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Has Joe Thomas Been Eclipsed by Tyron Smith?

Zack Martin tells AJ Hawk that “if God had to make a left tackle he would make him like Tyron Smith.”

Joe Thomas
Joe Thomas stonewalls Dallas Cowboys DE Benson Mayowa on November 6th, 2016 at First Energy Stadium.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2007, Joe Thomas has protected the blindside for a seemingly endless procession of Cleveland Browns quarterbacks. In any single season, there are usually multiple credible contenders for the best left tackle in the NFL, but it is hard to argue that Thomas hasn’t been the best in the NFL over the course of his career. Thomas, who has allowed just 38.25 sacks in 10 seasons, did not significantly slow down last season, where despite being age 32, he allowed just 3.5 sacks and conceding 2 penalties in 2016 while playing 100% of snaps. Thomas has been such a revelation for the talent-starved Cleveland Browns that some fans even playfully attribute his existence on the Browns to divine intervention.

But, Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys feels that a different left tackle is divinely inspired. Martin recently told AJ Hawk on his Hawkcast (hat tip: PFT) that “...if God had to make a left tackle, he would make him like Tyron Smith.” Martin, who plays right guard for the Cowboys’ vaunted blocking unit, went on to tell Hawk that Smith “just erases that defensive end from other teams every game” and admired Smith’s “six pack.”

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Tyron Smith faces off against the Redskins on January 3rd, 2016.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Having watched the source interview, I don’t think Martin was intending a direct comparison to Thomas, but his remarks nonetheless prompted Pro Football Focus to leap to Thomas’ defense by publishing a comparison of their grades for the last six years on Twitter:

If PFF is to be believed, then Smith has a distance to travel before he unseats Thomas as the consensus best left tackle in the NFL.

Personally, these are my favorite two left tackles to watch, with both giving epic blocks worth putting on replay almost every single game. Smith does indeed maintain a physical build that is rare for an offensive lineman — he is built like a literal Marvel Comics superhero — but Thomas still holds on to the top spot in our hearts and for PFF too, apparently.