries over to the passing game. He possesses soft hands and looks natural catching the ball both out of the backfield and down the field as a receiver. Solid in pass protection, but this is an area of his game where he can improve.
The biggest negative about Rodney Anderson is his injury history at Oklahoma. He is basically a one-year wonder because of three separate season-ending injuries, but bad things happen in three so maybe that's behind him. Durability will be a question mark entering the NFL though.
His vision is sometimes questionable, especially on inside and outside zone reads. Has a tendency to to try to bounce runs to the outside too often or cut back too quickly. Shows good explosiveness, but only average burst through the hole. Seems to have adequate long speed on tape, but is 40 yard dash time will be heavily scrutinized if he's able to run at the NFL Scouting Combine.
In the passing game he needs to improve his route running and pass protection if he wants to be a three-down back in the NFL. The talent is there, just not the production and consistency. Will also have to prove he can be productive against stacked boxes at the next level since he rarely saw any in college due to Oklahoma's spread offense.
If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a running back capable of being a featured back in the NFL, while also spelling Ezekiel Elliott from time to time, then Rodney Anderson is there guy. His combination of power, balance, explosiveness, and scheme diversity could come in handy as their RB2. Not only would he provide a good insurance policy if the unthinkable were to happen to Zeke, but he could take over if they decide not to give No. 21 a contract extension.
There is a lot to like about Rodney Anderson's game and his ability to contribute in the running and passing game, but he is not by any means a clean prospect. Despite his immense talent, his injury history and lack of consistency in college is bothersome. But, as a mid-round pick the reward far outweighs the risks. Paired with Elliott, the Cowboys could have a formidable one-two punch in their backfield and could pound opposing defenses into submission.
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