Movie Quote of the Day:
“You know what happens to a handsome guy like me in jail? It rhymes with grape!”
Eric Molson, 21 Jump Street (2012)
NFL analysts, experts, players, etc. have been releasing their own rankings for the top players in the NFL. The NFL Network just released their Top 100 that is voted on by the players. Also, Mike Miller at Bleacher Report has been coming out with his own rankings of the Top 1,000 players in the NFL.
I decided to create my own version of this, but I’m going to put it together by position (except punters and fullbacks because nobody cares about them) and it’ll only be 100 players. I’m not even sure I can name 1,000 people that I know in the real world let alone the NFL. I’m also going to add honorable mentions and what I like to call the “Rising Star” of each position. Another thing I added when creating these lists is that the players have to currently be on a team. No free agents.
Today’s post involves right tackles. I’m going to be honest, right tackles are hard to write about. They don’t get the same recognition as left tackles and they rarely make Pro Bowls or All-Pro teams. Those honors usually go to left tackles. I’ll do my best to keep my readers interested today. I find this interesting, but that’s because I’m a huge football fan. Here’s my list:
Rising Star: Ja’Wuan James, Miami Dolphins
Miami has had an awful offensive line the last few years. In 2013, Ryan Tannehill (quarterback for Miami) was sacked 58 times (most in the NFL in 2013). Miami used their 2014 first round draft pick on James. James made a great impact for Miami last season, starting every game for the Dolphins. With his help, Tannehill was sacked just 46 times in 2014. The Pro Football Writers Association named James to the All-Rookie team.
Honorable Mention: Doug Free, Dallas Cowboys
Free has been in the NFL since 2007. Free has started a total of 82 games for Dallas in his career. Since 2012, Free has started 43 games at right tackle. Free is the veteran leader of that great offensive line in Dallas. He’s getting up there in age, which is probably why Dallas drafted Chaz Green in the third round back in April and signed La’el Collins as an undrafted free agent.
Top 5 Right Tackles:
5. Marcus Gilbert, Pittsburgh Steelers
Gilbert has been a great piece to that Pittsburgh offensive line since getting drafted in 2011. He started 13 games for Pittsburgh as a rookie, the organization even named him the Pittsburgh Steelers Rookie of the Year. Ever since then, he’s started every game that he’s played. Pittsburgh signed Gilbert to a five year contract extension almost a year ago, so he’ll be the anchor on the right side of the Pittsburgh offensive line for a few more years.
4. Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles
Johnson has had one of the better careers amongst the rest of the offensive tackle prospects from the 2013 NFL Draft. Johnson has started a total of 28 games for Philadelphia in the last two seasons. He probably would’ve started all 32 games if he hadn’t been suspended for four games last season due to the NFL’s drug policy. He’s been a great asset to the right side of Philadelphia’s offensive line.
3. Ricky Wagner, Baltimore Ravens
Wagner turned out to be a hidden gem in that 2013 NFL Draft. Wagner was drafted in the fifth round and has performed well in the NFL. Wagner has played in 31 games for Baltimore the last two seasons, starting 17 of those games. Wagner was named the starting right tackle when the organization let Michael Oher walk in free agency. He’s been a pretty good investment so far.
2. Sebastian Vollmer, New England Patriots
Vollmer is a 31-year-old veteran for the Patriots. Vollmer has started 67 games, including starting every game that he’s played for the last three seasons. He helped lead the Patriots to their Super Bowl victory this past season. Vollmer was also named Second-team All-Pro in 2010.
1. Bryan Bulaga, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay finally had Bulaga healthy for an entire season (for the first time since 2011). Bulaga did get injured in the first game of the 2014 season against Seattle and missed the next game. However, he didn’t miss another game the rest of the season. Bulaga was named to the All-Rookie team in 2010 and Pro Football Focus named him All-Pro in 2011. Also, he became the youngest player to ever start in a Super Bowl in 2011.
Bulaga is the best right tackle in the NFL. In my opinion, Bulaga would be an All-Pro left tackle on any other team. However, since Green Bay already has a quality left tackle he has to stay on the right side. That was something that worried me when Bulaga became a free agent back in March. However, Bulaga surprised me and agreed to take less money and remain the starting right tackle to stay in Green Bay. I had heard through Twitter that some other NFL teams were offering Bulaga a chance to be their starting left tackle and a salary around $10 million per season (Green Bay only offered Bulaga $6.75 million per season).
Monday: Top 5 4-3 Outside Linebackers
Thanks for reading
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