One of Twitter’s best follows just so happens to be one of the best NFL players on the planet despite his age and snap count. In their ranking of the NFL’s top 50 players, Pro Football Focus lists Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas among the best, being listed at No. 27 heading into the 2017 season.
Attempting to explain why Thomas continues to be perennially ranked among the best in the business would be redundant at this points. Check out all the numbers laid out by the folks at PFF.
For a decade, Thomas has been the benchmark for pass-blocking excellence at left tackle in the NFL. 2016 though saw a slight step back in performance, with his PFF grade dropping from 90-plus in each of the previous three years to 89.1. It’s a small drop, and it may just be a blip, but at his age the concern of decline will always be quick to make itself known at the slightest sign of trouble. Thomas played in all 1,030 snaps for the Browns last season and went all season without a bad game, despite blocking for six different quarterbacks, none of whom was a pass-blocker’s best friend in stylistic terms.
When “age” is the only reason for your slight decline, you’re doing everything right. Next time one of you hot take-hurling friends talks about how Thomas doesn’t “have it” anymore, make sure to remind him of this otherworldly dominance, and tell him he’s not allowed to go to the imminent Hall of Fame induction.