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New England Patriots: Matt Light Is Considered to Be an Elite Left Tackle

HONOLULU - JANUARY 30:  Matt Light #72 of the New England Patriots stands on the field during the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 30, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIJune 15, 2011

In a recent power rankings of the top left tackles in the NFL done by ESPN, New England Patriots tackle Matt Light ranks in at 10th-best in the entire league.

This may come surprising to some of you, as Light is entering the twilight of his career and sits without a contract in a locked out NFL offseason. 

The power rankings were composed by eight ESPN writers, and only three of them did not feel Light was worthy enough to be in the top 10. One of those writers was Tim Graham, an AFC East writer, and he feels that Light only shines in the spotlight due to the success of quarterback Tom Brady.

"Matt Light is a quality player, but Stats Inc. blamed him for 10 sacks allowed and four penalties last season, more in each category than his previous two seasons combined. I've always thought Light got more recognition simply from being Tom Brady's left tackle. Once you name the three or four elite tackles and you rack your brain for the next group, it's easy to understand people sorting through the great quarterbacks and asking, 'Who is so-and-so's left tackle?' Light made the Pro Bowl last year, but as an alternate. Light's reputation also is enhanced by his involvement in the union and being a truly rare species: the gregarious Patriot.’’

Granted, Light did allow 10 sacks last season, but overall he has done an extremely efficient job at protecting Brady's blindside, as he's only allowed 66.75 career sacks in 10 seasons in the league.

Light's future with the Patriots is definitely uncertain, as New England selected offensive tackle Nate Solder out of Colorado with the 17th overall pick of this year's draft and is projected to be the team's left tackle of the future.

Some may speculate that Solder will not be ready to be the team's full-time starter, as he's a converted tight end and needs to add more muscle, which may sway Bill Belichick to bring back Light for yet another season with the Patriots.

Light's production may be on the decline, but he's still a serviceable player that offers vast amounts of veteran leadership.

New England's decision on Light will have to wait until the lock out is resolved, but it will certainly be an interesting one.

 

This article was first seen at PatriotsPlus.net. Be sure to follow Tony Santorsa on Twitter @   TonySantorsa.   

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