Aaron Kampman was a bit reluctant, but played along.
On the day ESPN.com’s Power Rankings took on left tackles, I asked the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end for his top 10.
He considered, and came back to me with five, including a three-way tie at the back of his list. He included only players he’s faced, but offered some commentary on each.
Here’s his list with those comments:
Ryan Clady, Denver -- “I played him last year. We were both coming off injury. You watch the film on him, he’s just a good young tackle with a really promising career ahead of him.”
Jordan Gross, Carolina -- “I’ve played him a handful of times. I like that even as they had such a tough year, he still played hard and was technically sound.”
Jason Peters, Philadelphia -- “He’s got good feet. He does a nice job moving laterally and in recovery.”
Michael Roos, Tennessee -- “They get the ball out fairly quickly. But he does a real nice job understanding angles.”
Joe Thomas, Cleveland; Chad Clifton, Green Bay; Jake Long, Miami -- “Thomas has a great ability when he gets beat to recover. He’s got longer arms and athleticism to recover and push you by. Clifton’s been doing it for a long, long time. Against every big opponent he always stayed pretty clean. Long I played only 10 snaps against in the preseason. He’s got a good set. It’s all about angles. Not getting too deep or too shallow and keeping your man in front of you with your shoulders square. He does that.”
Why not 10 left tackles? Kampman said it’s just tough to differentiate that many guys, emphasized that all the guys he mentioned were all very close in talent, didn’t want to talk about guys he didn’t face or know and said judging a left tackle is closely tied to the speed with which a team’s quarterback gets the ball out of his hand.
“Look at how long a guy has to protect,” he said. “That’s the secret. If the ball is out in under 2.5 or two seconds, a lot of it doesn’t matter. I’ve beaten guys clean and the ball is already gone.”