I am very excited to join the staff as the offensive line expert. I have been impressed with the high level of work done by Footballguys.com over the years and am proud to be a part of such a talented operation.
I know that these rankings might not look like everyone else's, let me be clear I am ranking the offensive line only, not the overall offense. An excellent skill player can produce huge fantasy points despite an average offensive line. In other words, I am not grading Barry Sanders; I am grading his offensive line.
These rankings were put together after a large amount of research. For a detailed explanation of the method behind this madness, please check out the explanation article.
Overall Score: 33.3 Overall Rank: 1 Run Blocking Rank: 1 Pass Blocking Rank: 3
Left Tackle Michael Roos: A+ Left Guard Steve Hutchinson: A Center Eugene Amano: B Right Guard Leroy Harris: B Right Tackle David Stewart: A Swing Tackle Mike Otto: C+ Line Coach Bruce Matthews: A+ Cohesion: B
The Titans have an outstanding offensive line, led by Estonian-born left tackle Michael Roos. Roos is a quietly efficient three-time All Pro. Left guard Steve Hutchinson is the only new addition to the line, and he brings a resume that includes seven All-Pro honors. Hutchinson is older but should maintain his elite form for at least two or three seasons. Leroy Harris moves from left guard to right guard to make room for Hutchinson. Leroy Harris and center Eugene Amano are both good, solid starters. Right tackle David Stewart is a former All-Pro selection but should be watched for a possible drop in form. The cohesion is very good as the only changes are the addition of Hutchinson and the swapping of Harris from left guard to right guard. The coaching staff is excellent, with Hall of Fame offensive linemen in Bruce Matthews and head coach Mike Munchak. There is a collection of interesting depth including Mike Otto, Troy Kropog and Byron Stingily. Overall, this is a tough and rugged group, clearly the best line in the NFL, based on our grading criteria.
Overall Score: 30.8 Overall Rank: 2 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 5 Pass Blocking Rank: 9
Left Tackle Joe Thomas: A+ Left Guard Jason Pinkston: B Center Alex Mack: A Right Guard Shawn Lauvao: C+ Right Tackle Mitchell Schwartz: C+ Swing Tackle Oniel Cousins: C+ Line Coach George Warhop: B Cohesion: B+
Left tackle Joe Thomas is a four time All-Pro selection. As blind side bodyguards go, there are few (if any) in the league that can compare in quality to Thomas. He's a rare athlete who played both ways at Wisconsin. On a personal level, there's a lot to like about this rugged outdoorsman, who chose to go fishing instead of attend the NFL draft in New York City. Center Alex Mack is also a Pro Bowl selection that uses a combination of height, toughness, and technique to dominate defensive tackles. The story about Mack playing through appendicitis is legendary (he got surgery during the bye week and started the next game). Left guard Jason Pinkston, right guard Shawn Lauvao, and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz are all converted left tackles from college and are also all young players with the potential to be very good. Schwartz is the rookie of the group, and he comes from the same Cal program as Mack, with an older brother Geoff already in the league. Oniel Cousins provides depth at the swing tackle position and could start if Schwartz isn't ready. Fifth-round pick Ryan Miller is another college left tackle converted to guard, and undrafted center Garth Gerhart (younger brother of Toby) should win the backup center job this preseason. Most wouldn't expect the Browns offensive line to be such a highly graded unit, but breaking down all the factors, they are young, talented at key positions, and will only get better with time.
New England Patriots
Overall Score: 30.8 Overall Rank: 2 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 10 Pass Blocking Rank: 2
Left Tackle Nate Solder: B Left Guard Logan Mankins: A+ Center Dan Koppen: B+ Right Guard Brian Waters: A Right Tackle Sebastian Vollmer: A Swing Tackle Marcus Cannon: C Line Coach Dante Scarnecchia: A Cohesion: C
Left guard Logan Mankins is a four time All-Pro and an absolute beast of a player. Mankins is recovering from an ACL tear, his progress bears watching in the preseason. Left tackle Nate Solder steps in for retiring Matt Light and should actually be an upgrade in the pass blocking department. Solder is a former college tight end with Pro Bowl potential. Right guard Brian Waters is a six-time Pro Bowl selection (and a two-time All Pro) but is rumored to be considering retirement. Should that occur, Robert Gallery would step in and perform at a good level. Gallery has proven to be a very good guard even though he was a wash-out at left tackle. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer was actually a second team All-Pro selection in the past but should be watched closely for a drop in form. Center is somewhat cloudy situation as Dan Koppen will be competing with last year's starter Dan Connolly for the job. Koppen is projected to win this job and recapture his former Pro-Bowl form, but this is another situation that bears close watching. Marcus Cannon has recovered from his bout with cancer and should win the swing tackle position. Line coach Dante Scarnecchia is known as one of the most resourceful coaches in the business, and he has more tools than ever. The Patriots offensive line is outstanding on paper but suffers from a low cohesion score due to shuffling. Even with the cohesion concerns, this line is one of the league's best, especially at pass blocking. Keep in mind there are several positional battles (right guard, center) that could change the situation.
New York Jets
Overall Score: 30.8 Overall Rank: 2 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 4 Pass Blocking Rank: 5
Left Tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson: A Left Guard Matt Slauson: C Center Nick Mangold: A+ Right Guard Brandon Moore: B+ Right Tackle Wayne Hunter: C Swing Tackle Vlad Ducasse: C Line Coach Dave Deguglielmo: B Cohesion: A+
The foundation of the Jets offensive line is center Nick Mangold. Mangold is a four-time Pro bowl selection, a three-time All Pro, and arguably the best center in the game. Other centers watch film of Mangold to improve their game. Left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson was selected in the same first round as Mangold and is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, most recently as a starter. Ferguson is extremely athletic and has grown into his lanky frame. Right guard Brandon Moore is known as the strongest member of the team and made his first Pro Bowl last year as an injury replacement. Wayne Hunter and Matt Slauson are marginal starters, and they will have to fight to keep their jobs. Hunter will see competition from former second-round pick Vlad Ducasse and Austin Howard. Caleb Schlauderaff and Robert T. Griffin will push Slauson. Slauson had off-season surgery on his shoulder, and that situation bears further attention. Should these incumbents win their positional battles, the Jets will be only one of three teams in the league to return all five starters at all five positions, and that cohesion plays a big part of their high rank. New offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is a former line coach and emphasizes the position more than most coordinators. With Sparano and the "Tebow-cat" package, expect a return to the ground-and-pound philosophy that Rex Ryan favors.
San Francisco 49ers
Overall Score: 30.3 Overall Rank: 5 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 3 Pass Blocking Rank: 10
Left Tackle Joe Staley: A+ Left Guard Mike Iupati: B+ Center Jonathan Goodwin: B+ Right Guard Alex Boone: C+ Right Tackle Anthony Davis: C+ Swing Tackle Derek Hall: C Line Coach Tim Drevno: B Cohesion: B+
Left tackle Joe Staley enjoyed quite a campaign in 2011. He made the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team as well as catching a pass in an October contest against Cleveland. Staley is an extremely athletic player, and he excels in both run blocking and pass protection. He is quietly one of the league's best tackles. Left guard Mike Iupati is one of five players league wide that merit being elevating to Pro Bowl grade despite not yet receiving that honor. Iupati is an absolute mauler in the run game and is improving as a pass protector. Center Jonathan Goodwin is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and does an extremely solid job in communication and keeping everyone on the same page. Sixth-round pick Jason Slowey will backup Goodwin. Unfortunately the right side is not quite as outstanding as the left side. Right guard is a true competition, with last year's swing tackle Alex Boone battling Daniel Kilgore and fifth-round draft selection Joe Looney out of Wake Forest for the starting job. If Boone wins the right guard job, a less experienced player such as Derek Hall or Mike Person might be next in line for the swing tackle job. Right tackle Anthony Davis has not yet lived up to his first-round billing, and there are rumors that he also could be in line for a move to the right guard spot (with Boone taking over at right tackle). Assuming that doesn't occur, the line returns the same starters at four out of five spots, and that is great for cohesion. Even with the right side uncertainties, the strength of the left tackle, left guard, and center put the 49ers firmly in the top tier of the league's offensive lines.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Overall Score: 30.3 Overall Rank: 5 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 2 Pass Blocking Rank: 8
Left Tackle Donald Penn: B+ Left Guard Carl Nicks: A+ Center Jeremy Zuttah: B Right Guard Davin Joseph: A Right Tackle Jeremy Trueblood: C+ Swing Tackle Demar Dotson: C+ Line Coach Bob Bostad: B Cohesion: B+
Left guard Carl Nicks was an expensive free agency addition, and he brings a serious resume. Besides his Super Bowl ring from 2010, Nicks is a two time All-Pro and widely considered to be one of the best guards in the game. Left tackle Donald Penn played in his first Pro Bowl in 2011 and is an extremely underrated pass protector. Penn is also a rare athlete; he caught several passes and blocked an extra point in 2009. Center Jeremy Zuttah is solid and known as an extremely versatile lineman having starting experience at both guard spots. Right guard Davin Joseph is a former first-round selection and two time Pro Bowl selection. He is another outstanding athlete on a line full of such players. Right tackle Jeremy Trueblood is a nasty bruiser, the type of player who starts fights in preseason just for fun. Trueblood can be exploited in pass protection, but coaches love to have a guy like him in the lineup. Demar Dotson will compete with Jamon Meredith for the swing tackle position. Overall this is an extremely talented (and expensive) offensive line, and it should be one of the league's best. The cohesion is very good as only Nicks is a new addition. Under new coach Greg Schiano, expect a heavy dose of run blocking out of this group.
Overall Score: 30.0 Overall Rank: 7 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 6 Pass Blocking Rank: 4
Left Tackle Bryant McKinnie: B+ Left Guard Kelechi Osemele: C+ Center Matt Birk: B+ Right Guard Marshal Yanda: A+ Right Tackle Michael Oher: B Swing Tackle Jah Reid: C+ Line Coach Andy Moeller: B Cohesion: B+
Right guard Marshal Yanda is a rugged All Pro who can get tough yards for Ray Rice. Many casual fans aren't aware of Yanda's dominance. He has been a force since taking over the starting role and is considered one of the best guards in football. Finding left tackle Bryant McKinnie on the waiver wire last year was a huge coup for Baltimore. McKinnie is a former Pro Bowl tackle that ate himself out of job in Minnesota. McKinnie was able to recapture his form at Baltimore and does an above average job protecting the blind side. He is a player to watch, however, as he could show up to camp out of shape. Left guard is an open competition between swing tackle Jah Reid and second-round pick Kelechi Osemele to replace the departed Ben Grubbs. Osemele should win this battle, but it is far from certain. Stay tuned in preseason to see how it all shakes out. Center Matt Birk is an extremely solid former Pro Bowl player, but he is on the cusp of retirement. Fourth-round pick Gino Gradkowski (brother of Bruce) is his likely replacement when the time comes. Right tackle Michael Oher is actually overrated at this point due to the movie about his life and his general fame. Oher has very good athleticism but sometimes uses poor technique. Ramon Harewood is a talented but raw possible swing tackle behind McKinnie. The cohesion of this group is very good as the only open spot is the left guard position. Once that situation settles, the Ravens should again be among the league's better units.
Overall Score: 30.0 Overall Rank: 7 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 8 Pass Blocking Rank: 13
Left Tackle Jordan Gross: A Left Guard Amini Silatolu: C+ Center Ryan Kalil: A+ Right Guard Geoff Hangartner: C+ Right Tackle Jeff Otah: C+ Swing Tackle Byron Bell: C+ Line Coach John Matsko: B+ Cohesion: B
Left tackle Jordan Gross is an underrated force at left tackle with two Pro Bowl appearances and one All-Pro selection under his belt. Gross has shuffled between left and right tackle throughout his career, but he has settled in as one of the better left tackles in the game. Center Ryan Kalil is a dominant performer, a three time Pro Bowler, and also was an All-Pro in 2011. Prior to the 2011 season, Kalil signed a contract making him the highest paid center in league history. The Panthers will likely start second-round pick Amini Silatolu at left guard. Coming from tiny Midwestern State, Silatolu will compete with Mike Pollack but should win and be thrown into the deep end. He is a mauling run blocker but could be exploited in pass protection early in his career. (Good thing he is playing between two All-Pros.) Right guard Geoff Hangartner is a solid but sometimes limited starter. Right tackle Jeff Otah is a bruising run blocker but has never quite lived up to first-round billing. He has had injury issues over the years; if he stays healthy, Otah could be one of the league's notable right tackles. When Otah has been injured, undrafted swing tackle Byron Bell has stepped in and done a quality job. Bruce Campbell (former Raider) is also in the mix at swing tackle. Line coach John Matsko is a gritty football lifer who helped build some of Kansas City's better lines prior to joining Carolina. Assistant offensive line coach Ray Allen is a talented former player and considered to be a rising line coach. Overall this Carolina Panthers unit is very good and could be elite if Silatolu wins the job and starts quickly.
New Orleans Saints
Overall Score: 30.0 Overall Rank: 7 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 7 Pass Blocking Rank: 1
Left Tackle Jermon Bushrod: A Left Guard Ben Grubbs: A Center Brian de la Puente: C+ Right Guard Jahri Evans: A+ Right Tackle Charles Brown: C+ Swing Tackle Zach Strief: C+ Line Coach Aaron Kromer: B+ Cohesion: C+
Right guard Jahri Evans is tough, smart, and athletic - an outstanding all-around player. Evans has three All-Pro selections on his resume. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod is an extremely consistent and reliable pass protector, having made his first Pro Bowl in 2011. Left guard Ben Grubbs steps in for the departing Carl Nicks, but there shouldn't be a huge drop off at the position, as Grubbs was also a 2011 Pro Bowl starter. Center Brian de la Puente was a bit of a journeyman prior to the Saints, employed by five teams in only three seasons, but the coaches like his game. De la Puente comes from a California program that recently has produced many quality offensive linemen. Right tackle Charles Brown is basically being given the job based on his draft slot as a former second-round pick. Brown was a talented pass protector out of Southern Cal but has had his career path slowed by injuries. Swing tackle Zach Strief is last year's starting right tackle and could easily reassume that job should Brown falter. Fenuki Tupou and seventh-round pick Marcel Jones are possible swing tackles and sixth round selection Andrew Tiller will likely backup Evans at right guard. The overall depth of this line is very good. Line coach Aaron Kromer is known as one of the league's better line coaches. The cohesion score is lower due to only three out of five returning starters at the same position, but as these players learn each other's tendencies, look for this group to be among the league's best pass blocking units.
Green Bay Packers
Overall Score: 29.5 Overall Rank: 10 Run Blocking Rank: 19 Pass Blocking Rank: 12
Left Tackle Marshall Newhouse: B Left Guard T.J. Lang: C+ Center Jeff Saturday: A Right Guard Josh Sitton: B+ Right Tackle Bryan Bulaga: B Swing Tackle: Derek Sherrod: B Line Coach James Campen: B+ Cohesion: B+
Free agent center Jeff Saturday is a former All-Pro and is easily the most highly regarded player on this line. Saturday should keep his form for another season or two but should be watched closely for signs of aging. Marshall Newhouse and former first-rounder Derek Sherrod are competing for the left tackle position vacated by Chad Clifton. This uncertainty hurts the team's cohesion score. Newhouse is expected to win this battle and do a good job on the blind side. Whoever loses and is the swing tackle will be one of the league's best backups (not many teams have good backup left tackles). Left guard T.J. Lang is a decent but replaceable starter. Right guard Josh Sitton was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2010 and is one of the better guards in the conference. Former first-rounder Bryan Bulaga is a tough, technical right tackle that excels in run blocking. Line coach James Campen is a smart former player who has risen through the ranks with Green Bay. Seventh-round pick Andrew Datko is in competition with Herb Taylor for backup right tackle. Undrafted tackle Dan Barklay is in competition with the gritty Evan Dietrich-Smith for backup left guard. Sometimes an outstanding quarterback, with a quick release, running a particular system can make an offensive line look like All-Pro's. This is often the case with the Green Bay Packers line. They are a very good line, top third in the league, but they have uncertainty at left tackle and that keeps them from being considered an elite line.
Overall Score: 29.3 Overall Rank: 11 Run Blocking Rank: 11 Pass Blocking Rank: 15
Left Tackle Ryan Clady: A Left Guard Zane Beadles: B Center J.D. Walton: C Right Guard Chris Kuper: B Right Tackle Orlando Franklin: B Swing Tackle Ryan Harris: C+ Line Coach Dave Magazu: B+ Cohesion: A+
The best news about Denver's offensive line is their cohesion; the Broncos are only one of three teams in the league to return all five starters at all five positions. Left tackle Ryan Clady is a two-time All-Pro selection but in 2011 suffered a noticeable drop in form that saw him allowing many sacks. He maintains his A-grade for now, but he will be downgraded should the slide prove to be more than just a one-year blip. Left guard Zane Beadles is a smart and tough converted left tackle from Utah who has been an immediately good starter. Center J.D. Walton is actually considered one of the league-worst starting centers and will face competition from fourth-round pick Phillip Blake from Baylor. Walton should survive this competition but only barely (watch this situation in preseason). Right guard Chris Kuper is one of those players that flies under radar but does a good job for the Broncos. He was actually named offensive co-captain in 2010. Right tackle Orlando Franklin started all 16 games as a rookie out of Miami last season and provided good performances all season. Line coach Dave Magazu is one of John Fox's assistants from Carolina, and this grizzled vet is known as a quality coach. The Broncos have some interesting depth as Chris Clark is a possible swing tackle, and two undrafted guards, Austin Wuebbels from Missouri and Wayne Tribue from Temple could battle for a backup guard position. Overall this line was constructed to excel at zone blocking, and the league saw that unfold with last year's Tim Tebow-led running offense. Under Peyton Manning they will be asked to do more pass blocking, but it can be argued this is a better line than Manning ever had with the Colts. Also, Manning's quick release and even quicker decision making tends to help the players in front of him.
Overall Score: 28.8 Overall Rank: 12 Run Blocking Rank: 14 Pass Blocking Rank: 6
Left Tackle Andrew Whitworth: B+ Left Guard Travelle Wharton: B Center Kyle Cook: B Right Guard Kevin Zeitler: B Right Tackle Andre Smith: B+ Swing Tackle Anthony Collins: C+ Line Coach Paul Alexander: A Cohesion: C+
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right tackle Andre Smith have never made the Pro Bowl. In these rankings, however, they are being graded as Pro Bowl backups because they have earned their place among the other B+ grades. Both players are hugely underrated athletes and were instrumental in protecting their rookie quarterback last season. Smith is a former sixth-overall draft pick, and Whitworth actually caught a touchdown pass in 2009. Center Kyle Cook is another under-the-radar player who does a good job locking down the middle of the line and communicating blocking calls. Left guard Travelle Wharton is a free agency addition who should do a good job next to Whitworth. Right guard Kevin Zeitler was a first-round pick out of Wisconsin and is a load in the run game. Zeitler has some weaknesses in pass protection, but he still should be good right away. These two guards are obviously new to the line, and the cohesion score reflects that upheaval. Anthony Collins offers decent depth as a swing tackle. Clint Boling is also a possible swing tackle or backup at several guard spots. Line coach Paul Alexander is in his 17th straight season as offensive line coach, and he has done an outstanding job over the years, often with less than ideal players to mold. Overall, the Bengals line could have again been among the league's elite if they kept the band together, but they should be able to climb back up the rankings as they learn each other's habits and get experience playing together.
Overall Score: 28.5 Overall Rank: 13 Run Blocking Rank: 18 Pass Blocking Rank: 7
Left Tackle Demetress Bell: B Left Guard Evan Mathis: B+ Center Jason Kelce: C+ Right Guard Danny Watkins: B Right Tackle Todd Herremans: B Swing Tackle King Dunlap: C+ Line Coach Howard Mudd: A+ Cohesion: B+
Jason Peters suffered an Achilles tendon tear this spring and then re-tore it in rehab. This is a huge blow to the Eagles offensive line. With Jason Peters in the spreadsheet with his All Pro grade, the Eagles would be the second rated line in the league, attaining a score of 31.5. While Demetress Bell is a good young player (and son of NBA great Karl Malone), Peters was considered the best tackle in the league. That's not to say all is gloom and doom for the Eagles. They return the other four starters in the same four positions, which is very good for cohesion. Also, they re-signed left guard Evan Mathis. Mathis is a player that merits grading as a Pro Bowl backup despite not receiving the honor. Mathis had a top-notch year in 2011 and will be looked upon to lead this line in 2012. Center Jason Kelce won the job as a rookie and could improve to be a very good center. Right guard Danny Watkins had an uneven year but showed flashes of his first-round pedigree. Right tackle Todd Herremans is also a good player and has the responsibility to protect his left-handed quarterback's blind side. Swing tackle King Dunlap is a big man but can be exploited in pass protection. Andy Reid lured line coach Howard Mudd out of retirement. Mudd is a living legend in offensive line circles and does great work developing young talent (such as Kelce). Interesting depth abounds in Philadelphia. Sixth-round pick Brandon Washington from Miami is in competition for backup guard spots. Seventh round pick Dennis Kelly from Purdue is in competition with D.J. Jones for backup right tackle.
Overall Score: 28.3 Overall Rank: 14 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 9 Pass Blocking Rank: 14
Left Tackle Russell Okung: B Left Guard Paul McQuistan: C+ Center Max Unger: B Right Guard John Moffitt: B Right Tackle Breno Giacomini: B Swing Tackle Frank Omiyale: C+ Line Coach Tom Cable: A Cohesion: A
Left tackle Russell Okung is the most talented player on the Seahawks line. Okung was an elite draft pick but has had injury problems that have kept him out of action. Should he stay healthy and the Seahawks win some games, Okung could feasibly receive Pro Bowl honors. Left guard Paul McQuistan is a coach's favorite and mostly solid. McQuistan is slated to start this year after playing admirably as an injury replacement. Center Max Unger is a good and productive player in the middle. Right guard John Moffitt is a run-blocking specialist who can be beaten in pass protection (Moffitt compares to fellow Wisconsin Badger Kevin Zeitler). Moffitt can open holes, as can right tackle Breno Giacomini. Giacomini is somewhat of a surprising fan favorite who played well last season. Swing tackle Frank Omiyale has some experience and will be called upon to replace Okung in case of injury. The cohesion score is excellent but was docked a half point for multi-week injuries of several players last season and the departure of Robert Gallery. Line coach Tom Cable washed out as a head coach, but he's still among the league's elite line coaches. Not many fans are aware, but the Seattle line could gel and be actually be excellent. Watch for a rise in the rankings if they stay healthy early in the season.
Overall Score: 28.3 Overall Rank: 14 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 12 Pass Blocking Rank: 19
Left Tackle Jake Long: A+ Left Guard Richie Incognito: B Center Mike Pouncey: B Right Guard John Jerry: C+ Right Tackle Jonathan Martin: C+ Swing Tackle Lydon Murtha: C+ Line Coach Jim Turner: B Cohesion: C+
Left tackle Jake Long is an absolute stud, multiple All-Pro left tackle. Long is a cornerstone player who will always get push in short yardage situations. If Long is on the field, the Dolphins offensive line will be competitive. Left guard Richie Incognito is a barroom brawler, who excels in toughness and personal fouls. Center Mike Pouncey is the identical twin brother of All-Pro Maurkice Pouncey. Although he isn't as accomplished as his brother yet, Pouncey is still very good and has untapped upside. (Side note, we might all live to be a hundred years old and not see another set of identical twins who play the same position but different draft classes.) Right guard John Jerry is a mauler in what scouts call the phone booth area. Second-round pick Jonathan Martin from Stanford is in competition with swing tackle Lydon Murtha for starting right tackle. Martin is projected to win the competition (although Murtha is also a talented player). Whoever wins should do a decent job on the right side (but keep an eye on the situation during preseason). Except for Martin, this offensive line was constructed to the specifications of former head coach Tony Sparano and is currently better at run blocking than pass blocking. That is likely to change, however, in the next few seasons, as new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman prefers a smarter, more agile type of player. In the near term, though, this line will likely be better at opening holes than protecting the passer. In that vein, Artis Hicks is a possible swing tackle. The Dolphins line is slightly above average compared to the rest of the league, but personnel might change drastically in upcoming years.
Overall Score: 28.0 Overall Rank: 16 Run Blocking Rank: 15 Pass Blocking Rank: 11
Left Tackle Duane Brown: A+ Left Guard Wade Smith: C Center Chris Myers: B+ Right Guard Antoine Caldwell: C+ Right Tackle Rashad Butler: C+ Swing Tackle Derek Newton: C+ Line Coach John Benton: B Cohesion: C+
Left tackle Duane Brown is an accomplished pass protector and was named an All Pro in 2011. Brown is the cornerstone of the Texans line and has started every game at the left tackle position since he was drafted. Another highlight of the Texans line is center Chris Myers, who made the Pro Bowl in 2011. Myers is a versatile player and has experience starting at guard. This experience could be tapped as current left guard Wade Smith is a replacement level starter at best. The Texans drafted Georgia center Ben Jones in the fourth round, and it's a possibility that Jones could snap while Myers moves over to left guard. Antoine Caldwell also has center experience but currently is slated to start at right guard. Caldwell also could be challenged by a rookie, specifically third-round pick Brandon Brooks from Miami of Ohio. Brooks is a rare athlete, running a 5.0-second 40-yard dash at almost 350 pounds. Brooks also factors into the conversation at left guard and possibly right tackle in the future. Right tackle Rashad Butler actually replaced Eric Winston when they both were at Miami, and Butler will be asked to do it again with Houston. Butler should be fine at the position, but he's probably a downgrade from Winston. Derek Newton is an interesting swing tackle with athletic upside. Line coach John Benton emphasizes pass blocking and has taught his charges well in the time he has been with Houston. Overall, this line is a solid unit but faces questions with cohesion. It's not immediately clear how exactly the draft picks fit in, but the Texans will start the best five players they have, regardless of position.
Overall Score: 27.8 Overall Rank: 17 Run Blocking Rank: 13 Pass Blocking Rank: 17
Left Tackle Eugene Monroe: B Left Guard Will Rackley: C+ Center Brad Meester: B Right Guard Uche Nwaneri: B Right Tackle Eben Britton: B Swing Tackle Guy Whimper: C+ Line Coach Andy Heck: B+ Cohesion: A
The word for the Jaguars line is potential. There's a lot of potential in these players, but when or if they meet that potential is unclear. Left tackle Eugene Monroe is a good player - better in the run game than the pass - which fits what the Jaguars have historically tried to accomplish on offense. Monroe was drafted in the Top 10, and while he has yet to achieve Pro Bowl status, he is getting closer. Monroe took a big step forward last season and looks to continue that trend. Left guard Will Rackley is another player that has great potential but is still developing his game after coming out of small school Lehigh prior to last season. Center Brad Meester is one of those quietly solid players that do a darn good job despite not being widely regarded. Be aware that Meester is entering his 13th season and is a threat to retire at any point. Right guard Uche Nwaneri is a beast in the run game, and he actually was one of the league's better guards last season. Nwaneri is another on the cusp of being considered a Pro Bowler if his improvement continues. Both Nwaneri and Rackley are potential replacements at center. Right tackle Eben Britton suffered a back injury last season, and his absence is the half-point deduction keeping the Jaguars from a full cohesion score. Britton is actually a talented player, once considered to be a potential (there's the P-word again) first-round pick. He has looked good in limited action at guard. This year Britton has to establish himself as a healthy, reliable starter. Swing tackle Guy Whimper did a decent job at right tackle last year and could step in again should injury strike. In terms of further depth, undrafted center Mike Brewster from Ohio State is in competition with John Estes for backup center. Will Robinson is a possible swing tackle. Line coach Andy Heck is a former first-round pick who played 12 seasons in the NFL. Heck is an above average line coach who does a good job emphasizing intensity in the run game. The Jags have the potential to be an elite line, but there is a difference between potential and performance.
New York Giants
Overall Score: 27.5 Overall Rank: 18 Run Blocking Rank: 17 Pass Blocking Rank: 16
Left Tackle Will Beatty: B Left Guard David Diehl: A Center David Baas: B Right Guard Chris Snee: B+ Right Tackle James Brewer: C Swing Tackle Brandon Mosley: C Line Coach Pat Flaherty: B+ Cohesion: B
Left tackle Will Beatty is an athletic pass protector who ended a promising 2011 campaign on the injured reserve due to a detached retina. Beatty is healthy again and looks to do a good job on the left side for the Super Bowl champions. Left guard David Diehl will slide back to his natural position, where he has played at an All-Pro level in 2008. Center David Baas is a steady contributor and really made the line better when he arrived before last season in free agency. Right guard Chris Snee is an underrated stud and one of the players who receives a Pro Bowl backup grade despite not actually receiving the honor. As the team is moving on from Kareem McKenzie at right tackle, there will be an open competition between James Brewer and fourth-round pick Brandon Mosley out of Auburn. Neither of these players have any real experience under their belt, but the early projection is that Brewer wins the starting job. Look for the athletic Mosley to challenge Brewer in preseason, and the loser of this battle will likely still contribute as a swing tackle. Because of the uncertainty at the tackle positions, the Giants cohesion score isn't great. This line will need to learn to play together, and they will do so under the tutelage of line coach Pat Flaherty. Flaherty is one of these grizzled coaches who have made a long career making chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what. There are no elite first-round picks on this line, and at times last year it showed. Few realize how much pressure Eli Manning was really under during the bulk of his Super Bowl run. Still, this Giants line should be better than last season, especially in pass protection.
Overall Score: 27.0 Overall Rank: 19 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 16 Pass Blocking Rank: 21
Left Tackle Mike Adams: C+ Left Guard Willie Colon: B Center Maurkice Pouncey: A+ Right Guard David Decastro: B Right Tackle Marcus Gilbert: B Swing Tackle Jonathan Scott: C+ Line Coach Sean Kugler: B Cohesion: C
Center Maurkice Pouncey is the key player on the Steelers offensive line. Pouncey can push the pile on running downs, and he controls the interior in pass blocking. Pouncey is an All-Pro player and will be relied upon during this time of transition for the Steelers line. Left tackle Mike Adams is a second-round pick out of Ohio State, and it appears he will win this job in training camp. Adams is actually an underrated player, a natural left tackle athletically. Adams, however, did not have the easiest experience in college, and the professional game is certainly a step up in difficulty. Left guard Willie Colon spent most of last season on the injured reserve with a torn triceps and will be moving to guard after being a right tackle for several seasons. For years, onlookers have said that Colon has Pro Bowl potential at guard, and this year we will see if they were correct. Colon will compete with Ramon Foster for that left guard spot. Right guard David Decastro is the team's first-round pick, and he was an extremely technical and tough player out of Stanford. The Steelers hope that Decastro follows in the footsteps of Alan Faneca and becomes a stalwart guard for the next decade. Keep in mind, however, that Faneca didn't make the Pro Bowl until his third season, and Decastro does have shortcomings in his game. Decastro is great pulling and pass protecting, but stronger defensive tackles can overwhelm him at the point of attack. Earlier in the offseason, Marcus Gilbert was rumored to be sliding to left tackle (and that still might occur if Adams struggles), but Gilbert will likely remain at right tackle, where he does a good job. Swing tackle Jonathan Scott is decent in small doses, but he has been exposed when starting for multiple weeks. Overall, the Steelers line could be very good in time, and the team has made moves that clearly point in the right direction. In the near term, however, expect cohesion to be an issue. The good news for Steeler fans is that cohesion was an issue last year too, and the line surely can't be worse this season.
Overall Score: 27.0 Overall Rank: 19 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 28 Pass Blocking Rank: 18
Left Tackle Jeff Backus: C+ Left Guard Rob Sims: C+ Center Dominic Raiola: B Right Guard Stephen Peterman: C+ Right Tackle Gosder Cherilus: B Swing Tackle Riley Reiff: B Line Coach George Yarno: B+ Cohesion: A+
Left tackle Jeff Backus is a tough and gritty player who has never missed a game due to injury. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the quarterbacks he is charged with protecting as Backus can be exploited in pass protection. The Lions know he is a problem and have used a first-round pick on Riley Reiff out of Iowa. Reiff is a well rounded and nimble young pass blocker but recent comments from the coaching staff hint that Reiff will not start as a rookie. Backus will likely see out the last year of his contract as the starter. While that might not be great news for Matthew Stafford, that is good news from the perspective of cohesion, as the Lions are on track to be one of only three teams to return all five starters at all five positions. Left guard Rob Sims is a consistent performer, who reported to offseason workouts overweight. The Lions wanted Sims to gain 10 pounds, but he gained 20 (oops). This is likely not a big concern as Sims has plenty of time to shape up before the season starts. Center Dominic Raiola is undersized and has been written off many times in his career. He is actually a good performer, however, often using leverage and technique to block much larger players. Right guard Stephen Peterman is a decent player known for his toughness. Many times Peterman has been carted off the field or has broken bones, but most often he just keeps playing through pain. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus is a mostly good player who battles with bouts of inconsistency. Cherilus was benched early in 2011, but he settled down and had an above average campaign down the stretch. In other depth, Corey Hilliard is in competition with Johnny Culbreath for a possible swing tackle role. Line coach George Yarno is considered one of the better line coaches in the league, and he often is asked to get the most out of below average players. Overall this Lions line is focused on pass blocking rather than run blocking, and they should improve in the future when Reiff transitions into the lineup.
Overall Score: 27.0 Overall Rank: 19 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 24 Pass Blocking Rank: 24
Left Tackle Sam Baker: C+ Left Guard Justin Blalock: B Center Todd McClure: B Right Guard Peter Konz: C+ Right Tackle Tyson Clabo: B+ Swing Tackle Will Svitek: B Line Coach Pat Hill: B+ Cohesion: B+
Right tackle Tyson Clabo is a former Pro Bowl selection and is a highly efficient blocker. Clabo excels in both run and pass blocking. Left guard Justin Blalock is an ascending player who has legitimate Pro Bowl potential. Left tackle Sam Baker is a former first round selection who has had an up and down career. Last season Baker was benched and moved to guard briefly. However this off-season, the coaching staff reiterated their faith in Baker and blamed his struggles on a back injury. Baker will have to hold off swing tackle Will Svitek, who actually did a great job in Baker's place. Center Todd McClure is a tough guy that actually is among the better players in the league at his position. McClure overcomes physical shortcomings and easy to root for but he's entering his fourteenth season in the league. The Falcons know this and drafted Peter Konz in the second round out of Wisconsin to be his eventual replacement. This year, Konz will compete for the right guard position with Joe Hawley and Mike Johnson. Third round pick Lamar Holmes is a swing tackle (and possible future left tackle). New offensive line coach Pat Hill is a gritty former college head coach who built himself quite a kingdom out in Fresno State. As an offensive line coach he is well regarded and should improve this offensive line. To improve in the rankings, the Falcons need to improve at the left tackle position especially. Whether it's Baker or Holmes, the play at that position needs to get better.
Overall Score: 26.3 Overall Rank: 22 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 23 Pass Blocking Rank: 22
Left Tackle Jared Veldheer: B Left Guard Cooper Carlisle: C+ Center Stefan Wisniewski: B Right Guard Mike Brisiel: B Right Tackle Khalif Barnes: B Swing Tackle Joseph Barksdale: C+ Line Coach Frank Pollack: B Cohesion: B
Left tackle Jared Veldheer is an ascending player who could achieve Pro Bowl status sooner rather than later. Veldheer is a tall but graceful lineman who has learned much despite being only two seasons out of Division II Hillsdale College. Left guard Cooper Carlisle was cut and then re-signed in the offseason. He will be entering his 12 season. Carlisle played right guard last year and is nearing the end of his career. Third-round pick Tony Bergstrom from Utah will be in competition for that starting left guard spot. Center Stefan Wisniewski will be moving back to his natural position after spending his rookie season doing a good job at left guard. Wisniewski had off-season surgery on his shoulder, and that situation bears further attention. Right guard Mike Brisiel is a gritty free agent acquisition from Houston and has familiarity with the scheme that the new coaching staff is installing. Brisiel and tackle Khalif Barnes should do a good job on the right side in this zone blocking scheme. Swing tackle Joseph Barksdale could be a spot starter, but overall the depth on this team is questionable. Undrafted free agent Lucas Nix out of Pittsburgh should compete with Ed Wang for a backup spot. The good news is that a zone-blocking line doesn't necessarily require top-level talent to be successful. Comparing them to the rest of the league, this unit a collection of good players. With the exception of possibly Veldheer, however, there are no obviously great players on the Raiders offensive line.
Overall Score: 26.3 Overall Rank: 22 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 22 Pass Blocking Rank: 20
Left Tackle Trent Williams: B Left Guard Kory Lichtensteiger: C+ Center Will Montgomery: C Right Guard Chris Chester: B Right Tackle Jammal Brown: A Swing Tackle Willie Smith: C+ Line Coach Chris Foerster: B Cohesion: B+
Left tackle Trent Williams is a tremendously talented player who has had several issues keep him from fulfilling his talent. At various points in his two-year career, Williams suffered an ankle injury, a knee injury, and a multi-game drug suspension. If the light switches on, Williams could be a great player, but there are a lot of questions he needs to answer to get to that level. On the other side, right tackle Jammal Brown is a former All-Pro performer who has been hampered recently by hip and groin issues. Pursuing a new yoga regimen this offseason, Brown looks to recapture that dominant form. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger is a country-strong interior bruiser who is recovering from an ACL tear. He will be in competition with Maurice Hurt for the left guard spot. Hurt is a former practice squad player whose performance was acceptable in Lichtensteiger's absence. Center Will Montgomery is a journeyman type who does an okay job. Montgomery is durable and versatile; he filled in at left guard earlier in the 2011 season. Right guard Chris Chester was a free agent addition who does a good job in the run game and should be granted a starting position based on contract alone. All three of the interior linemen will likely be challenged by third-round draft pick Josh LeRibeus out of Southern Methodist and fourth-round selection Adam Gettis from Iowa. It's early in the process, but LeRibeus could be groomed as a center while Gettis could be in the mix for guard snaps. Gettis actually ran one of the fastest linemen 40-yard dashes at the Indianapolis combine. These players are likely a season or more away from contributing. In other depth, Tyler Polumbus and James Lee are possible swing tackles. Overall the Redskins line shapes up decent on paper, but there are a lot of variables that need to be settled on the field before they can climb the rankings.
Overall Score: 26.3 Overall Rank: 22 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 20 Pass Blocking Rank: 23
Left Tackle Matt Kalil: B Left Guard Charlie Johnson: B Center John Sullivan: B Right Guard Geoff Schwartz: C+ Right Tackle Phil Loadholt: B Swing Tackle Joe Berger: C+ Line Coach Jeff Davidson: B+ Cohesion: C+
In the most recent draft, the Vikings used a high draft pick on Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil. Kalil is a tall and athletic pass protector and a relatively safe bet due to his brother Ryan already dominating with the Panthers. Kalil was more highly regarded than his older brother coming out of school; if we do the math on that, it's really good news for Vikings fans. With the addition of Kalil, Charlie Johnson can move back to a left guard role, where he should be more comfortable then he was last year, playing out of position at left tackle. Center John Sullivan is a stalwart on the inside and does a consistently good job. Right guard Geoff Schwartz is a free agent addition and should start right away. Schwartz is recovered from hip surgery in 2011, but he is known as a capable run blocker. Right tackle Phil Loadholt is another mauling warrior on the right side and when healthy does a good job opening holes for the Vikings' running attack. Swing tackle Joe Berger has decent athleticism and some starting experience. Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson is a well-regarded former player who was also an offensive coordinator with the Panthers. In terms of depth, Demarcus Love is an athletic possible swing tackle. Chris DeGeare is a run blocking specialist who should backup several spots. Undrafted center Quinton Saulsberry will be in competition with Brandon Fusco for backup center. This offensive line hasn't been great but they could get a lot better in a hurry. Should Kalil play at an All-Pro level, and the cohesion score rise (less upheaval), this line could conceivably be a Top 10 unit in future seasons.
Kansas City Chiefs
Overall Score: 26.3 Overall Rank: 22 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 21 Pass Blocking Rank: 25
Left Tackle Branden Albert: B Left Guard Ryan Lilja: C Center Rodney Hudson: B Right Guard Jon Asamoah: B Right Tackle Eric Winston: B Swing Tackle Donald Stephenson: C+ Line Coach Jack Bicknell: B Cohesion: B+
On first glance, the Chiefs line looks pretty decent. But dig deeper, there's a ton of uncertainty in this unit. For example, left tackle Branden Albert does a good job on the blind side, but he would probably be an ideal guard. Albert is entering the final year of his deal and is unlikely to be resigned. Next to Albert, left guard Ryan Lilja is a replaceable veteran. The Chiefs drafted left guard Jeff Allen out of Illinois in round two and left tackle Donald Stephenson from Oklahoma in round three, and those two could be the left side of the future. Allen is more likely than Stephenson to get immediate playing time, but the Chiefs will want to develop these players while they change out other positions on the line. Center Rodney Hudson was a backup last season, and while he should be an upgrade over Casey Weigmann, there is going to be a transition period at center. Right guard Jon Asamoah was a stalwart last year and is a player on the cusp of Pro Bowl honors if he keeps improving. Right tackle Eric Winston was a free agent pickup from the Houston Texans. Winston had ankle surgery in the offseason, and there were rumors that his health was the reason why Houston let him walk. Obviously, Winston is a player worth watching in the preseason. Should he falter, David Mims could take his place. To summarize, the Chiefs have replaced their center and right tackle this year and will likely replace their entire left side next year. That's change at every position besides right guard over the course of two seasons. In the future, this could be a top unit, but there is going to be a lot of transition in the near term.
San Diego Chargers
Overall Score: 26.0 Overall Rank: 26 Run Blocking Rank: 29 Pass Blocking Rank: 28
Left Tackle Jared Gaither: C+ Left Guard Tyronne Green: C+ Center Nick Hardwick: B+ Right Guard Louis Vasquez: C+ Right Tackle Jeromey Clary: C Swing Tackle Brandyn Dombrowski: C+ Line Coach Hal Hunter: B+ Cohesion: A
The Chargers will be returning the same starting five that they trotted out there at the end of last season. That's a great thing from the standpoint of cohesion. Unfortunately the personnel returning are full of question marks. Left tackle Jared Gaither is a man-mountain with motivation concerns. Gaither actually does a good job, but he has bounced around the league a lot for a 26-year-old left tackle. Teams are concerned about his work ethic when it's not game day. Left guard Tyronne Green is a tough but athletically limited player. Green and similarly limited Rex Hadnot will compete for the left guard spot vacated by Kris Dielman's retirement. Center Nick Hardwick is the highlight of the line, having made a Pro Bowl in 2006. Hardwick still does a good job of keeping everyone organized and has earned the trust of Phillip Rivers. Right guard Louis Vasquez has pro size but can be exploited in the passing game. Vasquez was great compared to right tackle Jeromey Clary, who was pretty much a liability for most of last season. The Chargers, however, gave Clary a larger contract than he deserves, so that assures his playing time. Swing tackle Brandyn Dombrowski is sometimes serviceable when asked to step in for injured starters. Offensive line coach Hal Hunter does his best with limited talent year after year. In terms of overall depth, there's not much here. Steve Schilling is shaping up to be a career backup, while Mario Henderson will compete with Dombrowski for the swing tackle position. Colin Baxter was with the Jets last season and played atrociously when asked to step in for three games for injured Nick Mangold. The hope with the Chargers line is that the total really is more than the sum of its parts.
Overall Score: 25.5 Overall Rank: 27 Run Blocking Rank: 27 Pass Blocking Rank: 31
Left Tackle Levi Brown: C+ Left Guard Daryn Colledge: B Center Lyle Sendlein: B Right Guard Adam Snyder: C+ Right Tackle Jeremy Bridges: C Swing Tackle Bobby Massie: C Line Coach Russ Grimm: A+ Cohesion: C+
Left tackle Levi Brown is playing out of position on the blind side. But the Cardinals re-signed him and did not find a legitimate alternative, so it's probably going to be Brown again (watch out Kevin Kolb). Seventh-round pick Nate Potter from Boise State could save the day with a super human preseason effort, but that's probably too much to expect this year from a non-combine invite, late-round pick with arm length concerns. Left guard Daryn Colledge is actually a very good run blocker, but he can be exploited in the passing game. Center Lyle Sendlein is the opposite of Colledge, a well above average pass protector who can be overwhelmed at the point of attack. Ryan Bartholomew, who was a workout warrior two years ago out of Syracuse, backs up Sendlein. Right guard Adam Snyder doesn't seem like a solution to any of the Cards problems, but he will likely get a starting job after being pursued in free agency. Fifth-round pick Senio Kelemete should backup both guard spots and possibly compete with Adam Snyder down the line. Right tackle Jeremy Bridges is not very good and could easily lose his job to fourth-round pick Bobby Massie out of Ole Miss. If there is a silver lining in the Cardinals' offensive line situation, it's line coach Russ Grimm. Grimm made the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Redskins' vaunted Hogs line of the 1980's.
St. Louis Rams
Overall Score: 25.3 Overall Rank: 28 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 26 Pass Blocking Rank: 26
Left Tackle Rodger Saffold: B Left Guard Bryan Mattison: C Center Scott Wells: A Right Guard Harvey Dahl: C+ Right Tackle Jason Smith: C Swing Tackle Quinn Ojinnaka: C+ Line Coach Paul Boudreau: B+ Cohesion: C
Center Scott Wells was a Pro Bowl player in 2011 with the Packers, and this free agent acquisition is easily the highlight of this Rams offensive line. Wells is a smart, reliable player with excellent awareness of blitzes that the defense could be bringing. Left tackle Rodger Saffold had a great rookie season in 2010 but suffered several setbacks in 2011. Saffold was victimized by all sorts of defensive ends, and then ended the year on injured reserve with a torn pectoral. Saffold will look to recapture his rookie year form, but if he doesn't, Quinn Ojinnaka is a free agent addition who will be in competition for starting left tackle position. Whoever loses this battle could be the swing tackle, or possibly compete with Jason Smith on the right side. Smith has been a serious disappointment since his high draft pick and was asked to take a major pay cut this offseason. He simply hasn't been very good, and the Rams appear to be running out of patience with him. The Rams signed Barry Richardson to compete at the right tackle position, but it's questionable if he is any sort of upgrade over Smith. Left guard is also a trouble spot for this unit as converted defensive lineman Bryan Mattison will battle with Rokevious Watkins, Robert Turner, and Tim Barnes for the chance to start. Left guard is truly an open competition. Right guard Harvey Dahl is an outspoken and gritty performer that does a decent job. Dahl actually played some snaps at right tackle last season, so the coaching staff will have bigger worries than Dahl. An interesting depth name is undrafted Joe Long out of Wayne State. Joe is the brother of Miami Dolphins stud Jake Long and could be a possible starter in the future. Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau is well-regarded and known for putting together makeshift lines that are often greater than the sum of their parts. Boudreau will have his work cut out for him again this season. The cohesion score is fairly low due to new starters at center and left guard, as well as the uncertainty at both tackle spots (Saffold and Smith were often missing from last season's starting lineup). Rams line can get better if Saffold recovers fully from injury, the left guard competition yields a decent starter, and the team gets better production from the right tackle spot. That's a lot of big ifs.
Overall Score: 25.3 Overall Rank: 28 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 31 Pass Blocking Rank: 30
Left Tackle Cordy Glenn: C+ Left Guard Andy Levitre: B Center Eric Wood: B Right Guard Kraig Urbik: B Right Tackle Erik Pears: C+ Swing Tackle Chris Hairston: C+ Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris: B Cohesion: B
Left tackle Cordy Glenn was selected in the second round out of Georgia, and he appears to be on track to beat out Chris Hairston for the blind side duties. Both players will be attempting to fill the hole created when Demetress Bell was signed by the Eagles in free agency. Some pre-draft sources saw Glenn as only a guard; that view is selling him short. Glenn is a mauler in the run game and will likely do a decent job overall. The coaching staff compares Glenn with former Chargers tackle Marcus McNeil. It's not a bad comparison; both players are long armed and tough to run around. As with most rookies, Glenn will have some adjustments to make to the speed of the pro game. Hopefully getting preseason reps against Mario Williams can get him used to high-caliber pass rushers. Left guard Andy Levitre is a quietly efficient player and is versatile. Levitre has been used at left tackle and center at various points in his career. Keith Williams should back up Levitre at left guard. Center Eric Wood is another good quality player, but his 2011 season ended early with an ACL tear. Wood looks to bounce back and recapture his solid form for the Bills offense. Right guard Kraig Urbik is known as a good protector (and filled in well for Wood at center after his injury) but he needs to make strides in run blocking. This is the reverse of other Wisconsin players, who are usually known as rugged run blockers. Chad Rinehart will likely be competing with Urbik for that right guard position. Right tackle Erik Pears took strides last season and is a decent enough player. Pears has earned the trust of the coaching staff. Fifth-round pick Zebrie Sanders is a possible swing tackle and might challenge for Pears' starting right tackle spot in future seasons. Line coach Joe D'Alessandris is a good mentor and comes from Kansas City and Georgia Tech, both rugged running programs. The cohesion score is fairly good, with penalties for a new left tackle and getting Wood back from injury. Overall this Buffalo Bills line lacks top end talent, and their success depends upon Cordy Glenn to make a seamless transition from the SEC to the NFL.
Overall Score: 25.3 Overall Rank: 28 (tie) Run Blocking Rank: 25 Pass Blocking Rank: 32
Left Tackle J'Marcus Webb: C+ Left Guard Chris Williams: C+ Center Roberto Garza: B Right Guard Lance Louis: B Right Tackle Gabe Carimi: B Swing Tackle Chilo Rachal: C+ Line Coach Tim Holt: B Cohesion: B
The Bears offensive line has a lot of possibilities this season, but it's questionable if any possible combination is better than the next. Predicting their lineup at this point might be a tall order. Left tackle J'Marcus Webb is a talented athlete but has struggled at times on the blind side. The coaching staff has shown public faith in this player, but recent news has the Bears moving former first-rounder Chris Williams back to tackle, presumably to challenge Webb for a starting role. Williams is on the last year of his rookie contract, and this could be a last ditch attempt for the Bears to make that high pick pay off. It's possible that the Bears could move Williams back and forth between the positions before he moves on in 2013. Williams was actually decent as a left guard, so he should continue to be penciled in at that spot despite the recent news. This situation, however, is certainly one to watch in the preseason. Center Robert Garza is the Bears' most reliable lineman and has starting experience at guard. Left guard Lance Louis has seen action at guard as well as tackle, but his performance has not been consistent. It's likely Louis will be challenged by a bevy of options in preseason. Edwin Williams, Chris Spencer, and Chilo Rachal could compete for starting guard jobs. Right tackle Gabe Carimi was actually a very good player coming out of Wisconsin, but his rookie season was cut short after only two weeks due to a dislocated kneecap. Look for Carimi to make a full recovery and open up some holes in the Bears rushing attack. Undrafted rookie James Brown out of Troy is a possible swing tackle. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice was an excellent offensive line coach before washing out as the head coach of the Vikings; he often spends time with the big uglies during practice. Overall, the Bears line has weaknesses on the left side, and quarterback Jay Cutler has taken a beating since joining the team. Still, the line could be decent, and if they stay healthy, have a chance to gel and get better performances from their left side starters.
Overall Score: 25.0 Overall Rank: 31 Run Blocking Rank: 30 Pass Blocking Rank: 27
Left Tackle Anthony Castonzo: B Left Guard Joe Reitz: C Center Samson Satele: B Right Guard Ben Ijalana: C+ Right Tackle Winston Justice: B Swing Tackle Jeff Linkenbach: B Line Coach Tim Holt: B Cohesion: C
Left tackle Anthony Castonzo battled through a tough ankle injury as a rookie and had offseason surgery to correct the problem. Expect Castonzo to return at full strength and be a better blind side protector for Andrew Luck than he was for Curtis Painter and others. Castonzo wasn't bad last year, but it was apparent he was not operating at full capacity. Left guard Joe Reitz is a tall, smart player but will be in competition with Seth Olsen and Mike McGlynn for a starting spot. Reitz was only a serviceable player when in the lineup, and the new coaching staff will give the backups, especially McGlynn, every chance to win that position in preseason. Center Samson Satele is a tough and gritty performer on the inside, but he is undersized and certainly has a tough task replacing Jeff Saturday. Former TCU center Jake Kirkpatrick and A.Q. Shipley will likely battle for a backup center job behind Satele. Right guard Ben Ijalana ended last year on injured reserve with an ACL tear, but he showed hopeful signs before the injury. Right tackle Winston Justice was acquired from the Eagles this offseason and will be asked to hold down the fort and start as the other positions sort themselves out. Justice was famously burned for six sacks in the same game against Osi Umenyiora in his 2007 debut, but he has transformed into a surprisingly good right tackle since that point. Swing tackle Jeff Linkenbach was overmatched in pass protection as a starter last year, but he has some talent as a run blocker and could be counted on to start in case of injury to either tackle. Overall this Colts line has been cobbled together hastily, and their cohesion leaves a lot to be desired. The line could improve with bounce back years from Castonzo and Ijalana, as well as an upgrade at the left guard spot.
Overall Score: 24.3 Overall Rank: 32 Run Blocking Rank: 32 Pass Blocking Rank: 29
Left Tackle Tyron Smith: B Left Guard Nate Livings: B Center Phil Costa: C+ Right Guard David Arkin: C Right Tackle Doug Free: C+ Swing Tackle Jermey Parnell: C Line Coach Bill Callahan: A Cohesion: C
Left tackle Tyron Smith played well at right tackle last season, and he played great at right tackle at Southern California. However, Smith hasn't played the left side for years and will need to adjust quickly to continue his upward career path. Smith is seen as a rising talent, and he does have Pro Bowl potential if he successfully makes this swap. Left guard Nate Livings was a good player for the Bengals and should be a reliable starter for the Cowboys right away. Center Phil Costa had a choppy season and will likely face competition from Bill Nagy and others for his job. Mackenzy Bernadeau was signed in free agency for decent money and was expected to start at either center or right guard. However, Bernadeau has been slowed by a hip injury this offseason, and that opens up the door for former small-schooler David Arkin to start at right guard as the season opens. Right tackle Doug Free was often overmatched at left tackle, but he is a better player than most realize. Free should find the sledding easier on the other side this season. It would not be surprising to see Free back at left tackle, however, should Smith find himself uncomfortable in that role. Swing tackle is somewhat of an open competition as Jermey Parnell will compete with undrafted rookies Levy Adcock from Oklahoma State and Jeff Adams from Columbia. The cohesion on the Cowboys line is not good, as they will have two new starters at guard and have swapped the tackles. Only Phil Costa returns as a starter in the same position from last year. New line coach Bill Callahan is one of the league's best line coaches, and he certainly will earn his paycheck this season. Overall, this line is somewhat of a mess. The Cowboys line could improve if Smith takes well to his new position and the interior of the line finds some consistency, hopefully with Bernadeau getting healthy and claiming a starting position.
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