Monday, May 13, 2019

The NFL's Best-ever Post-WWII Tackles

OPINION
By John Turney
Here is our latest iteration of listing the top-ever players in the history of the NFL. We take on the tackles. We rely on scouts, former players, commentary and literature of the time as well as honors and team success.

We prefer peak over longevity, but both are important. Honors matter but we try to see and discount Pro Bowls, etc., that were on reputation. But we try and make these something other than the run-of-the-mill articles you see on the Internet. We attempt to get extra information that makes them interesting.

The top 20-25 are elite, the next group is near that level, the rest are "Hall of Very Good" level. It's a deep group of tackles.

Artists include Merv Corning, George Bartell, Chuck Ren, and others that we find on Pinterest.

Enjoy—
1. Anthony Munoz
Munoz won an Offensive Lineman of the Year from various organizations in an incredible seven separate seasons from 1981-90.  He was First-team All-Pro ten times (seven were consensus) and he was a second-team All-Pro one more time and went to eleven Pro Bowls. He was All-Decade for the 1980s and the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1994 and the NFL's All-Century Team in 2000. He capped it off with being a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 1998.

"Anthony's only negative is that he has no negatives. Bengals line coach Jim McNally. "He has the best feet of any tackle I've gone against," says Houston Oiler defensive end William Fuller. "Because he has such good hand-foot coordination, you never catch him out of position."

Lee Roy Selmon chimed in, "I watched film on him. I didn't see any flaws in his game". Fellow Hall of Famer Dan Dierdorf said, "I think he's the greatest of all time. . . He's the best—people speak of him in a reverent way."

We could go on, but sufficeth it to say Anthony hauled in the honors.  He was a big man with "tap dancer's feet". He could drive block well and is the best pass protector in NFL history in our view. He was durable and consistent. He was also effective as a tight end/eligible tackle in goalline situations, blocking or going out on a route. He caught seven passes and scored four touchdowns on tackle eligible plays.

2. Forrest Gregg
Vince Lombardi wrote, "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached". He had light feet but was a great run blocker. He could slide in and play guard if needed.

Deacon Jones added, "You have to look at his coordination between his feet and hands, which is he sign of a great lineman. But if you look at his arm reach, the way he'd position himself, the guy was just fantastic. He was the best drive blocker I've ever seen".

If you asked Gino Marchetti who the best tackle he ever faced? He'd say, "That's easy. Forrest Gregg of the Packers".

George Allen added, "Forrest Gregg was the anchor of the finest offensive line of all time. He had size, strength, and speed—all the tools. He used his talent to the fullest he had quick feet and hands and superior intelligence. He had the best footwork I've ever seen and the best technique."

Gregg ought to get a service medal for who he had to face in the NFL's Western Conference in the 1960s. First, he had to face Hall of Famer Willie Davis in practice in an era where the starters scrimmaged versus starters. 

Then, he had to face Deacon Jones, Gino Marchetti, then later Carl Eller, all Hall of Famers twice a season. And the year he moved to guard he had to match up with Bob Lilly once, Merlin Olsen and Alex Karras twice.

And when he had to play in the East versus the Giants he had to take on Jim Katcavage who when he played Gregg was at the height of his All-Pro status. 

He was as decorated as much as anyone. Gregg was a two-time NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year, has five championship rings and was an eight-time First-team All-Pro (five were consensus) and a two-time Second-team All-Pro. he also went to nine Pro Bowls and was a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team and the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team and a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection

Jones was a six-time All-Pro (five consensus) and a Second-team All-Pro once and voted to nine Pro Bowls. He was All-Decade for the 2000s and was the NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2005 and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

"Finding a left tackle in this league is as important as finding the right quarterback or that great pass rusher," said Mike Holmgren. "When you're developing an offensive team, particularly in the passing game, if you can take a player and know that he doesn't need help—you don't have to chip on people. Now you don't have to worry about that and I can do other things. That's the way I always had it with Walter." Holmgren added that Jones was "the best tackle I ever saw". DeMarcus Ware said that Jones was the best tackle he faced in his career and John Madden, in broadcasts, often would refer to Jones  as the best left tackle in the NFL.

He's on the short list as one of the best pass blockers ever, he had light feet and smarts. He rarely held and even though he didn't have the 'length' of Jonathan Ogden or Orlando Pace, he was a bit more effective in pass pro due to position and foot quickness. He also had more speed (sub-4.9) than most tackles, giving him the ability to lead on screens and on outside zone runs.

Jones played as clean as a tackle can. He was only called for holding an average of 0.8 times per 16 games, fewer than his Hall of Fame contemporaries and he didn't have an issue with false starts, either. According to Stats, LLC., he allowed 5.1 sacks a season. 

So, when looking at the top left tackles of his era he was the least penalized and allowed the fewest sacks and when watching him he just seemed to have the best feet so we put him at third on our list.


Had the skills of Munoz and utilized them well, very well. However, some think he lacked the intensity of Munoz. Amazing size and arm length and footwork and athletic ability to be a natural at his position.

He was 6-9 and 345 pounds and even played guard (well) as a rookie with that height. Ogden even won a shot put championship while at UCLA that made him eligible for the Olympic trials.

"He's so big. I've never seen a guy with a head as big as Jonathan Ogden's. He was so natural, so fluid. He made it look so easy." said Michael Strahan. Ravens then-rookie Ronnie Stanley on Jonathan Ogden—"He's the best. He set the bar for the whole league".

Like Walter Jones, Ogden was not penalized a lot. He was called for holding an average of 1.2 times per 16 games and his false starts were the same. And his sacks allowed tally was 5.2 sacks per full season.

Munoz was a seven-time All-Pro (five of them were consensus) and was a Second-teamer three more times and an 11-time Pro Bowler. He was the NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2002, was All-Decade for the 2000s and owns a Super Bowl ring. He was also a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection

He was a "high blue" according to Proscout, Inc. six times and a high red in some others.

5. Dan Dierdorf

Said Joel Buchsbaum, "Overpowering run blocker an excellent pass blocker".  Dierdorf was the NFLPA NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1976-78. He was All-Decade in the 1970s.

He was a dominant pass blocker, a master of the short set. When Jim Hanifan came to the Cardinals in 1973 he taught the offensive line a technique that included a short set but also taught them to deliver a blow with their helmet to the facemask fo the defender in conjunction with landing their hands on the defender. After a short time seeing how violent the attack one the defender was, Dierdorf asked Hannifan, "Are they going to let us play this way?"

They did let them play that way and it worked well. Dierdorf didn't give up a sack from the middle of the 1975 season until the opening week of 1978. He was the best player on a Cardinal line that allowed the NFC’s fewest sacks for five consecutive seasons.

Dierdorf began as a guard then moved to left tackle. In 1974 he moved to right tackle, in that era, it was the premier tackle based on the facts almost all the best defensive ends of that era played on the left side.

That year he was Second-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler. In 1975 he was First-team All-Pro, but not consensus but he did win the Forrest Gregg Award, emblematic of the NFL's top offensive lineman. He was again a Pro Bowler. From 1976-78 he was a consensus All-Pro and the NFC's top blocker. He suffered a serious knee injury in 1979 but came back in 1980 and was a First-team All-Pro (not consensus) and a Pro Bowler. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.

He moved to center in 1982 as a way to protect his knees and make room for younger tackles. In 1983, his final season he was again injured and missed over half the season.

Too Tall Jones said this, "I think Dan Dierdorf is the best I've faced since I've been in the league. He's in a class of his own. Other than him, they're all about the same". George Allen's evaluation was this, "Don't try to overpower him. You can't. Great flexibility and quickness and can run. Expert pass blocker, the strongest man on the squad". 

6. Rosey Brown
Could run as well as any tackle ever, very light on his feet and very aggressive. Would play on the goaline defense.

George Allen said, "Rosey Brown was not big, but he was big enough. He was tall, had wide shoulders and was narrow in the hips and legs. And he was fast. He had terrific quickness and tremendous straightaway speed. He was good in the 'pit' but he was at his best pulling out and blocking downfield."

In 1956 Brown was the NFL's Top Lineman, as voted on by the AP (and he earned a championship ring). He was an eight-time All-Pro (seven consensus) and played in nine Pro Bowls. He was All-Decade for the 1950s and was one of three tackles on the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

7. Ron Mix
The "Intelectual Assassin", Mix gave up few sacks and reportedly was called for holding just twice in his career. He was the top tackle in the AFL and many consider him the equal to Forrest Gregg. He was one of the strong tackles, a weight lifter in an era where not everyone lifted.

George Allen said, "He was not a big as the other great AFL tackle, Jim Tyrer, but he was quicker and faster. He was not a fighting player but he was technically strong and was as effective as anyone. He was a superb pass blocker and equally effective run blocker." Mix’s coach, Sid Gillman said Mix was the "finest offensive lineman he’d ever seen".

He had an odd stance, a bit hunched over, but it worked well. George Allen described how Mix was one of the first tackles to short set, to take on the defensive end at the line of scrimmage rather than dropping back.

He was All-AFL nine times (once as a guard, like Forrest Gregg) and was on the All-Time AFL team as well and played in eight AFL All-Star games. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame as well.

8. Rayfield Wright
Another light-on-his feet tackle—a converted tight end. In his first start (starting right tackle Ralph Neely was hurt), he handled Deacon Jones well enough for him to take over the right tackle spot the next year and move Neely, an All-Pro tackle, to left tackle.

The Hall of Fame website reports this, "An all-day fight with Rayfield Wright definitely is not my idea of a pleasant Sunday afternoon," Carl Eller once offered. "I think he is pretty much of a composite of an All-Pro tackle. He has size, strength, and quickness. The big thing in Rayfield's favor is that he has a lot of range. He moves faster than most tackles. He's just difficult to play against."

"The battles Rayfield and I have are usually classics," Jack Youngblood said. "I believe you play best when you are playing against the best and that's how I feel about Rayfield Wright."

George Allen gave Wright good marks as well, "Tough, especially against a tough opponent. Real quick off the ball quick and fast with good explosion and is an excellent pass blocker—his forte. He is also an excellent run blocker who knocks people down. His strength is average but he is a superb tackle and a great athlete."

"Big Cat" was a four-time All-Pro (three consensus) and a Pro Bowler/All-NFC pick six times. He was also All-Decade for the 1970s and in 1972 he was the NFLPA Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

9. Bob Brown
A power tackle liked to short set and deliver a blow. He had a staggered stance which was unusual. "Boomer" was a seven-time All-Pro (five were consensus), a two-time Second-team All-Pro, All-Decade for the 1960s. Three times he was voted the NFL's top offensive lineman (by a pair of organizations).  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Brown was a dominant blocker, he'd attack the defender. It got him in trouble a bit, but overall he did a fine job in both run blocking and pass pro. He had a mean streak, too.

He'd tape his thumbs out and have a hard cast under large padding that would go undetected by the refs. When a defensive lineman put his hands up Brown would give him a pop in the ribs, which, of course, brought the hands down. It would also break ribs. He did that to Jack Youngblood in 1971 and to Andy Dorris in 1973. Youngblood had been warned by his trainer to "stay away from that big sum'bitch" and Dorris had been warned by Cardinals coach Jim Hanifan. Both ignored the advice and paid the price.

Brown didn't like getting head slapped and the king of that was Deacon Jones. So, one time Brown took out the normal screws in the top of his helmet and put in long, sharpened ones that stuck out a bit. On the first play, Jones head slapped him it impaled Jones' hand. We asked Deacon about that once and he lifted his hand and showed a large scar in the middle of his hand.  He said, "That's the only mark I have on me in my fourteen NFL seasons".

Boomer said he was "about as subtle as a sledgehammer". His style was to beat on players all game until they have nothing left in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line."

Gil Brandt reports that Brown, coming out of Nebraska ran a 4.8 forty at 273 pounds. John Madden said he was as "devastating a football player as I've ever seen. He's a super, superstar".

10. Ron Yary

Ron Yary was the first-ever offensive tackle taken as the first overall pick in the 1968 NFL draft and that did not occur again for 29 years when in the NFL when in 1997 Orlando Pace was taken as the number one overall pick. His size (6-5, 260) and natural strength and quickness set him apart, along with impressive speed (sub-4.8 in the forty-yard dash). 

Yary was a dominant run blocker, could drive defensive ends off of the ball. In the Vikings rigid blocking scheme there was no reading or taking the defender the way the defender wanted to go. Yary and the Viking linemen had to root their man out of the called hole and the back didn't have to option to take it to another hole. That was a tough scheme for anyone unlike the blocking schemes of today. He had a stance similar, though not as pronounced as Bob Brown's. 

Yary moved into the starting lineup early in the 1969 season and was there through the 1981 season. In 1969, one of Ron's first starts he had to face Deacon Jones in Los Angeles. Offensive line coach John Michales used every psychological angle to get the message to the big second-year player that "if you don't work harder you'll be embarrassed in front of your home fans."

Michaels strategy was successful. After a long kickoff return, the Vikings were deep into Rams territory. "On the first play from scrimmage", according to Michaels, "Yary caught Deacon and "drove him 30 yards straight back, right through the end zone!" Yary repeated this treatment throughout the game. He not only held his own but came close to embarrassing Jones.

Mike Giddings said thought that Yary was a fierce blocker who got his job done by pitching "shutouts".  Giddings observed, "The thing about Yary is that his man did not get to the football, his man just didn’t get tackles and sacks" 

Official NFL game play-by-plays bear that out, Deacon Jones got no sacks in the three games he played against Yary. Deacon, who was not one to give out compliments, was asked by Viking defensive tackle Gary Larsen "who was the best lineman he ever played against?'  Deacon responded “Ron Yary.”

Early in his career All-Pro defensive end Bubba Smith said, "Yary's been overpowering a lot of people off the line in the films I've seen". His own coach added, "he's a great football player, we think he's the best tackle in football".  Vern Den Herder, a Pro Bowl defensive end stated, "Yary is one of the finest blockers in the league. He's an exceptionally fine pass blocker and a great drive blocker and he's strong, stronger than most tackles."

Mike McCormack, himself a Hall of Fame tackle, once said that in films he'd watch Yary fire out and the defensive end would "just disappear". Mike Holmgren said, "Ron Yary is one of the all-time greats in our game".

Hall of Fame coach George Allen opined, "Ron Yary has been a tower of strength, he's high, wide, and heavy, Yary has been an immovable obstacle for pass rushers, moving defensive ends and defensive tackles around almost at will . . . He took God-given size and abilities and built himself up into a massively effective football player. He took native intelligence and outsmarted opponents."

Yary was a First-team All-Pro six times and Second-team All-Pro two more times. He started in seven Pro Bowls. He was All-NFC eight consecutive years. He was also the NFLPA Offensive Lineman of the Year three times, 1973-75. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

Yary was and reliable and durable. He missed two games in 1980 with a broken ankle, the only two games he ever missed because of injury. He was a player who at the end of his career got bigger and stronger to stay competitive in a young man's game. "Nineteen eighty-one was one of my best years, I was nearly 290 pounds and was bench-pressing more weight than I ever had".  Yary's only negative might me when, late in his career, when he was called a few too many times for holding, which he would likely admit to. But overall he's easily one of the top ten tackles of All-time.

In an era where the right tackles were the best, Shell represented the left tackle position well. Actually, he was similar to the right tackles since he protected the quarterback's front side since Ken Stabler was left-handed.

In 1977 he was the NFLPA AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year, he won two Super Bowl rings, he was a four-time First-team All-Pro (two consensus) a two-time Second-team All-Pro and an eight-time Pro Bowler.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989, his second year of eligibility.

Dwight White once said. "You know what the most terrible situation in the world was for me? Fourth-and-one or third-and-two against the Raiders. Because you knew what was coming. They were running right over Art Shell."

Paul Zimmerman wrote, "my No. 1 tackle is Art Shell, the Raiders’ Big Brahma, oversized at 300 pounds in an era of 260-pound linemen, dynamic coming off the line, impregnable as a pass blocker.".

In 1994 Sports Illustrated's John  Ed Bradley reported this anecdote, "Chester McGlockton approached Shell and asked him if it was true what he'd heard earlier that morning.

"What's that?" Shell said.

"That you were the best left tackle ever to play the game," McGlockton said.

It wasn't an easy question for Shell to answer. He was by nature a humble person. And his father had always told him that you don't have to be heard to be seen. But, then again, he had also been instructed to tell the truth, to always tell the truth.

Shell let on a reluctant smile. He crossed his arms and looked at the ground. Finally, he said, "Yeah, I was"

12. Willie Roaf
One of the top few run blockers on this list, he could pass protect well, too. However, every once in a while he'd get lit up (Chuck Smith got five sacks on him in 1997 and Chris Doleman got four on him in 1998). But aside from the rare "breakdown game", he was stellar.

Buchsbaum said, "When focused a prototype left tackle . . . the two keys with Roaf are keeping weight under control and avoiding lapses where he gets beaten but when he does those things he's tremendous".

Roaf made First-team All-Pro seven times (four consensus) and a Second-teamer twice and an eleven-time Pro Bowler. He was All-Decade for the 1990s and a Second-team 2000s pick. Twice he was NFLPA's NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, his second year of eligibility.

Roaf was called for holding an average of 3.2 times per 16 games, a bit more than his Hall of Fame contemporaries and according to Stats, LLC., he allowed 5.6 sacks a season.

13. Joe Thomas
Thomas was smart, efficient, and consistent. According to Doug Dieken, "He's a well-proportioned guy with great feet and technique as good as you'll see."

"He's the total package," said James Harrison about Thomas, "He's got good hands, good feet, the ability to handle the speed rush and the power to withstand the bull rush. I'd have to say he's the best I've faced."

Randy Cross said, ""Joe runs, he moves, you can do a quick toss with Joe, you can do a little sugar-screen. He's what a lot of teams are looking for outside of the initial eye test, because you've got to admit, you see offensive linemen that are much more physically imposing than Joe. But he's deceptively strong. If you ask coaches or players to give you the top four left tackles, Joe will be one of them."

Thomas was an eight-time First-team All-Pro (five consensus) a Second-team All-Pro twice more and went to ten Pro Bowls. He was called for holding 1.6 times per fill season and for 4 false starts and just allowed 3.7 sacks a season.

In 2017 Thomas tore his left triceps and never came back to the NFL, retiring after eleven seasons. It ended a remarkable streak. From September 9, 2007, to October 22, 2017, he played 10,363 consecutive snaps.

14. Mike Kenn

Buchsbaum's commentary: "The finest pass blocking skills in football, Kenn is a superb athlete with long arms and quick feet . . . not as physically overpowering as some but as difficult to beat as any. He's a great athlete with tight end’s feet and excellent balance"

Art Shell said, "When he came into the league, he was the trendsetter of sorts. You know, tall, angular guy with a big wingspan. Then the game sort of gravitated toward the 300-pounders, "The Hogs" and people like that, and he was still excellent . . . He's a master at some forgotten skills, a guy who still pays attention to the detail stuff that's foreign to a lot of linemen nowadays."

He was a seventeen-year starter, more than anyone on this list. He was a three-time All-Pro plus a Second-team All-Pro twice more and the NFLPA's NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year twice.

PFJ's research show that Kenn's stats measure up with the best. Per 16 games he allowed 4.9 sacks and 1.9 holding calls and the same rate for false starts.

15. Gary Zimmerman
Another of the quick-footed pass blockers who was good as a run blocker, but not as good as his pass pro. 

Zimmerman began his pro football career as a guard, in the USFL. He quicked moved to tackle and developed into the USFL's best. He was traded from the Giants (who held his rights to the Vikings)

There we quickly began to gather post-season honors. In 1986 he was Second-team All-Pro, in 1987and 1988 he was a consensus All-Pro. In 1989 he was First-team All-Pro (PFWA) and in 1992 he was First-team All-Pro (NEA). In 1993 and 1995 he was Second-team All-Pro and in 1996 he was a consensus All-Pro. Additionally, he was All-Decade for the 1980s (Second-team) and the 1990s  (First-team).  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.

"A natural pass protector", said Buchsbaum. And Proscout, Inc., called him an "underrated technician". Gil Brandt wrote, "Zimmerman was one of those guys who had great feet and long arms. He didn't overpower you as a blocker, but the man he was blocking rarely made the play."

Teammate Dave Widell, in SI in 1994,  of Zimmerman, "He can dance with a finesse guy like Derrick Thomas. Then, if he's up against a power end like Richard Dent or Chris Doleman, he'll play a power game. He's known for pass blocking, but what people don't realize is that last year he graded out about 95 percent for his rim blocking."

16. Tony Boselli
Boselli was an excellent all-around tackle and a good athlete for his size, which was impressive—6-7, 324-pounds. Injuries cut his career short but for a couple of years, he was the best in the game. He was All-Pro in 1997-99 and a five-time Pro Bowler. He was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s (Second-team) and was voted the NFL/AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1998 and 1999 by the NFL Alumni and the NFLPA.

According to Stats, LLC., Boselli was called for holding an average of 2.1 times per 16 games and his false starts were 4.0 per full season and his sacks allowed tally was 5.4 sacks per full season.

He matched up well with Bruce Smith. In 1996 in the 30-27 Wild Card Playoff victory, Boselli did dominate Smith. "More intense and physical than Jonathan Ogden, but not as athletic. High work ethic and consistency", according to Buchsbaum.

The interesting thing about Boselli is that though he was a left tackle he was not a blindside tackle since his quarterback was left-handed so he was a front-side blocker, unlike his contemporaries and the so-called premium tackles of the day. He was more akin to the tackles of the 1970s like Yary, Dierdorf, Wright, even Art Shell (who had a left-handed quarterback with Stabler) so he was a bit of an anomoly. 

17. Willie Anderson

The best right tackle in the NFL since the days of Jackie Slater. Many "blue" seasons by Proscout, Inc. Stats, LLC., states are as follows 1.1 holding call per 16 games, 1.7 false starts and just 4.0 sacks. That sack total is better than all of the Hall of Famers for whom that stat is available.

Anderson was First-team All-Pro three times (one consensus) and a Second-team All-Pro one additional time and was voted to four Pro Bowls. And oddly, some of his highest graded seasons were prior to his 'All-Pro' streak from 2003-06.

18. Jackie Slater

Reggie White said, "Munoz and Jackie Slater were the best I faced. Slater was dominant. He was extremely smart and resilient."

Slater like to short set, take on the defensive end at the line of scrimmage. If he got beat there he'd wheel to the inside and cut the end, who'd just beaten him, off at the pass. It's a move he "invented" according to Ron Yary. "A brilliant tactician", said Buchsbaum. 

Slater was drafted as a guard and was a backup to Tom Mack and Dennis Harrah but learned the tackle position. In his third year, he took over the Rams right tackle position and held it until injuries go to him in the early 1990s. 

Though he played 20 seasons, he was a backup for his first three and his last one consisted of 17 games (one game). In 1993 and 1994 missed a ton of time, so he played 259 games but started 211 which is closer to thirteen or fourteen seasons, depending on if you go by 14 or 16 games as the standard. So, while he played the seasons, players like Kenn and Lomas Brown actually started more. 

In 1980 he was the best right tackle in the game, just a devastating run blocker and terrific in pass protection. He went to his first Pro Bowl in 1983 and returned six more times. He was voted the NFLPA NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1983, 86, 87, and 89. He also was a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 2001.

He had good feet and was an ardent student of the game. He could get in trouble with some of the good 3-4 rushbackers of the day (like Rickey Jackson) overall he was still a great tackle.

19. Jim Tyrer
"He was easily the best blocker I ever faced," Ben Davidson recalls. "He had power and finesse".

"Tyrer was the pioneer of big offensive tackles. He was the best blocker I ever faced" Elvin Bethea said. Paul Zimmerman wrote, "It is a travesty that Jim Tyrer has yet to be inducted into Canton," he said. "He was one of the first big offensive linemen with quick feet to play pro football. Besides having good feet, he was crafty and smart."

George Allen wrote, "Jim Tyrer was in the mold of Jim Parker, a little taller and massive actually. But he had quick feet and hands. He was so large he intimidated opponents. As a pass blocker, you could not get around him and as a run blocker, you could not go through him. I think he was the best there was as a pass blocker".

Tyrer was All-AFL/All-Pro ten times with five of them being consensus selections and went to nine AFL All-Star games/Pro Bowls. He was First-team AFL All-1960s Team. He was also the AFL's top lineman in 1969 according to the NFLPA. He was a Finalist for the Hall of Fame once, but soon thereafter Tyrer took his wife's life and his own in an ugly murder/suicide. He's never made it to the finalist's list after that.

20. Orlando Pace

Maybe more talented than even Munoz or Ogden in terms of size, quickness, strength. On occasion, he'd have a mean streak but not all the time. Often he didn't do the little things, like cutting off backside linebackers consistently.

However, he had to do a lot on his own with the Mike Martz offense sending five receivers out so often, it left the five linemen without help. Pace was likely on an island as much or more than any tackle.

Pace was not often guilty of holding (an average of 1 time per 16 games) but he had a false start issue, being flagged 5.8 times per full season. And Stats, LLC., has him as allowing 5.7 sacks per full season.

Pace played 13 seasons and went to seven Pro Bowls and was First-team All-Pro in 1999, 00, 01, 03 and 04. In 1999, 01, and 03 he was a consensus choice. He's a worthy Hall of Famer, being inducted in 2015, but we rate him lower than a few of his contemporaries.

21. Joe Jacoby

A bigger version of Ron Yary or like a Willie Roaf—a dominant run blocker and a good pass blocker but run blocking was his calling card.

The 6-7, 305-pound Jacoby was likely the best of the "Hogs". He was All-Pro three times and went to four Pro Bowls and was a Second-team All-1980s pick. He earned three Super Bowl rings in his thirteen-year career. Buchsbaum wrote, "A smothering-type tackle with long arms who the Redskins love to run behind".

Jacoby was close to making the Hall of Fame in recent years but came up short each time. There was even a story going round among voters that when the Redskins acquired Jim Lachey they moved Jacoby to right tackle because he wasn't up to snuff as a left tackle anymore and the Redskins wanted to upgrade the position. False.

Actually what happened is when the Lachey first joined the Redskins he played right tackle and Jacoby stayed on the left. Then Jacoby suffered a groin injury and missed a few starts and Lachey, back to his usual position played well. So, when Jacoby was at full health they tried him at right tackle and he was excellent. So, the Redskins kept them aligned that way since Jacoby played right tackle better than left tackle.

It's too bad the errant story made the rounds in order to promote another worthy tackle (our opinion) but the story just was not in keeping with the facts.

22. Tyron Smith

The only thing holding him back is year-to-year consistency. At his peak, he's the best left tackle in the game. The Cowboys just wish he'd stay healthier and do that every season.

Smith has great feet and great speed, long arms, quickness, and smarts. And with those traits speed rushers don't get by him.

Gerald McCoys said, "I don't think he's human. He's a mutant, metahuman or a demigod or something." Another defensive lineman said he's "an absolute beast. He can slam you, knock your hands down, he just does so many things (to stop you)".

Smith, in just eight seasons, has been First-team All-Pro in five of them (three consensus) and gone to six Pro Bowls. He's a likely lock for the 2010s All-Decade Team that will be announced next year.

 He's also the fifth USC Trojan in the top 22 of this list. Can anyone say, 'factory'?

23. Bob St. Clair
At 6-9 he's tied with Odgen as the tallest player on the lists. Faced some great players, being a right tackle in his era—Gino Marchetti, Gene Brito, Willie Davis, Jim Katcavage and others. Jim Parker said he was the only player ever to "cut" Marchetti and that Marchetti could "never beat" St. Clair.

Marchetti, though later said Forrest Gregg was the best tackle he faced, there are quotes in past literature that have him naming St. Clair. We'll just say it's a tie for the best.

St. Clair received All-Pro selections in 1955, 56, 58, and 60, though none were consensus picks. He was Second-team All-Pro in 1953, 54, 61, and 62. He also is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL's All-1950s Team and went to five Pro Bowls.

24. Mike McCormack
Mike McCormack played middle guard some, early in his career, but mostly he was a right tackle. He went to six Pro Bowls and has two NFL championship rings. He also got his fair share of All-Pro honors, though many were second-teams. Steve Hartman, then of XTRA Radio in San Diego called McCormack "the king of the Second-team".

However, he did have some fine 'testimonials'—Paul Brown wrote. "I consider McCormack the finest offensive tackle who ever played pro football." and added " McCormack "could handle the Colts' Gino Marchetti better than any tackle in the game".

Former player and NFL executive Bucko Kilroy says, "Power combined with great intelligence and 4.8 speed. 'I've seen him have games where if you were grading him, he'd score 100. Not one mistake, and his guy would never make a tackle."

In 1954 McCormack was Second-team All-Pro, in 1955 he was First-team by Sporting News, but mostly Second-team. In 1956 he was Second-team, in 1957 he was First-team by NEA, In 1958-62 he was Second-team. In 1984 he was voted into the Hall of Fame.

25. Lou Creekmur
Creekmur began his career guard but was a great tackle on the great 1950s Lions teams. In his ten seasons, Creekmur played in eight Pro Bowls, was a six-time All-Pro and a Second-team All-Pro twice, meaning he got post-season honors in nine of ten seasons. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996, he was part of three championship teams and was All-Decade for the 1950s.

He also played middle guard in 1955 when the Lions were in need of a fill-in. Creekmur's nickname (coined by Bobby Layne) was "The Spirit," referring to his tenacious style of play.

He is also a member of the William and Mary Athletics Hall of Fame and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

26. Jimbo Covert
Like Tony Boselli injuries cut his career short. He was All-Decade for the 1980s and at his peak was as good as those in the top 10-20 range.

"Can be overpowering" was Buchsbaum's comment as when he called, in 1986, "Covert is the toughest tackle in the NFL". Covert was consensus All-Pro in 1985 and 1986 and Second-team All-Pro in 1987 and Second-team All-NFC in 1990. He also earned a Super Bowl ring in 1985. In 1986 he was awarded the Miller Lite NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year Award as well.

He played eight seasons and two of those were marred by injury.

27. Jim Lachey
Kind of a forgotten player but he was a very good player from the time he stepped onto the field in the NFL. He was the Offensive Player of the Year twice. He's one Al Davis likely regrets trading away.

For such a good player he moved around a lot. He was drafted by the Chargers and was Second-team All-AFC is a rookie and then, in 1987, he made Second-team All-Pro. He was then traded to the Raiders in the off-season prior to the 1988 season and then, mid-season he was shipped to the Redskins.

He made consensus All-Pro in 1989, 1990 and 1991. He got hurt in 1992, missed 1993 with injury played most of 1994 (though he missed three games) and then played only three games in 1995. After that, Lachey called it a career.

28. Russ Washington

"A man mountain, weigh ranged from 285 to 325 and that causes him to not be rated higher". "Mt. Washington" was the biggest tackle of his era and according to Jack Youngblood, "He was a quick and nimble as anyone".

Washington began his career as a defensive tackle, even playing on the nose on occasion. In 1970 he was moved to right tackle and he held that position through the 1982 season. Along the way, he made All-AFC in 1973, Pro Bowls in 1974-75 and 1977-79.  He was "blue" in 1976 according to two Proscout. In 1974 he was Second-team All-Pro, All-Pro in 1978 and Second-team All-Pro in 1979 and in 1982, his final year.

29. Leon Gray

According to Buchsbaum, "an extremely quick-footed pass blocker and explosive run blocker". A dominant type who didn't sustain it as long as some of the 12- 14-year players ahead of him on the list. He was known for his good "pop"—the initial strike on a defensive lineman. Often the term "load" was used as well, meaning he was someone who was difficult to handle, a powerful player.

Gray was an Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1979 and 1980, blocking for Earl Campbell. He was consensus All-Pro both those seasons plus 1978. He was Second-team All-AFC in 1976, 77, and 1981.

30. George Kunz
Another largely forgotten player, at his peak he was mentioned with the best tackles of the 1970s, Dierdorf, Yary, Wright, Shell. According to Yary, "George was as good as anyone".

George Allen evaluated Kunz this way, "George is a premier tackle and is an excellent run blocker who has good pop and sustain. He gets off the ball quick and has a wide base and drives well. He is an excellent athlete with good feet. He likes to work with weights (very strong) and is one of the last to leave the practice field."

Kunz was a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 1969 and then again in 1971-77. He was All-Pro in 1972, 73, and 75, and Second-team All-Pro in 1976 and 77.  He was hurt in 1978 and missed the 1979 season but he came back in 1980.

31. Lomas Brown
Underrated according to Buchsbaum. He played eighteen seasons. And he started seventeen of them, tied with Mike Kenn as the most on this list. He went to seven Pro Bowls and was the main man for Barry Sanders. In addition to his Pro Bowls he was All-Pro in 1991, 92, and 95, with 1995 being a consensus All-Pro year. He was Second-team All-Pro in 1989, 90, and 94.

Brown was a smaller tackle, only about 285 pounds (he tried to play at around 300 early in his career but he lost some quickness), but very nimble and agile. he didn't hold much but did have quite a few false starts, in the Orlando Pace mold in that respect.

32. Jason Peters
Is very good, often great. He's played 14 seasons (he missed 2012 with an injury) and has been invited to nine Pro Bowls. He was First-team All-Pro in 2007, 11, 13, and 14 with 2011 being a consensus All-Pro season.

He doesn't hold much but like Orlando Pace, seems to get flagged for false starts way too often. Using Stats, LLC., numbers he allowed 4.7 sacks a season in his career.

33. Marvin Powell

"He has all the tools but is too cerebral on his approach of the game" were Buchsbaum's words. Like Leon Gray, at his peak, he was the complete package but as a career, he didn't sustain it.

Powell was very smart and had the ideal physique 6-5, 270 pounds, for his day. He was consensus All-Pro in 1979, 1981, and 1982. In 1980 he was Second-team All-Pro. He was also a Pro Bowler every year from 1979-83. In 1982 he was the Offensive Lineman of the Year awards from a pair of organizations.

He ended his career with a pair of injury-riddled seasons in Tampa Bay. He's yet another USC Trojan as well.

34. Richmond Webb
Smooth pass blocker. Blocked for Marino's blind side in the 1990s and did a fine, fine job. He played 13 seasons and was a Pro Bowler in his first seven, though Joel Buchsbaum thought some of those in the mid-1990s were on "reputation" and that Webb would have been better if he kept his weight under control.

Webb was Second-team All-Decade for the 1990s and a First-team All-Pro in 1992 and 1994 and Second-team in 1993 and 1995. He was another of the tackles with a few too many false starts called on him.

35. Dick Schafrath
A thirteen-year player, twelve as a starter. He got postseason honors from 1963-69 including four times as a First-team All-Pro.

In the late-1960s NFL Films wired Schafrath for sound, one of the first players they did that with. In one sequence as Schafrath left the huddle to go to the line of scrimmage you can hear right defensive end Gary Pettigrew say, "Hold me again, lover". We are not sure if Schafrath was a "holder" but apparently, Pettigrew did.

36. Winston Hill
Like Cowan, Hill played both left- and right tackle in his career. Went to eight Pro Bowls and was the Jets best lineman for over a decade. In addition to the Pro Bowls (1964, 67-73), Hill was Second-team All-AFL/All-Pro in 1964, 68, 70, 71, and 72. He was First-team All-AFL in 1969. So, given the nature of honors, Hill was more of an "All-Conference" type rather than an All-Pro-type.

Winston Hill was "a smooth, graceful athlete. Hill was clever with his hands. "So strong and yet so graceful," Jet fullback Matt Snell said of him. "You ever see him sweat? I never did. It's like watching a great artist at work"".

37. Andrew Whitworth
Another 13-year vet who is coming back for the 2019 season. Whitworth was a self-made player who wins with smarts and hustle. Twice he's been All-Pro and one other season he was Second-team All-Pro. He's a four-time Pro Bowler.

He played some guard early in his career but left tackle is where he had his success. He has allowed 4.2 sacks per 16 games and 2.8 false starts and 3.2 holding calls per full season. In 2014 allowed ½ sack and was not called for holding.

His leadership with the Rams the past two seasons really solidified the line and helped the Rams improve into NFC Champs. He has gotten honors the past couple of years, but he has struggled with speed rushers. Not enough to harm the team, but enough to show he's getting by with guts and guile. He is one of few tackles who don't use a kick step, he slides out and cuts edge rushers off that way.

38. Erik Williams
A right tackle who gave Reggie White fits. He made White essentially quit one game. He was mean. No, not mean—vicious. He was a "mean intence mauler with exceptional balance. He will go for the throat and finish blocks" said Buchsbaum. He was the best run-blocking tackle in the game during his prime.

Williams was a third-round pick in 1991 and got three starts as a rookie. In 1992 he earned the right tackle spot and helped the Cowboys win the Super Bowl. In 1993 he was ALl-Pro and Dallas won it all again. In 1994 Williams was severely injured in a car wreck and missed more than half of the season. He wasn't quite to his pre-injury form in 1995 but he was voted to the Sporting News All-Pro team which was a poll of NFL players and again, Dallas won the Super Bowl.

In 1996 Williams was All-Pro and voted to his second Pro Bowl. He was a Pro Bowler in 1997 and 1999 as well. In 1998 and 2000 he had issues with penalties, being flagged 14 and 16 times respectively. (1996 was not great in terms of that, either and plenty of the penalties were of the roughness/unsportsmanlike variety which reflected the nature of his game).

39. Chris Hinton

Had dominant skill set but lacked drive. According to Buchsbaum, he could have been an all-time great had he wanted to, "Weighs 300, runs the forty in less than 5.0. If his football skills catch up to his athletic ability he will be another Jim Parker . . he has rare ability but does not work hard enough and is too sensitive to criticism. He's a fine tackle but should be great".

Hinton was actually drafted by the Broncos but went to the Colts as part of the John Elway trade. With the Colts the Jim Parker comparisons began his rookie season when he played guard. He was very dominant that season and drew lots of notice.

The Colts moved to Indy in 1984 and Hinton moved to left tackle and he got hurt, missing ten games. In 1985 he got on track making Pro Bowls the next five seasons. Dr. Z wrote in 1985, "I like the Colts' Chris Hinton because he's one of the few tackles in this era of bench-pressers and stranglers who actually fires out and delivers a pop."

He was Second-team All-Pro in 1985, 1988, and 1989 and was All-Pro in 1987 (though not a consensus selection). In 1989 Zimerman write "Chris Hinton of the Colts was the league's premier offensive tackle. Scouts watch him pull to lead Eric Dickerson on sweeps and say, "Wow, what a guard he'd make."

He was traded to the Falcons as part of the Jeff George deal and in 1991 he made another Pro Bowl. In 1993 he played guard again and was All-Pro (again, not consensus). He finished his career as a Viking playing right tackle.

40. Bruce Armstrong
A very good player, long career—fourteen seasons and fourteen as a starter. He was invited to six Pro Bowls and in 1988 he was All-Pro (Sporting News) and was Second-team All-Pro in 1990 and 1996 giving him postseason honors in eight of his 14 seasons.

Thought by Buchsbaum to be too heavy at times, and like Richmond Webb could have been better.

41. Ryan Clady
When healthy he was very good. He was All-Pro twice and Second-team All-Pro once and a four-time Pro Bowler. He missed one full season and fourteen games in another due to injury. He averaged about five holds/false starts and 4.7 sacks per 16 games.

42. Doug France

"A great athlete with amazing quickness and backward mobility. Dominant blocker who manhandles defensive ends", said Buchsbaum. France was a tight end in college and understudies Cahrlie Cowan for a year and took over as the Rams left tackle in 1976. He was a "blue" player that first year and in 1977 and 1978 he was rated the best tackle in the NFL according to Proscout.

He went to the Pro Bowl those two years and was Second-team All-Pro in 1978, second-team ALl-NFC in 1979 and the NFLPA NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year that year. In 1980 he was All-NFC. He got hurt in 1981 and missed the 1982 season with a bad shoulder. He made a one-year comeback with the Oilers in 1983.

France had the ability to be one of the best ever. But he was "too sensitive" for Pro Football, not tough enough according to some Rams. When he wanted to we could dominate. In the 1979 NFC Championship Game, he neutralized Lee Roy Selmon (Selmon had taken it to France in their regular season matchup).

43. Luis Sharpe
"A superb pass blocker with great feet who pulls like a guard and who is becoming a good run blocker", reported Buchsbaum.

A thirteen-year player and thirteen-year player, and that does not include the USFL season he played in spring of 1985. So he played the Fall of '84, Spring of '85 and Fall of '85 without any real break.

He was a Pro Bowler in 1987-89 and a Second-team All-Pro in 1988 and 1990. He was also Second-team All-NFC in 1984 and 1987 and First-team All-NFC in 1988. However, Proscout gave Sharpe "blue" marks in 1983 and 1984 and in 1986-89.

44. Stan Brock
Brock played forever and was one of the better pass blockers around. He graded out by scouts better than by the All-Pro voters.

45. Paul Gruber
Similar to Brock. He was All-NFC in 1989, Second-team All-Pro in 1991 and a First-team All-Pro (though not consensus) in 1992. He was a smart, disciplined left tackle with "size and very good movement skills" according to Buchsbaum.

46. Jon Kolb

"Built like a guard rather than a tackle. Devastating one-on-one blocker with awesome strength and awesome body control. Excellent technician and able pass blocker who is able to keep rushers off of Terry Bradshaw." Kolb also excelled at tackle traps.

He began his career as a center and moved to tackle in his third season. Part of the draft that brought Joe Greene and LC Greenwood to the Steelers. He was not very highly decorated but did garner some all-star support. In 1974 he was Second-team All-AFC, in 1975 he was First-team All-AFC, 1976 he was again Second-team All-AFC, in 1978 he was (again) First-team All-AFC. In 1979 he was First-team All-Pro on the Players All-Pro team (NEA) as well as Second-team All-AFC. Dr. Z picked him  on his initial Sports Illustrated All-Pro team.

He got hurt in 1980 and in 1981 he lost his starting job and was out of the NFL after that season.

47. Mike Wilson
Who? The wide receiver? No, the tackle. He played twelve seasons for the Bengals and Seahawks. He was, according to Proscout, Inc., a "high blue" player three times and a high red twice more. Very underrated.

He never, though, made a Pro Bowl or even All-AFC team. He did, however, make a CFL All-Star squad in 1977, his first year in pro football. That gave him the opening to move South to the Bengals in 1978.

Wilson was 6-5, 285 or so, which does not sound big by today's standards but that made him one of the NFL's larger tackles at the time and he used it, with decent footwork to be effective for a long time.

48. Ralph Neely
Began his career on fire, he was All-Pro often and a member of the 1960s All-Decade Team. However, in 1970 he was moved from right tackle to left and it took him a while to adjust. And for whatever reason, the post-season honors ended for the most part. He did play a part in two Super Bowl wins. However, he had a reputation as a holder.

49. Lane Johnson
Very quick, and has developed long, exaggerated kick step. Excellent pass blocker and likely the most athletic tackle in the NFL right now. A consensus All-Pro in 2017 and a Pro Bowler in 2017-18 but was on a Pro Bowl level before that. Has the ability to shoot up our list in coming years.

50. Keith Fahnhorst
A technician and a self-made player. He worked himself into an All-Pro/Pro Bowl level player. In 1982 he was a Second-team All-NFC, he was All-Pro in 1983 and 1984 (1984 was consensus) and Second-team All-Pro in 1985.

51. Charlie Cowan

Played both left- and right tackle. Was better in his later years. Became a Pro Bowl/All-Conference level player in 1967 or so. He was Second-team All-Pro in 1967, 68, 69, and 73 and was All-NFC in 1971 and a Pro Bowler 1968-70.

Cowan was a smooth as they come, a dancer-type, not a 'crusher'. He used balance and good feet to stay in the way of rushers.

52. Ernie McMillan

In the mold of Winston Hill and Charlie Cowan. Similar size and style. He was a four-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro in 1967 and Second-team All-Pro in 1965, 66, 68, and 70. All told he got postseason honors in eight straight seasons (1964-71) when you tally All-Pros, All-Conferences and Pro Bowl seasons.

53. Doug Dieken
Dieken earned a starting role as a rookie and held it for thirteen more seasons. He was a solid, not spectacular tackle who didn't get many postseason honors. His 1980 earned him a Pro Bowl nod. But he was just as good the few seasons before than and a few after. It was an era with a lot of talent and plenty of good players didn't get a lot of honors.

54. Trent Williams
When his career is over, if "Silverback" keeps up his current pace he will be in the top fifty tackles ever, but in his nine-year career he's been a Pro Bowl-level player, rather than an All-Pro level player and if he wants to really be remembered he needs to pick it up. He's been voted to the last seven Pro Bowls but has been First-team All-Pro twice and Second-team once, but none consensus, the "everybody's All-Pro-level".

55. Joe Staley
A hard-working, overachieving solid player who has been to six Pro Bowls and been First-team All-Pro in 2013 (not consensus) and Second-team in 2011 and 2012. Has been a 'single-digit' player (top 9) according to Proscout, Inc., three times in his career.

56. Chris Samuels
A fine player whose career was cut short, he only played ten seasons. He was very good, though, making All-Pro six Pro Bowls.

57. Duane Brown
Brown had a fine comeback season in 2018 (Second-team All-Pro) with Seattle after and injury season in 2017 (in which he somehow played in a Pro Bowl—reputation?). Brown was a very good tackle with the Texans where he was a consensus All-Pro once and a Second-team once.

58. Jordan Gross
Started is career hot. He was getting "Munoz-like" grades from Proscout, Inc. his fort few years. But then leveled off. He was a consensus All-Pro in 2008 and a Pro Bowler in 2008, 10, and 13. Proscout, Inc., had him on an All-Pro level in a few more times, including his rookie season. He was not a holder (less than 1 per 16 games) but did false start too much,

59. Matt Light
A cerebral player, thoughtful, but also competitive. He has three rings to show for his career and All-Pro once and a three-time Pro Bowler.

60. Jammal Brown
Brown was going places until injuries ruined his career. He was a consensus All-Pro in his second season in 2006 and a Pro Bowler in 2006 and 2008 when he blew out his ACL. He missed the 2009 season and came back as a right tackle with the Redskins but you could see his quickness was not what it was. He was a holder, though.

61. Bob Vogel


A six-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 1964, 65, 67, 68 and 69 (though none were really consensus). When All-Pros, All-Conference and Pro Bowls are taken together he received postseason honors from 1964-71, eight straight seasons.

62. Irv Pankey
Was the Rams left tackle for the 1980s. Was All-Pro in 1988 and that was his highest graded season by Proscout, Inc., as well. A solid, steady type.

63. Greg Koch
"Very quick off the ball, strong but not a blaster", reported Buchsbaum. His only postseason honor was in 1982 when he was a Second-team All-Pro

64. Keith Dorney
A Pro Bowl/All-NFC player in 1981, 82, and 85. Similar to Greg Koch but injured a bit more. He moved to guard late in his career.

65. Grady Alderman
An original Viking he went Minnesota after a season with the Lions. He held the Vikings left tackle post from 1961-73. He was All-NFL in 1969 (he was Second-team All-NFL in 1965) and played in six Pro Bowls. At 6-2, 248 he was one of the smaller tackles in his era, but was a solid player.

66. Harris Barton
Barton was All-Pro in 1992 and 1993 and Second-team All-NFC in 1988.
Apropos of nothing we loved this story told in Sports Illustrated in 1994, "Said Barton, "When I first came into the league, Reggie White was on a roll. I'd lost sleep worrying about him. So we got into the game, and after a while, Reggie said, 'You're blocking me pretty good today. Have you accepted Jesus as your savior?' "I said, 'Reggie, I'm Jewish.' From then on he didn't say a word to me."

67. Henry Lawrence
John Madden listed "Killer" as one of the best tackles he's ever seen. He began his career backing up John Vella and earned a starting job in 1977. He was not very good then or in 1978. Ken Stabler made Lawrence a scapegoat in a Sport Magazine article when he was explaining the failures of the 1978 Raiders "(O)ur right tackle didn't play very well" was one of the Snake's quotes.

However, he worked his way into a solid starter who won a ring (1980) to an excellent All-Pro who won a ring (1983). He made the Pro Bowl in 1983 and 1984.

68. Joe Devlin

"Superb athlete with good strength and subperb speed", wrote Joel Buchsbaum. He never got any major awards, but his hometown Buffalo News did pick him for All-Pro in 1982, 86 and 87. He had put in weight in the mid-to-late 1980s and it gave him a boost in performance.

69. Norm Evans
Evans was a fine blocker for the great Dolphins teams of the early 1970s. Went to Seattle in the expansion draft in 1976. He was on a Pro Bowl/All-AFC level from 1972-74. He began with the Oilers then was an original Dolphins, making him one of the few (only?) player to go to two different teams in an expansion draft.

70. Tunch Ilkin

One of the NFL's best-ever names, Ilkin was a backup for three seasons then worked his way into a solid player making Pro Bowls in 1988 and 1989.

However, Proscout, Inc., had his as a "high blue" in 1985 and 1987 and a solid red in 1984 and 1986.

Buchsbaum said, "Underrated and never seems to get beaten".

71. Stan Walters
Walters began his career with the Bengals but had his best success in Philadelphia where he was on a Pro Bowl/First- or Second-team All-NFC level from 1977-79. Though he was big for his era (6-6, 275 pounds) he was a dancer, a footwork guy. Jerry Sisemore, the other tackle was smaller but he was the "power-type" on that line.

72. Walter Rock
TJ Troup has an award he calls the "Walter Rock" award. He gives it to the tackle who has to face the toughest competition each year. The genesis of it is when Troup saw who Rock had to block in 1964 when he became right tackle for the 49ers. He had to see Deacon Jones twice, Gino Marchetti twice, Willie Davis twice, and Carl Eller twice.

Still, the next year facing same guys (sans Marchetti) Rock earned a Pro Bowl berth. In 1966 he was All-Conference. He was traded to the4 Redskins and there he remained long enough to be part of the George Allen "Over the Hill Gang" and the Redskins resurgence in the early 1970s.

73. Larry Brown
Brown was a converted tight end. He hit the weight room and kept getting bigger and stronger and was moved to tackle. Was very solid in early 1980s even making a Pro Bowl in 1982. Buchsbaum, "Brown doesn't get older, he gets better". 

74. Leon Searcy
When the who league was going gaga over left tackles, Searcy was one of the few right tackles garnering attention from All-Pro voters. He played just eight years and was a Pro Bowler in 1999, his final season (he was Second-team All-AFC in 1995) but he was a fixture on Rock Gosselin's All-Pro teams because Goose insisted on picking one left and one right tackle for his teams and Searcy was one of the two best in that era (Erik Williams the other).

75. Stew Barber
A top-five AFL tackle, Barber began as a linebacker and moved to left tackle in 1962. He was consensus All-AFL in 1963 and 1964 and was Second-team ALl-AFL in 1965, 66, and 68. He was an AFL All-Star from 1963-67. He was a Second-team pick on the AFL's All-1960s Team. Has two championship rings as well.

76. Michael Roos
Twice All-Pro (one consensus) and once a Second-team All-Pro. For a few years he was a poor man's Joe Jacoby for the Titans.

77. David Bakhtiari
Second-team All-Pro in 2016 and 2017 and All-Pro in 2018, his star is rising.

78. Kyle Turley
Could have been a Lane Johnson type—was very mobile, athletic, and smart. But maybe had issues with authority and got traded to the Rams where he had issues with the coach. Injuries caused him to miss two seasons, he ended up losing a lot of weight and went to the Chiefs to finish his career at about 265 pounds—1960s-1970s weight.

He made All-Pro in 2000 and was on that level in 2003 with the Rams

79. Jumbo Elliott
Elliott began as a guard but quickly moved to tackle due to an injury to William Roberts. he had a long 14-year career, twelve as a starter. Only made the Pro Bowl once, but was a solid player for a long time.

Buchsbaum, "In the Joe Jacoby mold. Tall, long arms. But, he doesn't have Jacoby's movement skills but it is a $12.50 cab ride to get around him."

80. Wayne Gandy
"A tough kid" is how one scout described Wayne Gandy. He was one of those long-serving effective tackles that got little acclaim but was a solid player nonetheless. He played fifteen seasons and was a starter the first fourteen before he was finally felled by an injury. Prior to that, he'd only missed one game in his career. His numbers were not spectacular, allowed 6.5 sacks a season and flagged 2.8 times per 16 games for both holding and false starts but he had years he deserved some mention such as 1996 for the Rams, 1999 and 2000 for the Steelers and 2003 for the Saints.

81. Gerald Perry—Signed by the Raiders in 1993 because they said he was the best tackle in the NFL in 1992. He was just as good in 1993 with the Raiders but then dropped off then got injured. Was traded for Gaston Green (and a trade of picks) in 1988 due to issues in Denver.

He was excellent in 1988 with the Broncos but he was plagued by his own bad behavior in the Mile High City. He was credibly accused of sexual assault and had issues with drugs and alcohol and apparently the Bronco management had seen enough.

Like several on this list who were held back by their own deeds or injury, Perry could have been a great one.

82. Pat Donovan
Four Pro Bowls and a ring plus, in 1981 he was Second-team All-Pro. A good pass protector, not quite as good as run blocker.
________________

Here are some other interesting names in no real order. They are all very good tackles and there are even more we could have listed. Call them all tied for 83rd.

Mark May
Lou Groza
D'Brickashaw Ferguson
Russell Okung
Tarik Glenn
Jake Long
Terron Armstead
Lincoln Kennedy
Will Wolford
Claudie Minor
Ernie Wright
Tra Thomas
Jerry Sisemore
Frank Varrichione
Sherman Plunkett
Donald Penn
Taylor Lewan
Mark Tuinei
Flozell Adams
John Alt
Brad Hopkins
Jermon Bushrod
Harry Schuh
Mitchell Schwartz
Jon Runyan
Tony Jones
Len Rohde
Lou Rymkus
Bryant McKinnie
Steve Wallace
James Williams
David Diehl
Rocky Freitas
Terry Owens
Paul Lipscomb
Bob Skoronski
Ken Jones
Bubba Paris
Howard Ballard
Bill Wightkin
Tom Neville
Marcus McNeill
Walt Suggs
Chad Clifton
Keith Van Horne
Jon Jansen
Roman Oben
John Tait
Mike Current

Some time Pre-WWII or Career Interrupted by War:
Al Wistert (1943-1951)
Lou Rymkus (1943, 1946-1951)
Vic Sears (1941-1943, 1945-1953)
Chet Bulger (1942-1950)

15 comments:

  1. John, you are truly amazing, these lists are so detailed, so thoughtful, (and so long!)….it's interesting to this reader how you are able to rank the different eras within the post WWII timeframe....today's big belly bumpers and grabbers contrasted with the more classic (as Art Shell said of George Kunz:) "t . . . He's a master at some forgotten skills, a guy who still pays attention to the detail stuff that's foreign to a lot of linemen nowadays."....personal favorites (not challenging your rankings) are Boomer Brown, arguably the ultimate mauler and Roosevelt Brown, I wish there was more footage of him on YouTube....the consummate technician....thanks again for these remarkable posts

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    1. thanks. Only issue with Brown is he'd whiff some. An all or nothting player, but for him it was worth the risk

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    2. I presume you are referring to Big Bob....Rosey always seems to have his body between the defender and the ball (at least the little stuff I've been able to see...)

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    3. I noticed that there was no Lou Groza on your list. I understand that he is in the HOF for his Kicking and Tackle exploits but Would have thought he would have ranked somewhere in the high teens to low thirties as just a Tackle.

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  2. Would go a bit higher on Art Shell. Top five for me. Mike Kenn would be in my top ten.

    On Yary, did the scouts grade him as blue more often than they did Shell? I know that Mike Giddings loved Yary.... didn't he coach him at USC?

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    1. When researching sacks I saw Shell get beat by speed guys too often. Especially early in career, then later. I mean, someone else could do a list and it'd be just as good as ours. But we can only go by the criteria we outline. Shell was great but after 1978 he was over rated. Blue/high red from 73-78.

      Yary was blue more, and had a nice comeback in 1981, he was not blue/hi red in 78-80, 82...

      Kenn is top 5 in pass pro. Blue feet...not top 10 in run blocking.. a position blocker, but still good. But we thought 14th is about right, but hard to put him above Roaf, THomas, etc

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  3. Saw similar things with Shell. He tried to wreck his man it seemed like. Went for head-butt and coupled with chest punch. Would you say he was the best drive blocker on the list though? You liked Art's 78 season? I wasn't crazy about it.

    Thats the thing for me with Yary. Most of the games I saw of him wre in that 78-80 range when he didn't grade high. Plus, his super bowls were a bit rough.... not a disaster but he struggled a bit.

    Shell wrecked Jim Marshall in his superbowl... pitched a shutout. Then against Philly in 81 he did very well against Hairston.

    Could you argue Kenn as third best pass blocker behind Munoz and Jones? Agreed on his run blocking and I don't really get it. Didn't he do a lot of drive blocking at Michigan? I wanted to see him blowing people off the line and I didn't see it quite enough.

    Did you think Roaf had a lot of merely decent seasons in between some dominating ones?

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    1. I think Kenn, sure, you could make case Munoz, Jones, Kenn, Zimmerman, Dierdorf might be my top 5 pass blockers (Pace, when motivated)

      Gregg, Roaf, Yary maybe top 3 in run blocking

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  4. Great list but disagree with Winston Hill at 52...Great athlete and in the film's I saw of the Jets, rarely gave up a sack. Yes, Joe had a great dropback and release of the ball, but there is no way he goes his first five seasons injury free without the great pass protection of Hill. In Super Bowl III, Hill made a shamble of the Colts right side of their defence, allowing the Jets to run for over 130 yrds and eat up the clock. He and Jim Tyrer should be in the HOF and everyone knows this...

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  5. Here are my top OTs All time including pre WW2 legends: 1 Anthony Munoz 2 Jim Parker 3 John Ogden 4 Orlando Pace 5 Forrest Gregg 6 Walter Jones 7 Joe Thomas 8 Rosey Brown 9 Gary Zimmerman 10 Willie Roaf 11 Bob Brown 12 Art Shell 13 Cal Hubbard 14 Ron Yary 15 Dan Dierdorf 16 Joe Stydahar 17 Bob St.Clair 18 Mike McCormack 19 Tony Boselli 20 Rayfield Wright 21 Lou Creekmur 22 Tyron Smith 23 Jackie Slater 24 Jason Peters 25 Lou Groza 26 Stan Jones 27 Trent Williams 28 George Musso 29 Jim Lachey 30 Joe Jacoby 31 George Connor 32 Link Lyman 33 Ron Mix 34 Bruce Armstrong 35 Lomas Brown 36 Frank Kinard 37 Winston Hill 38 Jumbo Elliot 39 Al Wistert 40 Turk Edwards 41 Jimbo Covert 42 Ed Healy 43 Erik Williams 44 Joe Staley 45 Steve Wallace 46 Bob Skoronski 47 Luis Sharpe 48 Ed Healy 49 Wilbur Henry 50 Richmond Webb. by Jeff Durski

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  6. Here are my top OTs All Time including pre WW2 legends: 1 Anthony Munoz 2 Jim Parker 3 John Ogden 4 Orlando Pace 5 Forrest Gregg 6 Walter Jones 7 Joe Thomas 8 Rosey Brown 9 Gary Zimmerman 10 Willie Roaf 11 Bob Brown 12 Art Shell 13 Cal Hubbard 14 Ron Yary 15 Dan Dierdorf 16 Joe Stydahar 17 Bob St.Clair 18 Mike McCormack 19 Tony Boselli 20 Rayfield Wright 21 Lou Creekmur 22 Tyron Smith 23 Jackie Slater 24 Jason Peters 25 Lou Groza 26 Stan Jones 27 Trent Williams 28 George Musso 29 Jim Lachey 30 Joe Jacoby 31 George Connor 32 Link Lyman 33 Ron Mix 34 Bruce Armstrong 35 Lomas Brown 36 Frank Kinard 37 Winston Hill 38 Jumbo Elliot 39 Al Wistert 40 Turk Edwards 41 Jimbo Covert 42 Ed Healy 43 Erik Williams 44 Joe Staley 45 Steve Wallace 46 Bob Skoronski 47 Luis Sharpe 48 Ed Healy 49 Wilbur Henry 50 Richmond Webb. by Jeff Durski

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  7. munoz is best pass blocker ever imo.

    No Mike Kenn Unknown? One of the best pure pass blockers ever.

    Slater in the 20s is too low for my taste.

    I think you overrated Pace by a bit.

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  8. I know these lists aren't meant to be definitive, just very surprised you ranked Rayfield Wright ahead of Yary and Shell. Also surprised (after analyzing film from the '70s) that Kunz is so far down the list. Very happy that you remembered Jon Kolb, he's often overlooked.

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  9. Could you please publish a list of Offensive Lineman of the Year award winners, especially those pre-1975?

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