The Cowboys have quite a few big names on offense like Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and CeeDee Lamb. However, those guys wouldn’t be able to do their jobs without the proper protection on the line of scrimmage from players like perennial All-Pro right tackle, Zack Martin.
Martin has been the most consistent presence on the Cowboys’ offensive line during his time in the NFL. When ESPN recently compiled a list of the top interior offensive linemen in the league, it was no surprise that Martin ranked high, landing at No. 2 on the list.
Jeremy Fowler on Martin’s ranking:
“Martin had one of his better seasons, registering a 93.9 Pro Football Focus rating, committing two penalties and allowing just three sacks in 1,036 snaps. His pass block win rate (94.7%) and run block win rate (72.4%) were both in the top 10 among guards. Nelson might be the golden child at the guard position, but Martin is the gold standard.”
The gold standard reference has certainly been earned. Martin is no one-year wonder or a flash in the pan, he’s been elite for eight seasons. Martin’s pass block win rate and run block win rate last season were slightly higher than the No. 1 player in this ranking, Quenton Nelson of the Indianapolis Colts.
“He’s a pro’s pro, smarter than s—,” an NFC offensive coach said of Martin. “Never have to worry about him in a one-on-one in the run or pass game, doesn’t miss assignments, knows his body, trains, understands when to push and when to back off. He’s the quintessential guard.”
Martin was selected 14th overall in 2014 by the Cowboys. He set a high standard right out of the gate by being named a first-team All-Pro. Since his rookie season, he’s continued that dominance by racking up six more All-Pro selections (four on the first-team).
Not only is Martin’s play elite but he’s reliable. During his first eight seasons, Martin has started all 120 games he’s played in for the Cowboys, and only missed nine games over that span with six coming in 2020 due to a calf injury. Also, Martin had been the model of discipline as he’s only been flagged 19 times, with just five penalties over the last four seasons.
Martin has mastered being an anchor on the inside. However, in 2020, Martin showed his versatility when former Cowboys’ right tackle La’el Collins got injured. Martin slid outside in his absence and looked every bit the dominant player he was on the inside.
Certain players are just blessed with the “it factor” as it’s called. Martin certainly fits that distinction, and the Cowboys should thank their lucky stars before every game he suits up in.
Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports