Browns LT Joe Thomas, S T.J. Ward Crack PFF's Top 101 Players of 2012 List

Mike Ehrmann

Pro Football Focus finished their list of ranking the top 101 players from the 2012 NFL season, and two members of the Cleveland Browns were featured: left tackle Joe Thomas and safety T.J. Ward.

Upon first glance, you might think it is blasphemy that Thomas came in at No. 34 overall, and you may be right. Sure, Thomas did have a significant leap from when he was ranked No. 67 overall after the 2011 season, but PFF has him finishing behind left tackles Duane Brown of the Texans (No. 13 overall) and Joe Staley of the 49ers (No. 16 overall). Here's what they said about Thomas' ranking:

The gold standard among pass protecting left tackles, it’s only because Thomas was far from impressive in the run game that he doesn’t feature more highly. However, when you can go through an entire season and give up only 16 combined sacks, hits and hurries (while pass protecting 618 times) you’re doing something right.

Best Performance: Week 13 at Oakland, +3.7 | Key Stat: Gave up a quarterback disruption for every 89.6 seconds he was pass protecting. The next best from a tackle was 68.7.

Ward was listed as a "secret superstar" by PFF heading into the 2012 season, so it is no surprise that they've always kind of liked what he brings to the table. After being unranked following the 2011 season, Ward just made this year's list at No. 97 overall:

Playing in Cleveland doesn’t always lend itself to having your performances rewarded with nationwide praise. So while you don’t often hear the name of Ward mentioned among the better safeties in the league, don’t think that’s a reflection on what he did in 2012. A real force in the box, Ward is more than just adequate in coverage, allowing just 12 receptions into his coverage all year.

Best Performance: Week 12 versus Pittsburgh, +3.7 | Key Stat: Missed just one tackle for every 17.5 he attempted in 2012. That was the second best number of all safeties.

The Bengals were represented by DT Geno Atkins (No. 3), WR A.J. Green (No. 41), and S Reggie Nelson (No. 99). The Ravens were represented by RG Marshal Yanda (No. 32), WR Anquan Boldin (No. 63), RB Ray Rice (No. 92), and QB Joe Flacco (No. 100). The Steelers were represented by QB Ben Roethlisberger (No. 70) and LB Lawrence Timmons (No. 89)

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