IRVING, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – Cowboys first-round pick Zack Martin wasted little time on Draft Day taking on the Legend of Manziel. He’s wasted little time in OTAs earning the starting right-guard job. And with the news of his signing his contract on Monday, he’s wasted little time getting the financial bookkeeping out of the way.
Zack Martin gracefully handled Draft Day questions about him being the Dallas Cowboys’ top pick instead of Johnny Manziel.
“I can live up to that,” the Notre Dame offensive lineman said after his selection with the 16th overall pick.
So far so good for Martin, 6-4 and 308, who has rolled into Valley Ranch and asserted himself as the likely winner of the competition at right guard. And today he’s a financial winner as well, agreeing to a slotted four-year deal likely worth about $8.9 million with a reported $4.842 million signing bonus.
Second-round pick DeMarcus Lawrence is the last remaining Cowboys pick to sign; the club plans to have that done shortly.
“Zack is a really, really smart football player,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You can tell that in how he played in college tape. You can tell that from Minute 1 since he’s been here, both in the classroom and on the field. The game comes very easily to him from a mental standpoint. He doesn’t seem to struggle with the different looks, playing different spots.”
Martin’s work at right guard has caused veterans Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ron Leary to spent a lot of time sharing the left-guard spot. Meanwhile, Martin’s versatility — even though he was a 52-game starter at left tackle at Notre Dame — is in play as well.
“We viewed him as a guy who could potentially play five offensive line spots when we drafted him,” Garrett said. “He’s certainly done a very good job at guard. We’ll try to give him some snaps at center as well.”
With Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Dallas has now rafted three starting O-linemen for the third time in the past four drafts. Smith is about to get locked up with a big-money long-term deal. Frederick is under contract for four more seasons. And now Martin is a long-term Cowboy as well.
“You look at the best teams in the league now and for a lot of years, they’re able to control the line of scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball,” Garrett said. “We did that for years here when we won championships in the ’90s. You need to build the infrastructure of your team. We feel like we’ve got a great start with that.”
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