It all starts up front dammit! I’ve dedicated an entire article to ranking the NFL’s best offensive line’s from 1 to 32. The formula for determining these rankings was film, some metrics, past scouting reports, and gut feelings on the players. I will list the projected starters and include guys who could contribute before the season is over. Enough of this, let’s get started.
32.) Washington Redskins
Contributors: Morgan Moses, Josh LeRibeus The Redskins offensive line features the best offensive tackle in the NFL in left tackle Trent Williams. The rest of the line is made up of guys who should be backups or off of an NFL roster. Shawn Lauvao was their big offseason addition and he should start day 1, how well his play will be is another story. Look for Morgan Moses to take over at right tackle before the season is over and give Washington solid bookend tackles.
31.) Carolina Panthers
Contributors: Trai Turner Jordan Gross went from one of the most unappreciated offensive lineman in the league to one of the most missed. He had a great season last year and then retired. This offensive line is anchored by one of the best centers in the league in Ryan Kalil. Kalil isn’t surrounded by much talent, and the next best lineman on the roster might be Trai Turner, already. Siltolu hasn’t lived up to the draft videos we saw of him pile driving defensive lineman and the rest is basically lipstick on a pig. Trai Turner will start before long and if Silatolu turns it around some, they could end up being solid on the interior.
30.) Jacksonville Jaguars
Contributors: Luke Bowanko, Cameron Bradfield What if I told you there was an offensive lineman from a major college football conference who was an all-american, drafted fourth overall in the CFL draft, and has 15 starts (including one where he threw JJ Watt around)? You would most likely respond that the Jaguars still need a right tackle. I don’t hate this groups potential but right now they are just very young and inexperienced. Luke Joeckel’s rookie year was cut short by injury but I expect him to be a stud. Pasztor and Linder make up what could eventually be a nice combo on the right side. Beadles is a serviceable lineman who will be an upgrade from what Jags fans have been used to seeing from the interior the past few years. This group has the potential to solidify and become better than they seem on paper. Hank Jones from Big Cat Country recently weighed in on the Jags rookie:
Brandon Linder is going to be the Jags most athletic Interior Lineman in years. Not saying much, but it’s a refreshing change. — Hank Jones (@HankJoness) June 26, 2014
29.) Indianapolis Colts
Contributors: Jack Mewhort, Lance Louis The Colts offensive line features a solid left tackle and then a bunch of average players. I was a big fan of Jack Mewhort coming out this year and thought that he was one of a few prospects ready to contribute early on. They don’t appear to be a terrible group, but other than Costanzo, what makes you happy about them? Nothing.
28.) Arizona Cardinals
Contributors: Bobby Massie, Earl Watford This team is a tale of two sides. Veldheer and Cooper make up a very good left side of the offensive line and then their teammates to the right are all terrible. I remember having an argument with people on twitter that Bobby Massie wasn’t a very good player–I was right. Earl Watford could push for some time here and take over for “Fanaika” (who?).
27.) Pittsburgh Steelers
Starters: Kelvin Beechum, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David Decastro, Marcus Gilbert Eww. Decastro hasn’t lived up to the hype he gathered coming out as a once in a generation guard prospect (myself included). Maurkice Pouncey is almost as overrated as his brother and the rest is a dumpster fire. I am so tired of seeing teams like the Steelers get a pass because they are the Steelers. This offensive line is gross.
26.) Oakland Raiders
Contributors: Gabe Jackson, Menelik Watson I am using the most up to date depth chart that is out for these rankings. For the record, I believe this offensive line will feature Jackson and Howard as OG’s and Watson as the RT. This group really is loaded with potential. Donald Penn is average, but not a bad player. Gabe Jackson could be a stud if the Raiders can get him to play like his body would indicate, and Menelik Watson is a guy who needs more developing. This is one of my surprise groups for the year, as they could end up a top 15 group by season’s end if the young guys are ready. The future is bright on the OL in Oakland if they get the most of these guys.
25.) San Diego Chargers
Starters: King Dunlap, Chad Rinehart, Nick Hardwick, Johnnie Troutman, DJ Fluker King Dunlap was a serviceable player last year…I have no idea how. This group’s best player is second year OT DJ Fluker. We were all wrong about DJ–you don’t have to have the feet of a kitten to be an effective OT. Extremely strong and a mean player, Fluker makes a few blocks a game that will make you cringe for the guy he catches up to. Overall, not a great group but serviceable, and the future is bright at RT.
24.) New York Jets
Contributors: Dakota Dozier Nick Mangold continues to play at a high level and D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s career has been very solid. Winters, Colon and Giacomini? Your guess is a good as mine. Winters looked awful last year and the other two just aren’t very good players. Dakota Dozier was a favorite among some of his peers and could have a future role if things aren’t going well on the right side.
23.) Kansas City Chiefs
Contributors: Rishaw Johnson, Zach Fulton, Eric Kush The Kansas City Chiefs lost 19 starters on the offensive line from last year. That is what most would have you believe if you read these reports of the KC O-Line purge that apparently happened. Eric Fisher was last year’s number one overall pick and has a year under his belt. He got healthy in the off-season and has bulked up to 320lbs. Jeff Allen is 24 years old and has 27 starts through 2 seasons. Rodney Hudson is 24 years old and has 19 starts in 2.1 seasons.
Allen and Hudson will shore up the interior and the world may finally learn about Donald Stephenson. Stephenson is 25 years old and has 14 starts filling in for injured Branden Albert/Eric Fisher. Stephenson was arguably KC’s best offensive lineman through stretches last year and he should benefit from that game experience and off-season training with LeCharles Bentley at Bentley’s O-Line Performance center.
If healthy, I believe Stephenson is primed to break out in his third year. This group will live and die with the play of Fisher and could be ranked as high as 10 or a low as 30 by year’s end.
22.) Baltimore Ravens
Contributors: Jah Reid, James Hurst The Ravens feature an offense with an elite quarterback who makes everyone around him bettelololol…never mind. This group is anchored by Eugene Monroe who is a very good (not elite) player. Losing Michael Oher was a positive as Ravens fans will enjoy not having to watch him play matador with defensive ends. Marshall Yanda is still a very good Guard. Overall the group is solid now that
the blindside the sieve Oher is gone.
21.) Minnesota Vikings
Contributors: Vlad Ducasse, Tiny Richardson, David Yankey The Vikings have a very good left tackle in Matt Kalil. He is quietly developing into one of the best at his position. John Sullivan is a solid player in the middle and Phil Loadhoalt may be the largest man nobody pays attention to. I wasn’t a huge fan of Tiny Richardson or David Yankey pre-draft, but they both are good development pieces.
20.) Miami Dolphins
Contributors: Billy Turner, Tyler Larsen The Dolphins offensive line was the talk of league last year, for a lot of the wrong reasons. They made some major upgrades for 2014, including their big free agent splash, Branden Albert. Albert is a consistently above average performer if he can stay healthy. I loved what they did in the draft by taking Billy Turner and Ja’Waun James. James should start right away and Turner won’t be far behind. Billy Turner is Sean Taylor trapped in an offensive lineman’s body.
19.) Houston Texans
Contributors: Xavier Su’a-Filo Just as everyone started to pay attention and realize that Duane Brown was one of the best left tackles in the league, he turned in one of his worst years. The Texans as a whole were a disaster last year, and Brown seemed to be sucked into that. He should bounce back well with all the new life around the team. Chris Myers is an absolute perfect fit in the Texans scheme and is one of the better players nobody mentions. Su’a-Filo was my top overall offensive lineman last year. I love his potential and think Texans fans will be pleased with him for many years to come.
GREAT pick with Su’a-Filo. My top rated guard on the board. He’s powerful, mean and has very good feet. — Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) May 9, 2014
18.) Atlanta Falcons
Starters: Sam Baker, Justin Blalock, Joe Hawley, Jon Asamoah, Jake Matthews A position grouping of concern heading into the off-season now seems like a team strength. Sam Baker is more than capable of handling the LT duties until Jake Matthews is ready. Matthews lost some steam in the draft process by those enamored with the punching power of Greg Robinson, but Matthews is the better player. When healthy, Jon Asamoah looked to be on the verge of becoming a very good player.
17.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Contributors: Jamon Meredith When you read the list of starters from left to right you get excited. Then you get to the right side and see a player who’s name contains “meh,” followed up by a player most people thought played linebacker. They put effort into improving this group in the off-season, and they did, just not enough to be a top-tier group yet.
16.) Green Bay Packers
Contributors: Cory Linsley, Derek Sherrod, Don Barclay When healthy, this is one of the top units in football. The problem is, over the past few years they haven’t been very healthy. Bakhtiari came out of nowhere and produced like a solid young left tackle. His future looks bright. Brian Bulaga is exactly who many thought he was coming out of college and the guards here are both very good players. If they stay healthy, this group will have been severely underrated by me.
15.) Cincinati Bengals
Contributors: Russel Bodine, Mike Pollak This whole group is solid. Whitworth, Smith, and Boling are all fine players who can be counted on to not make mistakes. Russel Bodine is a future contributor here, and they are a very deep unit. Kevin Zeitler is probably the best of the bunch. They kind of mirror their QB: they’re not great but you can’t really say they’re bad either.
14.) St. Louis Rams
Starters: Jake Long, Greg Robinson, Scott Wells, Roger Saffold, Joe Barksdale Jake Long’s days are numbered as the left tackle of this team. They selected Greg Robinson in the first round of the draft to play that position, but have wisely put him at guard to allow him to develop. Robinson’s style should produce great results as a rookie on the inside. After almost losing Roger Saffold to Oakland in the off-season, he is back and playing the position where he belongs, guard.
13.) Detroit Lions
Contributors: Travis Swanson The Detroit Lions are a very underrated unit. They would be much higher on this list if it weren’t for the black hole at right tackle. Larry Warford is a stud and Riley Reiff showed he can dominate at left tackle last season. Raiola seems like he has been starting there forever, and Rob Sims is serviceable.
12.) New Orleans Saints
Contributors: Jonathan Goodwin I expect Jonathan Goodwin to take the starting role at center at some point this season. Zac Strief seems like he’s been their right tackle for 35 years. Terron Armstead was the apple of draft twitters eye, and for good reason. Once he worked out the kinks, he looked like a guy who will be around for a while. They also have one of the best guard combos in the league, so there is a lot to like here.
11.) Seattle Seahawks
Contributors: Justin Britt Your 2013 Super Bowl Champion Seahawks sport one of the better offensive lines in the league. Russel Okung erased some pre-draft doubts and has blossomed into a capable player (when healthy). Carpenter and Unger make up a nice interior of earth movers for Marshawn Lynch to run behind. This group is a big reason the offense is so successful.
10.) Cleveland Browns
Contributors: Paul Mcquistan Joe Thomas has continued his elite level offensive tackle play through all of Cleveland’s struggles. Joel Bitonio fits in nicely at guard in this scheme and Alex Mack was re-signed and paid like the top center in the league. Mitchell Schwartz struggled some last year and needs to improve for this group to take the next step. I am worried how they will appear on paper when Johnny starts running around in circles behind them.
Contributors: Jon Halapio, Brian Stork, Cameron Irving This group is one made up of very solid players, though there are concerns that some are on the decline. With the 380 draft picks they seem to have every year, they really aced this draft. Brian Stork has value as a developmental center and Jon Halapio was one of the top OL prospects before he played most of last year injured. Nate Solder is not as good as his reputation and Logan Mankins is getting older, although he’s still very good.
8.) Buffalo Bills
Contributors: Cyril Richardson, Doug Legursky, Seantrel Henderson The Buffalo Bills have one of the best young offensive lines in the game. Cordy Glenn is a solid left tackle that many people wanted you to believe was a right tackle only. Chris Williams is a solid player and Eric Wood is one of the best at the center position. Cyrus Kouandijo, when healthy, is a very good right tackle prospect. Cyril Richardson and Seantrel Henderson are two players with elite ability and piss poor work ethic. If Buffalo can keep both players motivated, then they could find themselves with more starters than spots available. Henderson has all-pro potential.
7.) New York Giants
Contributors: Weston Richburg If Eli Manning throws 4000 interceptions again this year it won’t be the fault of his offensive line. The addition of Geoff Schwartz will help shore up the interior of the line. Schwartz went from unknown to solid to solid starter in the past 3 years. Weston Richburg is waiting to assume his starting position, and from left to right, you’d be hard pressed to find a weakness.
6.) Chicago Bears
Starters: Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, Roberto Garza, Kyle Long, Jordan Mills This unit really excelled last year with the additions of the solid Bushrod and rookie surprise, Kyle Long. The Bears took Long in the first round against conventional wisdom, and he made the pro bowl as a rookie. Roberto Garza is another one of those players who seems to have been starting since you were born.
5.) Denver Broncos
Contributors: The entire second unit. This group benefits from playing with the best Quarterback of our generation, no not Tom Brady, Peyton Manning. Ryan Clady is an elite level performer when healthy and the duo of Ramirez/Vazquez is just nasty. Their second team of Justice, Garland, Montgomery, Miller and Schofield would be ranked somewhere in the twenties. Very deep. Very good. The things keeping them this low are the question marks surrounding the health of Clady and the fact that Franklin is just scary to look at.
4.) Dallas Cowboys
Contributors: Mackenzy Bernadeau The Dallas Cowboys took Travis Frederick last year and we all laughed and said “WHAT?!”. One year later, Frederick looks like the best young center in the game and someone who will be around for the next ten years. Tyron Smith is one of the best run blocking lineman in the league and Doug Free always finds a way to make you forget he’s on the field. When an offensive lineman isn’t mentioned much, he’s doing his job. Zack Martin will fit in great here and has the potential to play any of the five positions on the line if needed. Left guard is a concern and the only thing keeping them from the top 3, but as Blogging The Boys said yesterday:
3.) Tennessee Titans
Contributors: Michael Oher The Titans are ranked very high for me. They are solid from left to right and have the perfect mix of established players and young guys full of potential. There isn’t a weakness in the starting five, and they allow Michael Oher to do what he should have been doing all along, be a swing tackle. I love the potential of this unit to become possibly the leagues best by years end. There isn’t a ton of skill position talent in Tennessee, but this offensive line should help them look better than they are.
Contributors: Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas, Jonathan Martin The 49ers are great from left to right. Staley is a solid left tackle who really excels in the run game. Iupati is an elite guard and Boone/Davis really ended up becoming solid players. Marcus Martin and Brandon Thomas are both future starters…Martin much sooner. Jonathan Martin has had his issues, but he’s a talented player who should fit in nicely as a swing guy capable of filling in. This unit is great now and with the drafting they’ve done and only look to be getting better.
Contibutors: Alan Barbre The Philadelphia Eagles have the best offensive line in football. Jason Peters, Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce are all arguably the best at their positions. Lane Johnson was very raw coming out last year, but his athletic ability made him a perfect fit for this offense. His development could mean that the Eagles have the best tackle duo in the league.
Todd Heremans has been playing and starting for the eagles since 1963. The thing that really sets this group apart is their elite level tweets..hands down the best group in the league in that department. In all reality, it’s hard to find players who fit a scheme more perfectly than the Eagles offensive line fits Chip’s. This offense is among the most explosive in the league, and the line is the main reason. It’s almost unfair a running back as talented as Shady gets to run behind guys this good. Come at me….
(All depth chart data was collected from ourlads.com)