Commentary

Why The Left Tackle Is Overrated

Everyone knows the left tackle is the most important position on the offensive line, right? The stats say no, writes KC Joyner.

Originally Published: August 6, 2008
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Many of you probably are familiar with Michael Lewis' book "The Blind Side." It recounts a young player's struggles to adapt to his new environment. From a football perspective, Lewis paints a compelling picture of how valuable the left tackle is to NFL teams.

As excellent as Lewis' research was, after reading the book, I still had some doubt as to the real value of the left tackle. I understood how much it meant to Bill Walsh to have someone capable of blocking Lawrence Taylor. I also had a better understanding of why left tackles are paid so much. But I still didn't have a good sense of how much more valuable a left tackle is than, say, a right guard.

So, what is the real value of the left tackle? I dedicated the lead chapter of my new book, "Blindsided: Why the Left Tackle is Overrated and Other Contrarian Football Thoughts," to that very subject. In the book, I detailed both run and pass blocking analyses, but for the sake of brevity, I can summarize the run blocking portion by saying the metrics show left tackles by themselves don't have a significant effect on the running game.

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