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Is Left Tackle Still As Important A Position?

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May 23, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens tackle Bryant McKinnie (78), tackle Michael Oher (74) and tackle Marshal Yanda (73) during the Baltimore Ravens OTA at the team practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE
May 23, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens tackle Bryant McKinnie (78), tackle Michael Oher (74) and tackle Marshal Yanda (73) during the Baltimore Ravens OTA at the team practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE

This would initially seem to be a ridiculous question, especially since the NFL is becoming more and more of a passing league every year. However, as noted in a story on NFL.com by Jason Cole, quarterbacks are getting rid of the ball faster than ever before.

Cole enlightens readers with his theory that between the high-percentage quick passes and the athletic QBs out there are making the left tackle position less valuable than previously thought. Salary-wise, the LT position was second behind the QB as the highest paid position on the team.

The story presents further evidence that of the top four scoring teams last year, only one had a LT that was a former first-round draft pick. Furthermore, only once in the past eleven years has the Super Bowl champion's LT been drafted in the first round. Interestingly, both tackles on the Baltimore Ravens, LT Bryant McKinnie (2002 - 7th overall) and RT Michael Oher (2009 - 23rd overall) were former first-round draft picks.