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Roster Rundown: With Expectations Raised, Martin Still Rock-Solid in 2015

*Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2016 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features guard Zack Martin.)*

Name: Zack Martin
Position: Guard
Height/Weight: 6-4 / 315
Experience: 2 seasons
College: Notre Dame  

Key stat:By making his second straight Pro Bowl, Martin became the first Cowboys player in 24 years to make the Pro Bowl in his first two pro seasons. Martin joins a select group – Don Perkins, Mel Renfro, Bob Hayes, Everson Walls and Emmitt Smith as the only Cowboys players to make the Pro Bowl in their first two seasons.

Contract Status:Signed through 2018.

2015 Impact: It was a rough start to the season due to missing several weeks of training camp. Martin clearly wasn't himself and his play showed. But his play started to improve once he regained his health. Highly intelligent player. Mentally and physically tough. Plays the game beyond his years. He is mature and grounded in his approach. He is everything you want in an offensive lineman. Outstanding at keeping the front of the pocket clean. Doesn't get knocked back or compressed. Is able to hold his ground not matter how powerful the opponent might be. Good ability to sink his hips and anchor down. Plays with upper body power and strength. His grip is outstanding. It's rare that you see him lose a man on sustain. The biggest question about him was his length and how he would be able to compensate for that, but he has managed to work in a way that has not been an issue. One of the better guards in the league when it comes to balance and recovery. It's not often that you see him out of position on a block, run or pass. He has a rubber-like ability to snap back into place if he is put in those situations. Does a nice job of playing on the move. In 2015, he improved his awareness to what was happening to him during the play. There were snaps his rookie season where he didn't look as comfortable on twist stunts and games, but he was much better handling this in 2015. Shows the ability to pull and play in space. Not the type that is going to flop around on the ground. Stays on his feet and with his block. There's no question he is the best finisher of all the Cowboys offensive linemen. He shows the ability to play beyond the echo of the whistle. He is as tough as they come in dealing with and playing through injuries. Not coming out of the lineup.

Where He Fits: Two-time Pro Bowl right guard. Could see him work more in the offseason at center -- just in case he needs to fill in. He has been seeing snaps during the season on the scout team working this way. Rock-solid in the way he plays and his approach to the game. Coachable in all areas of his game. Takes what is taught and is able to apply it to his job quickly.  


Writers' Analysis

Nick Eatman: After the season he had in 2014, it was hard not to immediately compare him to the likes of Larry Allen as potentially one of the best guards in franchise history. It's not that Martin took a major step back in 2015, but when expectations are that high, it's hard for anyone to meet them. Like all players, Martin's season might have looked different had Tony Romo stayed healthy. Then again, that excuse is tired and overused by now. Martin had a little more issues with penalties in 2015, but overall, he had a good season on an offensive line that ran the ball fairly well, but had some issues in short-yardage situations. Overall, he's still on track to become one of the best offensive linemen in club history, even though he's still got a ways to go.

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