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Old 04-19-2008   #1
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Default Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/story/583448.html

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Pro football’s Big Uglies have become Glamour Boys.

Left tackle, regarded as an important but anonymous position in the NFL’s pre-salary-cap era, is now recognized as one of the four cornerstone positions in the game — along with quarterback, cover cornerback and pass-rushing defensive end.

Elite offensive tackles are now among the game’s highest-paid players, and as many as six could go in the first round of the NFL draft on April 26.

“The thing about left tackle is that it is a ‘must’ position in this league,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “You’ve got to protect your quarterback; you’ve got to protect your franchise, so to speak. And those guys are hard — hard — to find. I mean, they don’t fall off of trees. You don’t make one. They’re a special breed.”

Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, whose team’s most pressing needs begin with finding protection for the quarterback, goes one step further in describing left tackles.

“They’re rock stars … because of the way the game has changed,” Edwards said. “There is so much emphasis now on throwing the ball, and the emphasis on the speed pass rusher … to score, you have to throw.”

Indeed. Last year, NFL teams combined for 428.6 passing yards per game, the highest figure since 1995 (441.6), and teams combined to average 43.4 points per game, the most since 1983 (43.7).
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Old 04-20-2008   #2
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

I don't view this as helpful before the 08 draft, seeing that the Texans need to address LT
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Old 04-20-2008   #3
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

I worte it off six weeks ago...indulge yourself with stewart B.L.. I will be shocked if one of the top three falls to them @ the 18.
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Old 04-20-2008   #4
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

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Originally Posted by threetoedpete View Post
I will be shocked if one of the top three falls to them @ the 18.
I would make that the top 5. I wonder if we will put Sage in play to maybe move up to snag one of them? Probably would need to move to the 11-12 range to be sure. If Sage = a 2nd would that get us there? IMO, if we don't have a LT fall in our laps at 18 and we can't move down, I suspect that we will take JStew if he is there. The 2 CBs worth taking that high will be gone and Talibe with his baggage, will never be picked by the Texans. The other possibility would be an edge rusher, but Weaver counts for so many dollars I doubt they add more big money on top of him. With LTs all moving up so high in the draft, it sure seems to be putting a wierd spin on how things might fall.
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Old 04-20-2008   #5
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

The other thing that stuck me last night about this draft is that the prime canidate for a move down, K.C. is holding Ten picks. Why would they move down if they are holding that much ammo ? and...looking to find some more by dealing allen ? I agree with wierd....no one from what I'm reading Knows the week befor the draft how the top seven will fall. Kinda like '06 isn't it ? It's a rich board and every one will get healthy with young guys.

another thing I find comical is there is more than a fair chance oucho cinco gets left twisting in the breeze come September. He might just find himself hanging by the very rope he, himself created.
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Old 04-20-2008   #6
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

They may be 'rock stars' but every year there's at least one taken in the 1st round that turns into a roadie (Mike Williams, Robert Gallery et al). How many remembered that Victor Riley was a 1st rounder? Was '97 a badass year at the top for tackles or what?

http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/ful...sition=Tackles

Not sure if I agree with the author's assertion that something changed with the advent of the modern salary cap era. Go back prior to '93 and you don't see much of a change in the demand on tackles in the 1st round. In terms of pay, it wasn't like first round picks made less than second round picks so I'm not really sure where he's going with that either. Maybe unnoticed or anonymous for some...but since the league started implementing rule changes in the mid 70's to favor the passing game [by drastically reducing allowable downfield contact with WRs by defenders], the offensive left tackle has been one of the most important cogs in the offensive wheel, .
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Old 04-20-2008   #7
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

Quote:
Originally Posted by threetoedpete View Post
The other thing that stuck me last night about this draft is that the prime canidate for a move down, K.C. is holding Ten picks. Why would they move down if they are holding that much ammo ? and...looking to find some more by dealing allen ?
Of KC's 10 picks, 6 are in rounds 5-7. As ammo goes, that's pretty thin.

Contrast: Atlanta. The Falcons have 7 out of the first 105 picks (their own in rounds 1-4, Oakland's #2 for Me-Lo, our #2 for Schaub, and a compensatory in round 3). That's ammo. And that's why I'm hoping Matt Ryan does a free-fall and Atlanta seizes the opportunity to move up.
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Old 04-20-2008   #8
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

Quote:
Originally Posted by aj. View Post
They may be 'rock stars' but every year there's at least one taken in the 1st round that turns into a roadie (Mike Williams, Robert Gallery et al). How many remembered that Victor Riley was a 1st rounder? Was '97 a badass year at the top for tackles or what?

http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/ful...sition=Tackles

Not sure if I agree with the author's assertion that something changed with the advent of the modern salary cap era. Go back prior to '93 and you don't see much of a change in the demand on tackles in the 1st round. In terms of pay, it wasn't like first round picks made less than second round picks so I'm not really sure where he's going with that either. Maybe unnoticed or anonymous for some...but since the league started implementing rule changes in the mid 70's to favor the passing game [by drastically reducing allowable downfield contact with WRs by defenders], the offensive left tackle has been one of the most important cogs in the offensive wheel, .
I don't remember the LT as any less important in the past either...perhaps to the casual fan but it was a very big deal when the Oilers picked up Leon Grey back in the day....and it was every bit as painful to waste a high pick on Mo Townes as it is picking a bust LT today.
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Old 04-20-2008   #9
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

I don't consider guys like Art Shell, Anthony Munoz and Ron Yary 'anonymous.' Last time I looked, they played in the 70's and 80's, were considered star players of their era regardless of position, and are all in the Hall of Fame as left tackles.

I'll probably be writing a counterpoint piece on this later today and sharing it with the author.

Guys like Dean Stienkuhler, Richmond Webb and Keith Van Horne weren't chopped liver either...

Last edited by aj.; 04-20-2008 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 04-20-2008   #10
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

Lot of good prospects in this draft. I noticed in Walter Camp's, Zack Bowman has moved up into the third round. Be some Free agents beating out veterans come september. I take your point always better to lessen the bust factor with a guy who's work on film and his workout numbers match. Wasn't two months ago no one knew who Jordy Nelson and Zack Bowman were. Now both are border line first day guys. I heard a great Bill Walsh qoute the other day, "doesn't matter where you take them as long as they can play." If it comes Tony Hills, King Dunlap, or Brown are the best shot they have with the way the draft falls to them, then that is the way it will be. Too many holes in the roster to move up. But it will be true draft art if anyone of the second day guys turns into anything close to what we have now. they wouldn't be rated were they are if they weren't what they are. They could get better. We have the guru for it.
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Old 04-20-2008   #11
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

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Originally Posted by Vinny View Post
I don't remember the LT as any less important in the past either...perhaps to the casual fan but it was a very big deal when the Oilers picked up Leon Grey back in the day....and it was every bit as painful to waste a high pick on Mo Townes as it is picking a bust LT today.
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I don't consider guys like Art Shell, Anthony Munoz and Ron Yary 'anonymous.' Last time I looked, they played in the 70's and 80's, were considered star players of their era regardless of position, and are all in the Hall of Fame as left tackles.
Agreed--author is off base. LT has always been a key position. There may have been (don't know because I have no salary data) pay discrimination but it has long been a key and valued position.
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Old 04-20-2008   #12
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

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Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
Agreed--author is off base. LT has always been a key position. There may have been (don't know because I have no salary data) pay discrimination but it has long been a key and valued position.
one more thing I just remembered is an old interview with Al Davis in the 70's and he was adamant about the LT and the CB as the "key" positions on his football team. The Raiders have always put a premium on Tackles since I can remember.
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Old 04-20-2008   #13
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

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Originally Posted by Vinny View Post
one more thing I just remembered is an old interview with Al Davis in the 70's and he was adamant about the LT and the CB as the "key" positions on his football team. The Raiders have always put a premium on Tackles since I can remember.
Which doesnt always work out, ALA Robert Gallery.
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Old 04-20-2008   #14
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

Quote:
Originally Posted by aj. View Post
They may be 'rock stars' but every year there's at least one taken in the 1st round that turns into a roadie (Mike Williams, Robert Gallery et al). How many remembered that Victor Riley was a 1st rounder? Was '97 a badass year at the top for tackles or what?

http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/ful...sition=Tackles

Not sure if I agree with the author's assertion that something changed with the advent of the modern salary cap era. Go back prior to '93 and you don't see much of a change in the demand on tackles in the 1st round. In terms of pay, it wasn't like first round picks made less than second round picks so I'm not really sure where he's going with that either. Maybe unnoticed or anonymous for some...but since the league started implementing rule changes in the mid 70's to favor the passing game [by drastically reducing allowable downfield contact with WRs by defenders], the offensive left tackle has been one of the most important cogs in the offensive wheel, .
In fact, if you dig further and look at the guards drafted in the first round, many of them were guys who at least were tried at tackle, if not played most of their career there. A bigger difference was in the "old days of the 80s" there were years where as many 4 or 5 guard/center types in the first round. Rarely are there two of such players taken in the first round now.
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Old 04-20-2008   #15
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

Quote:
Originally Posted by aj. View Post
I don't consider guys like Art Shell, Anthony Munoz and Ron Yary 'anonymous.' Last time I looked, they played in the 70's and 80's, were considered star players of their era regardless of position, and are all in the Hall of Fame as left tackles.

I'll probably be writing a counterpoint piece on this later today and sharing it with the author.

Guys like Dean Stienkuhler, Richmond Webb and Keith Van Horne weren't chopped liver either...
San Diego traded Jim Lachey to the Redskins which was a huge mistake , the Broncos had Gary Zimmerman , and the Bills had Will Wolford . All were really good and were Super Bowl teams .
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Old 04-20-2008   #16
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

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Originally Posted by Houston TexanUK View Post
Which doesnt always work out, ALA Robert Gallery.
Kinda two different things...Gallery not working out doesn't make the position any less important.
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Old 04-20-2008   #17
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

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Kinda two different things...Gallery not working out doesn't make the position any less important.
I think Gallery has to much Cali cool and he went to Iowa .
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Old 04-20-2008   #18
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

1977 - Tackles
Rd Sel # Player School Team
1 4 Marvin Powell USC New York Jets
1 6 Warren Bryant Kentucky Atlanta Falcons
1 11 Morris Towns Missouri Houston Oilers
1 14 Steve August Tulsa Seattle Seahawks
1 15 Ted Albrecht California Chicago
**
1968 - Tackles
Rd Sel # Player School Team
1 1 Ron Yary USC Minnesota Vikings
1 4 Russ Washington Missouri San Diego Chargers
1 10 Mike Taylor USC Pittsburgh Steelers
1 23 John Williams Minnesota Baltimore Colts
1 27 Doug Crusan Indiana Miami Dolphins
http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/ful...&type=position
*****************************************
Prior to the late 1968, historical stats show no year (going back into the 40s)
where more than 2 tackles were taken in the first round so this seems to indicate a correlation with the period around the 70s (I think AJ mentioned it earlier in this thread?), when the passing game opened up because of rule changes.
Hence a new emphasis on skilled edge rushers to pressure QBs and then tackles to defend against them. In '68 and thereafter teams collectively began to draft more Tackles (and I'm assuming mostly LTs).
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Old 04-20-2008   #19
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Default Re: Left tackles have gone from unnoticed to indispensable

i think the point of the article is to highlight the important the position has taken in the eyes of the fans, media, and perhaps most telling, the paychecks. obviously teams have always thought they were extremely valuable.
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