Since the 2007 NFL Draft, there has been one mainstay on the Cleveland Browns’ offense, and his name is
Thomas, the second Browns player to make “The Top 100,” checked in at No. 28, and is the highest-rated offensive lineman on the list.
“The thing that impresses me the most is just how relaxed he plays,” Indianapolis offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo said in the TV special. “When he’s out there, and you’re watching on film, it looks like he knows he’s going to be able to get his hands wherever they need to be and he’s going to be able to control the guy. He’s never off balance.”
“He’s never in a bad position with his body,” Miami offensive lineman Richie Incognito added. “He’s stout, but he’s fluid. He’s got that rare blend of, ‘I’m going to get on people. I’m going to be physical with him,’ but he also has those ‘sweet feet’ to recover. You never see Joe Thomas flail and go all over the field trying to make blocks.”
It is the third straight year in which Thomas has made the list. He checked in at No. 43 in 2011, and then, 82 last season.
“Joe reminds me a lot of the old-school guys that I got to play against, like the (Jonathan) Ogdens, the Willie Roafs, just that big-body guy that can move well,” said Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen. “He’s always up for the challenge. I played against Joe back in 2009, and it’s always a fun game when you get to play against him.”
Chicago offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod added, “He’s one of the most technically-sound offensive tackles I’ve ever watched, a strong player. He doesn’t do too much wrong. He’s very consistent.”
The left tackle out of the University of Wisconsin was the No. 3 overall pick in 2007, and has not only started every game, but also taken every snap and appeared in six straight Pro Bowls, which is tied for the third-most in team history.
Thomas is tied with a Browns Legend -- Dick Schafrath -- and two Pro Football Hall of Famers -- Leroy Kelly and Gene Hickerson -- for third place, trailing only running back Jim Brown and tackle Lou Groza, who each played in nine NFL all-star games.
Only 15 players in NFL history have ever made it to the Pro Bowl in each of their first six seasons, and 13 are enshrined members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Brown.
In 2012, Thomas blocked for running back
Richardson, who was ranked at No. 71 on the list, broke six team rookie records in 2012, including most rushing yards (950), most rushing touchdowns (11), total touchdowns (12), points scored (72), rushing attempts (267), and total yards from scrimmage (1,317). He also rushed for 100 or more yards in three games, which equaled William Green’s total from 2002.
“The day he entered the league, he was ready to go,” former Browns kicker Phil Dawson said. “He started his first ball game, has been to the Pro Bowl every year since he’s been in the league.”
Former Browns tight end Benjamin Watson added, “He’s got the perfect name, Joe; he’s just the same, old Joe, your All-Pro Joe. You can count on him on the left side. You can count on him to do your job.”