The Cowboys will crow endlessly about first-round draft choice Zack Martin. And, who knows, the offensive lineman may eventually make multiple Pro Bowls and help anchor a line that leads the Cowboys back to the playoffs.
But the truth is: Martin wasn’t Plan A in last Thursday night’s NFL Draft.
With the 16th overall pick, the Cowboys wanted one of three players: UCLA pass-rusher Anthony Barr, Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald or Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier. Barr went No. 9 to the Vikings and Donald 13th to the Rams. With Shazier still on the board at 15 and the Cowboys committed to upgrading their porous defense, it all made sense.
Until, that is, the Steelers went and screwed it all up.
While Shazier’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, was on the phone with the Cowboys, Shazier’s father was typing a text about the Cowboys drafting his son. Then the phone rang. It was Pittsburgh, which drafted the linebacker 15th.
Long faces in the Valley Ranch war room, punctuated by Stephen Jones slamming down the phone. The Cowboys frantically tried to trade down to acquire another pick, but were unsuccessful and wound up settling for Martin.
We need to keep close track of the careers of Martin and Shazier. Because either the Cowboys got pantsed, or got very lucky.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.