Once upon a time, Bill O’Brien and Brian Gaine thought Matt Kalil could start at left tackle for the Houston Texans. Things were so bad they hid him in practice, and from the media, due to O’Brien’s own personal embarrassment over his performance. The season was about to start. O’Brien needed a left tackle. Jadeveon Clowney rejected O’Brien’s trade request to Miami. So Houston traded two first round selections, and a second round selection, for Laremy Tunsil. Yes, other midround selections, Julie’n Davenport, and Kenny Stills were also involved.
Since then, Tunsil received a 3-year $66 million contract extension worth $40 million guaranteed. During his time in Houston, Tunsil has been a top five pass protecting left tackle, but has never really found it in the run game, when working with Max Scharping and Brent Qvale.
Last week Pro Football Focus ranked the 32 best running backs entering the 2021 NFL Season. Today’s it’s the offensive tackles. They had the following to say about Tunsil:
Tunsil has been a standout pass-blocker but a middling run-blocker in every season of his NFL career. He trails only Ronnie Stanley and David Bakhtiari in pass-blocking grade among tackles since coming to Houston in 2019. Considering the sheer number of long-developing plays he has endured as a Texan, that is quite impressive.
On plays where the quarterback gets rid of the ball within three seconds of the snap, Tunsil ranks second among tackles in pressure rate allowed. At the same time, he sits right at the 50th percentile in run-blocking grade at his position over the past couple of years. Tunsil’s price tag in his trade to Houston was clearly too high, but his pass-blocking prowess easily makes him a top-10 tackle.
That sums it up well. Houston gave up way too much for him, allowing Miami to springboard their rebuild. Tunsil is great in pass protection, and fine at run blocking. He’s one of the ten best offensive tackles in the league. Get it? Got it? Good.