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AFC North Top 25: Third-ranked player

7/25/2012

The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 3:

JOE THOMAS

Browns offensive tackle

Why Thomas is ranked 3rd: There's a reason Thomas became the NFL's highest-paid offensive lineman when he signed a seven-year, $84 million contract last August. He's been to five Pro Bowls in five seasons. He has never missed a start (80 in total). And, in most observers' opinions, he's the best left tackle in football. At 27, Thomas is putting together a Hall of Fame résumé and should only get better.

Some might say Thomas deserves to be as high as No. 2 on this list. What puts him in this spot is he's coming off a solid but not spectacular season, at least by his high standards. He allowed a career-low 3.5 sacks, according to Pro Football Weekly, but he was flagged a career-worst six times for false starts. When Thomas is on top of his game, few can beat him.