Career Accolades: 5x Pro Bowler (2014-present), 3x First-team All-Pro (’14, ’16, ’18), 2x Second-team All-Pro (’15, ’17) PFWA All-Rookie Team
Zack Martin was ranked as the 59th best player in the NFL by his peers at the end of last season. He comes in at 14 on our list of current athletes in DFW.
Since Martin was drafted in 2014, prosperity has followed the Cowboys. They’ve never been outside the top 10 in rushing, he’s never not made a pro bowl or not been recognized as an All-Pro. Dallas has three division titles in his six-year career and he’s universally recognized as a top-two guard in football.
In fact, the two offensive penalties he was flagged for in week 1 against the Giants matched his season total in 2018. We’re used to greatness from Martin.
The Cowboys and Martin agreed to a six-year extension worth $84 million in June of last year. No guard in the history of the NFL has ever received more guaranteed money than Zack Martin.
It was money well spent. Especially considering Martin was at risk of not being selected by the Cowboys. It sounds outrageous now but roll the tape back to when arguments of “who will be Tony Romo’s successor?” filled airways.
There were actual discussions of Johnny Manziel filling those shoes. In fact, up until the selections were made, draft analysts were gitty at the thought of a Manziel to Dallas connection. Fortunately, instead of selecting Romo’s replacement that night, the Cowboys opted for someone who, at that time, could prolong his career.
With defenses moving their best pass rushers inside to attack linemen that traditionally have been shorter and less athletic, offenses have been forced to respond by finding interior offensive linemen who can block both power and speed rushers. Martin is that interior lineman.
Martin has redefined the right guard position. The days of the less athletic, short and brutish right guards are gone. In their place are athletic linemen who can run block at the first and second levels. They can pass block the short, stocky and extremely quick 3-techniques along with the defensive ends playing inside as specialty rushers.
There is no questioning the impact Martin has made on this offensive line. It isn’t a coincidence that during Martin’s rookie year DeMarco Murray set the franchise record for rushing yards. And, if not for a six-game suspension, would have helped Ezekiel Elliot boast three-straight rushing titles.
Despite Elliott’s slow start to the season, if Martin remains healthy through the remainder of the season Elliott will be hoisting his third rushing title in four years.
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