I have the feeling I am preaching to the choir on this, but recently the mock drafts have started popping up with the KC Chiefs selecting LT Luke Joeckel with the first over all pick. Now I don't necessarily have an issue with taking a LT with our #1 pick, I do however get really annoyed at the perceived reasons we will take a LT #1 overall, it's usually because 1) Andy Reid loves to take o-line, 2) Our current GM is a BPA kind of guy and in both these scenarios we let our current LT go to Free Agency (or worse, move him to Guard).
This is where I am annoyed, we have a first round LT on our roster right now. He has been a very solid player and improved at his position. The biggest flag right now on the guy is his back injury and how much will that affect him.
So on twitter there has been a lot of debate as to the best LTs currently in the game. One particular debate started with Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) stating how he watched all the LTs this season and ranked Branden Albert 14th overall. I specifically asked him what his ranking system was and why was Albert #14, I did not get a direct reply but in a round about way he told me the "Chiefs rarely run off the left side" and I should go back and "Look at the carries vs other teams and carries left vs right".
When Matt was asked to name 10 LTs better than Branden Albert, he rattled off 12 I think in this tweet. Now I can't go back and look at the games and compare these guys, but I do have access to the internet so I wanted to look into these guys and find out more about them. Specifically I wanted to know when they were drafted and how their teams did in the post-season after drafting them. I added Jake Long to my list (whom Matt does not think too highly of this season) as he has often been named as a top LT and is the only LT in recent drafts (since 1997) to be drafted #1 overall.
Duane Brown LT Houston Texans - Drafted 1st round in 2008 (26th overall). 2012 Pro Bowl Selection, 2012 AP first-team All-Pro, 2011 second-team All-Pro.
Texans post-season success since drafting Brown: AFC South Division champs 2011 & 2012 (won in Wild Card round lost in divisional round both seasons).
Joe Staley LT SF 49ers - Drafted 1st round of 2007 (28th overall). 2x Pro Bowl & All-Pro (2011 & 2012).
49ers post-season success wince drafting Staley: NFC West 2011 & 2012. Lost in Conference round in 2011 and made it at least to the conference round in 2012 (still in it).
Russel Okung LT Seattle Seahawks - Drafted 1st round in 2010 (6th overall). Pro Bowl 2012.
Seahawks post-season success since drafting Okung: 2010 NFC West Division Winners, 2012 Wild Card, won Wild Card round & lost in divisional round both times.
Joe Thomas LT Cleveland Browns - Drafted 2007 (3rd overall). 6x Pro Bowler, 3x AP first-team (2009-2011) 2x All Pro second-team (2008, 2012).
Browns post-season success since drafting Thomas: None
Michael Roos LT Tennessee Titans - Drafted 2005 in 2nd round (41 overall). 2008 Pro Bowl, 3x All-Pro (2008, 2009 & 2011).
Titans post-season success since drafting Roos: AFC South division winners 2008 (lost in divisional round). Wild Card in 2007 (lost).
Eugene Monroe LT Jacksonville Jaguars - Drafted 1st round in 2009 (8th overall).
Jaguars post-season success since drafting Monroe: None
Trent Williams LT Washington Redskins - Drafted 1st round in 2010 (4th overall). Pro Bowl 2012.
Redskins post season success since drafting Williams joined the team: Won NFC East in 2012 (lost in Wild Card Round).
Ryan Clady LT Denver Broncos - Drafted in the 1st round in 2008 (12th overall). 3x Pro Bowler (2009, 2011 & 2012), 3x All-Pro (2008, 2009 & 2012).
Broncos post-season success since drafting Clady: AFC West division winners 2011 & 2012 (lost in Divisional round both times).
Andrew Whitworth LT Cincinnati Bengals - Drafted 2nd round in 2006 (55th overall). Pro Bowl 2012.
Bengals post-season success since drafting Whitworth: AFC North Division winners 2009 (lost in Wild Card Round). Wild Card in 2011 & 2012 (lost in Wild Card rounds both times).
Matt Kalil LT Minnesota Vikings - Drafted 1st round in 2012 (4th overall).
Vikings post-season success since drafting Kalil: 2012 Wild Card (lost in Wild Card round).
Nate Solder LT New England Patriots - Drafted 1st round in 2011 (17th overall).
Patriots post-season success: 2011 divisional and conference winners (lost in the super bowl).
Jared Veldheer LT Oakland Raiders - Drafted 3rd round in 2010 (69th overall).
Raiders post-season success since drafting Veldheer: None
Jake Long LT Miami Dolphins - Drafted in 1st round (1st overall). 4x pro Bowler (2008-2011), All-Pro (2010 & 2009).
Dolphins post-season success since drafting Long: 2008 AFC East division winners (lost in Wild Card round).
Branden Albert LT Kansas City Chiefs - Drafted 1st round in 2008 (15th overall).
Chiefs post-season success since drafting Albert: 2010 AFC West division winners (lost in Wild Card round).
What this tells me is, you get better chance at an all-pro tackle if you draft in the higher rounds, 10 of these guys were drafted in the first round (including ours). Additionally, usually the perceived best guy (the internet tells me it's Joe Thomas or Jake Long, these guys are usually in the discussions), tend to have no post season success. We all know now that Jake Long was the #1 overall over Matt Ryan and we all know now that Bill Parcels has some regrets on that decision. Ask the Falcons how they feel about drafting a Matt Ryan and building around him.
Looking back at the past 10 years, only THREE Tackles that have played for the Super Bowl winning team and were also Pro Bowl selections (thus playing at their highest level and winning the biggest prize). Those three guys are Tarik Glenn (2006 Colts), Jon Stinchcomb (2010 Saints) and Chad Clinton (2011 Packers). All three were at the end of their careers, literally retiring after winning the big game, except for Chad Clinton who has not played since but is listed as a free agent.This tells me experience matters. So why would we draft a LT and let ours go after he has gained 4 years of experience?
One other thing I'd like to add, and this is where I know as Chief fans we understand that though the LT position is all important in protecting the QB's blindside, the best in the game, in terms of individual success, usually do not win championships. If Luke Joeckel is the next best LT and goes into the HOF he is not the missing piece to make us contenders. As Chiefs fans we don't have to look to far to see what a HOF caliber LT can contribute to a team, our very own Willie Roaf is one of the best ever to play LT but with him on our team we had 1 playoff appearance (2003). Same can be said for the Saints who drafted him.