Bleacher Report's Matt Miller is in the middle of his NFL 100 series, which ranks every starter from worst to best at every position. Coming in as his No. 3 left tackle was Cincinnati's own Andrew Whitworth.
Whitworth was not only one of the NFL's best lineman, but one of the most dominant players at any position. In pass protection, Whit gave up nine hurries, one QB hit and no sacks in 17 games (including the playoffs) in 2015. He's always been a great pass-blocker, but it's Whitworth's run-blocking that's improved significantly over the course of his career.
Turn on the film and you see a left tackle battling for positioning and finishing blocks. Whitworth isn’t the biggest or most fluid left tackle, but he doesn’t let defenders break free from him. His shadow game is top-notch, and his left-hand punch knocks defenders off their balance. Whitworth then pounces on players and doesn’t let up until the ball is released.
The only left tackles ranked ahead of Whitworth in Miller's ranking were Eagles LT Jason Peters and Browns LT Joe Thomas. Unsurprisingly, those two and Whitworth were also Pro Football Focus' top three graded offensive tackles in 2014. Peters (38.2) just edged out Whitworth (36.8) and Thomas (33.5).
What's even more impressive about the trio is that they're playing their best football in the latter stages of their career. Thomas (30-years-old), Peters (33) and Whitworth (33) should, in theory, be starting to decline, but all three have continued to play like All-Pros into their 30s.
In fact, Whit's 36.8 PFF grade in 2014 was the highest grade of his nine-year career during which he played just one position at. In 2013, Whit had a 38.4 PFF grade while playing nine games at LT in and six at LG.
It's good to see some are recognizing Whitworth's amazing level of play. With the 2015 season inching closer, a lot of attention is being paid to the NFL Network's Top 100 Players show. It's a ranking of the league's 100 best players by current players.
It's one that Whit has yet to be named on, and probably won't be after not making the list in any season since the show's inception in 2011. While they may not give Whit the respect he deserves, it's good to see others are, even if it is in the latter stages of his career.