Typically speaking, sports fans tend to worry about two things – the past and the future. They’ll debate who was the greatest player of all-time, while also spending hours discussing whether or not a rookie is going to be develop into an All-Pro.
Both are fun exercises, things that keep fans engaged and the beer flowing at the local tavern. But they miss out on what is most important – the present.
Forget about yesterday. Never mind tomorrow. Let’s talk about today.
Who are the best players in the NFL right now? Who can help a team win the Super Bowl this season? Who is writing a legacy with each passing week?
Those are the questions the editors at cover32 seek to answer in this series, “Top 10 in 2014.” In the coming weeks, every positions – as well as head coach, general manager and other off-field areas – will be graded, evaluated and ranked.
The series continues with a position that is among the most important in today’s NFL – offensive tackle. In order to win, a team has to have a starting quarterback; so keeping that valuable asset healthy is of paramount importance. That’s where the offensive tackles come in, assigned with the daunting task of keeping pass rushers away from their QB.
Let the debate begin!
10. Branden Albert
The emergence of Donald Stephenson and Eric Fisher in Kansas City made Albert expendable, given that he’s had his share of injury issues in recent seasons and will turn 30 in November. But that doesn’t mean Albert isn’t still one of the game’s best offensive tackles. In fact, the Dolphins are so sure that he can continue playing at a high level that they inked him to a five-year, $46-million contract during the offseason.
9. Russell Okung
Injuries limited Okung to only eight games in 2013, which stifled his development. Just the season before, the player who is so talented that the Seahawks made him the sixth overall pick in 2010 finally started to reach his potential, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2012. If Okung can’t get healthy again, which seems like it might be in question since he’s struggling to get back on the field during the offseason following foot surgery, he’s still a great player.