'Boys Add Big Bookend

When the Cowboys needed another offensive tackle two years ago, they picked up a free agent who played his college ball at Boston College and sometimes relied on overwhelming size before refining his technique. If it worked once, why not try it again?

James Marten Profile

The first time around, the approach brought Marc Colombo to Dallas, and Colombo emerged as one of the most pleasant free agent surprises to come to Dallas in years, taking over the right tackle position and playing so well he earned a two-year contract extension last month.

In the third round of the 2007 draft, they tabbed another tackle who played at BC in James Marten (6'7.5", 310, 5.08). Marten is one of those rare specimens who tops 300 pounds on the scales and actually is considered too lean; scouts almost universally agree that he needs to – and will – add significant size and speed.

His size is impossible to ignore, and allows him to overwhelm blockers, either smothering them as they attack the passer or driving them out of the play on running plays. However, his height also can cause problems, as he often plays too upright and allows defensive players to get up under him.

As would be expected of anyone with Marten's size, he has extremely long arms, and he uses his arms very well to keep pass rushers at bay. While adding strength, he also needs to work on his footwork and mobility. That, like the need to play with his pads lower, can be taught, and he will have two tall tackles from whom he can learn in Colombo and Flozell Adams.

Marten will not start for the Cowboys in 2007, as Adams and Colombo are entrenched as the starters on the left and right side, respectively, but the team is in dire need of a legitimate backup. Colombo is 28 years old and has had significant knee surgery that effectively ended his stint with the Chicago Bears. Adams will turn 32 in May, and also has had a major knee injury. Both are massive, which puts a lot of strain on their bodies, meaning Marten will be a welcome addition to the Cowboys tackle rotation.

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