#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.