The Cowboys say that Zack Martin, right, can have the same success as a rookie that Travis Frederick had a season ago.
That explains why the Cowboys were so confident that Martin could step in and have immediate success as a starter at right guard. They saw Frederick do it at center last season, and Martin has many of the same traits.
The list of traits rattled off by head coach Jason Garrett: experienced, smart, tough, mature, technically sound and possessing the strength and size to battle in the NFL trenches.
Martin, who set a school record for games started at Notre Dame, displayed all those attributes during his first week of training camp. He’s been every bit as impressive as the Cowboys anticipated when they selected Martin with the 16th overall pick in the draft.
“He just needs to play at this level,” Garrett said. “But that’s what we said about Travis last year. They typically tend to respond. Guys who are smart at any position, particularly the offensive line, tend to get better. They tend to improve quickly. And we’ve certainly seen that with him.”
According to Frederick, the biggest difference between him and his new prized rookie linemate is that Martin is a much better athlete. Other than that, they are two 310-plus-pound peas in a pod.
“He’s kind of the same type of guy -- Midwestern guy, big, thick,” Frederick said. “That’s kind of my style of play, is his style of play. He’s way more athletic than I am, but I think we have kind of the same mindset where you can play the game with more than just strength and athleticism.
“If you can see things a little bit better, understand the game a little bit better as a whole, it’s going to allow you to play the game faster and play better. I think he certainly has the ability to do that.”
That's why the Cowboys are confident that Martin will have the kind of rookie season that Frederick did a year ago.