Nov 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive tackle Zack Martin (70) blocks at the line of scrimmage against Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Shakir Soto (52) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Dallas Cowboys Secretly Targeting Zack Martin?

Mar 20, 2014; Notre Dame, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish former football player Zack Martin runs a drill during Notre Dame pro day at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the offseason, it seems everywhere we looked, we saw the Cowboys going defense in the 2014 NFL Draft. Multiple sources within the team have confirmed as much. I haven’t heard this much agreement and general conformity in “leaks” since…ever.

Then suddenly speculation in the past week focused on Texas A&M QB, Johnny Manziel as the Cowboys’ top target. That sounds like a pretty convenient smoke screen right before the draft, doesn’t it?

Every year information comes out about who the Cowboys are targeting, what they are going to do with their top pick, who they want, and who they don’t want. It’s usually a convoluted mix bag of rumors. Some are real but most are fake. The Cowboys always seem to send out fake information leading up to the draft. Who can blame them? It’s smart business to hold your cards close to the vest and mislead the competition.

What’s strange is almost every actual source seems to be focusing on D-line and Manziel. Given the financial commitment to Romo I can’t even entertain the Manziel pick as a realistic possibility. But the D-is a different story.

The Cowboys have epic needs on the D-Line. Newly signed Henry Melton is the only clear starter and even he is recovering from a major injury. The rest of the D-line is made up of glorified rotation players, unproven talent, and a former OLB. No wonder those inside Valley Ranch are all saying nothing but defensive line. But I can’t help but be suspicious at the uniformity of the message.

What if the Cowboys are really targeting someone else? What if the Cowboys are targeting Offensive Tackle Zack Martin?

Zack Martin was recently named by NFL Network’s Mike Mayock as the safest pick in the draft. He has the ability to successfully play all 5 positions on the offensive line. His draft stock is soaring as we speak. Never mind that offensive line is now a hot commodity on draft day. Offensive linemen have one of the lowest 1st round bust rates in the NFL. They are often a smart and safe pick.

In yesterday’s 7 round mock draft, the simulator had 5 OTs off the board by the time the Cowboys even went on the clock. That’s a pretty significant run. In what I always refer to as The Annual Run on Offensive Linemen, the Cowboys may consider themselves lucky to have a shot at a player like Zack Martin.

Obviously drafting someone like Martin would require the certain top players to be off the board. At this point it’s pretty obvious Clowney, Mack, Donald, Robinson, Matthews, Watkins, will all be gone. There is also a very good chance Lewan, Barr, Gilbert, Dennard, Evans, and Clinton-Dix will be gone. 1-3 QBs could also be gone but I don’t think they will ever be considered by the Cowboys on draft day.

The Cowboys face the very realistic possibility of having to choose from a disturbingly shallow poor of defensive players. If they want defense they may have reach on a player or trade back to get appropriate value for who they select. Martin may be the man in the perfect position for the Cowboys.

Martin fills obvious needs too. He can’t play defensive line but he can be a day 1 starter in place of Mackenzy Bernadeau at guard. When Doug Free departs the Cowboys in 2015, Martin can smoothly transition to RT. He fills a need in the short term and the long term. That’s why he makes so much sense and why may be the Cowboys’ target all along.

For this to happen the Cowboys will have to admit what most of us came to grips with months ago – this team will need more than 1 season to become a contender again. There are just too many holes to fill in one offseason. The question is, does Jerry Jones know and admit this or is he still trying to fix everything at once…

How would you feel if, with most of the top players off the board, the Cowboys went offensive line in round 1? Would you support the pick or would you rather they trade back, collect an extra pick and address defense? Either one could happen on Thursday night.


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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Dallas Cowboys Zack Martin

  • Rich

    I would be OK with Martin in RD 1 if Barr and Donald were gone.

  • Earl Robertson

    You can never go wrong picking players for the OLine. It just like building a house you have to have a good foundation before you can build anything else.

  • Howard Willis

    I would be ok with this pick as well, I personally would prefer Lewan but chances are he will be gone

  • spitfire

    this is the draft class that could finish the offensive line for 5-7 years with excellent players available. martin then later rounds one of these guys gabe jackson,billy turner,trai turner, or dakota or red shirt the guy from clemson. long term goals filled-short term benefits. easley, sutton, kareem for defense, sankey to replace randle. eathan westbrooks is marinelli manna

  • Old Frog

    Not sure it’s much of a secret although a few mocks have the Boys passing on him even at 16.

  • Assassin

    I would be okay with Martin there assuming our top D targets were off the board. Nice long term prognosis – and who knows? Maybe Free will keep up the upswing shown this past year. If he sticks around at that level, we’ll have a really decent OL. Plus keeping Romo upright is always a good thing.

    We’re not a Super Bowl team this year. Aim for next year, therefore it’s okay to have some holes in your D this year post draft if you start to get some solid players in the 2nd and 3rd rounds plus rotational players later in the draft.

  • Assassin

    Romo has a limited number of years left. He signed a new 6 year extension that kicks in this year. We are tied to him for at least 3 years before we could even consider cutting him. I’d love to see what he could do behind a solid OL.

  • Greg Hill

    Without a quality defensive line other teams will run the ball, control the clock while all these offensive draft picks will be standing on the sidelines watching. Without turnovers by the other team you are helpless. Build the defense up with draft picks or free agents first.