Left Tackles High in the Draft

Courtesy www.bet.com

Courtesy www.bet.com

By PFC Draft Writer David Willemssen @DavidWillemssen

Lately there has been an abundance of talk around the left tackle position, and with the upcoming draft is no exception. The position was once thought of a major piece to a successful football team. However, high draft picks spent on tackles do not always translate to super bowl wins, playoff wins, or even playoff appearances. I’m going to do a quick but in-depth look at success of first round tackles in the last 6 years. Then later keep your eyes open for me to  also show you the tackles that have played in the last 8 super bowls. 

First we’ll start at the 2012 draft. It is too early to tell on the youngsters quite yet, and playoff wins should not be expected right away.

2012 NFL Draft

Matt Kalil Minnesota Vikings 4th overall-Pro Bowl Made playoffs 2012 yet lost to Green Bay

Riley Rieff Detroit Lions 23rd overall- Played RT, already has talks of being moved to RG

2011 NFL Draft

Tyron Smith Dallas Cowboys 9th overall- RT while under performing Doug Free played LT

Nate Solder New England Patriots 17th overall- Rotation player 1st year. Started 2012 and led the league in snaps by an offensive player in 2012. Lost 2012 AFC Championship after earning AFC East Division Title.

Anthony Castonzo Indianapolis Colts 22nd overall- Started 12 games rookie year. Lost in playoffs in 2012

Gabe Carimi Chicago Bears 29th overall- Played RT, injured often. Seen already as a disappointment.

Derek Sherrod Green Bay Packers 32nd overall- Injured during 15-1 season in only loss to Kansas City. Did not play on Superbowl team due to injury. Missed entire 2012 season for the same injury.

2010 NFL Draft

Trent Williams Washington Redskins 4th overall- Left Tackle for 2012 NFC East Division Champions. No playoff wins yet.

Russel Okung Seattle Seahawks 6th overall- One play off win from 2012 season.

Anthony Davis San Fran 11th overall- Played RT has played in 2 NFC championships and one super bowl.

Bryan Bulaga Green Bay 23rd overall- Moved to RT and has talks to play RG. Missed part of 2012 with injury.

2009 NFL Draft

Jason Smith St. Louis 2nd overall- Played RT, replaced by 6th round free agent Barry Richardson and Smith has been cut since.

Andre Smith Cincinnati Bengals 6th overall- Played RT for 2 wild card teams bounced by Houston. Pending free agent.

Eugene Monroe Jacksonville Jaguars 8th overall- LT. No playoff wins.

Michael Oher Baltimore Ravens- Superbowl champion at RT.

2008 NFL Draft

Jake Long Miami Dolphins 1st overall- LT Pro Bowler, Won AFC East rookie year. Never won playoff game. Free Agent pick up to St. Louis.

Ryan Clady Denver Broncos 12th overall- LT Pro Bowler 1 playoff victory

Chris Williams Chicago Bears 14th overall-LT and eventually moved to LG. 1 playoff win as LG

Branden Albert Kansas City Chiefs 15th overall- LT no playoff wins

Gosder Cherilus Detriot Lions 17th overall- RT while Jeff Backus held down LT. Cherilus was one playoff appearance.

Jeff Otah Carolina Panthers 19th overall- RT injury plagued and has been traded to the New York Jets

Sam Baker Atlanta Falcons 21st overall- LT 1 playoff victory

Duane Brown- Houston Texans 26th overall- LT Pro Bowler,  2 playoff wins

2007 NFL Draft

Joe Thomas Cleveland Browns 3rd overall- LT Pro Bowler. No playoff wins

Levi Brown Arizona Cardinals 5th overall- LT Played in Superbowl XLIII 4 playoff wins. Injured 2012 season, and many see him as a need to be replaced.

Joe Staley San Fran 49ers 28th overall- LT Played in two NFC Championships, Superbowl XLVII. 3 playoff victories.

 

Conclusion:

A total of 26 Tackles were taken in the first round since 2007. 9 players have won playoff games, Bryan Bulaga played at G for one of those 9 players. Michael Oher is the only to win the Superbowl yet played at RT and Joe Staley and Levi Brown are the only to have played in the Superbowl at LT. 3 of these players are not on the roster of the team that drafted them, 4 if you include free agent Andre Smith.  A total of 17 tackles drafted since 2007 have not won a playoff game.

While the left tackle, the blind side protector, has always been a highly paid and highly drafted position in the NFL the last 6 years have not netted many playoff victories. The importance of the position is declining in the NFL. Reasons revolve around QB’s getting the ball out a lot faster and the evolution of the mobile QBs.  Is the first overall pick in the NFL Draft worth a Left Tackle in this new NFL?