Ranking AFC East left tackles

June, 19, 2013
6/19/13
11:05
AM ET
Offseason minicamps and organized team activities are pretty much in the books. Teams will now take time off and rest in preparation for the grind of training camp later this summer.

With that said, let’s take a look at updated rankings of AFC East left tackles entering the season.

No. 1: Nate Solder, New England Patriots

2012 stats: 16 starts

Analysis: Solder entered last season with a lot of pressure and big shoes to fill after the retirement of Matt Light. However, the 2011 first-round pick held his own protecting Tom Brady's blind side. Solder's solid performance helped New England lead the NFL in total offense last season. Solder is a terrific fit for New England's up-tempo style. Solder, who was a converted tight end in college, is tall, lean and moves very well. The Patriots had Light at left tackle for many years, and it appears Solder has a chance to have a similar career in New England.

No. 2: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, New York Jets

2012 stats: 16 starts

Analysis: I always thought Ferguson was a bit overrated. He made three straight Pro Bowls from 2009-2011, but I never viewed him as an elite left tackle. Perhaps the best thing you can say about Ferguson is he’s durable and never missed a start for New York in seven seasons. Any offensive line with talents like Ferguson and center Nick Mangold should not be terrible. However, the Jets' offensive line has been awful the past two seasons. The Jets could not run or pass with any consistency in that span. Ferguson is the most dependable lineman in this unit, but he certainly deserves some of the blame.

No. 3: Cordy Glenn, Buffalo Bills

2012 stats: 13 starts

Analysis: Glenn was one of the players I liked in the 2012 draft. The former second-round pick had very good size and strength that made it hard for a pass-rusher to get through or around. The only question was whether Glenn could move well enough to play left tackle in the NFL, and he proved it during his rookie year. Glenn started 13 games and proved to be the best left-tackle option on the Bills. Glenn must stay healthy, but he played very well in stretches last year and looks like a keeper.

No. 4: Jonathan Martin, Miami Dolphins

2012 stats: 16 starts

Analysis: Martin is another 2012 second-round pick who has more to prove at left tackle than Glenn. Martin played decent football at right tackle most of the season. But Martin was shaky in his starts at left tackle after former starter Jake Long suffered a season-ending arm injury. Miami didn’t spend big bucks this offseason to re-sign Long or find another left tackle in free agency. The Dolphins also passed on left-tackle options in the draft, which shows their confidence in Martin. He did a lot this offseason to work on his strength, which was his biggest weakness. Martin’s arms and shoulders are noticeably bigger. This is perhaps the riskiest move the Dolphins made this offseason. If Martin doesn’t improve significantly, Miami’s offense and young quarterback Ryan Tannehill could struggle.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

Insider

AFC EAST SCOREBOARD