The New York Times NFL blog, The Fifth Down, is ranking the 10 best offensive linemen at each position. Good news for Browns fans as three players made the top four at their respective positions.
Joe Thomas was the top-ranked left tackle, with The Times calling him “A natural. Rarely does his side of the pocket quiver in pass protection, and on the ground, he can seal defenders or throw blocks on the move with ease.”
Alex Mack was the third-ranked center who “Looked like a 7-year veteran by the end of his rookie year. Sustains well in pass protection despite questionable strength, and is a portrait of athleticism in the run game.”
Eric Steinbach was fourth-ranted at left guard for his “Fantastic range in pulls and sweeps.”
Not surprisingly, no one from the right side of the line made the list, so John St. Clair can stop hitting the refresh button on his computer.
The development of the offensive line, which should continue with the addition of Tony Pashos and possible help on draft day, will go a long way to improving a rushing attack that has only ranked higher than 20th in the league twice since 1999.
Add in running backs Jerome Harris, Peyton Hillis and James Davis, mix in Josh Cribbs and Seneca Wallace in the Wildcat, and the Browns have the makings of a team that can commit to the run, which is vital for those cold-weather games in November and December.
Maybe we’ve seen the last four interception performance during a windy, late-season game?
A Browns fan can dream, yes?