Tuesday, May 31, 2011
LT Joe Thomas saves the AFC North
By James Walker
The best offensive player (non-quarterback) in the AFC North is. ... Joe Thomas?
According to our ESPN.com panel, the Cleveland Browns left tackle was rated the ninth best offensive player in this week's Power Rankings. No additional players in the AFC North made the cut.
We excluded quarterbacks, because that glamour position would have dominated the top 10. It also made ranking offensive players more interesting.
The AFC North is known for its defense and it showed in the rankings. Thomas was the only offensive player to make my ballot. He's arguably the NFL's best left tackle and certainly the most consistent. Thomas has been to the Pro Bowl in each of his four seasons. I voted Thomas No. 7.
The only offensive skill player from the AFC North that I considered was Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice is a dynamic offensive weapon in the running and passing game, but that wasn't enough to make my top 10.
Here is the final tally:
ESPN.com's offensive Power Rankings (non-QBs)
1 (tie). Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
1 (tie). Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
3. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
4. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
5. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
6. Roddy White, WR, Flacons
7. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
8. Jake Long, LT, Dolphins
9. Joe Thomas, LT, Browns
10 (tie). Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
10 (tie). Antonio Gates, TE, Charges
Walker's offensive Power Rankings (non-QBs)
1. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
3. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
4. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
5. Roddy White, WR, Falcons
6. Larry Fitzgerald, WR Cardinals
7. Joe Thomas, LT, Browns
8. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
9. Arian Foster, RB, Texans
10. Jake Long, LT, Dolphins