Inside The Bills

The difference a top OT can make

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2010 – 12:30 pm

The debate can go on forever because there are equally good arguments on both sides of the QB vs. OT debate for the Bills at ninth overall. Many believe a QB can have a greater impact than an offensive tackle. With the ball in his hands on every play it’s hard to argue against that, but I’m going to take a shot at it.

The example I’ll use is Michael Oher. Taken 23rd overall last year, Oher had a huge impact on the offense’s effectiveness. Here’s a cross section of Baltimore’s improvement offensively with Oher added to their front line.

Oher played every snap (1,014 offensive plays) last season starting 11 games at right tackle and five at left tackle. His blocking helped the Ravens put up a franchise-record 22 rushing touchdowns (tied for most in the NFL) and Baltimore’s ground attack produced the fifth-most yards per game in the league (137.5).

The Ravens tied the franchise single-season record for points (391 in 1996) and set a team-record for touchdowns scored (47).  Baltimore was one of two teams to boast a 3,500-passer, a 1,300-yard rusher, and a 1,000-yard receiver and was one of three teams  to register over 20 passing and 20 rushing touchdowns on the year.  Oher, was also nominated for two Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week awards.

Now granted Oher’s team also had a solid defense, but offensively their best receiver was a veteran possession guy in Derrick Mason. Heck their leading receiver in terms of receptions was Ray Rice, so they weren’t having Joe Flacco chuck it down the field. Flacco went from 14 TDs and 12 INTs to 21 TDs and 12 INTs.

That’s not unlike the Bills situation with Lee Evans the only proven receiver and Fred Jackson capable of doing everything.

Oher wasn’t the only reason Baltimore’s offense was more productive, but he was a major factor.

I guess the way I look at it is a premier left tackle (if one is still there at 9) can do a lot to help an offense function better. And most Bills fans know the reason why Buffalo’s offense could not function was because blocking and protection on the edges were not up to snuff in 2009. Even the best QB in football would have trouble functioning behind a line that can’t consistently protect.

Still I respect the desire to take a QB at nine, if, and only if, you fully believe he is franchise caliber material.


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