IRVING, Texas — Top draft pick Zack Martin naturally started with the first-team offensive line as the Cowboys rookie minicamp opened on Friday. Soon, the idea will be for him to start with the first team at right guard when real football starts.
"We’ve got to work with them and meet with them a few times this week, so we’ve gotten to meet them and kind of be in the same room a couple days," Martin said of the Cowboys veteran linemen, a few of whom observed the Valley Ranch workout from the sideline. "They’re a great group of guys. They’re willing to help you whenever you need it. Travis (Frederick) and Doug (Free) and Tyron (Smith) and all those guys have been great."
Smith and Free were among the observers of the line’s work. Also watching: Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, James Hanna, Mackenzie Bernadeau and Brandon Carr.
Doug Free, Tyron Smith and Mackenzy Bernadeau watching from the sideline.
"Yeah," Martin said. "I saw them."
The 6-4, 310-pound Martin â Dallas’ first-round pick with the No. 16 overall selection â started 52 games at tackle for Notre Dame. But the Cowboys believe he has "position flex” that will allow him to supplant Bernadeau as the starting right tackle and eventually take over for Free at right guard.
Coach Jason Garrett noted that it’s a football "tradition” for the veterans to eyeball the kid. It’s also a tradition for the vets to help the youngsters â even as they are vying for the same jobs.
Said Martin of Free: "Doug’s like another coach on the field. Doug’s been through it for a bunch of years now. So maybe if he sees something that (a coach) doesn’t see, he’ll come over and correct me."
And maybe, a few corrections from now, Zack Martin will go from "minicamp” starter to the real thing.