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Cowboys Draft 2014: Scouting Zack Martin

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Because there has been such a high correlation in recent years between the top collegians invited to Valley Ranch for pre-draft visits and who the Cowboys end up drafting, it's important to know as much as possible about these players. As a service to you BTB is providing a series of detailed scouting reports on each of these targets. Today the series continues with our look at Notre Dame offensive lineman, Zack Martin.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Zack Martin

Position: Offensive Line

School: Notre Dame

Height: 6’ 4"

Weight: 308 LBs

Games Studied: Arizona State, Stanford, Michigan State

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results.  The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the player's peers by position. A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Pass Game:

Zack Martin played left tackle for the Fighting Irish, and did so very effectively. He started a lot of games and was a very consistent player.  From a physical standpoint he may not be the athlete that the top 3 tackles are, but he has good enough feet, and has the balance and strength you need. When using his kick-slide in protection he has very active feet and gets to his spot quickly and efficiently, showing the ability to cut off the slot CB coming off the edge several times against Arizona State. He also has the balance and agility to cut off guys who try to set him up with speed and rip inside him, and he shut down two early round players in this years draft Carl Bradford, and Trent Murphy on those types of moves.

His punch is good enough, although I’m sure an NFL line coach would probably want him to deliver a little heavier blow at the next level. His hand placement is very good and when he gets his hands on a rusher he gets very good extension and just stonewalls his man. His technique when he has to sit down on bull rush is very good, and he rarely gives much ground in these situations.

Where you really see his experience is on the mental side of protecting the passer.  I didn’t see a mental mistake or missed assignment from him in the three games that I watched, and he did a very good job of picking up multiple blitzes, twists, and other games against each team. He understands his role in the protection and plays it well, helping his comrades out when he’s uncovered.

Run Game:

Martin is also a very good run blocker, he has the ability to make the cut-off or reach block, getting his hands on a man a full gap away from him, and swing his hips around to get his butt in position to set the crease for the back.  He is also agile enough to get to the second level and mirror a LB, and remove them from the play when called upon as well.

His best trait as a run blocker to me is his instincts as part of a GOT or TAG (Guard/Tackle) combination block in the zone run game. He has a great sense of how long to stick with the man at the first level, and does very good job of timing his release and finding his man at the second level to clear the lane for the running back to scamper through.

Conclusion/Cowboys Projection:

Zack Martin has a graduate level understanding of offensive line play, and plays with extremely refined technique.  His experience and consistency put him in a great position to walk into an NFL line as a starter from day one. I think he is skilled and athletic enough to play right offensive tackle, but I think his best spot might be at guard where he can use his anchor and technique in a phone booth in pass pro, while continuing to work in combination blocks in the zone running scheme. If the Cowboys were to draft Martin, I would imagine they start him at right guard, moving Mackenzy Bernadeau to a competition with Ron Leary for the left guard spot. Martin is likely to be taken in the middle of round one, and would give the Cowboys three first round offensive line anchors to build the offense around for the next decade.

Pro Comparison: Logan Mankins OG, New England Patriots, (2005 1st round pick 32 overall)