Bill Barnwell and Grantland do this every year and it’s a fun bit of information to see where Browns players are ranked by folks who pay attention to the entire league. It’s especially fun because Browns teams as a whole usually eliminate themselves from much praise collectively. Still, it is a point of pride when a guy like Joe Thomas gets his due.
Remember when we were talking about Ryan Clady earlier and I mentioned the Mays piece that suggested how Clady benefited from the presence of Peyton Manning behind him? Well, during his career, Joe Thomas has been the left tackle for Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Bruce Gradkowski, Ken Dorsey, Brady Quinn, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Thaddeus Lewis, and Brandon Weeden.
So many times guys like Joe Thomas miss out on praise because of their teammates that it’s nice to see Bill Barnwell recognize one of the few bright spots on the team over the past five or so years. Yes, you have to endure a mantra footnote that reads “God hates Cleveland” over and over again, but still.
The only other member of the Browns to make the list was Joe Haden in part one. He was ranked 37th by Barnwell.
When he’s not suspended, Haden is as close to a shutdown corner as there is in football, although he was more consistent in 2011 than he was in 2012. He’s also just 24 and has two years left on an old-CBA rookie deal that pays him a manageable $7 million or so per year.
Of course that echoes something that Pat McManamon and I talked about when Pat came on the podcast wondering just how good Joe Haden could be if he was focused completely and totally on football. So many players squander their youth and explosiveness with other things. Maybe now that there’s a new regime in town that seems to be focused on attacking the sense of entitlement some of these younger guys will break out from just being potentially great.
[Related: Ray Horton preaches patience regarding defense]