Andrew Whitworth is one of the oldest offensive linemen in the NFL, which makes his continued excellence at left that much more impressive.
It also give him the ability to provide a snapshot into who some of the best pass rushers over the past couple of decades are though (from his perspective as a tackle a majority of the time).
Whitworth started his career with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006. He then joined the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, and aside from missing seven games in 2020, he has played just about every game of his career. It makes his hands on experience that much more valuable from a fan perspective.
Per Pro Football Focus’ Twitter, he picked Dwight Freeney, Elvis Dumervil, and John Abraham.
Andrew Whitworth’s top pass rushers faced in his career…— PFF (@PFF) July 5, 2021
Who is the best pass-rusher of the 21st century? pic.twitter.com/Og6aAzmUng
Some fans may be surprised by these picks, but those who have been paying attention to the game for awhile will understand that these guys were some of the best. They all were absolute technicians. In their prime, each of these guys were practically unstoppable.
Dumervil is probably the most recognizable name to Bengals fans, as he joined the Ravens in 2013 to play alongside Terrell Suggs. Freeney practically changed the game as guys his size were rarely even given a chance in the league, but the pass rushing moves in his arsenal really did make him unblockable for many years.
You probably would’ve never had Dumervils or even Carl Lawsons if not for Freeney’s success. Abraham may not have changed the game or been a particularly close rival, but he was a serious issue for offensive tackles when he was at his best.
It is very interesting that most of these guys come from his era with the Bengals, but that probably has as much to do with the top pass rushers starting to face the right tackle far more often than the left in the modern NFL. You rarely get that top left tackle battling the opposing team’s best pass rusher anymore. Defenses are much more confident finding the best matchup.
Hopefully Whitworth has a few more seasons in him to build up his opinion on a few more guys before we can start putting Hall of Famer in front of his name.