Back in February, Pro Football Focus unveiled their list of the Top 101 players from the 2016 season. There was only one member of the Cleveland Browns who made the list: LT Joe Thomas (however, it should be noted that OG Kevin Zeitler made the list at No. 82 from his time with the Bengals).
In June, PFF listed the Top 50 players for the 2017 season, noting that they narrowed the field in half (in past years, the “preview” would also feature 101 players). The three main criteria used by the staff in coming up with the list were “grading, statistics, and schematic context.” Thomas once again cracked the list, coming in at No. 27. That is a slight step down from last year, when he entered the season at No. 11.
Here is what they had to say about Thomas:
For a decade, Thomas has been the benchmark for pass-blocking excellence at left tackle in the NFL. 2016 though saw a slight step back in performance, with his PFF grade dropping from 90-plus in each of the previous three years to 89.1. It’s a small drop, and it may just be a blip, but at his age the concern of decline will always be quick to make itself known at the slightest sign of trouble. Thomas played in all 1,030 snaps for the Browns last season and went all season without a bad game, despite blocking for six different quarterbacks, none of whom was a pass-blocker’s best friend in stylistic terms.
Unlike last year, Thomas was not the top-ranked offensive lineman. Redskins OT Trent Williams (No. 23), Cowboys OT Tyron Smith (No. 21), Cowboys C Travis Frederick (No. 16), and Ravens OG Marshal Yanda (No. 12) finished ahead of him.