Last week gave you an overview on offensive line importance and shed some light on how to linemen impact the rushing and passing attacks. This week we dive into the offensive lines from around the league ranking them all from top-to-bottom highlighting key additions and losses. Strap in and let’s get to it!
“Titans” may be the best way to actually describe the offensive line. Former 1st round picks Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin really grade out as highly exceptional linemen (as well as Quinton Spain who was an undrafted treasure). Marcus Mariota played in 3 more games in 2016 than 2015 and was sacked 15 fewer times. It’s a very disciplined unit that should be able to let the Titans establish the run effectively while also boast a more explosive passing game.
Update (8/27): The Titans offensive line looked pretty rough in their third preseason game against the Bears. Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan was guilty of two penalties in the first half that hindered the Titans from moving the ball down the field. Aside from the penalties, Mariota faced constant pressure as he was sacked twice and was forced to throw multiple passes out of bounds. He completed just seven pass attempts in the first half. This type of performance won't force them to drop in the rankings, but it's just slightly concerning knowing the third preseason game is a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
If Lane Johnson is on the field, the Eagles are a threat. Johnson missed 10 games last year and the Eagles went 2-8 without him. In the six games he did play they went 5-1. If he’s on the field he’s arguably the best Tackle in the league. Age is somewhat concerning for Jason Peters as he enters 2017 at 35 years old, but he’s missed only 2 games in the last 4 years. If Johnson and Peters can hold the corners, the Eagles will have a very tough offensive attack.
Update (8/27): The Eagles offensive line looked decent enough in the third preseason game against Miami. They surrendered just one sack, but LeGarrette Blount was finally able to make some decent runs. The starters had a couple penalties as well, but Carson Wentz was given time to connect with Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery for touchdowns.
Watch out everybody, but the Browns are gonna surprise some teams this year. A very productive free agency period and draft had some people giving credit to the lovable losers in Northeast Ohio. The Brownies had a ton of cap space heading into the offseason and signed Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter while re-signing Joel Bitonio. They also still have the anchor of the O-Line in Joe Thomas who refuses to take Sundays off. Cleveland will likely play Cameron Erving at right tackle, but Shon Coleman could also be in line to fight for the job as he did an okay job in limited snaps at the position in 2016.
Update (8/27): The Brown offensive line looked solid against Tampa Bay in their dress rehearsal for the regular season. The lone black mark on the Browns was a false start by veteran Joe Thomas. But Deshone Kizer was protected well and the running game was effective through Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. They certainly looked like a Top 5 O-Line even without Joel Bitonio right now.
Update (8/30): Hours after releasing Joe Haden, the Cleveland Browns traded Cameron Erving to the Chiefs for a 5th-round pick in next year's draft. Erving lost out on a starting job with the Cleveland O-Line and he's been a disappoint overall since being drafted in 2015. The Browns still have enough talent on the O-Line to remain in the top five. The trade doesn't impact their ranking.
4.Oakland Raiders (Previous Rank: 6th)
If there’s any optimism for Marshawn Lynch as a fantasy player it’s solely because he has a great line blocking for him. This group allowed for one of the best rushing attacks in all of football last year while also giving up just 18 sacks, which was best in the league. Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Kelechi Osemele are a fantastic interior trio. Tackle is a bit of a concern as Donald Penn, while still playing well, is getting older and Marshall Newhouse comes over from the Giants to possibly fill in at right tackle.
Update (8/27): Donald Penn finally ended his holdout and played 17 snaps over two series. The running game didn't look great, but the O-Line gave Derek Carr ample time to make plays through the air. The starting O-Line had two penalties, but overall it was a good showing from Oakland.
The Cowboys have been the gold standard for offensive lines in the NFL the past few years and they’re still one of the best units in football. However, they did lose Ron Leary to Denver and Doug Free to retirement in the offseason. Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith are all among the best at their positions. Better yet? They all enter 2017 under 27 years old. La’el Collins will move over to Tackle, but his play as a Guard has been concerning. Hopefully a move to a position he was familiar with in college will do him some good.
Update (8/27): This is a bit of a head scratcher because the Cowboys O-Line looked pretty bad in their dress rehearsal for the regular season. La'el Collins had a couple penalties, as did Zack Martin. Chaz Green even gave up a sack. They'll stay where they are in the rankings because they have too much of a strong reputation to be dropped for a poor preseason outing, but this definitely isn't what the organization wanted to see. The Cowboys only drop in the rankings due to a good showing from Oakland.
“Steelers” and “strong offensive line” are almost synonymous. They run the ball effectively and allow for Ben Roethlisberger to have time to make the right throws down the field. Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro are all very good at their respective positions. And don’t forget about Alejandro Villanueva who has made massive improvements in his time in the NFL.
Update (8/27): The Steelers had their struggles in pass protection as well as a pair of penalties on the O-Line. Each QB for Pittsburgh was sacked once. Protecting the QB is a big concern for the Steelers as Pittsburgh desperately needs Ben Roethlisberger to stay healthy.
Like the Raiders, Chicago boasts a very good interior line with Cody Whitehair looking great in his rookie season. Josh Sitton and Kyle Long performed very well at the Guard positions. The Bears had only 5 picks in this year’s draft and only addressed the offensive line with their last pick by taking Jordan Morgan in the 5th round out of Kutztown University, a small school in Pennsylvania. For now it looks as if Bobby Massie and Charles Leno Jr. will remain at the Tackle positions.
Update (8/27): The Bears O-Line looked pretty damn good on Sunday Aug. 27th against the Titans. Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky were both sacked, but the running game was just fine and the penalties to the O-Line were virtually non-existant. They may not be able to do much through the air with Cameron Meredith done for the year, but the offensive line should provide for a strong running game and give whoever is QB plenty of time to move the ball through the air.
Though the Falcons suffered a disappointing Super Bowl loss, the offensive line was greatly improved. Atlanta added probably the best Center in all of football with Alex Mack in 2016 and his presence alone made a big difference. They’ll be without the aging Chris Chester, which could prove to be addition by subtraction, but it’s unclear if 2016 6th round pick Wes Schweitzer or career practice squadder Ben Garland will be improvements over Chester. It’s also worth noting that the offensive line played well under zone blocking schemes that catered to Devonta Freeman’s running style. New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian may implement more man/power blocking that could test this offensive line.
Update (8/27): The big concern with the Falcons O-Line will likely be depth on the line and it showed at times as they unveiled the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium with an underwhelming showing from the most explosive offense in the league last season. It's not going to impact this group's ranking, but it was surprising to see the starters on offense struggle. Head Coach Dan Quinn was quoted saying the right guard battle will continue through the rest of the preseason between Wes Schweitzer and Ben Garland. The Falcons averaged less than three yards per rushing attempt against the Cardinals. Hopefully this is just a one-time bad performance and not what fans can expect in the Steve Sarkisian era.
If chemistry was a statistic it might bump Washington up further on this list as four of their current starters have been on the O-Line since 2015. Trent Williams is possibly the best LT in the game and Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses are nice pieces as well. Washington felt comfortable enough with it’s offensive line that it went into the 2017 draft with 10 picks and only used 1 on O-Line depth, a 6th rounder pick on Chase Roullier out of Wyoming. This line should provide for plenty of production with Kirk Cousins and allow Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine to do well on the ground.
Update (8/27): The Redskins offensive line had a bit of a shaky start against Cincinnati, but they slowly pieced it together as the half progressed. In total they allowed Kirk Cousins to be sacked twice and they gave up two penalties as well. At times they didn't give Kirk Cousins the time he needed to make a play, but they did get the running game going, which had been a concern of the coaching staff's through the first two games. Rob Kelley was able to rush for 57 yards on ten carries with a touchdown. It was a nice performance for an offensive line expected to do well in 2017.
10.New Orleans Saints
It’s really hard to gauge where the Saints rank. Personnel-wise they have talented linemen. But the injury to Terron Armstead certainly hurts, and Max Unger suffered an injury in the offseason as well, but will likely be ready by the time the season starts. The Saints also made a splash in free agency by signing Larry Warford away from Detroit while also drafting Ryan Ramczyk in the 1st round to go along with Andurs Peat and Zach Strief. Once Armstead returns, this line will look very good.
Update (8/27): It wasn't a great showing by any means for the Saints offensive line. The run game was ineffective as all of Adrian Peterson's rushed went for two or three yards. They gave up a few sacks once Drew Brees was removed, but if healthy this is still a good O-Line. Yes the performance wasn't stellar, but they'll stay where they are.
11.Buffalo Bills (Previous Rank: 9th)
The offensive line was certainly not a weakness for the Bills in 2016. The Bills line ranked 1st in the NFL in rushing yards before contact and despite giving up 42 sacks to Tyrod Taylor, he still finished as a viable fantasy quarterback. After missing just 3 games in his first 4 seasons, Cordy Glenn missed 5 games due to injury in 2016. His health, and the play of rookie Tackle Dion Dawkins will be vital to Buffalo’s success in 2017.
Update (8/27): Bills got downgraded after a very poor performance in their third preseason game against Baltimore. The running game only totaled 79 rushing yards and Tyrod Taylor was taken out early with a suspected concussion. The Offensive line starters also totaled four penalties in the first half so it wasn't a great "dress rehearsal" by any means for the Bills. They'll drop a couple spots for this poor showing.
12.New England Patriots
It’s tough to pinpoint one particular player that stands out on this line. Sure Marcus Cannon and Nate Solder are very recognizable, and Shaq Mason made great improvements in 2016 as well. Joe Thunder struggled with pass blocking and he was also penalized 10 times. The offensive scheme allows for Tom Brady to quickly get rid of the ball so that may be why the O-Line only allowed 15 sacks on Brady in 12 games. Alas, as long as Dante Scarnecchia is still coaching this group then the offensive line should be just fine.
Update (8/27): Despite the loss of Julian Edelman for the season the Patriots offense moved right along without missing a beat. The offensive line didn't have any penalties in the first half and they didn't allow Tom Brady to be sacked at all. The O-Line also helped Mike Gillislee and James White have productive performances on the ground as they both combined for 63 rushing yards on 12 carries.
13.Denver Broncos (Previous Rank: 15th)
What separates the Broncos from a lot of teams in the bottom is that Denver’s O-Line was awful in 2016. John Elway saw that and addressed it, which earned the Broncos a higher-than-expected ranking. They drafted Garrett Bolles in the 1st round of this year’s draft and went out and signed Ron Leary away from the Cowboys and Menelik Watson from the Raiders. Matt Paradis is a Pro Bowl caliber Center, but he’ll be worth keeping an eye on in training camp as he’s recovering from offseason surgery to both his hips.
Update (8/23): Giving the Broncos a very generous bump in the rankings. This could be a bad call, but it's a good sign that they have four of their five starters on the offensive line set in stone. Max Garcia and Allen Barbre are fighting for the starting left guard position and they will compete for it Saturday night against the Packers. So far in the preseason the offensive line has helped a running game that has accumulated 252 rushing yards over two contests.
Update (8/27): C.J. Anderson had a modest showing in the Broncos third preseason game, but the offensive line had no trouble making Jamaal Charles look good. Unfortunately Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch were sacked a total of three times. The good news is they were disciplined enough to not give up any holding penalties.
14.Green Bay Packers
The Packers interior portion of the line has taken some hits over the last two offseasons. They’ve lost Josh Sitton, J.C. Tretter, and T.J. Lang over that span and for a team with questions surrounding the running game, the O-Line doesn’t provide much clarity. Sure Aaron Rodgers can find solace knowing Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari are protecting him on the corners. In order for the line to succeed Kyle Murphy and Jason Spriggs will need to make great strides to provide depth for Lane Taylor and Corey Linsley.
Update (8/23): Bryan Bulaga suffered an ankle injury at practice on Wednesday and forced him to the sideline. His injury will be worth monitoring for the next few days before the Packers take on the Broncos Saturday night. Jason Spriggs has struggled throughout camp while Kyle Murphy has impressed the coaching staff. The organization would like to see improvements from Spriggs, a former second round pick, but won't waste an opportunity to get Murphy some work especially if Bulaga misses Saturday's game.
Update (8/27): Bryan Bulaga didn't play against the Broncos and Jason Spriggs got beat bad by Von Miller which led to a sack on Aaron Rodgers. The Packers QB's were sacked five times on the night. They were also guilty of a couple offensive line penalties. It wasn't a great night for the Green Bay O-Line, but they'll remain where they are in the rankings.
15.Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have a good, young offensive line. Former 1st overall pick Eric Fisher struggled in his first couple years, but has slowly but surely improved as he’s gotten older. Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Zach Fulton, and Mitch Morse are all between 25-28 years of age. So they’re the perfect mix of young, but experienced without concern for age. They’ll be able to maintain a steady run game and could launch into the Top 10 by the end of the season.
Update (8/27): The Chiefs O-Line fared pretty well in their third preseason game against Seattle. They didn't allow Alex Smith to be sacked and they had only one penalty. Even with Spencer Ware's injury the Chiefs running game was still successful with Kareem Hunt. Any concerns after the first couple weeks regarding the O-Line should be gone, but they'll stay in the middle of the rankings for now.
Update (8/30): On Wednesday the Chiefs aquired Cameron Erving from Cleveland for a 2018 fifth-round pick. Erving will primarly serve as depth for the offensive line. The Chiefs currently have a pretty solid group of guys that are in the prime of their career so Erving isn't in line for a starting job as of this writing.
16.Carolina Panthers (Previous Rank: 17th)
The Panthers, like Denver, knew they needed to improve on the offensive line heading into this past offseason. Cam Newton saw significant pressure coming off a career year in 2016 and he saw dramatic regression. So the Panthers went out and signed Matt Kalil to play on the same line as his brother, Ryan, who is a pro bowl Center. Matt isn’t as talented of a player as his brother is, but a change of scenery might help. The team is also hopeful that 2nd round pick Taylor Moton can step in on the right side of the line and solidify himself as a good pass blocker. The Guard play with Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner will need to improve as well.
Update (8/27): Panthers Center Ryan Kalil made his preseason debut after dealing with a shoulder injury throughout camp. The offensive line looked pretty good against Jacksonville on August 24th. We bumped them one spot because we didn't want to go too crazy, but the projected starters looked good enough to protect their QB and help establish the run.
17.Jacksonville Jaguars (Previous Rank: 15th)
The Jaguars currently sit in the middle of the pack and they could easily be a top 10 line or a bottom 10 line. They made moves to improve the line in the offseason by acquiring Branden Albert who turns 33 in November and they drafted Cam Robinson with their 2nd round pick. Robinson’s progress in his rookie year, and Albert’s ability to fight the aging process will make or break this line.
Update (8/27): The Jaguars O-Line struggled at times against the Panthers on August 24th. The starters had two penalties in the first half and they allowed three sacks on starter Chad Henne as well. Chris Ivory got the start at RB and rushed for 36 yards on ten carries while also scoring a touchdown. Aside from that the rushing attack was non-existant in the first half. Ivory's 3.6 yards per attempt aren't worth gloating about.
Gotta be fair enough to Minnesota since they too addressed the offensive line issues in the offseason. The team lost Matt Kalil is free agency, which may actually be a positive for them. They signed Riley Reiff away from the Lions, and they’ll switch him from right tackle to left tackle and Mike Remmers will step in at right tackle in his first year with Minnesota. They also drafted Pat Elflein and Danny Isidora to try and bolster the interior portion of the line.
Update (8/23): The box scores don't really do the Vikings O-Line justice. In their first preseason game against Buffalo the line as a group looked lost. They struggled to make holes for the running game and they just looked a bit sluggish. The good news is that they bounced back in their 2nd game. Sure the rushing totals went down from game 1 to game 2, but the starting offensive line looked great against Seattle's defensive starters. Dalvin Cook even broke off three straight runs of at least nine yards. If this group performs well on Sunday against San Francisco this group could be due for an upgrade.
Update (8/27): The Vikings O-Line, for as good as they looked against Seattle, looked even worse in their dress rehearsal against the 49ers. Sam Bradford was sacked three times and it could've been four times if Sam Bradford wasn't so elusive late in the second half that was close to being a safety. The rushing yardage was modest as the Vikings limited Dalvin Cook's touches in favor of seeing what Latavius Murray could do. Overall, from the offensive line, it was a very poor showing. They'll stay where they are in the rankings based on the performance in the game against Seattle, but this isn't a great dress rehearsal for the regular season by any means.
D.J. Humphries is going to need to impress this year. He’s a 2015 first round draft pick that has been a bit of a bust so far in his young career. The Cardinals are moving him to left tackle after a rough year at right tackle. The team still has Pro Bowler Mike Iupati as a great interior blocker, and Jared Veldheer moves from left tackle to right tackle. There’s little clarity as to who will fill in at right guard, but that position could be filled by either Dorian Johnson or Will Holden. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding this group.
Update (8/23): The Cardinals will be without Mike Iupati for its next preseason game against Atlanta on the 26th. He's dealing with a triceps injury, but it shouldn't impact his status for the season opener, nor should it hurt Arizona's overall ranking.
Update (8/27): Without Mike Iupati the Cardinals struggled a little bit. The running game was inconsistent. The Falcons pass rush is very underrated and the Cardinals O-Line struggled to keep up at times. The line failed to create gaps for the running game and they were guilty of a couple false start penalties in the first half with the starters in.
It might be bold to put Detroit this low as it was to put Denver fairly high, but there are a lot of concerns with this line. Right tackle Riley Reiff is now with the Vikings and left tackle Taylor Decker will probably miss the first half of the season at best after undergoing shoulder surgery. The replacements (Ricky Wagner and Greg Robinson) for Reiff and Decker are still downgrades from the two guys blocking the edge rushers last year. The team did add T.J. Lang from Green Bay to bolster the interior, but there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this group heading into training camp.
Update (8/27): In their third preseason game against the Patriots it took a while, but the Lions eventually got the ball rolling. The starters looked decent. The only penalty was an ineligible man downfield call from Greg Robinson and Matthew Stafford was sacked once. The running game struggled early as they failed to break any runs, but they got everything going in the second quarter. It wasn't a stellar performance, but it could've been worse.
21. Miami Dolphins
If the Dolphins have a weakness on the offensive line it’ll likely be on the interior line. Laremy Tunsil moves over to left tackle to replace Branden Albert so that leaves Jermon Bushrod and Anthony Steen at guard while Mike Pouncey returns to play center once again. When Pouncey’s on the field and healthy he’s one of the best centers in the game. But he missed 11 games last year and 19 games total in the last 4 years. Pass protection should be fine for the Dolphins, but they may struggle in run blocking.
Update (8/27): The Dolphins offensive line did well enough to allow for Jay Ajayi to score twice on nine carries for 53 yards. Cutler was sacked just once, but they didn't have any significant penalties on them either. For the third preseason game this was a nice showing for an offensive unit that has faced quite a few injuries in training camp.
22.New York Giants
The Giants biggest weakness last year was primarily in the run game although Justin Pugh was one of the top guards in the league last year. They did okay protecting the QB last season as they yielded only 22 sacks last year. They invested only their final draft pick in the O-Line taking Adam Bisnowaty in the 6th round. Marshall Newhouse departed for Oakland. That leaves Bobby Hart and Ereck Flowers to hold down the outside and neither is exactly an impressive force on the line. They did, however, add D.J. Fluker as a Guard to hold down the interior portion of the line and if he plays well this season they could extend him as he’s only signed to a 1-year deal.
Update (8/23): The Giants are getting a demotion. And to be honest there's temptation to drop them even further down. This could be one of the worst, if not, the worst offensive line in all of football. They'll likely end up starting Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart at the tackle positions, Justin Pugh and John Jerry will line up as the guards with Weston Richburg at center. Defenses should be salivating over the opportunity to pass rush this unit. They don't have a great group of running backs and the offense has failed to score any touchdowns through two preseason games. The Giants overall are a good team, but this offense will frustrate a lot of fantasy owners.
Update (8/27): John Jerry could be losing his job shortly after his poor play allowed for Eli Manning to take a hard hit. Brett Jones and D.J. Fluker filled in for Jerry after he was taken out. The running game looked just okay as Paul Perkins averaged 5.5 yards per attempt. The Giants starters had just one penalty in the first half. For the first two games the Giants offense struggled, but this was a good enough performance, especially from the line, to keep them from getting dropped in the rankings a second time.
The Colts seem committed to the big guys they have on their offensive line, both starting and reserve. It’s a very young crew and the Colts seem patient enough to see how they all develop in time. They have a good foundation with Ryan Kelly, Le’Raven Clark, and Jack Mewhort to go with veteran Anthony Castonzo. Plus they drafted Zach Banner in the 4th round to build on their run blocking. They don’t have any household names and they desperately need to improve, but it’s a good sign the organization is committed to the players they have.
Update (8/23): The Colts activated center Brian Schwenke off the PUP. The timing is perfect as Ryan Kelly was placed on IR last week after undergoing foot surgery. For now the Colts will likely ease Schwenke back into the swing of things, but they would like to see him start at center or guard for week 1.
Update (8/27): Gotta give credit when it's due; the Colts O-Line didn't do terrible against Pittsburgh on August 26th. Starting QB Scott Tolzien wasn't sacked during his playing and the O-Line starters didn't have any penalties. Was the running game great? Hardly, but Frank Gore had five carries for 23 yards and a touchdown. The Colts earn an upgrade due to a very poor showing from the Rams.
24. Los Angeles Chargers (Previous Rank: 26)
The Chargers typically have an awful offensive line, it’s like clockwork year in and year out. They said goodbye to D.J. Fluker and added Russell Okung, a former first round pick of the Seahawks. Okung isn’t a very talented player and he has an injury history, so the Chargers are hoping to find a diamond in the rough. To their credit they did add promising offensive linemen Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney to help the run game. Matt Slauson returns at center and he was clearly the best part of the line in 2016, but even his play was average at best.
Update (8/23): Not a lot of good news coming out of Chargers camp. Max Tuerk was suspended for the first four games of the season after testing positive for a banned substance. Joe Barksdale and Tyreek Burwell are dealing with a foot and half injury respectively and are listed as day-to-day. A shaky performance in their next preseason game will most definitely downgrade the bunch especially after they failed to produce running room for Melvin Gordon up the middle in their last preseason game.
Update (8/27): Chargers didn't keep their starters in for very long in this preseason battle for Los Angeles. But when they were in there they looked great. They helped make space for Melvin Gordon and didn't have any penalties in the first half of action. The O-Line protected Philip Rivers well enough to let him have a perfect passer rating for the game.
25.Los Angeles Rams (Previous Rank: 22nd)
The Rams were one of the youngest team in the league in 2016 and they were one of the worst offensive lines. They surrendered the most sacks in the NFC, which didn’t make Case Keenum or Jared Goff’s seasons any easier. They added Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan to provide a veteran presence on the offensive line. Both men are over the age of 30, with Whitworth being over 35 so it won’t be too much of a surprise if there are struggles on the line. The Rams surprisingly trade former #2 overall pick Greg Robinson to Detroit so they clearly didn’t like the prospect of the young player developing anymore. It’s clear the new regime for the Rams want to do things differently than Jeff Fisher.
Update (8/27): The Rams are being very cautious with their starters, but the offensive line starters played for the most part. The bad news? Andrew Whitworth, John Sullivan, and Rodger Saffold played only two series. Even worse news? They allowed a lot of pressure on Jared Goff. It may be a mild overreaction, but this group deserves a downgrade at this point.
26.Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Unanimously, Ali Marpet is regarded as a talented interior lineman. He’s making the move from Guard to Center after a very good sophomore season in 2016. There’s been an emphasis are putting weapons around Jameis Winston, but they’ve done very little to improve the offensive line to be able to establish the run, and protect Winston from pass rushers coming off the corners. They didn’t draft any exterior linemen in April and are stuck with Donovan Smith at left tackle.
Update (8/23): The Bucs are currently dealing with injuries to Cole Gardner, Demar Dotson, Caleb Benenoch, and projected starting guard Kevin Pamphile. Pamphile's injury is most noteworthy, but for now he's questionable for Saturday's game against Cleveland as are Dotson and Benenoch. Gardner unfortunately ended up in IR earlier this week with an undisclosed injury.
Update (8/27): The Bucs offensive line had its ups and downs. Surprisingly the starters played into the third quarter. The O-Line was guilty of three penalties although one was declined. The O-Line didn't generate great holes for the running game and Jameis Winston was sacked twice on the night. It wasn't a great performance for a group that is trying to take the next step for what could be a much improved offense.
27.San Francisco 49ers (Previous Rank: 30th)
Joe Staley is really the only positive on the 49ers offensive line. All in all this unit is pretty bad. New head coach Kyle Shanahan will have his hands full trying to implement his system with this offensive line. But who knows? Maybe they’ll prove to be better in zone blocking than man blocking. What’s shocking is that the 49ers offensive line was so terrible and they didn’t invest a single draft pick in the line. They addressed plenty of other weaknesses, and there are many, but it could be a rough year for this group in 2017. They did sign Jeremy Zuttah, a Center, from Baltimore, but they hardly made a splash to beef up the line.
Update (8/27): On the surface the 49ers offense looked great all around against the Vikings. They lost Joe Staley to a minor injury in the first quarter. They held him out the rest of the game merely as a precaution. If Kyle Shanahan runs a similar offense like he did in Atlanta then this offensive line could be well suited for the zone blocking that is a Kyle Shanahan trademark. They've earned a slight upgrade based on their third preseason game.
28.Houston Texans (Previous Rank: 26th)
A lot of experts have said the Houston Texans were a competent quarterback away from being a real contender. I don’t really know if that’s true considering the O-Line is pretty bad. LT Duane Brown is still performing well, but he’s getting older and didn’t report to OTA’s because he’s unhappy with his contract. Xavier Su’a-Filo is entering a very important contract year and will need to improve heavily. 2016 2nd round pick Nick Martin missed all of his rookie season and will look to take the starting Center job away from Greg Mancz. There are far too many questions surrounding this group so they currently rank towards the bottom.
Update (8/18): Duane Brown still hasn't reported to camp. He's holding out for a new deal after signing a very hefty contract a few years back. This likely won't hurt the Texans ranking as of right now, but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on. Brown is one of the best offensive tackles in the game.
Update (8/27): Just a pathetic showing by Houston. The running game wasn't very effective, Deshaun Watson was sacked twice, the O-Line had a few penalties including multiple illegal formations. The whole offense only generated 246 yards of total offense and there wasn't that much of a disparity in terms of time of possession. It just wasn't a good showing that warranted a downgrade.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Ricky Wagner and Jeremy Zuttah have left for Detroit and San Francisco respectively, but they have found a left tackle that can protect Flacco’s blindside in Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore’s first round pick in 2016. The Ravens were wise to select Nico Siragusa (no relation to former Raven Tony Siragusa shockingly) and Jermaine Eluemunor for depth on the line, but there’s still work to do on an offensive line that luckily still has Marshal Yanda at guard.
Update (8/27): After losing Jeremy Zuttah to San Francisco, the Ravens went out and re-signed Zuttah who was a Pro Bowler last season with Baltimore. Zuttah's return was the only positive coming from Baltimore's O-Line. The running game generated just 92 yards on 37 carries. In the first half the Ravens O-Line was also flagged twice, but they didn't surrender a sack until later in the second half with most of the starters out of the game.
Boy did the Bengals take a blow to the offensive line with free agency. They lost Andrew Whitworth to the Rams and Kevin Zeitler to the Browns. Zeitler is the bigger loss of the two as he’s much younger, but those are two really talented players to replace. Cincy will look to Cedric Ogbuehi to step up in 2017 after he was benched after 11 games for 40 total quarterback pressures. Surprisingly for the Bengals they used only 1 of their 11 draft picks on an offensive lineman, J.J. Dielman, a Center out of Utah. Dielman will likely be moved as Russell Bodine improved enough in 2016 to keep the job at Center.
Update (8/27): In the first half of the third preseason game against Washington the Bengals offensive line had only two penalties and didn't allow Andy Dalton to get sacked. It was a nice performance overall that earned them the right to get bumped up in the rankings a little bit.
Seattle is almost universally regarded as the worst offensive line in the league. With so much many tied up in their defensive players, Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham, and Russell Wilson there’s little to go to the O-Line. And that’s a shame for a team that wants to define itself as a run-first unit. With 11 picks in this year’s draft they made only 2 selections to help the line. They added 1st-round bust Luke Joeckel, but there’s very little reason for optimism with this unit.
Update (8/27): After losing their starting left tackle George Fant for the season the Seahawks O-Line had a respectable performance against the Chiefs. Fant's replace, Rees Odhiambo, missed a block on Chris Jones that allowed for the Chiefs lone sack on QB Russell Wilson. Aside from that the run game was pretty efficient. Despite the decent performance, Seattle's promotion is largely due to the Jets being so terrible.
32.New York Jets (Previous Rank: 30th)
The Jets draw some similarities to the Kansas City Chiefs O-Line in that they’re all in a pretty prime age range of 26-28. Unlike the Chiefs thought they don’t have much talent. Gone are D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold who were regulars on the O-Line until the former retired after 2015. They seem content with the guys they have as they didn’t draft any O-linemen in April. Most notably, the Jets are in a free fall. It’s never been more obvious than an organization is trying to tank. There are some players worth taking a flyer on in fantasy drafts, but this offensive line doesn’t give much promise to Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, or whoever is quarterbacking this team.
Update (8/27): This team is so bad. SO! BAD! The Jets O-Line is easily the worst. They had only 1 flag in the first half, but also allowed for Christian Hackenburg to be sacked three times. The running game looked pretty good against a good Giants defense, but with so little talent on this team there's no reason to believe this O-Line will emerge from the bottom.