Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent much of the spring and summer lamenting the team’s decision to pass on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel in 2014 NFL Draft. Jones was talked into taking Notre Dame guard Zack Martin with the 16th overall pick even though he says Manziel was ranked higher on the team’s draft board.
Suffice to say, Jones couldn’t have a higher opinion of Martin now is no longer crying about former Heisman Trophy winner..
Jones said Martin has played beyond expectations as instant impact player on the best offensive line in football. He was one of three Cowboys lineman named to the Pro Bowl and of two named first team all-pro. He is the first Cowboys rookie to be named all-pro since Calvin Hill in 1968,
“Martin has been beyond any expectation that I or anyone else had,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of people thinking that he might be the best draft pick that they’ve seen, certainly in this past draft. Still, that obviously when I look at the impact of Martin and how that has gelled probably, not probably, arguably the best part of our team, which is our offensive line, then that puts that the question of Manziel, does pale in comparison to the impact of Martin.
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“We had Manziel ahead of Martin on the board. That was part of the lamenting, I had to go against the board. But Martin was better than we thought he was.”
Offensive coordinator/ offensive line coach Bill Callahan echoed those thoughts, saying he’s never seen a lineman play as well as Martin has in his first season.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Callahan said. “To his credit, he’s really done a terrific job, and the players around him have really helped him, but he’s embraced the role, coming out of college off of being a left tackle in college, being put inside and then flipping inside from left to right. There are some things with muscle memory that are a little bit different when you change your side. So playing on the right side, going inside and then playing against the type of players he has played and enduring all the different types of injuries that he’s had and played through, to his credit, he’s done a remarkable job.
“I haven’t seen a guy step into this league that I’ve had personally and accomplish what he’s done in such a short period of time. It just speaks volumes for everything about him. His character, his tenacity, his toughness, you name it. He’s got it all.”