Joe Thomas is an easy player to describe. He is a beast. The Cleveland Browns pro-bowl Left Tackle exemplifies the work ethic and blue collar attitude of Ohio. A native of Wisconsin, Thomas was the Browns’ first round draft choice in 2007. Selected #3 overall, Thomas is the rock of the Browns’ offensive line and he is charged with the ever important job of protecting the QB’s vulnerable blind side. And protect it he does. Along with Eric Steinbach and Alex Mack he forms a formidable trio of big-men leading the way for the running game and giving Jake Delhomme time to work. Unfortunately we only have 1 Joe Thomas, and that trio he is a huge part of is only 3/5 of the O-Line. The right side is a different story for a different day.
So what else can you say about the best player on the Browns not named Josh Cribbs? There really is no way to statistically analyze a offensive tackle. It is all about watching them play, seeing them do their jobs with grit and determination and handle their assignments. O-Lineman really are the unsung heroes of the NFL, and Joe Thomas is arguably the best of them. The first round draft choice in 2007 immediately became a force to be reckoned with. He made the pro-bowl as a rookie that year, the first offensive lineman for the Browns to make the pro-bowl since 1980. Browns fans spent those 27 years waiting for a presence like Thomas to smack around defenders all year long. Thomas also made the pro-bowl year in 2008 and 2009, giving him 3 for 3 seasons in the league. Not many offensive lineman come into the league and have the success and impact that Thomas has had. Last season the rest of the world began to take note of how good he was, when opposing teams seemed to stop trying to get past him, opponents also realized how weak the Browns’ right side of the line was and began to load up in that direction. After Jerome Harrison came into the rotation to fill in for the injured Jamal Lewis, Thomas’ other ability was soon highlighted. It became clear that he was not only a tremendous protector of the QB, but he was also an incredible run blocker. For the first time in his tenure in Cleveland, the team finally attempted to run the football consistently and ran it his way for big time results. It was also discovered that the rest of the O-line was better at run blocking than pass blocking.
Thomas attended his home-town college, University of Wisconsin. While he was in high school, he was not only a nationally recognized lineman, but he was also the do-it-all guy for his high school team, playing defensive end, tight end, full back, place kicker and punter. He began his college career as a true-freshman at Wisconsin and was primarily used as a extra blocking tight end. A torn ACL at the end of his Junior year kept him in college for a 4th season and this would ultimately lead him to the Cleveland Browns. In that rookie season of 2007, when he made his first of 3 consecutive pro-bowls, he finished 2nd in rookie of the year voting trailing only Adrian Peterson.
And here we are, about to begin another season of Cleveland Browns football, with Joe Thomas anchoring the offensive live. A truely amazing fact, the Browns have the best left tackle in the league. The hulking 6’6″ and 315 pound tackle is set to lead the Browns yet again, hopefully with better results than the previous season. I hope, just as every Browns fan, that Thomas will spend his entire career dominating for the Browns, regardless what QB he is protecting, regardless of which Running Back he is leading the way for. Joe Thomas is as the Cleveland Browns, without him the team would be flailing to fill the void at left tackle, a key cog in building a winning team.