Andrew Whitworth was drafted out of LSU with the 55th overall pick in 2006 by the Cincinnati Bengals. There was little hesitation to make him a starter as a rookie and that year the Bengals featured a 1,300-yard rush and two 1,000-yard receivers as quarterback Carson Palmer was named to his second Pro Bowl. Whitworth then spent two seasons at guard before settling back in as a left tackle in 2009 and he’s only missed three games total since then.
Over his first nine seasons, Whitworth made just one Pro Bowl, but then he made the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro in 2015 at the age of 34 and he’d not be able to lurk in the shadows any longer.
For being so unheralded during much of his Cincinnati career, SI named Whitworth one of the most underrated players of the decade:
Yes, I’m going to add another tackle onto the list and omit an interior offensive lineman because Whitworth is too good not to make this list.
After toiling away in Cincinnati for ten years, Whitworth has become more of a well-known commodity with the Rams.
As is the case with every other player, age is starting to take its toll on Whitworth, as he was so effective in both phases of the offense for the Bengals. A dominating run blocker, with an excellent anchor in pass protection is the best way to describe the former LSU Tiger.
You can also throw in durable, as other than 2008, he rarely missed any snaps. Whitworth is one of the most underappreciated players of this era, even though he’s a four-time Pro Bowler (2012, 2015-17) and a two-time, first-team All-Pro (2015 and 2017).
Even with the LA Rams, Whitworth may be underrated. He was a first team All-Pro for the second time in 2017, his first with the Rams after signing a lucrative free agent contract, but Whitworth has not been named to the Pro Bowl in either of the last two seasons. While 2019 makes more sense, Whitworth was the left tackle for one of the top offenses in the NFL — a Super Bowl offense — in 2018.
Who else on the Rams roster right now could slip into the “underrated” category?
My first instinct is to say Tyler Higbee. Over his first three seasons, Higbee’s numbers did not stand out, catching for 295 and 292 yards respectively in 2017 and 2018 with three total touchdowns. But Higbee broke out for 734 yards last season and was the NFL’s leading receiver in the final five weeks. I’m not sure if people outside those closely following LA are expecting to see Higbee become a Pro Bowl player at his position, but with Brandin Cooks permanently out of the picture and this time no veteran receiver coming to take his place, there could be more 100-yard games in Higbee’s future.