Offensive Line Rankings: Top 10
David E. Klutho / Sports Illustrated / Getty
10. New England Patriots
|LG||Cole Strange (R)|
- Beat writers in New England have repetitively (and uncharacteristically) pointed out the struggles of the Patriots' offensive line in training camp. That could be due to the changes in scheme that the team is reportedly implementing. Or the fact that there's a game of musical chairs taking place where the two tackles are switching sides, Mike Onwenu is settling in at right guard, and rookie first-rounder Cole Strange is getting acclimated to the pros.
- The upheaval was in part caused by the departure of guards Shaq Mason and Ted Karras. While the pieces are there to eventually re-solidify this unit and make a push back up this list - that's not a forgone conclusion like it was in years past.
- Doubting Bill Belichick is not a sharp position to take, but handing the reins of the offense over to a former defensive coordinator in Matt Patricia and a former special teams coordinator in Joe Judge could be contributing to the poor performances early in camp. Though both Patricia and Judge left the organization for head coaching gigs, they might need to get comfortable managing players on the offensive side of the ball. This will likely get resolved in time, just don't panic if the Patriots' offense looks out of sorts in the opening month of the season.
9. Washington Commanders
|LT||Charles Leno Jr.|
- Usually when a team loses a high-end talent like guard Brandon Scherff, it's difficult to replace them. However, the Commanders have done a fairly good job beefing up their line this offseason with former star guards Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner, who had their best days under Ron Rivera in Carolina.
- Staying on the field together proved to be almost impossible for this unit a year ago, and it looks like it will be their toughest challenge again, since starters Turner and Chase Roullier, as well as backups Cornelius Lucas and Saahdiq Charles have missed time already with a variety of ailments.
- Fortunately for Washington, it has quality depth behind its starting unit, including Lucas, Charles, Wes Schweitzer, and Rashod Hill - who all have first-string experience in their pro careers.
8. Los Angeles Chargers
|RG||Zion Johnson (R)|
|RT||Trey Pipkins III|
- The Chargers are loading up on both sides of the ball for a deep playoff run, and in the process, they've been stocking their offensive line in an effort to keep Justin Herbert healthy. As a warning to the rest of the NFL, we should let them know: The job is almost complete.
- The left side of the Chargers' line is one of the best in the league, with Rashawn Slater (eighth), Matt Feiler (12th), and Corey Linsley (second) all finishing near the top of PFF grades at their respective positions. And they spent their first-round pick this year on right guard Zion Johnson.
- The only area of concern is right tackle, where former third-rounder Trey Pipkins - who's in the final year of his rookie contract - is competing with journeyman Storm Norton. Given all of their other moves, it's surprising the Chargers didn't make more of an effort to shore up the right tackle spot. But perhaps they have faith in Pipkins' development. If he steps up at right tackle, this could be an unstoppable unit.
7. Indianapolis Colts
- The Colts have three rock-solid starters in Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, and Braden Smith. With that trio setting the tone, the reality is that the team doesn't need stars at the two open spots - left tackle and right guard - in order to remain one of the NFL's best blocking units.
- Versatile veteran Matt Pryor is preparing to take over at left tackle, and former fifth-round pick Danny Pinter, who has four pro starts, is being given the nod at right guard. Pryor is the more proven of the two after grading out as the 25th best tackle in 2021, according to PFF, though most of those snaps came on the right side. It's still a promising sign he'll be up for the task on the edge.
- We know Matt Ryan isn't going to complain after he was forced to play with the recent iteration of the Falcons' line. Now he gets to perform in the friendly confines of the Colts' pocket behind a set of blockers who helped paved the way for Jonathan Taylor to lead the league in rushing yards a year ago - with over 600 yards more than the next closest back.
6. Dallas Cowboys
|LG||Tyler Smith (R)|
- The Cowboys' line took a step back last year. It's become harder to project star tackle Tyron Smith to play a full season after he missed a total of 20 games over the last two years. However, the 31-year-old has talked about how good he feels entering camp this season, not having an injury to contend with at this point in the year.
- If he does miss time again, Dallas has a safeguard in place with rookie first-rounder Tyler Smith able to line up at multiple positions. When Tyron is healthy, Tyler will start alongside him at left guard - improving the starting unit while also offering an insurance policy if things go wrong.
- Elsewhere on the line, Zack Martin brings his usual commanding presence at right guard, and Terence Steele will be asked to fill the shoes of La'el Collins at right tackle. Steele represents a downgrade, but perhaps not as big of a dropoff as people might think. At center, Tyler Biadasz made a big leap as a sophomore, and the team will be hoping he can build off of that in Year 3.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Losing starting center Ryan Jensen to what could be a season-ending knee injury was an awful way for the Buccaneers to begin training camp. Tampa is either incredibly optimistic or in denial - since they listed Jensen as the starter on the initial depth chart that came out after the injury.
- At the moment, backup Robert Hainsey has assumed Jensen's role. But Nick Leverett and John Molchon are vying for it, too, according to team reporter Scott Smith. The only other spot up for grabs is at left guard, where Aaron Stinnie is trying to fend off second-round rookie Luke Goedeke.
- Even without Jensen, the Bucs have a nice core to rely on with two stud tackles in Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs, as well as newcomer Shaq Mason, who they were inexplicably able to get for pennies on the dollar (a fifth-round pick) from the Patriots this offseason. The group is also helped by Tom Brady's field awareness. Despite throwing a league-leading 731 times last season, the Bucs gave up a league-low 23 sacks.
4. Cleveland Browns
|LT||Jedrick Wills Jr.|
|RT||Jack Conklin (INJ)|
- With a mixture of high draft capital (Jedrick Wills Jr., Joel Bitonio), a big-ticket free-agent signing (Jack Conklin), and a sneaky pickup via trade (Wyatt Teller) - Cleveland managed to put together an intimidating blocking unit that helps open up massive holes for its run game. The Browns ranked No. 1 in Football Outsiders' adjusted line yards (4.85) last season.
- Replacing center JC Tretter won't be easy. The top candidate was former fifth-rounder Nick Harris, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason opener. That leaves veteran Ethan Pocic to assume the role full time. Fortunately, he'll be aided by the three All-Pros around him plus Wills who is destined to also earn that distinction eventually.
- The offensive line has been the heart of the Browns' attack for two seasons under head coach Kevin Stefanski. And with Deshaun Watson's suspension likely to be extended on appeal, Cleveland will need to get back to basics and rely on its blocking even more with Jacoby Brissett under center.
3. Detroit Lions
- Top to bottom, the Lions' starting five stacks up well against any offensive line on this list. Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, and Penei Sewell are first-round picks who play up to the draft capital spent on them. Third-rounder Jonah Jackson and free agent Halapoulivaati Vaitai are capable guards who round out the unit well.
- The knock on Detroit's O-line is a lack of depth. One injury to a member of its starting lineup could have unpleasant consequences, like when Ragnow missed 13 games last season.
- With a top-tier set of blockers, playmakers like D'Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson returning from injury-marred campaigns, Amon-Ra St. Brown ready to pick up where he left off, and newcomers like D.J. Chark and Jameson Williams hoping to make an impact this season - it's no wonder Jared Goff is getting rave reviews in training camp. Don't sleep on this Lions' offense in 2022.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
- After injuries and ineffectiveness on its offensive line got the best of Kansas City in Super Bowl LV, the front office made a bold move to rebuild the unit from the ground up. Normally that would take a couple of seasons to pull off, but the Chiefs somehow made it work immediately.
- It's a testament to their coaching staff, including offensive line coach Andy Heck, who's been in the role for nine years - but also to the players they acquired. Franchise-tagged tackle Orlando Brown performed well enough to earn the big-money contract he's seeking. Veteran guard Joe Thuney is a model of consistency. Second-rounder Creed Humphrey instantly vaulted himself into the conversation as one of the premier centers. And sixth-rounder Trey Smith was the kind of value pick that can help turn a position group from good to great.
- The last piece of the puzzle rests at right tackle, where one of Andrew Wylie, Geron Christian, or Lucas Niang will likely get the call. Niang started camp on the active PUP list, so for now, Wylie and Christian are making their case in practice. There's no obvious choice from that trio, but no matter who wins the job, it won't sink the ranking of this line or put Patrick Mahomes in serious peril.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
- The Eagles are in a class of their own with an offensive line that combines high-level starters with quality depth at every position. Most of the well-known names that powered this line over the last decade - like Jason Peters and Brandon Brooks - are gone. Four-time All-Pro center Jason Kelce remains, but the 34-year-old will miss some practice time after undergoing a minor procedure to clean up his elbow. And yet, this unit keeps chugging along.
- That's thanks to the new three-man core, which features Kelce (third), left tackle Jordan Mailata (third), and Lane Johnson (10th), who all ranked among the top 10 at their positions, according to PFF grades. Landon Dickerson and Isaac Seumalo aren't household names, but when you pair competent guards with that trio - the result is something special.
- This isn't by accident. Philly's front office has repeatedly invested in the line, adding versatile players like Andre Dillard and Jack Driscoll, as well as Kelce's future replacement in this year's second-round pick - center Cam Jurgens. That insulates quarterback Jalen Hurts in a way few quarterbacks get to enjoy. With that kind of protection and new weapon A.J. Brown added to his arsenal - Hurts is about to post a career year and a monster fantasy season.
INJ - Injury that may affect Week 1 availability
R - Rookie
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