Many of you probably are familiar with Michael Lewis' book "The Blind Side." It recounts a young player's struggles to adapt to his new environment. From a football perspective, Lewis paints a compelling picture of how valuable the left tackle is to NFL teams.
As excellent as Lewis' research was, after reading the book, I still had some doubt as to the real value of the left tackle. I understood how much it meant to Bill Walsh to have someone capable of blocking Lawrence Taylor. I also had a better understanding of why left tackles are paid so much. But I still didn't have a good sense of how much more valuable a left tackle is than, say, a right guard.
So, what is the real value of the left tackle? I dedicated the lead chapter of my new book, "Blindsided: Why the Left Tackle is Overrated and Other Contrarian Football Thoughts," to that very subject. In the book, I detailed both run and pass blocking analyses, but for the sake of brevity, I can summarize the run blocking portion by saying the metrics show left tackles by themselves don't have a significant effect on the running game.