Line them up, so they can protect the quarterback

Updated: August 29, 2013

NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-Every great team must have a great quarterback. I repeat, every great team must have a great quarterback.

It’s a league requirement in order to get to and win the Super Bowl.

Even though, many NFL analysts will debate this fact and, claim that every great team must have a great defense and not necessarily a great QB.

Because, Dan Marino, who was one of the best ever to play the position ended his career ring less, while former Baltimore Ravens QB Trent Dilfer has one on his finger as well as former Tampa Bay Bucs Brad Johnson, who earned one in 2002.

While there are always  exceptions to the rule, historically, the formula remains true, especially when one considers the last 10 Super Bowl winning quarterbacks,  which include: Joe Flacco (Ravens), Eli Manning (NY), Aaron Rodgers (GB), Drew Brees (NO), BenRoethlisberger (PITT) Payton Manning (Colts),  and Tom Brady(NE).

This, in fact, should be enough evidence to convince the harshest skeptics that the quarterback is the most important position on the field, especially after reading those names.

Why? Because, no other player, besides the center, handles the football more than the quarterback.

For this reason, a quarterback is the eyes and ears of the coach on and off the field.

Therefore, he must posse leadership skills in the huddle, poise in the pocket, enthusiasm on the sideline, command in the locker room, intelligence in the film room and class during interviews.

But most importantly, he must be protected.

As a result, we shouldn’t be surprised that the first two picks in this year’s NFL draft were offensive linemen.

Yes, the meat and potato eating guys on the frontline blocking and banging every play, who usually are not recognized, praised or awarded, finally got their moment in the spotlight.

Matter of fact, Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Fisher, a tackle from Central Michigan, became the highest drafted player ever from the Mid-American Conference and the first non-quarterback to be selected No.1 since tackle Jack Long went to the Miami Dolphins in 2008.

While Luke Joeckel, a tackle from Texas A&M, who protected Heisman Trophy winner QB Johnny Manziel last year, was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars at No.2 overall.

With Kansas City and Jacksonville bulking up their frontline, the Philadelphia Eagles, who definitely need some protection for their starting quarterback, Michael Vick, who has been sacked over 275 times in his career, which is the 5th highest amongst active QBs, selected tackle Lane Johnson from Oklahoma at the No.4 spot.

“That’s awesome, three tackles in four picks, that’s a lot of love for the big boys up front..,” said Fisher, No.1 overall pick.

Along with Fisher, Joeckel, and Johnson, there were other offensive linemen selected in the first round as well. They included: (7) Arizona Cardinals Jonathan Cooper, a guard, from North Carolina, (10) Tennessee Titans Chance Warmark, a guard, from Alabama, and (11) San Diego Chargers D.J.Flunker, tackle, from Alabama.

With so many offensive linemen selected in the first round, Philadelphia Eagles Lane Johnson summed everything up with this statement.

“Tackles not a sexy position but it’s a position of dire need, and when you have a good, solid offensive line, it really benefits a team as far as passing and running the ball.”

Eric D.Graham is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television and a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies. Currently, he is the Editor and Chief of  Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles  appear daily along with his controversial  cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at

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