It’s been over five years since Steve Palazzolo released his groundbreaking work on the value of left tackles vs. right tackles. Even now though, the bias towards left tackles being more valuable is still alive and well. In fact, the winner of our Bruce Matthews award for the best offensive lineman in the NFL this season wasn’t even voted by the populous to the Pro Bowl. Instead, his objectively inferior teammate who protects the blind side got the nod.
Kansas City Chiefs‘ right tackle Mitchell Schwartz was the league’s top offensive lineman in 2018, as he was consistently dominant against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL. The fact that he plays right tackle and not left just means he gets to face better pass-rushers like Von Miller more. By season’s end, Schwartz was one of only three tackles with a top-10 pass-blocking grade and a top-10 run blocking grade (Joe Staley and Andrew Whitworth were the others).
Schwartz is the poster boy for offensive line development in the NFL. He allowed 11 sacks and 65 total pressures his second season in the league as the right tackle for the Browns. By his fourth season in the league, he cut those numbers down to three sacks and 43 pressures.