Safe and VERY Unsexy Pick for Cowboys
The Cowboys didn’t make a move in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft. They didn’t move up or trade down as many people expected. They also didn’t make the move that a lot of people were hoping for–taking Johnny Football. Instead the Boys used their first round pick, number 16 overall, to select Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin. That’s two years in a row that Jerry has taken an offensive lineman with his first pick, and third time in the past 4 years. While it may sound like a solid choice and a solid trend, to build a top offensive line, it hasn’t led to one playoff appearance yet. It also isn’t the type of high profile draft pick that Jerry has traditionally made.
At 6’4″ 308 pounds, Martin started at left tackle for the Irish but the Cowboys will most likely move him to one of the guard spots. He should be the starter for the opener but in the order of needs for Dallas, offensive guard was maybe 4th on their list after defensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker and safety. Nice to have a good offensive line, but does it do any good if the defense is giving up 40 points a game? This pick seems to indicate that Jerry and the team is convinced that Rod Marinelli will do a much better job as defensive coordinator than Monte Kiffin did last season.
I’m not sure how to take this. On the one hand, it appears that Jerry isn’t flying by the seat of his pants anymore in the draft, which should be a good thing, but on the other hand, it seems like the Cowboys are drafting like a team that’s been in the playoffs each season and they’re just building a solid foundation. The Cowboys are an average team, as their consecutive 8-8 seasons prove. They need to light a fire. They need to improve a defense that was last in the league in most categories. If they’re going to go offense, why not Johnny Football?
Tony Turnover will be 34-years-old and has had two back surgeries in the past two years. Troy Aikman retired at 34 after having back issues. Even if Romo can make it through this season (and I will bet you $100 he will miss at least 3 games this upcoming season) who will move into his spot? The Cowboys need to find Romo’s replacement sooner rather than later. Quarterback is the most important position, not only in football but in all team sports. That means the backup quarterback is possibly the second most important position on any team. Having a quality second quarterback, when your starter is 34 and coming off surgery, is a must.
Martin will go the way of Travis Frederick last year, probably starting every game, but the only time you’ll hear his name is when he jumps offsides. With Romo being limited because of the bad back, protecting him is necessary and Martin will help, but will he push Dallas to the playoffs? That should be the primary focus of this draft, and if I’m Jason Garrett it’s the only thing I should think about, because good or bad Zack Martin will be a Cowboy the following year. Garrett doesn’t have the same luxury.