ProFootballDoc: What Happened To All The Dominant NFL Left Tackles?

Are dominant left tackles in the NFL a dying breed? Have they gone the way of the true pocket quarterback?

Injuries, Father Time, and evolution of the game have most of the Pro Bowl left tackles out or hobbled. The NFL used to be full of blindside protecting stars, but the numbers and their effectiveness have dwindled. Now, Trent Williams might be the “last man standing.” Much like Tom Brady is the last of the true pocket-based quarterbacks.

Andrew Whitworth retired after winning the Super Bowl with the Rams at the age of 40. Jason Peters, also 40, still wants to play, but is an unsigned free agent. Peters has spent the majority of his All-Pro career with the Eagles. Duane Brown, 36, just signed with the Jets after injuries to their offensive line, and he has his own chronic knee issues.

Andrew Whitworth
INGLEWOOD, CA – SEPTEMBER 26: Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth (77) blocks during the NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams on September 26, 2021, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Injury just claimed the Dallas Cowboys’ Tyron Smith. Earlier this week Smith suffered a hamstring avulsion and needs surgery.

After three surgeries and having been sidelined for most of last season, Green Bay’s David Bakhtiari has still not fully recovered from his 2020 ACL tear. Ronnie Stanley is still on PUP for the Ravens. Baltimore’s offensive tackle missed all of last season and has not been able to pass a physical after two ankle surgeries — the last one 10 months ago.

The List Of Injured NFL Tackles Doesn’t End There

Eric Fisher was a former first overall pick (by Kansas City). His Chiefs career ended after an Achilles rupture and he’s since had a pit stop with the Colts. At 31, Fisher’s currently a free agent.

Terron Armstead, who has chronic knee issues and has multiple missed games, signed a big offseason deal with the Dolphins — but, he is no longer protecting the quarterback’s blindside.

The lone standout veteran left tackle remaining is the 49ers’ Williams. At age 34, Williams survived shoulder, elbow and ankle injuries last season. He played 15 games for San Francisco at a high level.

The era of the mobile QB and accumulated injuries seem to be making the historical dominant left tackle position extinct.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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