Top 15 Offensive Tackles in NFL: Joe Thomas Leads The Pack

Jonathan Bales@thecowboystimesAnalyst IJune 5, 2010

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 01: Tommie Harris #91 of the Chicago Bears is double-teamed blocked by Joe Thomas #73 and Eric Steinbach #65 of the Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field on November 1, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Browns 30-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Thus far, we have ranked the league’s top quarterbacks , running backs , wide receivers , and QB/WR tandems . Today comes the men who make all of the guys look good—the offensive linemen.

Grading offensive linemen is obviously a difficult task, as there are no truly objective statistics by which they can be compared. 

Instead, linemen are judged by the “eye test” more so than at any other position.

You will notice that we do not downgrade right tackles simply for playing the “easier” position.  Left tackle is of course a crucial position for any offense, but we do not agree with the long-held belief that it is much more important than the other positions on the line. 

Thus, over half of our top 15 offensive tackles do not regularly play on the blind side.

1. Joe Thomas, LT, Cleveland Browns

In our opinion, Thomas is hands-down the best tackle in the game.

2. Ryan Clady, LT, Denver Broncos

Clady is dealing with an injury right now, but the 1/2 sack he yielded in his ‘08 rookie year is ridiculous.

3. Jake Long, LT, Miami Dolphins

Long might have extra incentive to protect for Michigan teammate Chad Henne.

4. David Stewart, RT, Tennessee Titans

The run of offensive tackles who football fans know may have just ended.  Stewart allowed just one sack last season.

5. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, LT, New York Jets

People say he is a finesse player, but we think Ferguson’s run-blocking has improved.

6. Michael Oher, LT/RT, Baltimore Ravens

Like Doug Free, Oher’s athleticism makes him a better fit on the left side of the line.

7. Jon Stinchcomb, RT, New Orleans Saints

Stinchy (can I call him “Stinchy?") played 1048 snaps last season, yet allowed just three quarterback hits for a team that throws the ball all over the field.

8. Damien Woody, RT, New York Jets

Woody is one of the league’s best run blockers, but he also allowed ZERO quarterback hits in 2009.

9. Willie Colon, RT, Pittsburgh Steelers

Big Ben does get sacked a lot, but much of the time it is his own fault.

10. Jared Gaither, LT/RT, Baltimore Ravens

We can’t see why no team is willing to give up a second-rounder for Gaither.  Yes, there are concerns about his work ethic, but his ‘09 play was outstanding.

11. Phil Loadholt, RT, Minnesota Vikings

If linemen had a legitimate shot at Rookie of the Year, Loadhoalt would have been a candidate last season.

12. Ryan Harris, RT, Denver Broncos

Harris was injured for the majority of the 2009 season.  He should bounce back this year.

13. Jordan Gross, LT, Carolina Panthers

Most people think Panthers right tackle Jeff Otah is the better lineman, but Gross is far superior in pass protection on the left side.

14. Sebastian Vollmer, LT/RT, New England Patriots

Vollmer is a swing tackle, but he allowed only one sack last season and was dominant in the run game.

15. Kareem McKenzie, RT, New York Giants

Teammate David Diehl was also a candidate, but McKenzie is a better run blocker.


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