It used to be that the guys in the trenches were never mentioned unless they did something wrong or drew a holding penalty. Then the teams began to become aware that the health of the quarterback was directly attributable to the success of the left tackle. Now, the only position whose average salary is higher than the left tackle is the quarterback.
Guys such as former Baltimore Ravens and certain Pro Football Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden have paved the way for the new crop of guys who protect their quarterback's blind side. This includes current Ravens LT Michael Oher, whose movie, "The Blind Side,"was a big hit and made the term commonplace around the league. However, when mentioning the best in the business in today's NFL, Oher is not usually mentioned, and in the USA Today, he did not crack the Top Ten.
The one name that seems to come up most often now is still in the AFC North, but in Cleveland with the Browns' Joe Thomas. Also mentioned on a regular basis is Miami Dolphins LT Jake Long and New York Jets LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson. The best teams in the league usually have a solid running game to go along with the pass blocking left tackle and if you want to start a team on the path to the post season, other than the QB, the LT is the next best place to start.