1. Cleveland Browns

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 81.2 (1st Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 86.6 (1st Overall)

The Browns offensive line was simply outstanding last year. Heading into last season I had the Browns offensive line ranked tenth overall and egg on my face because I seriously underestimated this unit. Everything worked out for them last year. The new additions all paid off. Jack Conklin came over in free agency and he graded out as the best right tackle in the league according to Pro Football Focus, and his career year allowed him to be named first-team All-Pro last year. To his left was Wyatt Teller. Teller wasn’t even on my radar heading into 2020 after a so-so debut with the Brownies in 2019. However, Teller was phenomenal in run-and-pass blocking and he earned second-team All-Pro honors. The Browns acquired Teller from Buffalo for a couple late-round draft picks following the 2018 season. Not a bad investment if you ask me. Joel Bitonio, a model of consistency, was named to his third straight Pro Bowl and third straight second-team All-Pro. Jedrick Wills performed admirably as a rookie at left tackle. He carried a 79.4 pass blocking grade according to Pro Football Focus and he allowed just four sacks and 18 total pressures in 2020. Truth be told, that’s pretty good for a rookie. He can certainly improve in the run blocking department, and we can expect those strides to be made in 2021. The offensive line was a big reason why the Browns ranked fifth in rushing attempts per game (30.4) and fourth in rushing yards per game (145.2).

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Jedrick Wills Jr.Joel BitonioJC TretterWyatt TellerJack Conklin
James HudsonDrew ForbesNick HarrisMichael DunnChris Hubbard
Alex TaylorCordel IwuagwuBlake HanceJavon PattersonGreg Senat
 Colby Gossett   

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Browns return all five starters from last year’s dominant offensive line and one can safely assume they’ll be another dominant force in 2021. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan gets to build upon Wills’ strong rookie season while still having the easy task of coaching a few All-Pro players as well. Assuming they all stay healthy, they’ll contribute to a strong offense in Cleveland. Depth isn’t really a luxury the Browns have. However, Chris Hubbard can play almost anywhere on the offensive line aside from center and 2021 fourth-round pick James Hudson, has upside and could offer the same flexibility that Hubbard does. Hudson is the ultimate project as he’s pretty raw and green at the position. He played just 11 games on the offensive line in his collegiate career as he’s a converted defensive linemen, but he has great size and athleticism. If he can develop technique and strength, he could turn into one hell of a player. As long as the starters stay healthy, this team is in great shape once again.

2. New Orleans Saints

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 76.0 (8th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 70.2 (13th Overall)

Rinse. Wash. Repeat. This offensive line is just a well-oiled machine. I projected them as the top-ranked offensive line a year ago and while they didn’t finish 2020 as the best of the best, this unit was still strong and New Orleans has invested in this group wisely over the past few seasons. All five projected starters heading into 2021 are homegrown draft picks with three of them being first rounders. Terron Armstead made his third straight Pro Bowl in 2020 after he allowed just 15 pressures and three sacks in 14 games. Imagine that. He averaged 60+ offensive snaps each game and allowed about one pressure per game. He naturally causes problems for the opposing team’s pass rush. Ryan Ramczyk made his second Pro Bowl following an All-Pro season in 2019. Ramczyk played all 16 games and allowed just two sacks on the year. This is why everyone believes the Saints have the best tackle duo in the league. 1,895 snaps played between the two last season and they allowed 40 pressures combined. The interior portion of the line did under achieve which dragged the overall team down from the top ranking. However, they were still better than most interior lines in the game. Erik McCoy regressed slightly, but he’s still one of the better centers in the game. I have more faith in him than I do Andrus Peat, but Peat did bounce back in 2020 after some sub-par campaigns and 2020 first-round pick, Cesar Ruiz, struggled in pass protection but the general belief is that he’ll improve in 2021.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Terron ArmsteadAndrus PeatErik McCoyCesar RuizRyan Ramczyk
James HurstDerrick Kelly IIWill ClappCalvin ThrockmortonLandon Young
Kyle Murphy Christian MontanoMichael BrownEthan Greenidge

Everything I said about this group carries over to 2021. Zero concerns here. This is a great offensive line. The Saints may have questions over who will line up under center, but whoever is the starting quarterback sans Drew Brees will have a phenomenal offensive line blocking for them. There’s continuity here and still room for players on the interior to improve including Peat and Ruiz. I’m keeping it short and sweet. This is one of the best offensive lines in the league and they should have no problem keeping the quarterback upright this year.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 72.9 (9th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 69.6 (14th Overall)

An improved offensive line was vital for Tampa Bay if they wanted to make a deep playoff run with Tom Brady under center. The big acquisition was drafting Tristan Wirfs with the 13th overall pick in last year’s draft. The pick made sense. The Bucs offensive line wasn’t awful heading into last season but they had a need at right tackle. Wirfs was the last of the “big four” offensive tackles taken in last 2020’s draft but he was arguably the best of the four as he posted pass blocking and run blocking grades over 80.0 according to Pro Football Focus and he allowed just one sack in 16 games. That one sack was to Khalil Mack of all people. His grades were actually the best on his team. DonoVan Smith is reliable at left tackle. Was he prone to getting beat last year? Sure, and his numbers are relatively mediocre, but ultimately he’s worthy of the hefty contract and extension the Bucs game him. Tom Brady isn’t a world beater with his feet. He likes to stay in the pocket so it was necessary for the Bucs to keep him upright and he was only sacked 21 times in 16 games. Plus, Brady has a quick release and doesn’t need much clean time in the pocket. Just enough to get rid of the ball to one of his many weapons. A big piece for the offensive line’s success was that they stayed relatively healthy all season long even with nice depth pieces like Joe Haeg. Tristan Wirfs, Alex Cappa, and Ryan Jensen appeared in all 16 games and saw 1,000+ snaps. DonoVan Smith missed one game and Ali Marpet missed three, but every starter on the offensive line logged at least 849 snaps last year. That’s a luxury most teams don’t have so when you can stay healthy and keep the greatest quarterback of all time on his feet, good things are bound to happen.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
DonoVan SmithAli MarpetRyan JensenAlex CappaTristan Wirfs
Josh WellsJohn MolchonDonell StanleyAaron StinnieRobert Hainsey
Brad SeatonSadarius Hutcherson Nick LeverettCalvin Ashley

A lot of optimism heading into 2021 stems from the fact the Bucs are returning all five starters from a year ago. If we’re high on Cleveland for that reason, then I see no reason why Tampa Bay can’t be a top seven offensive line in 2021 since they’re also returning their starting five from 2020. It’ll be something to marvel at if they can remain healthy because I’m not convinced in the quality of depth they have. However, they did draft Robert Hainsey with a third round pick out of Notre Dame. He likely projects better as an interior lineman at the NFL level, but he has good technique with his hands and hips, but does need to improve with his footwork. Overall, if Tampa Bay is gifted with a repeat performance from this group they’re in line for more success in the 2021 season and just might be able to take another trip to the Super Bowl.

4. Detroit Lions

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 70.3 (16th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 71.9 (9th Overall)

2020 was a very impressive year for the Lions after yours truly had them ranked outside the top 20 heading into last season. However, they really proved me wrong. I’ll swallow my pride and admit that much. Frank Ragnow made the third-year jump on the offensive line as he was named to his first Pro Bowl, and he was second-team All Pro a year ago. He’s also one of the toughest linemen in the game. He played through a FRACTURED THROAT and had Matthew Stafford making the calls at the line for him. He had a fractured throat. And he played through it. His eating and breathing patterns were unobstructed but his vocal chords were damaged… And the guy finished out the game last December. That’s impressive. Following a big contract extension right before the start of the season, Taylor Decker excelled at left tackle to the surprise of no one. In 16 games he allowed just 29 pressures and two sacks all year. He definitely earned his contract, but unfortunately didn’t get the accolades last season. Halapoulivaati Vaiti was perhaps the lone disappointment from this offensive line last season. He was a big free agent acquisition heading into the season and he allowed six sacks in ten games and posted run and pass blocking grades under 65.0. Overall, it was a very strong season for the Lions offensive line and they were far from blame for the shortcomings of this team a year ago. 

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Taylor DeckerJonah JacksonFrank RagnowLogan StenbergPenei Sewell
Dan SkipperTommy KraemerEvan BrownTyrell CrosbyHalapoulivaati Vaitai
Matt NelsonDarrin PauloDrake Jackson Evan Heim

I’m going bold with my prediction for the Lions this year. This is my surprise pick and I’ll die on this hill. This is a great offensive line. Sure, the guards are somewhat concerning since Jackson and Stenberg are entering their second year and there’s a chance Stenberg gets cut after not playing a single snap next year (I would be stunned if that happened though). The Lions need to give him a shot before making such a hasty decision, but across the line they could be set as Jonah Jackson should improve off his rookie season and the Lions are set at left tackle and center. The prized offensive line pick in this year’s draft, Penei Sewell, seemingly fell into Detroit’s lap and a good offensive line got even better. Honestly, I’d be surprised if Halapoulivaati Vaitai wasn’t a starter come week one. He’s too good and being paid way too much to be a backup swing tackle. I could see a situation where the Lions try him out at right guard simply because they gave him a $50 million contract last offseason. But with a new quarterback and new coaching staff taking over, this is a very talented young offensive line they can be excited about. Vaitai and Decker are the oldest member of the line and they’re 28 and 27 respectively. The protection will be there for Jared Goff and D’Andre Swift should be excited about running behind this offensive line.

5. New England Patriots

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 76.2 (T-6th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 67.7 (15th Overall)

The Patriots entered the 2020 season with a ton of questions, but as always they had plenty of depth at their disposal on the offensive line. Contract situations surrounding Joe Thuney, David Andrews, and Isaiah Wynn allowed for much uncertainty heading into the most recent offseason. For the third straight season, injuries plagued Isaiah Wynn, but when he was on the field he was fantastic, posting grades of at least 75.0 for both pass protection and run blocking. In ten games he allowed just three sacks and 16 total pressures. He may have missed four games, but the return of David Andrews was fine and he contributed to a solid run blocking scheme for New England. But after not playing at all in 2019, he did look like he lost a step at times. And to the surprise of absolutely nobody, Joe Thuney was amazing. So amazing that the Kansas City Chiefs gave him an $80 million contract in the offseason. Even sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan, Michael Onwenu, overachieved in his rookie season. Overall, the Patriots did struggle with sacks allowed. In 2019, the Patriots allowed a sack at a 4.09% rate, which was third in the league. Last year that rate jumped to 7.76% which was seventh-worst in the league. You can easily chalk it up to the fact that Tom Brady knew to get rid of the ball to avoid a sack and in general, he doesn’t tend to hold it that long. With Cam Newton under center, he tried to make plays happen a little too much on his own and held the ball too long. That’s not to say every sack was Cam’s fault, because no offensive line is perfect. But the Patriots also ran 6.7 fewer offensive plays per game in 2020 compared to 2019 so that like also played a small role in the jump in sack rate. As is usually the case, the New England offensive line was perfectly fine, but they did have some turnover in the offseason worth discussing. 

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Isaiah WynnMichael OnwenuDavid AndrewsShaq MasonTrent Brown
Justin HerronWilliam ShermanTed KarrasMarcus MartinKorey Cunningham
Yodny CajusteAlex RedmondJames Ferentz RJ Prince

They head into 2021 with some changes. Thuney took the money Kansas City offered, and he’s worth every penny. After opting out of the 2020 season, Marcus Cannon was traded to Houston. Houston got a pretty good value for a decent linemen and former second-team All-Pro. To fill some holes, the Patriots brought back some familiar faces. After two years with the Raiders, New England traded a 2022 fifth-round pick to bring Trent Brown back, where he won a Super Bowl in his one year with the Patriots back in 2018. Additionally, Ted Karras comes back on a one-year deal with New England after spending one season in Miami. The luxury with Karras is that he’s capable of playing anywhere on the interior line so he provides some solid depth and flexibility. Onwenu will move from right tackle to left guard to replace Joe Thuney. This is an easy transition for him as he played most of his Michigan career at guard. A lot of the success for New England will depend on Isaiah Wynn’s health. The left side of the offensive line is young, but there is legitimate talent between Wynn and Onwenu. They’ll likely settle in as another top ten offensive line, but with Trent Brown back and the continuing development on the left side, there’s top five upside here.

6. Indianapolis Colts

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 78.8 (3rd Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 71.6 (12th Overall)

When it’s all said and done, Quenton Nelson could very well go down as the best interior offensive lineman to ever play the game and he’ll easily be up there for best overall offensive lineman as well. He was selected sixth overall back in 2018 and he’s been a force to be reckoned with since joining the league. Three years in the league, three straight Pro Bowls, and three straight first-team All-Pro appearances. There will come a time when he’s the highest paid offensive lineman in league history and whoever gives him such a contract (likely Indianapolis) will be getting their money’s worth as long as he’s healthy. According to Pro Football Focus, he posted run-and-pass blocking scores over 80 in 2020, which not everyone can do, and his presence alone is why most content providers will rank the Colts routinely at the top. In his three years in the league he’s played over 1,000 snaps in each season and he’s allowed just three sacks and 58 total pressures in that span. He is an absolute problem for opposing defensive tackles. As for the rest of the group? There are some serviceable pieces here. Braden Smith won’t garner the accolades of Nelson, but you have to appreciate a player that can make the guard-to-tackle transition from college to the pros. He’s adjusted just fine at right tackle and he didn’t allow a sack in 14 games last season. Mark Glowinski is an okay interior lineman, but the Colts have enough depth where they could mask his deficiencies with a few other guys. Ryan Kelly has been a damn fine center. One of the elites? No, but easily top 12 in the league and at his best he’s probably a top eight center. He was named second-team All-Pro last season and he went to his second straight Pro Bowl. Where the 2020 Colts had trouble was at left tackle. Anthony Castonzo was limited to just 12 games last year and he had surgery on his ankle at the end of December and he ultimately retired in the offseason. So, one of the best offensive lines in the league headed into 2021 has a gaping hole at left tackle…

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Eric FisherQuenton NelsonRyan KellyMark GlowinskiBraden Smith
Sam TeviChris ReedJoey HuntDanny PinterCarter O’Donnell
Julie’n DavenportWill HoldenJake EldrenkampWill FriesJake Benzinger

The Colts head into 2021 with a new left tackle and plenty of depth. The Colts were relatively quiet in free agency but they did sign former first overall pick, Eric Fisher, to take Castonzo’s place at left tackle. Fisher tore his Achilles in last year’s AFC Championship game and he was released by Kansas City in the offseason. The Colts scooped him up on a one-year deal but it’s still a little unclear if/when he’ll be ready for this season. When healthy he’s performed at the level of a Pro Bowl caliber left tackle so his status is vital to this offensive line’s performance as well as Carson Wentz’s ability to stay upright. But even if Fisher isn’t ready to start the season on time, there’s depth with Sam Tevi who had the opportunity to play all over the Chargers’ offensive line since that’s a team routinely hampered with injuries. And with the Colts returning Nelson, Kelly, Glowinski, and Smith there’s a strong core established here, which should make Carson Wentz feel secure after the demise of Philadelphia’s offensive line the past few seasons. This is a top eight O-line without Fisher and they can only get better once he’s healthy.

Update: Quenton Nelson is dealing with a similar foot injury to Carson Wentz and it'll likely keep him out for the first few weeks of the season. Because of this and the fact Eric Fisher likely won't be ready for Week 1, we have to drop the Colts in the rankings.

7. Dallas Cowboys

Run Blocking Grade: 57.2 (29th Overall)

Pass Blocking Grade: 59.1 (26th Overall)

The Cowboys offensive line was terrible in 2020. But they dealt with a ton of injuries and struggled to fill the void at center with Travis Frederick retiring following the 2019 season. The team drafted Tyler Biadasz in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft and while I’m optimistic he starts 2021 at center and will get better in time, he still has some big shoes to fill. As far as injuries go for current players, they didn’t even crack 800 total snaps combined between Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and La’el Collins. La’el Collins missed all of 2020 after undergoing hip surgery and Tyron Smith battled with a neck injury before ultimately getting shut down and placed on IR. So early on the Cowboys knew they would have issues at tackle. Martin, one of the best guards in the game when he’s healthy, dealt with injuries throughout the year, but it got so bad at tackle that Martin even ended up starting a game at right tackle, but then had to miss most of December with a calf strain. Brandon Knight and Terrence Steele both gained experience last season due to all the injuries incurred by everyone else, but they still allowed 15 sacks and 85 pressures on the quarterback. Experience is valuable and hopefully they can improve because while those two won’t start for Dallas in 2021, they will provide depth.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Tyron SmithConnor WilliamsTyler BiadaszZack MartinLa’el Collins
Brandon KnightMatt FarniokConnor McGovernMitch HyattTy Nsekhe
Josh BallEric Smith  Terrence Steele
Braylon Jones   Isaac Alacorn

Assuming the starters are healthy, this is one of the best starting lines in football and I have faith in Biadasz at center. He’s a great run blocker that does need to get better in pass protection but entering his second year in the league he can certainly make some improvements. The Cowboys brought in Ty Nsekhe one a one-year deal to play swing tackle in the event Smith or Collins get hurt, and they still have Knight and Steele for depth assuming they use 2020 as a learning experience. As far as the draft went, they did take Matt Farniok with a late-round pick. I don’t believe he makes the roster out of training camp, but he could be a player they add to the practice squad. The big mystery is what will become of Josh Ball? The Cowboys used a fourth-round pick to draft Ball, seemingly ignoring all the red flags he threw up during his brief tenure with Florida State. Ball was accused of “dating violence” while at FSU and it ultimately led to his dismissal from the program. After a year at JUCO he went to Marshall. In Marshall’s bowl game against UAB he was ejected after taking two personal foul calls. It should come as no surprise than the Cowboys are taking a chance on Ball. If he’s learned from his past mistakes, then great. But I don’t expect a ton of playing time for him in his rookie campaign. If he keeps his head down and his nose clean he’ll have an easy time getting experience and learning from proven players what it takes to make it in this league.

8. Kansas City Chiefs

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 71.0 (12th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 70.3 (12th Overall)

One didn’t necessarily associate “elite” and “Kansas City’s offensive line” in the same sentence in 2020. It’s not that the Chiefs didn’t have a decent offensive line last year. They just didn’t have depth. That’s ultimately what cost them in the Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes was only sacked 22 times in 15 regular season games last year. That’s pretty good and Russell Wilson would kill for that type of protection. The last time Russell Wilson was sacked fewer than 40 times in a season was in 2012, his rookie season. The lack of offensive line help in the Super Bowl boiled down to injuries and opt outs. Eric Fisher tore his ACL in the AFC Championship game. Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff opted out of the 2020 season, but let’s cut him a little slack. He was working as an orderly at a long-term care facility during the offseason and was able to contribute as a health care worker during a pandemic. Mitchell Schwartz tried to play through a back injury, but he ultimately went on IR in November of last season and was released this past offseason. It’s not particularly fair to the Chiefs to reduce their offensive line’s performance to one game. But after that one game, when the national media was talking about the franchise quarterback facing a ton of pressure and throwing the ball while he’s falling down, you make it an absolute priority to get some stability on the offensive line.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Orlando BrownJoe ThuneyAustin BlytheKyle LongMike Remmers
Martinas RankinNick AllegrettiCreed HumphreyLaurent Duvernay-TardiffLucas Niang
 Trey SmithDarryl WilliamsAndrew WyliePrince Tega Wanogho
 Yasir Durant   

Talk about a face lift. The Chiefs went out and made drastic improvements to become arguably one of the best starting offensive lines on paper and they have depth they should feel comfortable with. Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher are gone. Schwartz is a free agent at the moment and Fisher joined the Colts. To improve the O-line, the Chiefs dealt a late first-round pick, a third rounder, and a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft to acquire Orlando Brown and a couple other picks in return. Brown’s only been in the league for two years, but he’s made the Pro Bowl the last two season and if the Chiefs have plans to re-sign him to a long-term deal they’ll have to allocate some money to protect Mahomes’ blind side for the next few seasons. Additionally, they also went out and signed Joe Thuney to a five-year, $80 million contract. As a Patriots fan, this is painful to watch. Thuney was second-team All-Pro in 2019 and he’s a phenomenal addition to the interior of Kansas City’s offensive line. Add Kyle Long at right guard and Austin Blythe at center (who was great for the Rams last season) and you’re rounding out your O-line with good players with experience. Kansas City also invested a late-second round pick on center Creed Humphrey, and later used a sixth-rounder on Trey Smith. They likely won’t start the year but they’ll have an opportunity to compete and learn from some of the best linemen in the league. The Chiefs are shaping up to be one of the most improved offensive lines in the game, and they could compete as one of the best offensive lines overall.

9. Buffalo Bills

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 71.2 (13th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 71.9 (T-9th Overall)

When you think of the Buffalo Bills, a stout offensive line is usually synonymous. It’s a colder, blue collar, small market that relishes in a strong offensive line. And they haven’t really drafted any elite tackles in recent years. They took Dion Dawkins in 2017 with a second-round pick and he’s paid off for the most part having played over 1,000 laps in each of the last three seasons. He is prone to allowing a sack every so often, but he and Daryl Williams emerged as one of the best tackle duos in 2020 we have every reason to believe they will continue to be successful after Williams signed a new three-year deal with the Bills in the offseason. Mitch Morse is probably the most unheralded center in the league. He doesn’t get a lot of recognition, but he is paid well at least. He’s allowed just two sacks in his two years with the Bills and he seems to have built rapport with Josh Allen. The guard position is where Buffalo could struggle between Jon Feliciano and Cody Ford. Both struggled in pass protection a year ago and I wouldn’t exactly consider either of their jobs “safe.”

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Dion DawkinsJon FelicianoMitch MorseCody FordDaryl Williams
Tommy DoyleIke BoettgerRyan BatesJamil DouglasSpencer Brown
 Forrest LampJordan DeveyJack AndersonBobby Hart
   Steven GonzalezSyrus Tuitele

Essentially the is the same starting line they had to close out last season. So consistency is good. If we like that for the Browns then we should celebrate it for the Bills. After the team released Quinton Spain in the middle of last season they movEd Williams to right tackle and rolled with Feliciano and Ford at guard. Those two are the only concerns I have, but with the depth the Bills added in the offseason in Forrest Lamp, Spencer Brown, and Tommy Doyle they can probably get by on the interior portion of the line. Lamp battled injuries consistently with the Chargers, but he was a prized interior draft pick in his draft class. He finally managed to stay healthy in 2020 and led the league in snaps. If he can stay healthy, the Bills may have found one hell of a value in free agency. So despite my concerns, I think they’ll be able to find some guards to step up and make this a formidable offensive line.

10. San Francisco 49ers

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 81.0 (2nd Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 60.4 (24th Overall)

We weren’t too far off with rankings the 49ers as a top 12 offensive line last year. They were elite in run blocking and below average in terms of pass protection. But they were strong where they needed to be. The big acquisition for San Francisco was Trent Williams. After missing the 2019 season, Williams came over to San Francisco after sitting out the 2019 season and he did not look one bit rusty. Sure, he allowed four sacks but only gave up 19 total pressures on 957 snaps. Among all offensive linemen he boasted the best pass blocking grade according to Pro Football Focus among all tackles and both he and right tackle Mike McGlinchey ranked in the top four for all offensive linemen in terms of run blocking. McGlinchey had his share of struggles in pass protection with five sacks allowed but nearly double the pressures of Williams with 37. But the tackles weren’t the issue for San Francisco even without Joe Staley’s presence in 2020. The interior of the offensive line struggled at times and Weston Richburg retired in early June after some injury-plagued seasons with San Francisco. Richburg’s replacement, Ben Garland, struggled to fill the void at center and so it’s no surprise Garland isn’t re-joining the 49ers in 2021 either. Laken Tomlinson showed significant improvements in the run blocking department, but again, he struggled in pass protection allowing over 30 pressures to come up the middle. Most teams struggle more with pass protection than run blocking so this isn’t a huge stain on their resume.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Trent WilliamsLaken TomlinsonAlex MackDaniel BrunskillMike McGlinchey
Shon ColemanTom ComptonJake BrendelSenio KelemeteColton McKivitz
Jaylon MooreAaron Banks Isaiah WilliamsDakoda Shepley
    Alfredo Gutierrez

The big acquisition for the 49ers offensive line was Alex Mack who will be reunited with Kyle Shanahan for the third time in their careers. Mack previously played for Shanahan when he was the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons. Mack knows the system. Shanahan loves to run a lot of zone blocking schemes which require a lot of athleticism and agility. Mack will turn 36 this year, but even with the Falcons in his latter years he seemed more comfortable in zone blocking than power blocking. So this is a great fit and as long as he’s healthy the interior portion of this line will see a significant upgrade. In their last season together in 2016 for the Falcons, Mack graded out as the best center in the NFL according to PFF. The only position in question is likely right guard. This could be a three-man competition between Daniel Brunskill, Tom Compton, and Aaron Banks. Brunskill and Compton have more familiarity, but Banks will make a run for some reps. Banks was the player Notre Dame turned to after Quenton Nelson was drafted by the Colts in 2018. And he filled in admirably as a natural run blocker. Will he struggle in pass protection? Yes, most rookies do in their first year and he needs help with his technique and footwork. But he has a big frame to help compensate and again, he may not even start right away, but this is a good fit for him. Little needs to be said for Trent Williams aside from the fact the 49ers gave him a six-year, $138.06 million deal back in March, making him the highest-paid offensive linemen in league history. I have little concerns about the tackles for the 49ers, and I’m sure the front office feels good about their situation as well especially if they opt to go with Trey Lance to start the year. Protection will be there for him and the addition of a veteran like Alex Mack will be beneficial for Lance’s development and confidence.

11. Baltimore Ravens

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 70.5 (T-14th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 74.2 (4th Overall)

Considering the fact that the Ravens lost Marshal Yanda to retirement following the 2019 season and then only had Ronnie Stanley for half the season, this team made out okay. Stanley has developed into an elite left tackle. On October 30th of last season, he signed a five-year extension worth $112 million. Two days later he suffered a season-ending ankle injury. So he signed that contract at the perfect time. But in six games he yielded just six pressures and allowed zero sacks. Orlando Brown Jr. turned out a very strong season with just three sacks allowed in 16 games. He’s turned into an extremely talented tackle having played 1,000+ snaps in back-to-back seasons while allowing just 48 pressures and six sacks in that time frame. No one else really stood out as a solid play. Bradley Bozeman was okay. But the Ravens made use of almost everyone linemen they had available. They have nine different linemen register at least 100 snaps and eight of them played at least 300 snaps. At full health this team can perform as a top ten unit and despite the turnover in the offseason they are in position to possibly be a top eight group.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Ronnie StanleyBradley BozemanPatrick MekariKevin ZeitlerAlejandro Villanueva
Foster SarellBen ClevelandTrystan Colon-CastilloBen PowersJa’Wuan James
Tyre PhillipsBen BredesonGreg ManczMichael SchofieldAndre Smith
    Adrian Ealy

This was a pretty noteworthy offseason for the Ravens. They traded Orlando Brown to Kansas City for a first-round pick in April’s draft. But they also brought in Alejandro Villanueva from the division rival, Pittsburgh Steelers. Villanueva will have to make the adjustment from left tackle to right tackle so there may be an adjustment period. They also acquired Kevin Zeitler after he came off one of his worst years with the Giants. Honestly, he may simply just not have been very motivated on that team. So Zeitler returns to the AFC North having already played for both the Bengals and Browns. If he finishes his career with the Steelers he’ll have completed the cycle in this division. And as an intriguing depth add, they signed Ja’Wuan James after the Broncos’ failed experiment was cut from the team in the offseason after tearing his achilles. He will miss the 2021 season, but there is a longshot chance that he might be able to play in the playoffs if the Ravens make it that far. That’s still six months away. But for 2022, James presents some interesting depth for Baltimore. This is a good, experienced offensive line that should easily finish in the top half of the league. Both Patrick Mekari and Bradley Bozeman have room to grow, but they’re certainly serviceable especially Mekari who has performed very well for an undrafted player from 2019’s class.

12. Philadelphia Eagles

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 67.1 (17th overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 67.5 (16th overall)

I used to love previewing this offensive line. Most recently, it seems like a chore. A couple years ago when they had Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, and even Halapoulivaati Vaitai this was an absolute force and easily one of the best offensive fronts in the league. But that wasn’t the case in 2020. Now let’s get one thing out of the way, they were beat up before the season even began. Pro Bowl right guard, Brandon Brooks, tore his achilles in June of 2020 and then at the end of training camp, Andre Dillard tore his bicep. Two starters done before Week 1 isn’t a recipe for success. Injuries would go on to define their season. The team brought back All-Pro tackle Jason Peters to initially play guard, but when Dillard got hurt Peters restructured his deal to play left tackle (and get paid more), but he was limited to just eight games due to a foot injury. Lane Johnson was limited to just seven games as well. Really the only consistent piece they had on the offensive line was Jason Kelce at center. Nate Herbig and Jordan Mailata did fill in admirably and if you take into account the injuries this offensive line incurred, being a middle-of-the-pack offensive line isn’t such a bad look. 

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Andre DillardIsaac SeumaloJason KelceBrandon BrooksLane Johnson
Jordan MailataLandon DickersonLuke JurigaNate HerbigJack Driscoll
Brett TothIosua OpetaRoss PierschbacherMatt PryorLe’Raven Clark
Casey Tucker   Kayode Awosika

If they’re healthy there’s no reason this offensive line can’t perform as a top ten unit. However, a lot of the success does depend on Dillard’s development. He was drafted as the heir-apparent to Jason Peters back in 2019. He struggled in his rookie season and missed all of 2020. Kelce, Brooks, and Johnson are capable of holding down the right side of the offensive line. Age is the only concern for those three and they aren’t even that old (roughly between 31 and 33 years old). They didn’t make any big splashes in free agency, but they did use a second-round draft pick in April’s draft to potentially address the left guard situation if they’re unsatisfied with Isaac Seumalo, who struggled in run blocking in 2020. The Eagles took Landon Dickerson out of Alabama, and it sounds like he could be ready to make an impact after suffering a season-ending injury last year with the Crimson Tide. The team is giving the offensive reigns to Jalen Hurts and on paper this offensive line looks great and they certainly can rank among the league’s best. However, the left side of the offensive line will be worth monitoring through training camp and into the upcoming season.

13. Los Angeles Rams

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 77.3 (5th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 71.8 (11th Overall)

This line far exceeded my expectations last year. They were unbelievable. I ranked them as a bottom ten offensive line and were easily in the top eight come season’s end. What did they do differently? Nothing. Everybody basically just got better from 2019. It’s strange. You expect that from younger players but even veterans like Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein just simply improved in the quality of their blocking. According to Pro Football Focus, Jared Goff was pressured on less than 30% of his drop backs and that was huge for this offensive line and this offense overall. Andrew Whitworth allowed just SIX total pressures and zero sacks through nine games before he got hurt last season. I honestly thought that would be a career-ending injury for him. He was 38, about to be 39 at the time, and I just couldn’t imagine him coming back. Surprisingly he’ll suit up in full and turn 40 in December. We don’t normally see many offensive linemen play into their late-30’s including left tackles. Additionally, Havenstein allowed just four sacks and 27 pressures in 16 games. Even the Austin’s (Blythe and Corbett) combined for 53 pressures and five sacks allowed. Overall, this was an offensive line that came out of nowhere and blew everyone out of the water.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Andrew WhitworthDavid EdwardsBrian AllenAustin CorbettRob Havenstein
Joseph NoteboomJamil DembyJordan MeredithColeman SheltonBobby Evans
Alaric JacksonChandler Brewer  Tremayne Anchrum
    Max Pircher

A lot of folks in the industry are more bullish on the Rams heading into 2021 than I am. I think they’ll be good but I’m not sold on them being a top ten offensive line. They lost Austin Blythe to Kansas City, but they do get Brian Allen back who missed all of last season. So the starting offensive is fine. It’s in tact and while I don’t love the depth, they should be okay. I do have two concerns for this unit. The first of which is still Andrew Whitworth’s age. Tom Brady gets all the credit for beating the clock, but Whitworth is right there with him as an ageless wonder and Whitworth plays a more demanding position. He’ll turn 40 in December and you have to wonder if his performance might suffer given his age and injury from a year ago. Additionally, the Rams have a new offensive line coach. Aaron Kromer won’t return after coaching the Rams O-line the past four seasons. Kevin Carberry takes over as the offensive line coach so we’ll see if last year’s performance is sustainable or if it was a flash in the pan.

14. Green Bay Packers

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 76.2 (T-6th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 80.0 (2nd Overall)

The Green Bay Packers just seem to be synonymous with great offensive lines. Perhaps it’s the aspect of the Big Ten producing great offensive linemen, or the general stigma of NFC North football. But this offensive line did not disappoint in 2020. For the fifth straight season David Bakhtiari was named All-Pro. In 12 games (758 snaps) he allowed just nine pressures and one sack. His 91.6 pass blocking grade was the highest among all offensive linemen last year and his 86.9 run blocking score was 11th. Aaron Rodgers owes a lot of his 2020 MVP campaign to his offensive line as he was sacked just 20 times across 16 games in the regular season and only nine of those were at the fault of the offensive line. Not a bad performance from the collective group after Bryan Bulaga left for the Chargers following the 2019 season. Elgton Jenkins filled in at all positions throughout the year except for right guard and he allowed just 14 total pressures across 1,000+ snaps. Corey Linsley was arguably the league’s best center from a year ago and Rick Wagner was exceptional as well. Despite the slight turnover the team adapted and performed incredibly well on their way to another NFC North title.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
David BakhtiariJon RunyanElgton JenkinsLucas PatrickBilly Turner
Yosuah NijmanCole Van LanenJosh MyersSimon StepaniakRoyce Newman
Coy CronkBen BradenJake HansonJon DietzenZack Johnson
   Jacob Capra 

Perhaps this is too much turnover for a once great offensive line. And they could pull off a similar performance to last season, but they have a tough task ahead of themselves. Corey Linsley capitalized on his phenomenal, All-Pro season from a year ago and the Chargers made him the highest-paid center in the league. Rick Wagner was released after just one season, but it was a damn good one. He remains a free agent as of the time of this writing. Billy Turner is project to step up to fill his shoes so there’s a bit of a question mark there. Elgton Jenkins is coming off his first Pro Bowl season and while he might be better suited for the interior portion of the offensive line he has a lot to live up to as the replacement for Corey Linsley. I honestly think it would make more sense to have Josh Myers start at center since that’s his natural position and have Jenkins play either of the guard positions. Myers was one of three draft picks the Packers used in this year’s draft on the offensive line. They also drafted Royce Newman and Cole Van Lanen so perhaps they’re finally feeling the effects of life sans Linsley and Bulaga. If David Bakhtiari were to get hurt, this offensive line could be in trouble. For now, I’ll rank them in the top half out of sheer respect, but I do have concerns.

15. Tennessee Titans

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 78.0 (4th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 56.7 (28th Overall)

Heading into last season I had the Titans offensive line ranked around 16th overall and considering they were great in run blocking and dreadful in pass protection, a middling opinion on them looks accurate. For years, the Titans anchored one of the best tackle duos in the whole league with Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin. Conklin departed in free agency ahead of the 2020 season and had a career year with the Browns as mentioned above. Lewan tore his ACL in Week 6 and was limited to just 239 snaps last season. To make matters worse, the team drafted Isaiah Wilson with a first-round pick in 2020 and he played just three snaps with the Titans. The combination of COVID protocols and disciplinary issues forced the team to trade him to Miami for a seventh-round pick. As an aside, Wilson was then cut by the Dolphins three days after being traded because he missed a team meeting and two workouts. It goes without saying, right tackle was a big issue for Tennessee in 2020. As far as the interior goes, they did fine but nobody truly stood out. They were great in run blocking but having a human tank at running back certainly aids the running game as well. Ben Jones was solid and consistent at center. He started all 16 games and didn’t allow a single sack all season and graded out top five at his position. Rodger Saffold started 16 games at left guard but was much better at run blocking than pass blocking. Overall, it was a forgettable season for the O-line, but you wouldn’t know it given the success of the ground game.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Taylor LewanRodger SaffoldBen JonesNate DavisKendall Lamm
Paul AdamsDavid QuessenberryAaron BrewerDaniel MunyerDillon Radunz
Ty Sambrailo  Cole BanwartBrandon Kemp
   Adam CoonElijah Nkansah
    Chandon Herring

Assuming Taylor Lewan returns to full strength, Ryan Tannehill’s blindside will have better protection. But right tackle will likely still be a big question mark for Tennessee heading into the season. After declaring Isaiah Wilson a bust and trading him after one year, the Titans drafted Dillon Radunz with their second-round draft pick in April’s draft. We’ll give them a mulligan as Radunz is a very athletic, young player who projects well in a zone blocking offensive style. The concern with Radunz is his lack of experience with pass protection. Don’t be surprised if Kendall Lamm or Ty Sambrailo start the year with a majority of reps at right tackle. With the addition of Julio Jones in the offseason, all signs point to Tennessee maybe trying to throw the ball more and if Tennessee can find a way to plug the leaks at right tackle this offensive line could finish higher in the rankings come season’s end. Lewan, Saffold, and Jones should be fine.  The right side is the concern. If Nate Davis can develop more in pass protection (he allowed 31 pressures) and the team can find some consistency at right tackle, there’s room for the group to return to top ten status after this year.

16. Los Angeles Chargers

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 46.5 (32nd overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 54.5 (30th overall)

Thank goodness Justin Herbert was awesome and entertaining in his rookie season because, for the most part, his presence masked the deficiencies of the offensive line. Granted, anyone with functioning eyeballs could see this offensive front struggled in 2020. They were arguably the worst offensive line in the whole league. This team signed Bryan Bulaga in free agency prior to 2020 and traded for Trai Turner. Those two acquisitions alone should signal drastic improvements as a whole. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Both Bulaga and Turner dealt with injuries and neither saw 600 offensive snaps last season. 2017 second-round pick, Forrest Lamp, was finally healthy for a full season and he led the league with 1,174 offensive snaps. But unfortunately he struggled mightily in run blocking. Storm Norton was a pretty solid “feel good” story as he came over from the XFL after the league had to fold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Norton wasn’t great by any means, but he appeared in over 300 offensive snaps over the team’s final five games and yielded just one sack. Again, he’s really the only bright spot worth mentioning and I’m pulling from a sample size of five games. On to 2021…

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Rashawn SlaterOday AboushiCorey LinsleyMatt FeilerBryan Bulaga
Trey PipkinsTyree St. LouisScott QuessenberryBrenden JaimesStorm Norton
Kyle Spalding  Nathan GilliamRyan Hunter
Austin Proehl   Darius Harper

As you can see, QUITE the overhaul! Where to begin! The Chargers saw a weakness and addressed it. To be honest, if they weren’t aware of how awful the offensive line was in 2020 then the front office should have been committed to an asylum. I was optimistic and ranked this offensive line 14th a year ago, and with the massive overhaul I believe this is a top ten team, but I’m going to go a bit more conservative with my ranking here because it seems like the Chargers tend to deal with injuries more than any other group each year. Matt Feiler may have been the lone bright spot for the Steelers offensive line a year ago and over his last three years in Pittsburgh he played over 2,500 offensive snaps and yielded just nine sacks and 67 total pressures. They also brought in Oday Aboushi and Corey Linsley with Linsley being the big free agent acquisition as it reunites him with his former Green Bay Packers teammate, Bryan Bulaga. Linsley was a first-team All-Pro in 2020 and the Chargers made him the highest paid center in the league. And the cherry on top in improving this offensive line is obviously Rashawn Slater. Slater was drafted 13th overall in April’s draft. In viewing his draft profile the only knock on him appears to be his lack of length (just gotta pump some iron kid). But he possesses athleticism and proper footwork that will allow the Chargers to start him at left tackle immediately. We saw last year that throwing rookie offensive linemen into the fire at left tackle is a risk and could provide underwhelming results. But overall this is one of the three most improved offensive lines in the league next to Kansas City and Cincinnati and the Chargers could very well perform like a top ten offensive line this season.

17. Washington Football Team

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 71.5 (10th overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 77.7 (3rd overall)

The Washington offensive line certainly made me look stupid a year ago. I ranked them as the worst offensive line in the entire league and they went out and proved me wrong. So much so, that they were easily a top ten offensive line a year ago and arguably top five. They went into the season with a lot of turnover, most notably the departure of Trent Williams (who sat out 2019 anyway), and they entered 2020 with a lot of question marks outside of Brandon Scherff. Well, they had an answer everywhere. Geron Christian won the starting left tackle job, but was injured after the first six games and Cornelius Lucas took over for him. In nine games at left tackle, Lucas allowed just three sacks and posted a pass blocking grade of 83.1 which was top 15 among all tackles in the league. Jack Conklin’s pass blocking grade was 82.5, just to give you an idea of how surprising Lucas’ performance was last year. Chase Roullier was fantastic a year ago and he was rewarded with a $40.5 million contract extension in the offseason. And per usual, Brandon Scherff was awesome last season as he was named to his fourth Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro. 

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Charles Leno Jr.Ereck FlowersChase RoullierBrandon ScherffCornelius Lucas
Samuel CosmiWes SchweitzerKeith IsmaelWes MartinRick Leonard
Charles SaahdiqTyler LarsenBeau BenzschawelNajee ToranDavid Steinmetz
David Sharpe    

As you can see we have some changes from a year ago. I barely touched on Geron Christian up above and didn’t mention Morgan Moses at all. Washington released both players on May 20th. Christian was claimed by the Texans and Moses signed with the Jets in late June. Christian played well before his injury and while Moses performed admirably at right tackle last year, he was much better in run blocking. He wasn’t terrible in pass protection, but he allowed 41 pressures, five sacks, and 14 hits on the quarterback a year ago. So, heading into 2021 the Football Team might utilize Cornelius Lucas at right tackle and they brought in Charles Leno Jr. to solidify the left side of the line. There are no concerns with Roullier or Scherff, but Scherff is playing on the franchise tag (again) this year and clearly looking for a bigger contract. All in all this is a good offensive line. They won’t find lightning in a bottle like they did a year ago, but perhaps the most important thing is this team has pretty good depth. With Ryan Fitzpatrick under center this season, the Football Team is making another run at the division and they will be competitive. I think they have a fairly high floor but a low ceiling for 2021, but they’re still lightyears ahead of where I thought they were a year ago.

18. Arizona Cardinals

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 60.7 (24th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 73.7 (6th Overall)

I suppose I should have seen this coming. It was more of the same from the Cardinals in 2020. In 2019 they ranked 24th in run blocking and ninth in pass blocking. That’s similar to how 2020 panned out and I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised despite the fact I ranked them very low heading into 2020. It’s a mystery to me how DJ Humphries didn’t receive a Pro Bowl nod considering he played the fourth-most snaps last season (1,129) and allowed just 23 pressures and three sacks all year long. No one at the left tackle position played more snaps than him. He proved his worth to the Cardinals after signing a three-year extension with the team ahead of the 2020 season. Kelvin Beachum played three fewer snaps than Humphries and also allowed just three sacks. So the exterior with the tackle was pretty set as far as pass protection goes. But once again, the Cardinals struggled with run blocking. The team was very committed to running the ball and a lot of the team’s rushing yards are inflated rushing for 51.2 yards per game a year ago. Even the guards excelled in pass protection, but struggled in run blocking. Mason Cole, the team’s center for most of last season, struggled mightily. For all my complaints about the run blocking, this team found a way to crack the top ten in rushing attempts per game and rushing yards per game.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
DJ HumphriesJustin PughRodney HudsonBrian WintersKelvin Beachum
Josh JonesMax GarciaLamont GaillardJust MurrayBranden Bowen
Joshua MilesSean HarlowMichal MenetShaq CalhounKoda Martin

As you can see there are some strong changes to the interior portion of this line and they were wise moves. The Cardinals gave up a third-round draft pick in April’s draft to be able to acquire Rodney Hudson who will serve as a significant upgrade over Mason Cole who is no longer with the team. Justin Pugh will likely have another solid season. He’s never remarkable, but he’ll never drag down the collective performance of the line on his own. Kelvin Beachum earned the right to presumably be the starting right tackle for this team following 2020’s strong performance. Brian Winters comes over from Buffalo after he replaced Jon Feliciano once he went down with injury. For what it’s worth this is a good offensive line built with veterans that should hopefully maintain the pass protection standards of the past few years while improving in run blocking. And if anything were to happen regarding an injury, Josh Jones is waiting in the wing to step up and prove his worth after slipping to the third round in the 2020 NFL Draft. This should be another strong year for the Cardinals offensive line.

19. Jacksonville Jaguars

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 60.2 (25th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 64.7 (20th Overall)

Brandon Linder may not be the best center in the game, but he’s definitely top five. When he’s healthy he consistently grades out very well and he’s a valuable asset to the Jaguars offensive line especially with a new franchise quarterback in town. Linder’s never been named to a Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team, so he doesn’t have the recognition he deserves. In his seven-year career he’s allowed a total of nine sacks and five of those came in his rookie season. Now the center position isn’t routinely facing the same kind of pressure left tackles are, but either way, four sacks allowed in the last six years (despite missing time due to injury) is still impressive. Lining up next to Linder are A.J. Cann and Andrew Norwell. Neither are as valuable as Linder, but they’re both above average at the guard position. The three of them combined for 40 total pressures and six sacks allowed on 2,250 snaps last year. This is arguably one of the best interiors groupings in the league. Where Jacksonville struggles is at tackle. And that’s not exactly what you want to hear when you’re bringing in one of the best quarterback prospects in recent memory. Between Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor they allowed a total of 98 pressures and 13 sacks on the quarterback last season in 2,010 combined snaps. They were both able to play 16 games which is great when your tackles stay healthy, but they weren’t the most reliable in pass protection. It’ll be a big year for Robinson in particular because as bad as he was last year, he is set to make a decent amount of coin on the team’s franchise tag, but this is also a contract year for him as well. 

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Cam RobinsonAndrew NorwellBrandon LinderAJ CannJawaan Taylor
Will RichardsonKC McDermottTyler ShatleyBen BartchDerwin Gray
Walker LittleGarrett McGhin Tre’Vour Wallace-SimmsAusten Pleasants

The good news for the Jaguars is there is consistency here. They’re returning all five starters including that stout interior portion of the line. As mentioned above, there is a need for growth from Robinson and Taylor. Robinson needs to earn his next big contract by showing improvements this year and the team is hopeful Taylor can make the proverbial “third year jump” at right tackle. I will say I’m probably more bullish on the Jaguars offensive line than most. I think there is room to improve at the tackle positions, but there are zero concerns on the interior. The Jaguars also took a big risk on selecting Walker Little with a second-round draft pick. He has great size for the tackle position, but an injury cut his 2019 season short and he opted out of the 2020 season so consider him a big of a project for the time being. I will admit there’s top 12 potential here if they can get the most from Robinson and Taylor. If they can significantly cut back on the pressure on Trevor Lawrence then this offensive line will be fine. Heading into 2021, I’ll lean on the slightly conservative side and put them just outside the top half of the league.

20. New York Jets

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 65.2 (20th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 53.4 (31st Overall)

Just a poor performance from the Jets in 2020. However, they can hang their hats on the fact that Mekhi Becton looks like he’ll be an elite left tackle in the league in due time. But he’s just 20% of the offensive line. The Jets allowed 1.1 yards before contact per rushing attempt last year, which was 30th in the league. They struggled to get the run game going and the offensive line struggled to open up lanes. Another issue was that the Jets struggled to stay healthy on the offensive line. As promising as Becton looked, he missed a couple games as did Greg Van Roten, George Fant, Alex Lewis, Conor McDermott, and Chuda Edoba. Connor McGovern was really the only member who didn’t suffer any form of injury, but for a center he graded out as one of the worst in pass protection (42.7). But they’ve found a long-term solution at left tackle as long as he doesn’t grow frustrated with the franchise and they can keep him healthy. They can build a better line going forward.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Mekhi BectonAlijah Vera-TuckerConnor McGovernGreg Van RotenMorgan Moses
Chuma EdogaDan FeeneyJames MurrayAlex LewisGeorge Fant
Cameron ClarkCorey Levin Conor McDermottTeton Saltes
Grant Hermanns  Tristen Hoge 

It’s looking like another underwhelming season from the Jets offensive line. There are some reasons for optimism though. For starters they get another year of Mekhi Becton to develop and build on a respectable rookie season. They also used another first-round pick to draft Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC. Currently he’s projected as the starting left guard according to Ourlads. There were rumors he would compete with George Fant for the starting right tackle position, but the Jets signed Morgan Moses to a one-year deal on July 2nd so Vera-Tucker will join Becton on building up the young left side of the offensive line. Moses improved greatly as a run blocker in 2020 with Washington, but the Jets need to at least understand he will get beat occasionally. He’s given up five sacks in each of the last five years with at least 30 pressures each year as well. He’s still an upgrade over George Fant. If this unit can stay healthy and not allow too much pressure on their shiny new franchise quarterback, Zach Wilson, then they can get by just fine. A lot of their success does hinge on the left side of the line.

21. Seattle Seahawks

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 72.7 (10th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 66.0 (19th Overall)

Truth be told, the Seahawks offensive line wasn’t as terrible as everyone tends to believe. They were pretty good in run blocking and nothing great in pass protection. Duane Brown has been the anchor on this offensive line ever since they acquired him in 2017. Pro Football Focus graded Brown as a top 12 tackle last season and he allowed just two sacks and 34 total pressures. He’s been a model of consistency for Seattle and the rest of the line finally followed suit last year. Opposite Brown, Brandon Shell made great improvements in 2020 allowing significantly fewer pressures, and keep in mind he did miss five games. The interior wasn’t glorious by any means, but Ethan Pocic was serviceable. This particular offensive line tends to get a bad reputation because Russell Wilson was sacked 40 times for the eighth straight season. Over the last three years he’s been sacked at least 47 times in each campaign. Wilson’s strained relationship in the offseason could have been due to the lack of protection, or the offensive philosophy as they seemed to let him cook less as the season progressed. If they can seemingly put together another solid season, similar to last year, they can contribute to the offense’s success. However, if Wilson is running for his life, as has been the case for what feels like forever, then they’ll be the ones to blame in the eyes of the media.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Duane BrownDamien LewisEthan PocicGabe JacksonBrandon Shell
Jamarco JonesJordan SimmonsKyle FullerPhil HaynesCedric Ogbuehi
Stone ForsytheGreg EilandBrad LundbladePier-Olivier LestageTommy Champion
 Jared Hocker Jake Curhan 

The Seahawks will be a bit handcuffed in terms of first-round draft picks in the near future. When they acquired Jamal Adams they shipped out two first rounders. And that’s fine in my opinion because Seattle tends to draft better later in drafts than earlier. They’ve whiffed on some first-round picks since they selected Earl Thomas and Russell Okung over a decade ago. The point I’m trying to make is that they’ll likely miss out on elite linemen in next year’s draft because they missed out on them this year too. And that’s okay. Duane Brown is only 35 and if I’ve learned anything from Andrew Whitworth it’s that age is just a number, and Brown in particular is still playing at a high level. Damien Lewis has room for improvement as he enters his second year in the league. He played in all 16 games last year and while he was very good in run blocking, he was dreadful in pass protection. I do expect to see significant improvements for him this year. Brandon Shell will be joined by Gabe Jackson on the right side of the line. Jackson is a good veteran presence, but his performance has waned as his career has gone on. When he entered the league in 2014, Pro Football Focus gave him a pass blocking grade of 85.6, but since then it’s gotten worse each season culminating in last year’s 69.9. And he posted a 58.5 run blocking grade. But for what the Seahawks are looking for, Jackson can suffice. This line won’t be anything great, but if the Seahawks can let Russ cook and just let this offense turned into a well-oiled machine, the deficiencies here can be masked.

22. Denver Broncos

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 58.0 (28th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 62.5 (22nd Overall)

The most noteworthy piece of the Broncos offensive line in 2020 was Garrett Bolles. He has played over 4,000 snaps combined in his four years in the league despite coming in as a 25-year-old rookie. He didn’t allow a single sack last single and allowed just 13 pressures in a contract year after he declined his fifth-year option. He gambled on himself and it paid off. He was named second-team All-Pro and was given a new four-year contract. So having an elite left tackle must be pretty appealing if this team were to potentially trade for a quarterback that’s a little annoyed and frustrated with the team he’s been with for over a decade. But that’s neither here nor there. Aside from Bolles, there were no bright spots. Rookie Lloyd Cushenberry graded out as the worst center in the league and he struggled in pass protection. The Ja’wuan James experiment didn’t work out for Denver either. After giving him a four-year, $51 million deal, he played in just three games in 2019 and then opted out of the 2020 season. Plus, he tore his achilles this past offseason and the Broncos ultimately released him. 

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Garrett BollesDalton RisnerLloyd CushenberryGraham GlasgowBobby Massie
Cameron FlemingAustin SchlottmannQuinn MeinerzNetane MutiQuinn Bailey
Calvin AndersonNolan Laufenberg Patrick MorrisDrew Himmelman
Cody Conway    

Assuming Garrett Bolles doesn’t get fat and happy with his shiny new contract, the Broncos can confidently assume they have one of the best left tackles in the league, which is a luxury. They’ll need other youngsters to take drastic strides forward in Lloyd Cushenberry and Dalton Risner if they want to move the ball with all the talent they have on this roster. On the right side of the line, they’re going to be just fine with Graham Glasgow and Bobby Massie. Both Glasgow and Massie have been solid participants throughout their careers so the right side of the line should do fine. All in all this is a decent offensive line that most teams would be happy with. Getting Bolles to follow up on 2020’s performance and getting more from Risner and Cushenberry will be key. Part of me is curious to see if Denver entertains the idea of having Glasgow take snaps at center (where he has a little experience) and seeing if Cushenberry might just be more comfortable at guard instead of center. Time will tell, but there’s a good floor with this offensive line and a bit of an unknown ceiling at the moment.

23. Houston Texans

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 59.3 (26th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 72.1 (T-7th Overall)

The 2020 Texans offensive line is similar to the Seahawks offensive line. You generally consider them a bad offensive line and while they weren’t a top 15 group, they certainly aren’t one of the bottom dwellers. The team went 4-12 and JJ Watt said it best in one of his candid “Oh, I totally didn’t know there was a camera here” moments when he stated to Deshaun Watson that they wasted a year of his talent. Laremy Tunsil yielded just 19 pressures in 14 games and he allowed just two sacks. That’s well above average and he was easily a top ten tackle a year ago. However, creating lanes and run blocking has never been his strong suit and he regressed a little bit last season. Similar to Tunsil, Nick Martin, the team’s center, was fine in pass protection but he struggled mightily in run blocking. This trend continued for Tytus Howard, Max Scharping, and Zach Fulton. It’s not a surprise that Houston attempted the second-fewest rushing attempts (21.5) in 2020 and averaged the second-fewest rushing yards on a per game basis (91.6). For starters they were awful in run blocking, but they also had to abandon the run in plenty of game scripts. Deshaun Watson was sacked 49 times so you may be wondering how the Texans graded so well in pass protection. Well, you only need to look at one guy, Zach Fulton. Of all the offensive linemen in the league, Fulton led them all with 11 sacks. But the real surprising stat is that he only allowed 39 pressures. 11 sacks are awful. 39 pressures is still bad, but you’d think that if he gave up that many sacks then there should’ve been more pressures. Perhaps it was a fluke and a ridiculously high rate of defensive tackles just seemingly made it through. After all, this was a guy that allowed a total of 13 sacks through his first six years, and never allowed more than 30 pressures in a season. It could’ve just been an off year for him. The rest of the offensive line only accounted for ten sacks allowed.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Laremy TunsilMax ScharpingJustin BrittMarcus CannonTytus Howard
Roderick JohnsonJustin McCrayCole TonerLane TaylorGeron Christian
Jordan StecklerCarson GreenRyan McCollumHjalte FroholdtCharlie Heck

I will say that I might like Houston’s depth more than most people. Geron Christian was getting better early on last season before he suffered an injury that limited him to six games. So he and Roderick Johnson provide nice depth at tackle and I’m sure either could fill in at guard. I’m not overly concerned about Tunsil. He’s in the prime of his career and will be just fine once again. If you’re an offensive line coach and left tackle is your least concern, consider that a blessing. Justin Britt is coming out of retirement. He last played for Seattle in 2019 and was mostly a middle-of-the-road center, but if he shakes off the rust he can probably do just fine in the trenches for Houston. Marcus Cannon comes over from New England. He will become a fan favorite and a very likable guy. He’s a cancer survivor and an all-around solid lineman. He did sit out the 2020 season so the Texans are taking a risk on two potential starters that didn’t play last year. The two big question marks are going to be Scharping and Howard, both of whom were early early-round draft picks for Houston in the 2019 draft despite both coming from smaller schools. There’s a general belief that offensive linemen make a “third year jump.” And this would be the third year for both Howard and Scharping. Howard improved in run blocking last year, but regressed horribly in pass protection and he was flagged 11 times last year. Scharping battled some injuries last season, but overall was still nothing impressive. 2020 will be huge for both men to step up and show that they belong in the league. Otherwise, these two 2019 investments will get the honor of being labeled as busts.

24. Cincinnati Bengals

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 65.0 (21st Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 58.3 (27th Overall)

The Bengals received possibly the harshest reality check in terms of how bad their offensive line was a year ago. I could tout PFF grades, pressures, yards before contact, etc. But when your franchise quarterback is hit and suffers a torn ACL and MCL, with additional damage to his PCL and meniscus, then you clearly have a problem. Leading up to that unfortunate Week 11 game, Burrow was sacked 32 times in the previous ten games. So this is a severe wakeup call to make some changes. Fortunately, they did get to see what they have in Jonah Williams. He was the Bengals first-round pick in 2019, but missed his rookie season with a shoulder injury and again missed some time in 2020. He did appear in ten games and while he struggled significantly in run blocking, he was decent in pass protection. His health is incredibly vital going forward. But last season, injuries to the offensive line opened the door for the Bengals to have ten different offensive linemen log at least 200 snaps. But the biggest narrative heading into the NFL Draft was the Bengals need to address the offensive line…

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Jonah WilliamsMichael JordanTrey HopkinsQuinton SpainRiley Reiff
Hakeem AdenijiJackson CarmanBilly PriceXavier Su’a-FiloD’Ante Smith
 Keaton SutherlandTrey Hill Fred Johnson
    Isaiah Prince

And address the offensive line they sure did… Just not with their first-round pick. The logical pick would have been to select Penei Sewell, the best offensive line prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft class. However, when a player of Ja’Marr Chase’s caliber is on the board, you go and get your franchise quarterback a potential superstar weapon. This is an offensive line article and even I believe the Bengals made the right call on passing on Sewell to get Chase. This won’t come to haunt the Bengals. They had a decent offseason finding short-term replacements on the right side of the line. The Bengals brought in Quinton Spain in the middle of last season after he was benched and released by the Bills. Spain frequented the active roster and practice squad before settling in and re-signing on a one-year deal. His best years are behind him but he’ll likely start as the team’s starting right guard. Riley Reiff also comes over on a one-year deal to play right tackle. He’s an easy upgrade over Bobby Hart, who allowed 44 pressures last season and contributed to the poor pass protection. And the Bengals did add Jackson Carman, D’Ante Smith, and Trey Hill via the draft to provide depth for the offensive line. Carman is by far the most interesting option. He might get most experience this season at either left or right guard, but he could be the long-term play at right tackle after playing tackle for most of his college career at Clemson. When you think about the most improved offensive lines heading into the 2021 season you think about the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals still have a long way to go, but they’ve made steps in the right direction.

25. Las Vegas Raiders

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 59.3 (26th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 67.2 (T-17th Overall)

The 2020 offensive line for the Las Vegas Raiders was expensive. By far the most expensive in the league by about $8 million. The offensive line cost them $52 million last season according to Spotrac and they were severely overpaid if we’re judging performance. To be fair to the Raiders, they only got a combined 386 snaps between Trent Brown and Richie Incognito. Their replacements were a combination of Denzelle Good, John Simpson, Sam Young, and Brandon Parker. Needless to say, those four had big shoes to fill and while I’m sure they gave their best efforts, they just don’t offer quite match the protection Brown and Incognito are capable of. So this offensive line suffered. Derek Carr was luckily only sacked 26 times last year. Russell Wilson is green with envy, but the team struggled at times to move the ball through the ground and air. Surprisingly the Raiders went 8-8 last year so the deficiencies of the offensive line are a little hidden. I’m not saying the team would’ve won extra games or had a better run at the playoffs if Brown and Incognito had stayed healthy, but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Kolton MillerRichie IncognitoAndre JamesDenzelle GoodAlex Leatherwood
Brandon ParkerJohn SimpsonNick MartinLester CottonJaryd Jones-Smith
Devery HamiltonPatrick OmamehJimmy MorrisseyParker EhingerSam Young

The Raiders shed some salary and heading into training camp they are paying roughly $35.44 million for the offensive line, but assuming some of these guys get cut, then that number will go down. As you can see Trent Brown and his massive 6’8”, 359-pound frame have gone back to New England in a trade where the Raiders got a fifth-round draft pick. So that’s a nice little win for the Pats. Additionally the Raiders also traded Rodney Hudson to Arizona so those are two Pro Bowl caliber players that are gone from the team. One of the lone bright spots from a year ago was Kolton Miller who has improved as a left tackle year-after-year although he does have room to grow in terms of run blocking. Richie Incognito is now 38 years old but he’s had his share of injuries the last two years. The team did draft Alex Leatherwood to replace Trent Brown at right tackle so while those are (literally) big shoes to fill, we can’t expect too much from a rookie right tackle this season. Taking all this into consideration, the Raiders project to be one of the bottom dwellers in terms of offensive lines. And that’s a little upsetting since I ranked them as a top ten offensive line a year ago. If they can stay healthy, they could potentially crack the top 20 this year, but I’m not overly optimistic of that happening.

26. Atlanta Falcons

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 64.1 (22nd Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 62.4 (23rd Overall)

The Falcons surprised everyone in the 2019 NFL Draft when they opted to go with two offensive linemen in the first round when they probably had bigger fish to fry on defense or eventually quarterback. But they went with building on the offensive line by taking Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary. Lindstrom stayed healthy in his second year playing over 1,100 snaps after playing barely over 300 in his rookie season. He posted grades of at least 70.0 in both pass protection and run blocking. Kaleb McGary improved slightly at right tackle but still had issues in pass protection with 30 pressures allowed and a 58.5 pass blocking grade from Pro Football Focus. On the other side of the line, the Falcons have themselves a Steady Eddie with Jake Matthews. He’s only made one Pro Bowl in his career but he’s far from the weakest player year in and year out. Alex Mack finally started showing his age a year ago as he regressed heavily in pass protection and run blocking. There’s certainly room for growth with this offensive line but expectations have been set relatively low for 2021.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Jake MatthewsWillie WrightMatt HennessyChris LindstromKaleb McGary
Matt GonoJalen MayfieldDrew DalmanJosh AndrewsWillie Beavers
 Joe SculthorpeSam JonesBryce HargroveWilliam Sweet
 Ryan Neuzil  Kion Smith

For those buying into the third-year jump for offensive linemen then this could be a big year for the right side of this offensive line. Lindstrom proved his worth last season while McGary still needs to make some strides in pass protection as noted above. Alex Mack has departed to reunite with Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco so Matt Hennessy, Atlanta’s 2020 third round selection, will get the opportunity to start for the Falcons at center in 2021. Overall the Birds had a pretty good draft. They addressed big needs. With Julio Jones clearly on the outs they grabbed themselves one of the best playmakers in the draft with Kyle Pitts. Then they came back around in the third and fourth rounds to select Jalen Mayfield and Drew Dalman to improve the interior of the offensive line. And with Jake Matthews holding down left tackle, Matt Ryan’s blindside will be protected fairly well. As it stands right now, there’s nothing special about this group unless Lindstrom and McGary greatly exceed expectations, which could very well happen. There are reasons for optimism, but as a resident of Atlanta, I can confirm I’m not overly excited about this group.

27. Carolina Panthers

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 65.4 (19th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 66.0 (T-17th Overall)

The 2020 offensive line for the Carolina Panthers was good. They weren’t fantastic. They weren’t horrendous. They were just fine. Taylor Moton is clearly the best asset the team has on the offensive line. The right tackle has allowed just ten sacks and 76 total pressures over the last three seasons and he’s played at least 1,000 snaps in each of those years. The reliability and durability were enough for the Panthers to reward Moton with a four-year, $71.25 million contract this past offseason. The rest of the line was nothing glamorous last season. Russell Okung battled through injuries, which has been the story of his career ever since he broke into the league with Seattle. In Okung’s place, the Panthers will likely go with Cameron Fleming. And I would not be overly excited about the prospects of Fleming playing left tackle. He’s never been the greatest pass protector, which is part of the job as a left tackle. Even during his best years in New England his pass blocking grades benefitted from Tom Brady’s quick release. Matt 
Paradis is a fine center although it looks as if he lost a slight step since his days with the Broncos. John Miller’s a good enough guard at left tackle where he won’t lose his job, but there certainly is room for improvement if a younger player were to come along that offered more to the offensive line.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Cameron ErvingPat ElfleinMatt ParadisJohn MillerTaylor Moton
 Dennis DaleySam TecklenburgDeonte BrownTrent Scott
Brady ChristensenMike Horton David MooreMatt Kaskey
Aaron Monteiro   Martez Ivey

I’ll go so far as to say the Panthers caught a break last season. I think the offensive line overplayed itself aside from Taylor Moton. And I don’t believe they can have as much success this year. I don’t love the signing of Pat Elflein, but at least he has experience playing everywhere on the interior. As mentioned above, I’m not crazy about Cam Erving. He’ll frustrate the Panthers fanbase beyond belief this season. There’s some hope they’ll find lightning in a bottle with 2021 third-round pick Brady Christensen and sixth-rounder Deonte Brown. 2021 will be a huge year for Greg Little. The Panthers used a second-round pick on him two years ago and he’s played just 358 snaps in his two years in the league with very poor grades according to Pro Football Focus. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this offensive line excels and are this year’s Washington Football Team. They have plenty of experience in their projected five starters, but I’m bearish on this team heading into training camp.

Update: The Panthers  have pulled the plug on the Greg Little experiment as they traded him to Miami for a 2022 seventh-round draft pick.

28. Minnesota Vikings

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 65.7 (18th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 55.7 (29th Overall)

Different year, but same old problem for the Minnesota Vikings. The interior of their offensive line was an issue last year. This team was solid on the exterior. Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill were responsible for 47 total pressures and four sacks in 2,073 snaps combined. Even if they had the slightest semblance of competent offensive line play on the interior, you have to believe this team would’ve been okay at best. Sadly, that was not the case. Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, and Dakota Smith allowed for 98 total pressures and 16 sacks. For interior linemen those numbers are terrible considering they don’t face the same kind of one-on-one pass rush the tackles do. They did salvage their performance with slightly better run blocking numbers, plus it helps when you have an elite running back like Dalvin Cook that can break away on his own and take it to the house. Sadly, we are looking at a “more of the same” approach with the Vikings in 2021… And dare I say, things could possibly be worse?

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Christian DarrisawEzra ClevelandGarrett BradburyDakota DozierBrian O’Neill
Rashod HillDru SamiaMason ColeWyatt DavisOlisameka Udoh
Evin KsiezarczykZack BaileyCohl CabralKyle HintonBlake Brandel

As you can see, and as you’ve already read by now… No Riley Reiff. After four successful seasons, Reiff departs to improve the offensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals. To replace Reiff the Bengals took a player who started every game at left tackle for Virginia Tech between 2019 and 2020. Christian Darrisaw projects to be a very good offensive linemen in the NFL. He should fit well in a lot of the zone blocking schemes the Vikings like to run. He’s strong and moves well for a guy his size. However, the Vikings are returning the same interior as last year. I understand the necessity to give Cleveland another shot because he was a 2020 second round pick and Bradberry was a first round pick in 2019. Maybe they’re expecting significant improvements from the two of them heading into this season. If they do hit their stride then the Vikings could be a top 20 group. Once again, heading into this season the exterior should do fine, but the interior could present problems and I don’t have the greatest faith in the depth of this team.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 50.4 (31st Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 73.9 (5th Overall)

Heading into the 2021 season, the narrative behind the Steelers is that they’re a bad offensive line. They were actually good in pass protection a year ago, but the numbers are slightly misleading because Ben Roethlisberger has been getting rid of the football quicker in recent years. Where they’ve been exposed is in their run blocking schemes. The Steelers ranked dead last in rushing yards per game (82.5) in 2020. That’s nine yards fewer than the second-worst team in 2020. To be fair they also only attempted about 22 rushing attempts per game. The run game was so bad that the Steelers often abandoned it altogether and they couldn’t get consistency out of anyone, plus James Conner missed some time. Regardless of the lack of attempts, their 3.6 yards per attempt ranked dead last in the NFL. You can blame the talent in the backfield or you can blame the offensive line. It’s possible both aspects of this narrative are to blame. Alejandro Villanueva posted the best run blocking grade at 60.9 and that’s not even an impressive score. Even All-Pro guard, David DeCastro, posted some career-worst grades as he also battled some injuries. All in all, still a poor performance compared to what we’ve come to see from the Steelers in recent years. And they have a lot of turnover heading into 2021…

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Chukwuma OkoraforKevin DotsonJC HassenauerTrai TurnerZach Banner
Jarron JonesBrandon WaltonBJ FinneyAviante CollinsJoe Haeg
Dan Moore Jr. Kendrick GreenRashaad CowardAnthony Coyle
    John Leglue

This is just a complete overhaul of the offensive line. Yes, there are some familiar names but the starting lineup is completely different from one year ago. Alejandro Villanueva signed with the Ravens in the offseason and he’s been a core piece of this offensive line for a handful of years now. All-Pro guard David DeCastro was released toward the end of June. Maurkice Pouncey retired with his brother in the offseason. Matt Feiler is now with the Chargers. So, you’d think that if you got rid of the pieces to a bad offensive line that you’d improve by default, right? Not really. Chukwuma Okorafor was one of the worst right tackles in the league and the Steelers are moving him to left tackle. Zach Banner will take over at right tackle after suffering a torn ACL in Week 1 last year. Health has been a huge problem for Banner as he only has 300+ career snaps. They did sign Trai Turner, but he struggled last year with injuries and all around the worst play we’ve seen from him in his seven-year career. So out with the bad, in with… more bad? There are way too many question marks for me to feel confident in this line. Luckily, Big Ben’s quicker release can hide some of these flaws. But if the running game continues to be a problem, specifically behind the offensive line, then rookie first-round pick Najee Harris could be in for a long season.

30. Chicago Bears

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 70.5 (T-14th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 59.4 (25th Overall)

Somehow the Bears made the playoffs last year. And it wasn’t because of the offensive line because they were subpar in that department. The good news for the Bears is that once they moved Cody Whitehair from center to left guard, he seemed to have found his footing and looked very comfortable at that spot over the last month of the season. James Daniels might have to move over to right guard after Whitehair seemingly earned his spot at left guard. So the interior will be okay which might be me being generous. Bobby Massie and Charles Leno Jr. both posted respectable grades on the exterior. Were they elite? Hardly, but they did enough to earn their keep. But with the team needing a desperate change at quarterback there was a need to also address the offensive line as well.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Teven JenkinsJames DanielsCody WhitehairGermain IfediElijah Wilkinson
Lachavious SimmonsArlington HambrightSam MustipherAlex BarsLarry Borom
Badara TraoreDieter EiselenAdam Redmond  
 Dareuan Parker   

For what it’s worth, I disagree with some aspects with the above depth chart. This comes from Ourlads, who do great work with depth charts and they’re a great source of NFL info. But I don’t see Whitehair getting the nod at center after he was such a disaster there a year ago. The good news is this is what we like to call a “living” article and it’ll be updated throughout training camp and I fully expect this depth chart to change. But the Bears saw some turnover in the offseason. Gone are their starting tackles from last season, Bobby Massie and Charles Leno Jr. Massie left after five years with Chicago and signed with Denver, while Leno signed with Washington. The exterior will be a big mystery for Chicago heading into the season. It sounds like second round pick, Teven Jenkins, will have a legitimate shot to start at left tackle. Jenkins excelled in run blocking in college and should develop in pass protection, but it may not be his strong suit right away at the NFL level. Germain Ifedi returns on a one-year deal. I’m not overly excited about Ifedi given that he was unimpressive in his time with Seattle, but I think he’s better suited to play guard than tackle. However, Chicago may feel so inclined to start him at right ackle given his experience. The Bears should feel good about Whitehair and Daniels. That’s a given. But the tackle positions leave a lot to be desired as they head into a new era with a young, franchise quarterback in Justin Fields.

31. New York Giants

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 62.5 (24th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking Grade: 50.7 (32nd Overall)

The was a terrible offensive line last year. Easily one of the worst ever on the field. Kevin Zeitler was the anchor on this offensive line in his short tenure with New York and while his numbers were still okay, in 2020 he posted the worst pass-and-run blocking grades in his career. He may have been mailing it in and he may not have given a damn, but it was certainly an off season for him. That was not the production the Giants were expecting when they acquired him in the Odell Beckham trade. To be fair, he wasn’t the only piece the Giants got in that deal, but he was a huge piece of that return. Moving on to left tackle, we have Andrew Thomas. Thomas was the fourth player taken in last year’s draft and the first of the “big four” offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft. He was atrocious in his rookie campaign. Thomas was the only left tackle to be credited with double-digit sacks allowed and he allowed 57 total pressures a year ago, 14 more than any other left tackle. Not to mention he showed up late for a team meeting prior to Week 6 and did not start the next game. The absence of Nate Solder certainly didn’t help the Giants either, but if you’ve read any of my previous offensive line previews, you’ll know I think he’s wildly overrated (despite being an incredibly nice, and charitable guy off the field). Left guard was a revolving door of hot garbage between Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux as they both allowed 25 pressures with less than 550 snaps played. Daniel Jones has been sacked 83 times and the Giants have allowed 424 pressures over the last two seasons. To give this some context, the Colts offensive line has allowed 321 pressures in that same time frame.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Andrew ThomasShane LemieuxNick GatesWill HernandezMatt Peart
Jackson BartonKyle MurphyJonotthan HarrisonZach FultonNate Solder
Nate SolderBrett Heggie Chad SladeKenny Wiggins
   Jake Burton 

As you can see, a little turnover with Kevin Zeitler being released and signing with Baltimore. Nate Solder also returns after sitting out 2020 and I don’t have him listed as a starter simply because as bad as Thomas was in his rookie season, the Giants have to keep him there if they want him to develop and get better. Additionally, I don’t see Solder immediately starting right away ahead of Matt Peart, who I think actually can develop into a decent right tackle. I thought Solder could have been cut as a post-June 1 cap casualty, but that hasn’t been the case as of right now and it sounds crazy but he could just be a moderately expensive depth piece for the team that serves as a swing tackle. I do like the addition of Zach Fulton coming over from Houston. He started all 16 games last year, but had an uncharacteristically bad season allowing 11 sacks, nearly doubling his career sacks allowed in one season. I’m considering that a bit of an outlier. It wouldn’t surprise me if he took over one of the starting guard spots in 2021. The G-Men will be getting Saquon Barkley back and they signed Kenny Golladay to a sizable contract. Clearly they want to revamp this offense, but I’m not entirely sure the protection and run blocking will be there for Daniel Jones and Barkley. The weapons are certainly there, but the O-line isn’t.

32. Miami Dolphins

2020 Run Blocking Grade: 55.9 (30th Overall)

2020 Pass Blocking grade: 63.5 (21st Overall)

There’s no other way around it, this was just a bad offensive line a year ago. For what it’s worth, they did make improvements from the 2019 season but to be fair the 2019 Miami Dolphins offensive line was historically bad posting a run blocking grade of 43.7 and a pass blocking grade of 46.1, both of which were dead last in the league according to Pro Football focus. So they brought in Ted Karras and Ereck Flowers through free agency and drafted Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, and Solomon Kindley in the 2020 NFL Draft. To their credit, they all played at least 720 snaps but they weren’t great by any means. And expectations for them should’ve been set low since they were rookies. Hunt did finish the season strong at right tackle but heading into 2021 the team obviously needs more from Jackson who was a first-round pick in 2020. This offensive line did the quarterbacks and offensive weapons no favors a year ago and it’s hard to project them being any better heading into 2021.

Left TackleLeft GuardCenterRight GuardRight Tackle
Austin JacksonMichael DieterMatt SkuraSolomon KindleyRobert Hunt
Jesse DavisLiam EichenbergTom CameronAdam PankeyDJ Fluker
Larnel ColemanJermaine Eluemunor Robert JonesJonathan Hubbard

Certainly a different looking group from a year ago, but there’s potential here if we’re being honest with ourselves. A lot of the success of this group is dependent on the three players they drafted in 2020: Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, and Solomon Kindley. The Dolphins brought in Matt Skura to play center, who has had an okay career and he’s only on a one-year deal so they don’t have a long-term solution at center. It seems like the Dolphins are just trying to stay afloat with this group and plug any leaks in the boat with as many fingers as possible. It’s a huge gamble to see if all three draft picks from 2020 will pan out, but it could happen. Are there high expectations for this group in 2021? Not really. It would be a success if they finished as a top 24 offensive line, but that’s unlikely to happen.