ALL AFC NORTH: Browns' Thomas is elite player

ALL AFC NORTH: Browns' Thomas is elite player
May 28, 2014, 8:15 am
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Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas (73) works against San Diego Chargers linebacker Larry English (52) during the second quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns won 7-6.

(Ron Schwane-US PRESSWIRE)
Who is the best left tackle in the AFC North?

If you could build an all-AFC North team for 2014, which players would you choose? Over the next few weeks, we’ll debate that and break it down position by position. Think about which players you believe will have the best 2014 seasons. Today we focus on offensive tackles. 

OFFENSIVE TACKLE CANDIDATES FOR ALL-AFC NORTH TEAM

Kelvin Beachum, LT, Steelers

Why choose him? – He took the starting job from Mike Adams last season and played solid football. As a seventh-round pick in 2012, Beachum is hungry to remain a starter and is exceeding expectations.

Eugene Monroe, Ravens, LT

Why choose him? – He’s an athletic offensive lineman who the Ravens think will adjust nicely to offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s stretch run-blocking scheme. When the Jaguars drafted Monroe with the eighth pick in 2009, they thought he would become a Pro Bowl tackle. Perhaps Monroe will become that with the Ravens.

Joe Thomas, Browns, LT

Why choose him? - Let’s see. You might choose Thomas because he has never missed the Pro Bowl in his seven NFL seasons. He’s arguably the top left tackle in the NFL. Whether it’s Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel at quarterback, having Thomas for protection is an asset.

Andrew Whitworth, Bengals LT

Why choose him? – He displayed his versatility by moving to left guard for seven games last year, playing well while replacing an injured Clint Boling. Whitworth is expected to move back to left tackle in 2014, but he’ll be solid wherever he plays.

CLIFTON’S CHOICES – Thomas is the obvious pick at left tackle, and I’d move Monroe to right tackle as my other starter. Right tackle might be the weakest position in the AFC North. Monroe is better than other starting right tackles in the division like Marcus Gilbert (Steelers), Mitchell Schwartz (Browns), and Andre Smith (Bengals), and the Ravens aren’t even sure who their starting right tackle will be.

YOUR CHOICE – Let us know which two AFC North offensive tackles you like best for 2014 in the comments section.

UP NEXT – On Thursday, we look at wide receivers.

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