Dallas Cowboys

May 21, 2014

Zack Martin, DeMarcus Lawrence focus of Cowboys’ rookie class

The Cowboys’ rookies make their first public appearance as a group, participating in a Play 60 event at Pantego Christian Academy.

As DeMarcus Lawrence answered questions from the media, some of his fellow rookies arrived holding their cellphones, pretending to be reporters. It won’t be the last time the second-round draft pick gets the “rookie treatment.”

“It’s all nice right now,” he said.

The Dallas Cowboys rookies made their first public appearance as a group Wednesday. They joined representatives from The Cooper Institute and volunteers from United Healthcare in an NFL Play 60 Fitnessgram assembly and assessment demonstration at Pantego Christian Academy.

It marked the first time the rookies wore jerseys with their names on the back.

“It’s pretty cool,” first-round pick Zack Martin said. “It’s a surreal experience. It’s good to get out here with all these guys and be able to give back to the kids.”

The rookies arrived at the private school in the Cowboys’ two luxury buses, drawing looks, waves and honks from passersby on Park Row Drive. Welcome to the NFL.

“Getting there,” Martin said when asked if he felt like a pro yet. “I’m sure more and more it’ll feel like that. Definitely getting there.”

Martin and Lawrence, as the top two picks, have become the focus of the rookie class. Both are expected to contend for starting jobs.

The Cowboys have penciled in Martin as the starting right guard, though he has to hold off veteran Mackenzy Bernadeau. It is a position Martin has never played.

“It’s good just kind of learning how to play on the right side again and playing inside rather than tackle,” said Martin, a Notre Dame product. “It’s been going great. Coach [Bill] Callahan and Coach [Frank] Pollack have been great teaching me. It’s been a fun first two weeks.”

Veteran tight end Jason Witten said earlier this week that the selection of Martin over quarterback Johnny Manziel signals the direction of the team. The Cowboys drafted Martin to better protect quarterback Tony Romo and with hopes of running the ball more and better this season.

“It’s a huge compliment,” Martin said. “I know we want to control the line of scrimmage, and when we were winning in the ’90s, that’s what they did. They controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. You can tell they’re invested in that. It’s going to be fun to be a part of it.”

Lawrence expects to work into the defensive line rotation, playing the same right side spot that DeMarcus Ware played last season. He will compete with Jeremy Mincey for the starting job.

Lawrence described his game as “violent.”

“Football is a violent game, so I go in each and every day and try to be as violent as I can,” he said. “When I look at the bigger picture, the next man is always going to try to be better than you. I go in every day ready to work and try to get better.”

Roster shuffle

The Cowboys waived injured rookie free agent Marvin Robinson, signing rookie free agent Tyler Patmon to replace him on the 90-player roster. Patmon, a cornerback from Oklahoma State, participated in the team’s rookie minicamp as a tryout.

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