The moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived. The Official PFF 2018 Offensive Line Rankings are here, and I’m sure you’ll agree with each ranking. who am I kidding? you’re not reading this introduction, let’s get to it.
The blame game has run rampant around Pittsburgh after a disappointing season ended. Don’t point fingers anywhere near the offensive line though, as they were dominant down the stretch this season. Their lowest-ranked starter was still only the 61st ranked offensive lineman. That type of cohesion was unmatched around the NFL.
“If you build it they will come” is a saying that doesn’t only apply to baseball fields and baseball-playing ghosts. In the case of the Browns, it also applies to offensive lines and franchise quarterbacks. With high priced free agents at center, right guard, and right tackle, the Browns gelled into one of the league’s top units over the second half of the year. Their interior offensive linemen – left guard Joel Bitonio, center J.C. Tretter, and right guard Kevin Zeitler – combined to give up only 39 total pressures on the season.
We knew they would be better, but I don’t think even the biggest colts, homer, could have foreseen this. however, drafting the highest-rated rookie guard and the second-highest-rated rookie tackle will do that. Everyone and his mom predicted Quenton Nelson would be a stud, and he was a second-team PFF pro, but Braden Smith, who went from varsity guard to pro tackle, was a wild card. Fortunately, that card came out as aces as Smith was the 25th highest PFF-rated tackle of the season.
Another year, another well-oiled machine blocking in New England. Shaq Mason finished the season as PFF’s All-Pro right guard and all five starters were among the top-75 graded offensive linemen in the league.
It wasn’t quite the dominant line they had hoped for with Jason Peters back healthy, but it was still easily one of the best units in the league. Jason Kelce was the top overall graded center, while Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson were top five at their respective positions as well. The almost 37-year-old Peters though didn’t fare as well. His 34 pressures allowed were the second-most of any season in his career, and he didn’t even make it through the full year.
After such a strong start, the exposure of the Rams’ offensive line during the second half of the season was one of the biggest reasons for their offensive hiatus. In particular, center John Sullivan’s play fell off a cliff down the stretch. after allowing four pressures in the first seven games, he has allowed 32 in the last nine. Even so, he is one of the few lines in the NFL to have five starters playing in 1,000 snaps.
green bay had their struggles at right guard all season, but it’s hard to get over the fact that they sent the best pass-protecting tackle duo in the league. David Bakhtiari ranked highest in pass blocking among all tackles, while Bryan Bulaga ranked second among right-handed tackles in the NFL this season.
The Saints had a similar structure to the Packers this season with two dominant tackles, but they struggled more when injuries hit. None of his starters on the inside earned top 80 ratings among all linemen, and Jermon Bushrod only earned a 62.2 overall rating over Terron Armstead for much of the year.
This has been a Titans offensive line that has been intact for three years now, but the results have slowly diminished over time instead of improving. A significant portion of that was health, but a few guys took key steps back as well. Right guard Josh Kline didn’t miss time but still struggled to his lowest-graded season as a pro (58.0 overall).
The return of quarterback yanda and the emergence of ronnie stanley as one of the best left tackles in the league propelled this team (and the running game) down the stretch. Stanley had the third-highest pass protection rating of all tackles this season, while Yanda was the third-highest rated shooting guard.
The Bears finished the season with the second-best pass-blocking efficiency in the league among all offensive lines, and this was another team without a really weak link. Rookie James Daniels ended up earning his lowest rating at 62.3 overall, but Charles Leno Jr., Bobby Massie and Cody Whitehair were all above 70.0.
This was an offensive line that had high hopes going into this season, but things quickly fell apart. left guard andry levitre missed the entire season and right tackle ryan schraeder never looked like himself. After allowing eight pressures in the first week, he had the worst season as a starter before being benched at the end of the year.
The Chiefs are another team with one of the best tackle duos in the league, as Mitchell Schwartz was PFF’s first-team pro right tackle. however, injuries on the inside greatly limited them this season. seven different interior linemen played at least 100 snaps for the Chiefs as no one was able to stay healthy.
and then there were two. After the 2014 lineup was so utterly dominant, the pieces have fallen off one by one over the years until Tyron Smith and Zack Martin were the only ones left this year. They kept their end of the bargain, but both Connor Williams and Joe Looney had sub-60.0 ratings last season.
an impressive rookie season from mike mcglinchey (73.2 overall rating) and the perennial joe staley (82.2) did a great job of masking some inside handicaps. Mike Person and Laken Tomlinson combined to give up as many pressures (65) as their tackling duo, while Weston Richburg gave up the third-most pressures of any center (33).
what had the makings of a promising offensive line fell apart pretty quickly in detroit. tj lang only managed 282 snaps before ending up going, while frank ragnow was all over the map as a rookie. The Lions’ first round ended with the 10th-most pressures allowed of any guard.
After losing both starting tackles in the preseason, things could have gone much, much worse for Carolina. Last year’s second-round pick Taylor Moton ended up becoming a stalwart on the right side. He allowed only four combined sacks and hits all season long.
They finally did it! The Seahawks finished the season ranked 17th in pass-blocking efficiency after finishing 29th a year ago. Having Duane Brown on the blind side for a full year played a big role in that, but they also got a career year from D.J. Fluker, who allowed only nine pressures in 10 games at right guard.
Another year, another injury-riddled nightmare for the Redskins. Nine different offensive linemen played at least 200 snaps for Washington this season, and Ty Nsekhe was the only backup to perform to a decent standard. He’ll be an interesting name in free agency, as the 33-year old backup has consistently been competent filling in at tackle.
There are a lot of negatives we could highlight about Tampa Bay this season, but we’ll focus on the one player who took a big leap forward this season. Ali Marpet moved back to guard and had a career year. He was the fourth-highest graded left guard in the NFL this season after struggling with his transition to center a year ago.
At the midway point in the season, it looked as if the Giants had flushed their money down the proverbial drain with left tackle Nate Solder. He’d allowed six sacks and 20 total pressures through the first eight games. However, he rebounded in a big way over the second half of the year, allowing only one sack and 13 total pressures.
It’s a shame we didn’t get to see this offensive line at full strength for too long. Left tackle Cam Robinson didn’t allow a single pressure in Week 1 after leading the league a season ago. He only managed eight snaps against New England in Week 2 though before going on IR. Josh Walker and Ereck Flowers would combine to give up 60 pressures filling in at tackle this season.
While the tackle position was still very much an issue for Houston, Zach Fulton and a healthy Nick Martin brought some competency to their pass blocking. Fulton earned a 79.1 pass-blocking grade on the season while Martin was at 80.9.
This line dominated at times when fully healthy, but once injuries struck, they had no answer. Their two best starters, Ronald Leary and Matt Paradis, both ended the season on IR. While third-year starter Connor McGovern looked competent at guard, he was a nightmare at center. He allowed 22 pressures in eight games at center filling in for Paradis.
Heading into 2018, the Jets line was a fairly well-known commodity. It was a veteran line with a lot of veterans that had just never been good. At the end of 2018, they met expectations. Kelvin Beachum was their highest graded player with only a 66.0 overall grade.
Very similar to the Jets, there wasn’t much to get excited about with the offensive line in the preseason and their end of year ranking reflects that. If there was one silver lining, it’s that rookie guard Wyatt Teller only allowed eight pressures in his eight games this year.
Cordy Glenn and Billy Price were supposed to come in and fix the Bengals’ reeling offensive line this season, but both came in and fell victim to what might be a cursed unit. Glenn had the lowest-graded season of his career at 60.9 overall, and he gave up a career-high 36 pressures. Price didn’t fare any better with a 49.4 overall grade in a season marred with injury.
This was an offensive line that was a top-5 unit as recently as two years ago. Kelechi Osemele inexplicably fell off a cliff though with a 53.8 overall grade this season, and the Raiders’ offensive tackles were a nightmare. Rookies Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker combined to allow 26 sacks and had 19 penalties between them.
Outside of left tackle Riley Reiff – who himself had some ugly outings, most notably Buffalo – the Vikings didn’t have a single offensive lineman with a top-80 grade this season. Their interior was quite easily one of the worst in the league. Tom Compton, Pat Elflein, and Mike Remmers combined to give up 18 sacks on the season.
The Chargers’ offensive line improvement has been vastly overblown. They still employ the lowest-graded guard and lowest tackle in pass protection this season. Left guard Dan Feeney has allowed eight sacks and eight more hits, while right tackle Sam Tevi has given up eight sacks and 12 hits.
What started as a season with some promise turned into the same old Dolphins interior offensive line. It certainly didn’t help that injuries took a huge toll, with only Jesse Davis playing 900 snaps, but even some of the penciled starters got routinely worked. After Josh Sitton went down, Jesse Davis, Ted Larsen, and Travis Swanson combined to allow 98 pressures on the interior.
The Cardinals’ offensive line was in shambles when fully healthy, so it didn’t help that only rookie center Mason Cole was able to stay healthy for more than 600 snaps this season. 11 different offensive linemen played at least 100 snaps for the Cardinals this season, and not a single one played well. Quarterback Josh Rosen didn’t have a chance.