While, yes, there were a lot of people for a variety of reasons that wanted the Dallas Cowboys to select the versatile Johnny Manziel with their no. 16 overall pick in last month’s NFL Draft, management ultimately decided against that bold move and took Notre Dame guard Zack Martin instead, needing the offensive line help.
However, much like Manziel, Martin is versatile in his own right and he’s proving that in Cowboys practice as not only is he getting acclimated to his guard position, but he’s also taking some snaps at center as well.
Having never played the position before, Martin explained how difficult the transition has been.
“It’s hard,” Martin said via ESPN.com. “I told [starting center Travis Frederick] the first time I was in there and came to the sideline, ‘God, you got a lot going on up there. You’ve got to know a lot.’ Just trying to get better every day but there’s definitely a lot going on over the ball.”
As tough as the transition may be, though, he’s smart enough to make it, an attribute that head coach Jason Garrett pointed out could lead to him playing anywhere on the line.
“He’s a really, really smart football player,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You can tell in how he played on college tape and you can tell from minute one since he’s been here, both in the classroom and on the field. The game comes very easily to him from a mental standpoint. He doesn’t seem to struggle with the different looks, playing different spots. There’s a lot of poise and confidence. Now, he’s got a long way to go. Don’t get me wrong, he’s young to this whole thing. He’s had about 10 practices with us … but the versatility, we viewed him as a guy who could potentially play five offensive line spots.”
While some were upset, mainly for media attention purposes, that the Cowboys didn’t take Manziel, they may have won out in the end with the selection of Martin.