Restoring the foundation

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In three of the last four seasons, the Dallas Cowboys used their first round selection in the NFL Draft to select a player who would be a building block for restoring the offensive line.

The Dallas Cowboys are the most talked about franchise in the entire NFL. Speculations and hindsight are American sport enthusiasts second favorite pass time.

Throughout his career in Dallas, Tony Romo made his living by eluding sacks and using his feet and his amazing athletic ability to prolong plays and win games. Romo has taken a beating for years behind a suspect offensive line.

Offensive line coach, Bill Callahan has been the beneficiary of the new direction the Cowboys have taken lately.

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Tyron Smith was drafted by the Cowboys in 2011. Smith has been, and continues to be, everything Dallas projected him to be when they selected him in the first round. In his entire career with the Cowboys, he has only missed one game and that was in 2012. Smith is only 23 years old.

The Cowboys also got a bonus when they waited on Memphis’ guard Ronald Leary. Leary was passed on by all 32 teams through seven rounds of the 2012 draft because of a serious degenerative knee condition. Dallas invited Leary to join the team knowing fully well that he would be a developmental player and would not play a single game of his rookie year. The Cowboys patience paid off. Leary started every game last year and has started every game this season. Leary is the second oldest of the starting offensive linemen at 25. Doug Free is the eldest of the linemen, at 30 years old.

We all heard the moans in last year’s draft when Dallas chose Wisconsin’s center Travis Frederick with the first round pick. All Fredrick has done is start every single game since arriving in Dallas. Frederick is an intelligent player who excels at his duties on the offensive line. Fredrick is 23 years old.

This year the Cowboys made the correct choice in drafting Notre Dames’ offensive lineman Zack Martin. I followed Martin very closely since the Senior Bowl workouts and I was hoping he would be there when the Cowboys turn arrived on the NFL Draft clock. The Cowboys struck gold with the Martin selection. This is the player whom I thought was the most versatile, technique ready lineman of the entire draft class. Martin is also 23 years old.

We all know Jerry wanted the Bling that drafting Johnny Manziel would have brought, but it would have torn this team apart. Imagine how the cries would have flooded Texas after game one when Romo was not anything that resembled sharp. Now, Romo looks as good as he ever did.

Instead, the Cowboys stuck with their guns and drafted the best player available who fit their needs. Stephen Jones controlled his father and didn’t let Jerry’s emotions make a desperate decision.

The pattern of the last few years’ draft has shown a desire to bring winning football back to Dallas.

This offensive line will compare to the Great Wall of Dallas that was responsible for protecting Troy Aikman. They are a group of solidified maulers who have allowed DeMarco Murray to lead the entire league in rushing. They have opened holes you could drive a stage coach through.

The reconstruction the offensive line has made a solid foundation that the Cowboys can build some wins around, and prolong Romo’s career. – Sports-King/Down and Distance contributor Whitebear560 – Whitebear560 Facebook – @Whitebear560 Twitter