B/R NFL 1,000: Top 32 Left Tackles

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterFebruary 23, 2012

B/R NFL 1,000: Top 32 Left Tackles

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    Michael Lewis wrote a book about the left tackle position. Disney made a movie about it. Outside of finding an elite quarterback, finding an elite left tackle is among the most important accomplishments for an NFL franchise.

    What makes up a great left tackle and which players in the NFL today best represent those traits? We answer those questions as part of the B/R NFL 1,000. The series offers an in-depth look at every position in the NFL, breaking down the players' skills in a way never before seen on the Internet. 

    After hours spent scouting every starter, the top 32 left tackles have been scored in 10 criteria (here's more on how we analyzed offensive lineman). In the slides that follow, we'll explain each player's strengths and weaknesses as the final ranking is revealed.

32. Charlie Johnson, Minnesota Vikings

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    Agility

    4

    Is among the least athletic of the top players at his position. Johnson would benefit from a move to right tackle or even guard.

    Pass Block Speed

    4

    Routinely beaten to the edge by speed rushers. Lacks the agility to get to the corner consistently and under control, and the strength to knock rushers off once he reaches the corner. 

    Pass Block Power

    5

    Not strong enough to pin defenders when they try to bull-rush him. 

    Run Blocking

    4

    Very poor in moving defenders out of the hole in 2011. Struggles to keep his pads down and doesn't have the strength to drive tacklers out of the play. A major area of regression.

    Move in Space

    5

    Shows average range in pass protection. Can get to the corner but is inconsistent in his timing. Has the feet to mirror and slide with defenders at the line of scrimmage.

    Pull/Trap

    5

    Limited ability as a blocker on the move. He has the quickness to get out in space and very good agility, but he doesn't see the field well and can be a liability when pulling. 

    Strength

    6

    Johnson shows a strong base, but it doesn't translate to the field. He doesn't demonstrate great field strength when locking on with defenders, and he cannot drive-block. 

    Technique

    3

    Struggles with pad height. Has a bad habit of grabbing too wide. Doesn't roll his hips when locking on and trying to move the pile in the run game. 

    Size

    7

    A little shorter than you'd like at 6'4", undersized at 305 lbs. 

    Health

    10

    No injury issues to report. 

    Overall

    53

    Johnson really shouldn't be a starter in the NFL. He made the move to left tackle in 2011 in Minnesota out of necessity. He's young enough (a six-year veteran) to make a move to the right side, or even guard, and save his career. 

31. Marshall Newhouse, Green Bay Packers

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    Agility

    5

    Struggles to slide laterally and can be very stiff. Doesn't possess great body control or quickness. Can lose his balance when coming out of a three-point stance.  

    Pass Block Speed

    6

    Newhouse has the size and quickness to be great in this area, but he misses on blocks and can give up the edge too often with poor timing and poor angles. Will reach outside the pads and get tagged for holding. 

    Pass Block Power

    6

    Doesn't have great strength, but is strong enough to pin defenders when they try to bull-rush him. Inconsistent. He can improve his footwork as well as hand placement. 

    Run Blocking

    3

    Lacks the strength to be a major force in this area. He shows good pad level, smart leverage and the quickness to get out in front of the play. The Packers consistently run away from Newhouse. 

    Move in Space

    4

    Limited ability as a blocker on the move. He has the quickness to get out in space and good agility, but he doesn't see the field well and can be a liability when asked to get upfield on screens.

    Pull/Trap

    5

    Decent at getting out in front of the play. He's not great at leading on tosses and would rather be used coming back to his right to wham a defender crashing the backfield on traps.  

    Strength

    6

    Good strength with a strong base and the proper bulk. He doesn't show great field strength when locking on with defenders. Would like to see stronger hands as well.

    Technique

    5

    Shows inconsistent play and can be run over too easily. He can improve his strength as well as hand placement and footwork. Needs to cut down on penalties. Will improve in that regard with better angles as he prepares for his third season. 

    Size

    9

    A little short for a left tackle. He's 6'4" with long arms and big hands. Has a well-developed lower body strength at 319 lbs.

    Health

    9

    Showed up twice on the injury list this season but has played through small injuries.

    Overall

    58

    Newhouse had good games in 2011, but they were outnumbered by his poor performances. There is a considerable amount of potential here, but Newhouse has been thrown into the fire too soon as a starter. On a team with a lesser quarterback, he would have been exposed long ago. 

30. Will Beatty, New York Giants

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    Agility

    5

    Beatty is an average athlete with good lateral agility but not top-tier quickness. Has decent burst out of his stance and good-enough balance and flexibility. 

    Pass Block Speed

    5

    Has the size and quickness to be great in this area but flubs blocks and gives up the edge to often. Room for improvement with more reps and experience. 

    Pass Block Power

    5

    Doesn't have great strength. Beatty is strong enough to punch and dump defenders when they try to bull-rush him. Better positioning and strength can erase inconsistency.

    Run Blocking

    7

    Beatty has good technique but average strength. His pad level isn't always right, but has the quickness to get out in front of the play. Would score much higher here if more consistent. 

    Move in Space

    5

    Can quickly get to the corner. Has the feet to mirror and slide with defenders at the line of scrimmage. 

    Pull/Trap

    5

    Can get out and lead on sweeps and tosses, reaching linebackers. Can handle the back side of a play, too. 

    Strength

    6.5

    Doesn't show great field strength when locking on with defenders. Has basic strength and bulk to improve with offseason program. 

    Technique

    5

    Has quick hands and solid reflexes. A natural knee-bender who must improve his hand placement and his balance when taking kick steps. Poor angles result in too many penalties.

    Size

    10

    Beatty is an imposing 6'6", 319 lbs. 

    Health

    4

    Missed six games because of injury in 2011. 

    Overall

    57.5

    Beatty is a good prospect. He's a surprising athlete with room to grow in technique and strength. A full season of healthy play would help the Giants see if they have a franchise left tackle in Beatty. As of now, he looks like a backup. 

29. Max Starks, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Agility

    5

    A limited athlete with below-average ability to slide laterally. Starks doesn't adjust well on the move and is slow to reset himself out of his stance. 

    Pass Block Speed

    6

    Lacks the quickness to be great in this area, as he misses on blocks and can give up the edge too often with poor timing and failed finishing on his blocks. 

    Pass Block Power

    4

    2011. Week 15. San Francisco 49ers. Rookie Aldon Smith ran over, around and through Starks for 2.5 sacks.

    Run Blocking

    5

    Lacks the strength to be a major force in this area. Fires off too high and fails to get inside the defender. Isn't a drive blocker. Very stiff.

    Move in Space

    5

    Starks struggles to re-establish himself and get upfield, especially in the screen game. He has below-average agility and struggles with execution in space.  

    Pull/Trap

    3

    Doesn't work well getting out in front of the play due to limited mobility. Can hook the end and seal on the left side for cutback lanes and zone stretches.  

    Strength

    4

    Surprisingly weak considering his bulk. Was run on regularly in 2011. 

    Technique

    6

    When he has time to set up, Starks is much better. He lacks the quickness and instincts to adjust when a defender beats him off the ball. Will reach outside the pads.  

    Size

    10

    A mammoth at 6'8", 345 lbs. Few tackles are as big. 

    Health

    10

    Starks was healthy in 2011.  

    Overall

    58

    Starks' NFL career may be over after eight seasons. He was out of the league when the 2011 season began and came back in October to save the Steelers after injury hit the offensive line.  

28. J'Marcus Webb, Chicago Bears

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    Agility

    7

    Has very good lateral agility and quickness off the ball. Snaps up quickly and shows good balance. Is quick at taking kick step. Shows very good body control and awareness.  

    Pass Block Speed

    4

    Has the size and quickness to be great in this area but misses on blocks and can give up the edge too often with poor timing and poor angles.

    Pass Block Power

    5

    Doesn't have great strength, but is strong enough to pin defenders when they try to bull-rush him. Should improve his footwork as well as hand placement.

    Run Blocking

    6

    Can get his pads low and drive off the ball. Played right tackle early in his career and is still much better as a run blocker than when playing in space.  

    Move in Space

    4

    Does little more than shuffle in his space at left tackle. Doesn't extend well to the corner or in getting out on screen packages. 

    Pull/Trap

    4

    Doesn't move well laterally. Limited agility, limited athleticism. A stand-up tackle who shouldn't be asked to pull or trap.  

    Strength

    7

    Above-average strength. Shows a strong base and good sting on his punches. Not so strong when locking on with defenders.

    Technique

    3

    Webb is a good athlete with quick hands and solid reflexes. He is a natural knee-bender who is strong at the point of attack. Keeps his head on a swivel and shows the ability to extend and pick up the edge. Would like to see him show better balance and footwork. His pad level consistency is very poor.

    Size

    10

    Amazing size (6'7", 333 lbs) with great reach, a big base and the overall look of a left tackle. 

    Health

    10

    No injury issues. 

    Overall

    60

    Webb, two seasons into his NFL career, is a limited left tackle who doesn't have the agility to play in space. Would be better off on the right side in a power run scheme. 

27. Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos

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    Agility

    8

    Has very good lateral agility and quickness off the ball. Snaps up quickly and shows good balance. Shows very good body control and awareness.

    Pass Block Speed

    7

    Has the quickness to be great in this area, but he misses or doesn't finish blocks. His timing needs help. 

    Pass Block Power

    6

    Doesn't have great strength but is strong enough to pin defenders when they try to bull-rush him. Sometimes. Also is run over fairly often. Needs to improve strength, hand placement and footwork.

    Run Blocking

    2

    Clady wasn't effective in creating holes in 2011. Often failed to keep his pads down and doesn't have the strength to drive tacklers out of the play. A major area of regression. 

    Move in Space

    6

    Shows good range on pass protection. Can quickly get to the corner. Has the feet to mirror and slide with defenders at the line of scrimmage. 

    Pull/Trap

    4

    Limited ability as a blocker on the move. He has the quickness to get out in space and very good agility, but he doesn't see the field well and can be a liability when pulling.

    Strength

    4

    Below-average strength. Seems to have a strong base, but it doesn't translate to the field. Limited in his ability to lock on to defenders and drive them back.

    Technique

    6

    Struggles with pad height. Has a bad habit of grabbing too wide. Doesn't roll his hips when locking on and trying to move the pile in the run game. Clady is one of the most penalized tackles in the league.

    Size

    10

    Clady is 6'6" and 315 lbs. 

    Health

    7

    Tore his patellar tendon playing basketball in the 2010 offseason. While he didn't miss any games, he was limited by the injury.

    Overall

    60

    At one time, Clady was seen as an elite left tackle. After four seasons, he is regressing and is no longer Pro Bowl material. 

26. Russell Okung, Seattle Seahawks

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    Agility

    7.5

    A surprising athlete with good lateral agility and quickness off the ball. Okung has the balance and footwork to quickly get to the edge. 

    Pass Block Speed

    4

    Struggles to consistently get to the corner. Too often gets caught reaching from behind or beside rushers, which leads to holding calls. He puts himself out of position. 

    Pass Block Power

    4.5

    Has been run over a good number of times. Needs to solidify his stance off the snap and prepare for a bull rush. 

    Run Blocking

    6

    He shows good pad level, smart leverage and the quickness to get out in front of the play. Lacks the strength to be a major force. 

    Move in Space

    7

    Covers plenty of territory on pass protection. Has the feet to mirror and slide with defenders at the line of scrimmage. Can get caught up when asked to choose between defenders on the edge.

    Pull/Trap

    6

    Will stretch and get to linebackers. Able to lead on sweeps and tosses or to wall off defenders on the back side. 

    Strength

    7

    Good strength with a strong base. Hard to gauge Okung's true strength, as he's often playing injured

    Technique

    3

    Okung reaches and over-extends too often, resulting in bad hand placement and in holding penalties. He must learn consistent placement and positioning to cut down on penalties. 

    Size

    10

    Picture-perfect at 6'5", 310 lbs. 

    Health

    5

    Missed four games of the 2011 season to a torn pectoral muscle that could limit him in 2012. Played 10 games in his rookie season, 2010. 

    Overall

    60

    Okung was one of the highest graded left tackles I've seen coming out of college (Oklahoma State). But in the NFL, he's been injury-prone. He is too weak and seems to lose his concentration during games. 

25. Rodger Saffold, St. Louis Rams

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    Agility

    6

    Limited in 2011 due to injury, Saffold has the lateral quickness to blow off the ball and slide left or right. Score would be higher if healthy. 

    Pass Block Speed

    4

    Struggled to reach the edge under control and balanced to punch off pass rushers. His 2010 film showed a player with quick reflexes and the agility to slide out and kick out defenders. 

    Pass Block Power

    6

    Didn't see a major drop-off in this category. Doesn't have great strength but is strong enough to pin defenders when they try to bull-rush him. 

    Run Blocking

    6

    Lacks the strength to be a major force in this area. He shows good pad level, smart leverage and the quickness to get out in front of the play. Will miss blocks at times and can fail to get to the second level. 

    Move in Space

    6

    Can quickly get to the corner. Has the feet to mirror and slide with defenders at the line of scrimmage. Shows good range on pass protection. 

    Pull/Trap

    5

    Decent at getting out in front of the play. He's not great at leading on tosses and would rather be used coming back to his right to wham a defender crashing the backfield on traps. 

    Strength

    7

    Strong enough to do the job but could benefit from more upper-body strength. 

    Technique

    7

    The two-year veteran's inconsistencies make him vulnerable to being run over. He can improve his strength, hand placement and footwork. Needs to cut down on penalties. Will learn to take better angles.

    Size

    9

    Ideal height and length at 6'5", 314 lbs, but needs to add bulk and strength in his upper body. Very strong base. 

    Health

    5

    Battled injuries in 2011. Missed the final seven weeks of the season. 

    Overall

    61

    If there was a "potential" category, he would be a 10. His 2010 season was much better than the sampling during his injury-filled 2011 season. The talent is there for Saffold to be very good if he can stay healthy and has time to learn a new system. 

24. Demetrius Bell, Buffalo Bills

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    Agility

    7

    Has very good lateral agility and quickness off the ball. Snaps up quickly and shows good balance. Is quick at taking kick step. Shows very good body control and awareness. 

    Pass Block Speed

    6

    Has the quickness to be great in this area, but he misses on blocks or doesn't finish them. Can give up the edge too often with poor timing.  

    Pass Block Power

    7

    Doesn't have great strength but is strong enough to pin defenders when they try to bull-rush him. Inconsistent. He can improve his footwork as well as hand placement.

    Run Blocking

    7

    Keeps his feet churning through blocks. He shows good pad level, smart leverage and the quickness to get out in front of the play. Will miss blocks at times and can fail to get to the second level. 

    Move in Space

    7

    Fine mobility on pass protection. Can quickly get to the corner. Agility allows him to mirror defenders at the line. 

    Pull/Trap

    7

    Will stretch and get to linebackers. Can get out and lead on sweeps and tosses. Does a good job walling off defenders on the back side of the play. 

    Strength

    7

    Fine strength with a strong base. Hard to determine Bell's true strength, as he's often playing injured.  

    Technique

    6

    Has quick hands and solid reflexes. A natural knee-bender who is patient and strong at the point of attack. Keeps his head on a swivel and shows the ability to extend and pick up the edge. 

    Size

    9

    At 6'5", 311 lbs, Bell has good height and a long, lean frame that fits his athletic style of play. 

    Health

    1

    Bell's three-year career has been marred by injury. He played in just eight games during the 2011 season. 

    Overall

    64

    Has some developmental potential, especially as an athletic left tackle, but to date he has been inconsistent and injured too often. Once healthy, he could be a nice surprise at left tackle. 

23. Marcus McNeill, San Diego Chargers

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    Agility

    5

    Limited athleticism and agility after many injuries. McNeill is stiff at the knees and more of a waist-bender. 

    Pass Block Speed

    8

    Has the size and reach to control the edge without having great quickness or flexibility. He can take one step and cut off the corner where other tackles need to take two shuffle or slide steps to get there.  

    Pass Block Power

    8

    Has the strength to stand up power rushers. Good arm length helps him lock his arms on the inside and pin defenders. 

    Run Blocking

    7

    Very strong at the point of attack and shows the ability to pancake defenders. Would grade higher if he were more flexible and better at moving in space. 

    Move in Space

    6

    McNeill doesn't have elite agility, but his huge reach allows him to make up ground. Isn't extremely quick but is a road grader on the move. 

    Pull/Trap

    4

    Doesn't move well laterally. Limited agility, limited athleticism. A stand-up tackle who shouldn't be asked to pull or trap. 

    Strength

    9

    Upper-echelon strength, especially at the point of attack. 

    Technique

    7

    Can rely too much on strength and his reach, failing to properly position himself at the corner. Will overextend at times. Does a good job chopping his feet and sliding within 1-2-yard space to mirror defenders. 

    Size

    10

    Ideal size for a left tackle. He's tall (6'7") with long arms and big hands. Has well-developed lower body strength. 

    Health

    1

    Career-threatening neck injury severely affects McNeill's score. 

    Overall

    65

    A top tackle before 2011, McNeill's injury and lack of mobility keep him from a top ranking. It's very possible McNeill will retire in the offseason due to injury. 

22. Anthony Castonzo, Indianapolis Colts

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    Agility

    6

    Has above-average lateral agility and quickness off the ball. Snaps up quickly and shows good balance with a quick first reaction. Score will improve in his second season as his confidence and awareness improve.  

    Pass Block Speed

    5

    Has the size and quickness to be great in this area, but he misses on blocks and can give up the edge too often with poor timing and poor angles. 

    Pass Block Power

    7

    Has the base to stuff power rushers who try to go through him. Really improved in this area during the 2011 season. Once he adds strength/bulk, this will improve greatly. 

    Run Blocking

    6

    Is able to move the pile. Castonzo has solid burst and good pad level when moving through defenders and to the second level. Would like to see him get into his man quicker and with more violence at impact.

    Move in Space

    7

    Mobile on pass protection, getting to the corner quickly. Good feet. 

    Pull/Trap

    6

    Does the job on sweeps and tosses, leading the way or blocking pursuers. 

    Strength

    7

    Good strength, with a strong base and the proper bulk. Betrays some weakness when locking on with defenders. Would like to see stronger hands as well. Can and will improve with offseason program.

    Technique

    7

    Still a work in progress, but he has quick hands and reflexes. A natural knee-bender who is patient and strong at the point of attack. Awareness is solid. 

    Size

    9

    Has great height and length at 6'7". Weighs in at 311 lbs and should add bulk this offseason to fill out a lean frame. 

    Health

    5

    Battled through injuries all season, missing four straight games in October. 

    Overall

    65

    A bright, young offensive tackle, Castonzo persevered in a tough season personally and for the team. He has unlimited upside and should be a cornerstone left tackle once he can get a full season of NFL conditioning and coaching. 

21. Bryant McKinnie, Baltimore Ravens

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    Agility

    5

    McKinnie struggles to slide laterally and can be very stiff. Doesn't possess great body control or quickness. Can struggle to keep his balance when coming out of a three-point stance. 

    Pass Block Speed

    5

    Can be blown off the ball by a speed rush. He doesn't have the quickness or agility to shuffle back and cut off speed rushers.  

    Pass Block Power

    9

    If a rusher decides to try to go inside or through McKinnie, they will lose. He's excellent at pinning defenders and using his massive size to engulf them. 

    Run Blocking

    3

    Lacks the agility and quickness to get off the ball. Doesn't bend his knees to drive off the snap and get into defenders.  

    Move in Space

    4

    Struggles to move more than shuffling in his space at left tackle. Doesn't extend well to the corner or in plowing ahead to the second level. Very limited due to size (6'8", 360 lbs) and conditioning. 

    Pull/Trap

    7

    Doesn't work well getting out in front of the play. Can hook the end and seal on the left side for cutback lanes and zone stretches. 

    Strength

    10

    Among the strongest players in the NFL. McKinnie can dominate once he locks on to defenders. 

    Technique

    8

    Has a deadly punch and can chicken-fight with pass rushers all day. Does a good job with foot placement and understands angles. With 10 seasons' experience, he has very good vision at the position. Could play with better leverage. 

    Size

    7

    Ideal height and length but has struggled to keep his weight in check.  

    Health

    10

    No injury issues in 2011. 

    Overall

    68

    A onetime franchise left tackle, McKinnie's career is now marked with off-field issues and a struggle to stay in game shape. His agility, or lack thereof, has made him one of the slowest players in the league. He's a liability at left tackle. 

20. Jeff Backus, Detroit Lions

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    Agility

    6

    Has decent agility but is very inconsistent. Backus has the quickness and footwork to get back to the edge, but once he gets there he has trouble setting up and taking on defenders. 

    Pass Block Speed

    3

    Backus has routinely been beaten to the edge by speed rushers. Lacks the agility to get to the corner consistently and under control, and also lacks the strength to knock rushers off once he gets to the corner.  

    Pass Block Power

    5

    Has shown he can dig in his heels and stand up defenders off the snap. Doesn't have the strength to overcome a strong double move. 

    Run Blocking

    7

    Backus has great technique but average strength. He keeps his feet churning through blocks. He shows good pad level, smart leverage and the quickness to get out in front of the play. Would score much higher here if more consistent.

    Move in Space

    8

    Does a good job getting out in front of screens and tosses. Has great vision and knows where to be on the field.

    Pull/Trap

    7

    Can get out and lead on sweeps and tosses. Does a good job walling off defenders on the back side of the play. Will stretch and get to linebackers. 

    Strength

    7

    Has seen his strength regress in years. Backus isn't bad when moving ahead, but when asked to kick out to the edge and lock up with rushers, he's easy to run over. 

    Technique

    7

    Too many penalties have hurt Backus—as has his hand placement, allowing defensive ends to rip off his blocks and shed him to get to the quarterback. 

    Size

    9

    Ideal height, bulk and length. 

    Health

    10

    No injury issues. 

    Overall

    69

    Backus was at one point an elite left tackle, but those days are behind him. This could very well be his last season in the NFL. 

19. Jermon Bushrod, New Orleans Saints

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    Agility

    6

    A limited athlete who can be effective but will struggle against elite pass rushers.

    Pass Block Speed

    7

    Does a good job setting up and sliding laterally to stop speed rushers. Doesn't give up many sacks, but this is also a credit to the poise of quarterback Drew Brees

    Pass Block Power

    7

    Has the strength and solid base to sit down on the edge and hold his own against power rushers. Plays with good balance and power to thwart rushers. 

    Run Blocking

    6

    Is able to move the pile. Bushrod fires off with solid burst and has good pad level when moving through defenders and to the second level. 

    Move in Space

    5

    An average player in space, Bushrod doesn't have the agility to move laterally with elite balance, quickness or control. 

    Pull/Trap

    6

    Can be used when pulling to his left, but doesn't move as well going right. Has good vision at the next level and can move with adequate quickness.

    Strength

    7

    Has above-average strength. Shows good base power and enough strength to be a full-time starter on a pass-first team. 

    Technique

    6

    Bushrod has good, but not great, technique. Moves well to his left and has a strong kick-slide. Good hand use and plays with intelligence. 

    Size

    9

    Ideal size at 6'5", 315 lbs, with no hang-ups. Bushrod has the look and feel of an offensive tackle. 

    Health

    9

    Other than a stomach virus that had him missing games this season, Bushrod hasn't had health issues. 

    Overall

    68

    A serviceable left tackle who can excel when paired with a good left guard and a smart quarterback, Bushrod is a player who teams could look at as a short-term answer at the position while grooming a draft pick. I will say that Bushrod improved quite a bit over the year. He's not done developing.

18. Matt Light, New England Patriots

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    Agility

    6

    Light is among the least athletic of the top players at his position, but he makes up for it with good technique. Fires off with good quickness and balance. 

    Pass Block Speed

    7

    Is talented at taking a kick-step and shuffling to the corner but has regressed in this area with age and injury.

    Pass Block Power

    9

    Isn't an overly powerful blocker but really dominates here due to his experience and ability to take the right angle or use the right leverage to throw players off their game. Works great in tandem with the left guard. 

    Run Blocking

    8

    Does an excellent job locking on and driving off the ball. Is quick out of his snap and stuns defenders with a quick hit. Sets up blocks well by shading defenders out of the hole. 

    Move in Space

    7

    Moves well getting upfield. Is one of the better screen blocking left tackles the game has today. Can be slow or stumble getting to the corner with advanced age. 

    Pull/Trap

    6

    Is smart and takes good angles but has never been quick enough to get out in front and lead downfield. Is not asked to lead-block in the New England offense. 

    Strength

    7

    Light has functional strength, but survives on a high IQ and experience. 

    Technique

    10

    Light is one of the smarter, more experienced tackles in the game. There's nothing a defense can throw at him that he hasn't seen and can't adjust to. Very smooth technician with great hand placement and textbook kick step. 

    Size

    8

    Is a tad short at 6'4" but has good length and big, strong hands. 

    Health

    4

    An ankle injury limited Light's 2011 season. Seems to be a consistent mention on the injury report. 

    Overall

    72

    A onetime elite left tackle, Light is smart enough to get by but can't seem to stay healthy after 11 seasons in the league. 

17. Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Agility

    8

    Is a great overall athlete with quick feet and excellent balance. Would like to see him under control better when shuffling his feet to get to the edge.  

    Pass Block Speed

    7

    Albert has good range and shows the quickness needed to take the 45-degree angle and blow up the corner. Is inconsistent here and can be late getting to the edge. 

    Pass Block Power

    7.5

    Is strong enough and has the right technique to be effective against power moves. Will struggle with counters and stunts off the line. 

    Run Blocking

    8

    Can get his pads low and drive off the ball. Played guard in college at Virginia and is still much better as a run blocker than when playing in space. 

    Move in Space

    5

    Albert struggles in the screen game to chip, re-establish himself and get upfield. He has good agility but struggles with vision and execution in space. 

    Pull/Trap

    7

    Moves well going left or right. Has no issues getting to space. Would like to see him show more strength when blocking on the move, as well as limit his penalties. 

    Strength

    6.5

    Has really improved since college and now has the upper-body strength to match his strong base. Can be pushed back off the ball if he doesn't beat his man off the snap.

    Technique

    5

    Penalties kill Albert's score. He will too often revert to a hold instead of going for a cut block or trying to pancake the defender. Swings and misses a lot. 

    Size

    9

    At 6'5", 316 lbs, Albert is tall and long with a big, solid base and thick legs. 

    Health

    10

    No issues. 

    Overall

    73

    Albert may be out of position at left tackle, as he lacks the elite strength and quickness of the players ranked above him. He is above average, but he could be All-Pro if asked to move inside to guard. 

16. Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers

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    Agility

    8

    Has very good lateral agility and quickness off the ball. Snaps up quickly and shows good balance. Is quick at taking kick step. Shows very good body control and awareness. 

    Pass Block Speed

    8

    Staley has the quickness to be great in this area, but he misses on blocks and can give up the edge too often with poor timing and failed finishing on his blocks. His play improved as the season progressed and he became more comfortable in the offense.

    Pass Block Power

    7

    Doesn't have great strength but is strong enough to pin defenders when they try to bull-rush him. The low score is an indication of Staley's inconsistent play. He can improve his footwork as well as hand placement.

    Run Blocking

    7

    Staley does a great job keeping his feet churning through blocks. He shows good pad level, smart leverage and the quickness to get out in front of the play. Would score much higher here if more consistent. Will miss blocks at times and can fail to get to the second level. 

    Move in Space

    7

    Moves well to protect on pass places. Quick feet. 

    Pull/Trap

    7

    Can lead the way or protect the back on sweeps and tosses. 

    Strength

    7

    Good strength. Staley has a strong base and the proper bulk needed. He doesn't show great field strength when locking on with defenders. Would like to see stronger hands as well. 

    Technique

    5

    Is a knee-bender with good leverage but is too inconsistent. His hand placement is all over the place. Staley has to get better at making crisp, sharp punches in the pass game and also at getting his body around to drive defenders in the run game.

    Size

    10

    Has the look of an offensive tackle. Fits the prototype for the position at 6'5" and 315 lbs.

    Health

    9

    Healthy in 2011, but Staley has had issues in the past. 

    Overall

    75

    Staley has the raw talent to be a top-10 offensive tackle, but his inconsistencies as a blocker hide his exceptional size and agility. If Staley can continue improving and stay healthy, he could eventually be one of the best here.

15. Jared Veldheer, Oakland Raiders

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    Agility

    7

    Has good speed and impressive burst off the ball. Moves equally well going to the outside or inside. A good all-around athlete.

    Pass Block Speed

    7

    Veldheer has the speed and quickness on the edge to dominate. Once he learns to shuffle his feet in getting to the edge better, he'll be among the best in the game. Is too out of control and gets caught with his hands outside the body.

    Pass Block Power

    7

    Has the strength to stop pass rushers when locked up. Could do a better job getting under the pads and pinning power rushers. 

    Run Blocking

    8

    Has a mean streak and will lock on and drive tacklers out of the play. Is good at chipping and getting to the next level on weak-side runs. 

    Move in Space

    7

    Moves very well for a man his size. Has light feet and a good lateral move. Could come out lower in his stance to better facilitate blocks downfield.

    Pull/Trap

    8

    Moves well when asked to take a slide step out of his stance. Is quick and plays with good balance in short-area traps and pulls. 

    Strength

    8

    Is strong enough to control the line of scrimmage. Would have a higher score if he showed more consistency here. 

    Technique

    5

    Veldheer survives more on athletic ability, brute strength and instinct right now. Once he learns the fundamentals of the position, watch out. Too many penalties kill Veldheer's production. 

    Size

    9

    Ideal size for the position at 6'8", 315 lbs. Has big, strong hands. 

    Health

    10

    No injury issues. 

    Overall

    76

    It's no surprise that a Raider would be heavily penalized, but that's the biggest issue with Veldheer. If he can cut down on the flags, he would be recognized as one of the best in the game.

14. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, New York Jets

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    Agility

    7

    Is a good overall athlete but doesn't show great flexibility. Is very quick and light on his feet but has stiff hips and can stumble to get to the edge. 

    Pass Block Speed

    8

    Has long arms and a big stride. Is able to take two shuffle steps and get to the corner to meet defenders. Moves well back and to his left. 

    Pass Block Power

    9

    Can sit down on a pass rusher and lock him up. Does a good job pinning rushers inside their pads and driving up.  

    Run Blocking

    5

    Really struggles as a run blocker. Doesn't lock on or have the strength drive defenders out of the hole. Gets way too high in his stance and doesn't over-power tacklers. 

    Move in Space

    7

    Moves well laterally and excels at cutting off defenders on the kick slide. Would like to see Ferguson move better and with more control on sweeps and screen plays. Gets way too high when moving. 

    Pull/Trap

    7

    Doesn't play great under his pads. Can eat up ground with big steps but lacks the leverage or lower-body strength to lock on to defenders and drive them out of the play. Is used better to mirror or wall off lanes. 

    Strength

    7

    Has good strength when sitting on a block but marginal strength when asked to move ahead with his pads low and legs driving. 

    Technique

    8

    Has few flaws, especially as a pass blocker, but gets too high out of the blocks when run blocking and doesn't have great leg drive. 

    Size

    10

    6'6" and 310 lbs, with a great wingspan. 

    Health

    10

    No injury issues. 

    Overall

    78

    A bit overrated in the media, film study shows that Ferguson is an elite pass blocker but struggles in the run game. To be a complete tackle, better play is needed on short-yardage situations. 

13. Will Svitek, Atlanta Falcons

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    Agility

    6

    Has the agility to slide and mirror. Does a good job chopping his feet and staying balanced off the snap. 

    Pass Block Speed

    8.5

    Can get to the corner to cut off pass rushers, but isn't always under control and balanced. Can improve in this area with more experience. 

    Pass Block Power

    8

    Works well in tight spaces against power rushers. Is much more comfortable working in close quarters than in space. 

    Run Blocking

    7

    Much better in pass sets than the run, Svitek has yet to settle into the left tackle position. Misses assignments and takes poor angles in zone blocks. 

    Move in Space

    8

    Svitek doesn't have elite athletic ability, but he takes smart angles and has good vision when moving off the line or getting into the second level on blocks. Is very effective on screen packages. 

    Pull/Trap

    8

    Can get out in front of the play and has above-average strength to lock on and drive defenders out of the box or to the sideline. 

    Strength

    8

    Good strength with a strong base. Doesn't grade as high as others due to the lack of strength in driving off the ball. 

    Technique

    7

    Can get too high coming out of his stance and must work on getting leverage to turn defenders in the run game. A work in progress with loads of potential. 

    Size

    9

    At 6'6" and 308 lbs, Svitek is built like the left tackle of the future in the NFL. 

    Health

    10

    No injury issues. 

    Overall

    79.5

    An up-and-coming player at the position after six seasons, he took over for Sam Baker midseason and played very well down the stretch. He will still miss assignments and needs work on his hand placement, but Svitek is worth developing at left tackle in Atlanta. 

12. Doug Free, Dallas Cowboys

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    Agility

    7

    Is more of a road grader than athlete and doesn't have great lateral quickness or agility. 

    Pass Block Speed

    7

    Can struggle getting to the corner due to lack of great agility. Free is much better working in tight spaces. 

    Pass Block Power

    8

    Works very well in a window and gets the knee bend and leverage to handle power rushers and inside blitzes. 

    Run Blocking

    9

    Is a smart, savvy run blocker who does a good job kicking out ends and getting the hook on outside players. Is a very good combo blocker who can move to his left or right without a drop off in production. 

    Move in Space

    8

    Does a good job clearing out at the first level and then looking to get downfield. Free is used on a number of plays that ask him to block in space.

    Pull/Trap

    7

    Doesn't have the footwork to be effective consistently in space. Will lunge too often and reach for blocks instead of adjusting his body to drive through players. 

    Strength

    9

    Fundamentally strong with a wide frame and solid base. 

    Technique

    8

    Free has good hand placement and a quick punch. He's quick out of his stance but will overextend at times when trying to get to the edge. 

    Size

    9

    A little bit too big at 6'6", 323 lbs, restricting his agility.

    Health

    10

    No injury issues.  

    Overall

    82

    A very good left tackle, Free has the experience and technique to remain a highly graded player in the second tier of elite tackles.

11. Trent Williams, Washington Redskins

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    Agility

    8

    Has good short-area agility and quickness. Williams isn't great at extending, but he has the footwork to be effective as a zone blocker.

    Pass Block Speed

    9

    Has the length, quick hands and footwork to be very good against speed rushers. Improved greatly in 2011 at getting to the corner and setting up to block. 

    Pass Block Power

    7.5

    He works well enough to the outside, but counter moves to the inside gave him trouble. Is a natural knee-bender, and has solid agility, so it’s not out of the question that he could improve over time. 

    Run Blocking

    7.5

    He has a toughness that few top linemen possess. Williams gets good position and doesn’t let defenders into his pads. Really does nice work running opponents right out of the play and pancaking them. Still learning the intricacies of the zone system, though. Can miss assignments.

    Move in Space

    9

    Showed better quickness moving to his right than to his left. Shows good enough quick depth on his slide move. Sets into his stance fairly quickly and has fast, active hands. 

    Pull/Trap

    6.5

    Used some on slide blocking and showed the footwork to move around well enough. Although he needs to improve his footwork some, it’s good enough for the few times he’ll probably be asked to pull or trap. 

    Strength

    8.5

    Has shown he can handle a strong punch without it knocking him around. Stays stationary in his set and is strong enough to maintain his leverage.  

    Technique

    7.5

    Where Williams gets knocked is in his technique. He lunges at defenders too much and doesn’t always get proper arm extension. Goes in reverse too much instead of just shuffling his feet laterally. 

    Size

    9

    Williams has a solid frame and a powerful build at 6'5", 318 lbs. He’s not trim and cut, but he doesn’t need to be. He has long arms, but could use them better. 

    Health

    10

    No injury issues. 

    Overall

    82.5

    No player impressed me more this season at left tackle than Williams, who made a tremendous improvement over his rookie season. A four-game suspension for drug use doesn't help Williams, even if character isn't a graded trait. If he keeps his head on straight, Williams has Pro Bowl talent. 

10. Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Agility

    7

    Is one of the biggest tackles in the game and relies on strength over agility. Can be a slow starter and doesn't show the footwork of an elite athlete.

    Pass Block Speed

    9

    Is quick out of the blocks and agile enough to meet defenders trying to turn the corner. Whitworth's massive wingspan makes him tough to beat if defenders are even close to his range. 

    Pass Block Power

    10

    Has the power to knock defenders off the ball, and is quick enough to snap power rushers out of their stance with a quick punch off the ball.

    Run Blocking

    7

    Struggled late in 2011 to open holes and get the right leverage and hand placement to allow lanes. Has the ability, but his technique hasn't been great in run blocking. 

    Move in Space

    6

    Has big, long legs and can be a bit off-balance when moving laterally. Would like to see him sink his weight and chop his feet more. 

    Pull/Trap

    7

    Once he gets moving, Whitworth is a bull in a china shop. He struggles to get moving, though, and doesn't have the elite agility of smaller tackles. 

    Strength

    9

    Is strong enough to stop defenders in their tracks and can get dirty in the run game by pancaking defenders off the ball.  

    Technique

    8

    A smart player with a great feel for leverage and how to get the upper hand with proper angles. Is smooth, big enough to block out the sun and surprisingly fast. As a run blocker, his angles can be lazy and he struggles to get low enough to move the pile.

    Size

    10

    6'7" and 335 lbs. He is part of the new breed of bigger, more athletic tackles measuring over 6'5". 

    Health

    10

    No injury issues. 

    Overall

    83

    Early in the season I ranked Whitworth very high, but he's tailed off throughout the season, especially in the run game. The talent is there for him to become a top-five left tackle. 

9. Donald Penn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Agility

    7

    Penn boasts an excellent burst off the line, but he doesn't have the lateral quickness or balance of an elite left tackle. He has good body control, but I'd like to see more control when getting to the edge.

    Pass Block Speed

    8

    Penn can quickly get set up and punch pass rushers. He's good at reaching the corner, but not great. A top pass protector nonetheless. 

    Pass Block Power

    7

    Can get run over a bit if he's not set up. Grades out very well against power rushers. Struggles with stunts and will be beaten inside by tackles at times.

    Run Blocking

    9

    His quickness off the snap and low center of gravity make Penn a dominant blocker when moving forward.  

    Move in Space

    8

    Moves well laterally and can mirror-and-punch well. Has quick feet, great vision and good balance. 

    Pull/Trap

    8

    Is able to get out in front of the run and lead block. Is quick enough to pull and create holes for the back. Combination of quickness and strength are dangerous. 

    Strength

    9

    Is a massive tackle with great lower-body strength and size. Great bubble and can really sit down to stonewall blockers or get his momentum going to drive-block. 

    Technique

    8

    A good straight-up blocker, Penn can struggle with changes from the defensive line but has a clean explosion and does a good job controlling his body and keeping leverage throughout the block. 

    Size

    9

    Great bulk for the position at 6'5", 305 lbs. Is a compact, thick player who looks shorter than he is.  

    Health

    10

    No injury issues.

    Overall

    83

    An underrated player, Penn is a solid and consistent left tackle who plays well in run and passing situations. He's the most talented and productive player on the Tampa Bay offense. 

8. Jared Gaither, San Diego Chargers

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    Agility

    6.5

    Excellent burst off the line. Can be very heavy-footed at times, though. The short-area quickness displayed is solid, as is his balance, but agility is a weakness for Gaither.

    Pass Block Speed

    10

    Grading from his games as a member of the San Diego Chargers, Gaither was the best left tackle in the NFL in this category. He struggled in Kansas City in very limited duty, but in San Diego he was single-handedly blocking two players on some plays.  

    Pass Block Power

    10

    Was quick out of a two-point stance and has the strength to be a wall against power rushers. No one got past Gaither at left tackle, especially when they tried inside power moves.

    Run Blocking

    9

    Is powerful off the line and has the strength to move the pile. San Diego wisely ran behind Gaither often, as his sheer mass and girth cleared holes on the left side of the line.

    Move in Space

    6

    Moves well laterally and can mirror-and-punch well. Has quick feet, great vision and good balance. Isn't exceptionally quick and can struggle when asked to move outside his box.

    Pull/Trap

    6

    Is able to get out in front of the run and lead block. Is quick enough to pull and create holes for the back. Lack of elite agility or speed limit his play. 

    Strength

    10

    Is a massive tackle with great lower-body strength and size. Great bubble and can really sit down to stonewall blockers or get his momentum going to drive block. Devastating initial punch.

    Technique

    8

    Gaither will get a little high at times, but when asked to hold the edge on the left side of the line he's dominant. If Gaither can work on getting his base lower, especially on run plays, his score will be a 10.

    Size

    10

    Great bulk for the position. Is a tall (6'9"), lean player who has the muscle tone and overall strength to be elite. 

    Health

    8

    Had early-season back issues but was not used in Kansas City to his full potential. Once signed by San Diego, Gaither showed how dominant he can be when put to use. 

    Overall

    83.5

    A player forgotten by many when the Baltimore Ravens let him go, Gaither signed in Kansas City and was seldom used. Once released he signed in San Diego and was inserted into the lineup immediately. He rewarded them with All-Pro caliber play as the season ended. Gaither, when healthy, has the talent to be the best left tackle in the NFL. 

7. Jordan Gross, Carolina Panthers

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    Agility

    9

    Gross has good agility and can stretch laterally. Does a good job sliding and has a quick, sudden burst out of his stance.

    Pass Block Speed

    8

    Can get beat to the corner but has good recovery speed and is smart enough to take the right angles to give himself an advantage.

    Pass Block Power

    8

    Is small by left tackle standards and can be beat here, but he makes up for his lack of size and strength with leverage and smart play. 

    Run Blocking

    8

    Would like to see Gross get dirty more often. He can try to finesse block too often in the run game. Doesn't play with a mean streak. 

    Move in Space

    8

    Good lateral agility and quickness, plus he's light on his feet. Gross does a good job mirroring and kicking out to pick up the edge. 

    Pull/Trap

    8

    Can block down and is strong enough to wall off defenders. Is a great backside run blocker, but not a strong lead blocker. Smart enough to combo block down.

    Strength

    8

    Could be strong, especially in the power train, but has good functional strength.  

    Technique

    9

    A true knee-bender who will drop his weight and keep his balance and form through a block. Smooth hand placement and great leverage. 

    Size

    9

    Comes in just shy of most left tackles at 6'4".  

    Health

    10

    No injury issues for Gross. 

    Overall

    85

    Gross is an underrated tackle who doesn't jump off the film, but is incredibly solid in every aspect of the game. He doesn't make mistakes and is consistent as a run and pass blocker.  

6. Jake Long, Miami Dolphins

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    Agility

    9

    Is great in short spaces. Long has exceptional lateral agility and quickness. His footwork, from speed to balance, is perfect. 

    Pass Block Speed

    8.5

    Long isn't as quick as other tackles, but he makes up for it with long arms and a big reach. 

    Pass Block Power

    10

    Long is known for his ability to dig in his heels and thwart the bull rush. He's big, strong and impossible to move once he locks on. 

    Run Blocking

    9

    Does a good job drive blocking, but has seen his play drop off this year due to a lack of strength. 

    Move in Space

    8

    Does a good job chopping his feet and staying on his toes. Can slide to the left or right and has the quickness to stay with pass rushers. 

    Pull/Trap

    8

    Is used mostly on angle blocks, but does a good job locking on and clearing out defensive ends. Keeps his feet moving through blocks. 

    Strength

    8

    Is still bothered by a 2010 shoulder injury, which is limiting his ability to clear rushing lanes like before.  

    Technique

    8

    A model of consistency in previous years, Long had a down season in 2011. He struggled with giving up his inside shoulder and lacked the strength shown previously.

    Size

    10

    Long has great size for the position. He's the ideal left tackle build. 

    Health

    8

    Has struggled recovering from a shoulder injury during 2010 season. This appears to be affecting his strength in 2011.

    Overall

    86.5

    Recognized in previous seasons as one of the best in the game, Long has taken a step back this season after recovering from injury. He has the talent to return to elite status in 2012. 

5. Eugene Monroe, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Agility

    8

    Monroe is quick off the blocks and has the footwork to reach the corner on speed pass rushers. He's light on his feet and shows good overall lateral agility and quickness. 

    Pass Block Speed

    8

    Has the quickness to beat pass rushers to the corner and then knock them off balance. Monroe has the athletic ability to meet speed rushers and stop them before they can turn the corner. 

    Pass Block Power

    9

    Does a good job standing his ground against a bull rush. Is very strong in his lower and upper body and can stonewall an inside rush.

    Run Blocking

    9

    Does a great job kicking out defensive ends or moving in space on stretch plays. Can drive-block defenders out of his zone. 

    Move in Space

    8

    Does a good job moving his feet and keeping his balance when mirroring pass rushers or setting up out of his stance. 

    Pull/Trap

    8

    Is used on pull on stretch plays and will lock on and drive. Has the agility to be used pulling both right and left. Good vision.  

    Strength

    9

    Monroe is among the strongest players on the field at his position. 

    Technique

    8.5

    Is very clean in his stance and in his kick steps. Smooth and athletic. Does a good job getting and maintaining leverage. 

    Size

    9.5

    At 6'5" and 308 lbs, he's just shy of the ideal size for the position. 

    Health

    10

    No injury issues. 

    Overall

    87

    One of the best young tackles in the league, Monroe has a very bright future. Many don't recognize his play outside of Jacksonville, but he played at an All-Pro level this season. 

4. Michael Roos, Tenneessee Titans

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    Agility

    8

    Does a good job making up ground with long arms and legs. Is able to reach the edge to punch pass rushers off balance. Has quick feet and a big, long stride. 

    Pass  Block Speed

    9

    Roos is able to handle speed rushers thanks to his wingspan and quick feet. At 6'7" he is able to take one kick step and easily reach the edge. He has big, strong hands and can redirect or mirror speed rushers with quick, choppy feet. 

    Pass Block Power

    9

    Roos does a good job standing his ground, but he can be beat by a hard bull rush if the defender beats him off the ball. While this doesn't happen often, Roos can be beaten off the snap and shows a weakness in this area. 

    Run Blocking

    8

    Roos can struggle to get his pad level low and keep it there when locking on in run blocking. Does a good job providing back-side support and has the agility to get to the second level. He can pancake block in space, but he rarely dominates off the ball.

    Move in Space

    8

    Has a long stride and quick feet, allowing him to make up ground when working to get to the second level to attack linebackers. Roos is quick enough to stand up off the snap and punch at speed rushers. 

    Pull/Trap

    8

    Is more of a man-blocking-style tackle, but Roos can get down the line of scrimmage and work to get to linebackers on zone or stretch runs. 

    Strength

    10

    Elite lower-body strength and can get run over defenders when he gains leverage and drives into him.

     

    Technique

    9

    Can be a little stiff and a little high coming out of his stance. Works best from a two-point stance, where he can keep his head and pad level up. These are minor concerns, as Roos has excellent punching ability and the quick feet to slide and mirror rushers. 

    Size

    9

    At 6'7" Roos is among the taller tackles in the game. This can be an issue on a team with a shorter quarterback, but also because taller tackles are usually more stiff in the run game and can struggle to get leverage to drive-block. 

    Health

    10

    Roos has no health issues. 

    Overall

    88

    One of the better, and more underrated, players at the position. Roos is a rock solid pass protector who is able to create space for the run game and has the agility to get to the second level. His all-around game with no significant weaknesses makes Roos one of the best in the game. 

3. Duane Brown, Houston Texans

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    Agility

    10

    Brown has incredible quickness and excels at getting up out of his stance and dropping back at a 45-degree angle to attack edge rushers coming out of a 3-4 or wide 4-3 set.  

    Pass Block Speed

    10

    Brown did not allow a sack all season due in large part to his speed and ability on the edge. He has great quickness in and out of his stance and is the best in the league at getting to the corner out of his stance and hitting edge rushers taking a wide angle to the quarterback. 

    Pass Block Power

    9.5

    Brown is more than just quick. He has the strength to stand toe-to-toe and wall off power rushers, but he also does a great job playing with the leverage needed to get inside the pads of bigger, stronger defenders. 

    Run Blocking

    8

    Brown plays in a zone scheme that asks him to down-block to the play side. Because of this Brown is rarely asked to lock on and drive defenders, as the Texans run behind right tackle Eric Winston. What Brown does well is move in space and get to the second level to attack would-be tacklers. 

    Move in Space

    8.5

    Is very quick off the ball with good footwork and agility to move laterally to his left or right.  

    Pull/Trap

    8.5

    Is able to get out in front of the play and make impact blocks downfield. Has the agility and speed to be a lead blocker off the edge. Will look to make multiple hits downfield. 

    Strength

    7

    Brown does not have great strength compared to the other left tackles ranked, but playing in a system built on speed, strength isn't a major requirement. 

    Technique

    9.5

    Brown is fluid, quick and strong at the point of attack. He's very quick out of his stance and does a great job moving back and to his left to set the edge. He moves with excellent balance and has good pad level and leverage. 

    Size

    8

    Is undersized compared to other tackles but is a great fit in the Houston offense. Playing in a man-blocking scheme, Brown may move to guard. 

    Health

    10

    Brown has no injury issues. 

    Overall

    89

    Duane Brown can be summed up in one simple statistic—he didn't allow a single sack all season. Even with three different quarterbacks taking time in the Houston offense. Even with one of those quarterbacks being a fifth-round rookie draft pick. Brown is on track to quickly become the elite pass-blocking tackle in the NFL—if he's not there already.

2. Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns

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    Agility

    8

    Thomas is not an elite athlete at the position, but he has enough agility to get to the edge when run blocking and to quickly kick out to pick up pass rushers turning the corner. Thomas is light on his feet and has good foot speed. 

    Pass Block Speed

    9

    Is quick enough to take the big kick step and get to far-reaching pass rushers trying to turn the corner. Thomas has the length to knock speed rushers off balance and the strength to finish them once he locks on. 

    Pass Block Power

    10

    Thomas excels at setting his feet and dropping his weight to stop oncoming bull rushers. He's thick enough to handle a strong rush and uses the right leverage and technique to wall off rushers. 

    Run Blocking

    7

    Thomas struggled as a run blocker in 2011. A once-dominant player in this area, Thomas doesn't show the same strength or drive when locking on to defenders. Better consistency when finishing his blocks would raise Thomas' score.

    Move in Space

    8

    Thomas can get to the second level and has the quickness to be a lead blocker on the edge, but he does not have the elite footwork to get through traffic every time. Thomas has great vision and will find pursuing defenders when getting upfield. 

    Pull/Trap

    8

    Thomas is not asked to pull much, but he has the agility to do so. As a trap blocker he does a great job setting up the play and is patient enough to let defenders get penetration before hitting them from the side. 

    Strength

    10

    Has elite strength for the position. Great upper-body strength with strong hands and arms to punch at pass rushers. Thomas has great leg drive and can lock on and drive block defenders. 

    Technique

    10

    Thomas plays with great leverage and has a good understanding of angles and schemes. He's rarely out of position and doesn't miss assignments.  

    Size

    10

    Thomas is what the picture would look like if you asked scouts to draw the prototypical left tackle. He has the ideal height, length and bulk for the position. 

    Health

    10

    Thomas has no injury issues of note. 

    Overall

    90

    Clearly among the best at his position in the NFL, Thomas' performance slipped a tad this season without left guard Eric Steinbach in the lineup. Thomas is still an elite pass protector, but his play against the run was less than impressive in 2011, costing him the top spot. 

1. Jason Peters, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Agility

    9

    A great overall athlete, Peters is able to reach edge rushers with quick footwork and exceptional balance. Peters is quick out of his stance and has the lateral agility to slide and mirror the fastest rushers in the league. 

    Pass Block Speed

    9

    Peters can handle speed rushers thanks to his own athleticism, long arms to redirect and a powerful base that allows him to wall off rushers who are coming at him from a wide angle. A former tight end, Peters is able to get to the corner and knock speed rushers off balance. 

    Pass Block Power

    9

    Peters has a very strong lower body and is able to drop anchor and stonewall power rushers. His quickness is frustrating to pass rushers, but he also has the power to lock on to rushers and control them. 

    Run Blocking

    10

    Peters does a great job getting out in the run game. Is able to work as a lead blocker or as a pulling player on power schemes. As a left tackle he is often asked to work down the line of scrimmage, and his agility and length make him dangerous on the back side.

    Move in Space

    9

    Is very light on his feet and able to reach to get to the second level. Peters can be used to pull and has the speed to trap defenders on back-side runs. The overall athleticism and agility of Peters is very impressive. 

    Pull/Trap

    9.5

    Does a good job keeping his balance and is among the faster tackles in the NFL in space. Peters has good vision, good agility and a natural smoothness to his movements. He's able to attack the second level and still drive-block defenders while on the move. 

    Strength

    9

    Peters doesn't have great weight-room strength, but his on-field power is more than enough. Peters is able to handle speed and power rushers with big, thick arms and a lower body built up to handle either style of rusher. 

    Technique

    10

    Peters is clean and fluid in his technique. Is quick out of his stance and shows great knee bend. He doesn't overextend when blocking on the edge. Peters does a great job keeping his feet under him and sliding to reach defenders. 

    Size

    9.5

    Peters passes the eyeball test. He has the long arms, thick legs and well-rounded bubble to handle the duties of the left tackle position. To be very picky, at 6'4" Peters is a bit shorter than most elite left tackles.

    Health

    8

    Peters missed time during the 2011 season to injury but returned after missing just two games. 

    Overall

    92

    Jason Peters has everything you want from a left tackle in today's NFL. He is quick enough to handle the speed rushers lining up on the right side of the defense, strong enough to take on five-technique defensive ends in a 3-4 scheme and smart enough to make decisions on the fly.