(Gary Zimmerman photo courtesy of Eric Bakke/Denver Broncos)
(Willie Roaf photo on the cover courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs)
Talk of Fame Network
Once upon a time left tackles were mere blockers. Now they are million-dollar commodities. As the NFL has evolved into a pass-first, pass-heavy league, teams must invest substantial salary-cap dollars into protecting the quarterback’s blind side. A quarterback is too valuable for a team to lose – so you pay his blind-side protector whatever price to keep him standing.
That would be the left tackle.
There has been a parade of left tackles enshrined in the Hall of Fame of late — four in the last five classes: Willie Roaf (2012), Jonathan Ogden (2013), Walter Jones (2014) and Orlando Pace (2016). So the Talk of Fame Network figured it was a good time to take the pulse of the position in our weekly poll– Who is the greatest left tackle of all-time?
We’re giving you eight sterling options, including the four Hall of Famers mentioned above:
Tony Boselli. Member of the 1990s NFL all-decade team. Played eight seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and went to five Pro Bowls. Boselli was a three-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection at Southern Cal who became the second overall selection of the 1995 draft, the first pick ever of the expansion Jaguars. He was a five-time All-Pro in a career shortened by knee injuries. He’s already in the College Football Hall of Fame and is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.
(Tony Boselli photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars)
Walter Jones. Member of the 2000s NFL all-decade team. Played 12 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and went to nine Pro Bowls. Jones was the sixth overall pick of the 1997 draft and started every NFL game he ever played, all 180 of them. His jersey number 71 has been retired by the Seahawks, and he’s been named to the franchise’s 35th anniversary team. Jones was a four-time first-team All-Pro.
Anthony Munoz. Selected the only left tackle on the NFL’s 75th anniversary team and was a member of the 1980s NFL all-decade team. Played 13 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and went to 11 Pro Bowls. Munoz was the third overall pick of the 1980 draft and went to all 11 of his Pro Bowls in succession, starting in 1981, the season Munoz went to the first of his two Super Bowls. Munoz was a nine-time first-team All-Pro selection. Like Boselli, Munoz played collegiately at Southern Cal.
(Anthony Munoz photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Bengals)
Jonathan Ogden. Member of the 2000s NFL all-decade team. Played 12 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and went to 11 Pro Bowls. Ogden was the fourth overall pick of the 1996 who played his rookie season at guard before moving to left tackle in his second season. He also went to all 11 of his Pro Bowls in succession, starting with that 1997 season. Ogden was a five-time first-team All-Pro and, like Boselli, is in the College Football Hall of Fame. He won an NFL title with the Ravens in 2000.
(Jonathan Ogden photo courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens)
Orlando Pace. Member of the 2000s NFL all-decade team. Played 13 seasons with the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears and went to seven Pro Bowls. Pace was the first overall selection of the 1997 draft after an Outland Trophy-winning career at Ohio State. He became the blocking focal point of the Greatest Show on Turf that won the Rams an NFL title in 1999. Pace went to all seven of his Pro Bowls in succession, starting with the 1997 season.
(Orlando Pace photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams)
Willie Roaf. Member of the NFL all-decade teams for both the 1990s and 2000s. Played 13 seasons with the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs and went to 11 Pro Bowls. Roaf was the eighth overall pick of the 1993 draft and is the only tackle on this ballot who was a multi-Pro Bowler for multi-teams. He went to his first seven Pro Bowls with the Saints and his final four with the Chiefs. Roaf was a six-time first-team All-Pro and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
(WIllie Roaf photo courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs)
Art Shell. Member of the 1970s NFL all-decade team. Played 15 seasons with the Oakland Raiders and went to eight Pro Bowls. Shell was a third-round draft pick in 1968 out of tiny Maryland State. But he wasn’t tiny nor did he play tiny. He started on three Super Bowl champions in the 1970s and ‘80s for the Raiders and was a two-time first-team All-Pro. Shell also is in the College Football Hall of Fame and went on to become the NFL’s first African-American coach with the Raiders. He was NFL Coach of the Year in 1990.
(Art Shell photo courtesy of the Oakland Raiders)
Gary Zimmerman. Member of the NFL all-decade teams for both the 1980s and 1990s. Played 12 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos and went to seven Pro Bowls. The only player on this slate who was not drafted coming out of college. But that didn’t mean he lacked talent. No, he signed with the Los Angeles Express coming out of Oregon in 1984 and played his first two professional seasons in the USFL. When that league folded, Zimmerman moved to the NFL where he became a seven-time Pro Bowlers and a five-time first-team All-Pro. He has been named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings and is in the Denver’s Ring of Honor. He won a Super Bowl with the Broncos.