The Dallas Cowboys shocked the Football World Thursday by the doing taking the conventional path in the 2014 NFL Draft. They took the best player available. Even though the most glamorous player available was sitting right in front of them.
Jerry Jones selected All-American offensive tackle Zack Martin from Notre Dame with Johnny Manziel still available. It was a show of restraint not often seen from Jones, who reportedly had Manziel as the best player on the Cowboys draft board. Apparently he was out voted in his own war room though, because when it came time to make their pick, Dallas tabbed Martin, a player most considered a top ten prospect.
Martin is considered to be a lineman with Pro Bowl potential at offensive tackle, guard or center and this versatility helped move him up the draft board. The Fighting Irish product is also known for his toughness as he started more games at Notre Dame than any player in Irish history.
Any selection made by the Dallas Cowboys comes with a lot of scrutiny and Martin will be no different. No one will dispute his merit as an offensive line prospect but the Cowboys need help on defense. Badly. The only reason to not go defense in this draft would be selecting Manziel, the potential franchise quarterback. Jones ignored both sides of thinking.
Defense? It can wait? Manziel? Not needed. Martin was the best player available and is now a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones shocked the football world Thursday. His team will be better for it.
Round Two – So now Jones has to go defense. There are still plenty of players available and particularly a couple of Martin’s teammates from Notre Dame. Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt were both at one time considered first round picks. Both have seen their stock fall because of injuries. Jones could make another splash if he could make one of these two lineman a member of the Dallas Cowboys defense. They are lacking talent all over the defense but especially at defensive line. Nix or Tuitt would be an upgrade.
Round Three – Here is where the Cowboys have to start focusing on speed and athleticism and stock piling as many defensive players as they can. If Jones feels the need to venture across to the offensive side of the ball it has to be pushed back to rounds four through seven. For now, the Dallas Cowboys have to focus on defense.
Rounds Four to Seven – Dallas has a total of six choices in the seventh round with three being compensatory picks to make 11 picks total for this draft. They have no choice in the fifth round. Again, the focus will be fortifying the defense while Tony Romo’s window of playing at a high level remains open.
The Dallas Cowboys shocked the football world by taking the best player available in Zack Martin Thursday. It was a surprise only because it was Jerry Jones. Most teams at least purport to taking the best player available regardless of need or position. Is it possible Jones is finally getting it? If so, that would be the biggest news of all from the NFL Thursday.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Dallas Cowboys