Having a good offensive left tackle is critical to the success of many of the top teams in the NFL today. Confident that the left tackle will protect his blind side, the quarterback (most QB's are right-handed) must be confident that he will have protection, which is an essential facet of the game. Without a good offensive tackle, many teams in the league struggle, and finding that dominant tackle is an elusive part of the game.
Walter Jones, Seattle Seahawks – Jones is arguably the top left tackle in the league today. Selected to play in consecutive Pro Bowls in 1999, 2001 and 2002, Jones is dominant at his position. During his six-year career, Jones has started every game in which he has played. Very strong at the point of attack, Jones is equally as good in the run-blocking aspect of the game as he is in pass protection. Jones can be credited with a role in the resurgent Seattle offensive attack — the Seahawks were the third-best passing team in the NFL, setting numerous offensive team records along the way. Designated the Seattle Seahawks franchise player, Jones has not signed the tender offer from the team and is a training camp holdout, as he was last season. Jones missed the first two Seahawks games in the 2002 season due to a holdout and started the remaining 14 games upon his return to the team. Persistent contract issues between the Seahawks and Jones this off-season has reached the boiling point, and the team has stated that any and all negotiations are now terminated. Indications are that this could be Jones' last season in Seattle.
Jonathan Ogden, Baltimore Ravens – Jonathan Ogden was touted as being one of the best offensive tackles in college football when he entered the league from UCLA. He hasn't disappointed, being named to six consecutive Pro Bowl games as well as garnering numerous other All-Pro awards. Ogden has started all 108 games that he has played in the NFL and is truly one of the biggest linemen in the game today. Standing 6-9 and weighing 340 pounds with uncanny mobility and strength, Ogden provides the Ravens with a dominating presence at the all-important left tackle position, being both proficient in the rushing and passing game. Ogden has proven to be the anchor of the Ravens offensive line. With a rookie quarterback (Kyle Boller) on the verge of winning the starting job, Ogden will again be called upon to lead an improving Baltimore offensive line. To sum up what Ogden best provides to the Ravens, he has the reputation of altering the game plan of the opposition and generally erases people from the game.
Orlando Pace, St. Louis Rams – Orlando Pace can do it all, when he is healthy. A dominant player at the college level which carried over to the pro game, Pace has gained the reputation around the league as being the most physically dominant tackle in the league, showing outstanding agility and athletic ability for a big man. Known as a physical run-blocker at the point of attack and is as dominant a pass protector, Pace has been named to the last four Pro Bowls during his six-year career with the Rams. Knee and leg injuries robbed the All-Pro of his game for parts of the past two seasons, and currently a contract dispute has kept Pace out of the Rams training camp. Starting 83 out of 87 games he has played at left tackle, Pace has blocked for league MVPs, running back Marshall Faulk and quarterback Kurt Warner. In his absence due to injury, the Rams have struggled without the leader of the offensive line.
Willie Roaf, Kansas City Chiefs – Willie Roaf is as solid as they come, having been an elite left tackle in both the AFC and NFC during his career. In his first season with the Chiefs following a long and successful career with the New Orleans Saints, Roaf earned a trip to his eighth Pro Bowl in 2002. Acknowledged as one of the most consistent pass blockers in the game today, Roaf has earned the reputation as one of the best all-around offensive tackles to have played the game. Physically dominating, knee injuries have slowed the perennial All-Pro, but what he may have lost in his physical game has been compensated by hard-work, preparation, and experience. He can still can fend off speed pass rushers coming off the corner with the best of them and consistently manhandles the above-average defensive linemen that he faces.
Dominant Left Tackles: The Few, The Best
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