NFL

Lineman or Bodyguard? The Best & Worst of Both.

Professional football fans, hungry for wins, can often be ruthless. Following a seemingly “poor performance” from a running back in the NFL, simply looking at the stat line, the masses of fans tend to unrightfully pass blame onto that individual.

Yet wouldn’t it only be right if overzealous fans analyzed lineman play as well? After all, the offensive line plays the “bodyguard” role for every professional football team (disregarding  the Giants over the last three seasons).

As the new official bodyguard of What The Sports, per our latest podcast, I have pledged to recognize NFL lineman for the credit (or criticism) they rightfully deserve. Although I feel that I have every intangible tool necessary to mature into the single greatest bodyguard in the history of bodyguards, I would also like to acknowledge my contemporaries… as well as those who need to try a little harder.

Here are my picks for top two quarterback bodyguards, as well as two who…have struggled to say the least:

Joe Thomas

Cleveland Browns

joe thomas
David Richard/AP

Joe Thomas has played all of his 10 seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns (a lion among sheep) after being drafted 3rd overall in 2007. He has failed to miss a single snap – over 10,000 consecutive plays. He has amazingly played through two high ankle sprains (hear that, Big Ben?), three MCL strains, and a grade-two LCL tear.

No matter how many different quarterbacks have stepped under center for the Browns throughout his 10 Pro-Bowl seasons, which happens to be a hell of a lot, Joe Thomas has been there serving as the lead protector.

In 2015 and 2016 combined, he was responsible for allowing a total of four sacks – only 0.5 of those coming in 2015. Let that sink in.

Obviously, Joe Thomas is the Alpha of the elites. Post-NFL career, in the case of an injury to WTS’ current bodyguard, I think he would be a solid candidate for the to protect the crew, just as he’s protected past quarterbacks.

 

Tyron Smith

Dallas Cowboys

tyron smith.jpg

Tyron Smith has the task of heading up one of the most dominant offensive lines in the league, a group who is often mentioned in conversations of all-time greats. Last season, Smith was only responsible for a single holding call as well as two Dak Prescott sacks in 13 games – an incredible stat considering the inexperience – not to be misinterpreted as ineffectiveness – of Dallas’ quarterback.

Smith also paved the way for rookie running back, Ezekiel Elliott – not to be confused with former Cowboys signee Ezequiel Helliot – to rush for a league-best 1,631 yards. Do you think he could protect the WTS crew?

 

Honorable Mentions:

Trent Williams, Washington Redskins

Jason Peters, Philadelphia Eagles

David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Ereck Flowers

New York Giants

flowers.jpg

According to independent site Pro Football Focus (PFF), Ereck Flowers recorded an overall PFF grade of 35.5 in 2015, which sat at 70th of the 72 qualifying lineman. Through the 2015-16 season, he allowed the single most quarterback pressures by any offensive tackle in the league, at 128 – crushing the second worst stat by 17, held by Tampa Bay’s Donovan Smith.

Flowers single-handedly allowed three sacks against the Detroit Lions in the Giants’ first Monday Night Football game of 2017. That’s one more than Tyron Smith allowed through 13 games protecting a rookie quarterback last year.

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T.J. Clemmings

Washington Redskins (2016 – Minnesota Vikings)

clemmings.jpg

T.J. Clemmings proved to be one of the worst bodyguards in the league, with the Vikings during the 2016 season. Not only did he lead the team in penalties and penalty yards, he also allowed far too many sacks for the liking of Minnesota, hence his trade to the Redskins in the following season. Clemmings totaled eight sacks allowed in 2016 in 15 games played – less than Alex Boone (one), Brandon Fusco (three), Joe Berger (two), Nick Easton (0), and Zac Kerin (0) combined, through a combined 62 games played.

Not good.

 

Not-So-Honorable Mentions:

Ty Sambrailo (Atlanta Falcons, 2016 – Denver Broncos)

Luke Joeckel (Seattle Seahawks)

LaAdrian Waddle (New England Patriots, 2016 – Detroit Lions)

 

Although the work of the elite NFL lineman mentioned may be noteworthy, as an aspiring first-team All-American bodyguard, I believe I can surpass their level of prowess within my tenure as the official bodyguard of What The Sports.

For all your future bodyguard needs, contact Griffin Dunn.*

 

*Payment options include:

 

  • Bitcoin
  • Cash

 

 

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