If you asked general NFL fans who the best player is on the Dallas Cowboys roster, you might get a few different answers. Names like Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, or DeMarcus Lawrence would pop up. Others just may go on name recognition and say Ezekiel Elliott or even the young-but-impressive CeeDee Lamb. But in reality, there is probably just one real answer to that question for Cowboys fans, and that is Zack Martin.
Since the Cowboys drafted Martin in 2014 he has been stellar. The Cowboys right guard has six Pro Bowl and six first/second team All-Pro designations. He had been incredibly durable before last season, missing just two games before the 2020 season. Even in his injury-filled 2020 season he still managed to do something that was incredibly impressive. He kicked out to right tackle for a bit because of other injuries along the line and was just as good there as he was at guard.
When ESPN came out with its rankings for offensive interior linemen recently, there was no question Martin would be on it. The only question was how high he would be ranked. Even after his injury shortened 2020, Martin retained his number two spot right behind Quenton Nelson. The ESPN rankings are based on 50 NFL insiders opinions.
Arguably the most complete guard of the past decade put together a complete body of work in 2020. In 10 games, Martin posted a stellar 91.3 Pro Football Focus grade, and he ranked in the top four among guards in run-block win rate (76.7%) and pass-block win rate (95.9%),
“He’s got it all,” a veteran defensive player said. “There’s really no weakness. The only thing that can stop him is injuries, and even then, he basically looks the same.”
Martin has four [first team] All-Pro nods in seven seasons, and he was probably on his way to a fifth before a calf injury cost him six games.
He plays one of the more unheralded positions in the NFL. He’s not a skill player on offense who is going to rack up big stats. He’s not a defensive player who will accumulate sacks, tackles or turnovers. Even the other positions along the offensive line are talked about more with tackles getting most of the glory and centers being the “quarterbacks” of the offensive line.
He’s just a guard, but he’s as good as any who have played the game. He’s the Cowboys best football player. See you in Canton one day, Zack.