With NFL training camp quickly approaching, the Cleveland Browns are ready to improve on their dismal 1-15 season. In an offseason that has seen plenty of improvements, one constant has been left tackle Joe Thomas, who has been with the franchise since being selected with the third-overall pick in 2007. His dominance is hard to explain, but in their latest list of the best top 10 NFL True Franchise Cornerstones, Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar ranked Thomas No. 4, behind only Patriots’ Tom Brady, Saints’ Drew Brees, and Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. That’s right, the left tackle is the first non-quarterback on the list.
How exactly did he make these rankings, you ask? Here’s part of his method:
When ranking the NFL’s cornerstones, several factors come into play. Performance in the postseason, the ability to transcend scheme and talent, courage under pressure and through injury, value to the community—it all makes a difference.
Through his first 10 seasons in the league, the 32-year-old has not only not missed a single game, but he has made it to the Pro Bowl in all 10 seasons and been named an All-Pro in six. Although the Browns have been one of the worst teams in the NFL for much of his time with the team, the 6-foot-7, 311-pound left tackle has dominated his opposition and will go down as one of the best to every play the position. For that, his efforts on a losing team haven’t gone unnoticed.
Ranked as the 27th-best player in the league heading into 2017 by Pro Football Focus, the left tackle could easily demand a trade, but has made it known that he wants to remain in Cleveland for the rest of his career. He could easily want to go to a Super Bowl contender, but he chooses to stick it out with the Browns and be part of the team that brings the Dawg Pound a winner. That is another reason why he is one of the best cornerstones in the NFL.
Already a tremendous football player, Thomas may be an even better tweeter. If you haven’t already, you may want to follow him on Twitter. He’s hilarious and very informative, and has no problem mixing it up with modern day issues like concussions or drug-related suspensions. As a Browns fan, there’s nothing more that I want than to see Thomas in the playoffs. He deserves at least that.
Whether it’s being on the field for every snap, playing through injuries, or dominating his opposition, Thomas has been the lone constant for the Browns offense the last 10 years. While the number of quarterbacks that he has blocked for is more than a dozen, No. 73 has never complained and has instead just done his job the way it’s supposed to be done.
Much like Cavs fans seem to take LeBron James’ greatness for granted, Browns fans are most likely taking Thomas’ for granted as well. Whether it’s due to him not being able to light up the scoreboard, or just being on a losing football team, many seem to think that he isn’t as good as he actually is. Even though he may never win a postseason game, Thomas has a shot at being the best left tackle to ever step on a football field.