May 27, 2011
I have learned over the years that it is very tough to predict the performance of an entire offensive line, unless you are dealing with a line that was exceptionally good or bad the year before. Sometimes, things just come together well for a unit, as they did in Kansas City last year. And sometimes, they don’t.
We are in the very early stages of handicapping this year’s OLs, and things could change somewhat dramatically once we see free agency, but since it’s almost June it’s time to at least give a glimpse of how we see the OLs stacking up. These rankings were considered when we did our initial 2011 projections, which were posted this week.
Later on this summer, once this labor mess clears up, we’ll be back with a detailed preview of each line, and we’ll re-rank them based on any key free agent losses or additions, health, and more.
1. New York Jets Run Grade 95 Pass Grade 91 Total 186
Very good for the run last year and well above average for the pass, so still one of the best lines in the business.
2. New England Patriots Run Grade 93 Pass Grade 93 Total 186
Extremely effective for the run last year and very good as usual for the pass and drafting of T Solder will help offset loss of Light.
3. New Orleans Saints Run Grade 92 Pass Grade 92 Total 184
Did a good job for the run again this year and their pass protection was overall solid as usual, so still look like one of the better OLs in the biz.
4. New York Giants Run Grade 88 Pass Grade 92 Total 180
They’re trying to get younger but in 2010 they started off slow yet were still well above average for the run and very good for the pass, as Manning was rarely sacked.
5. Tennessee Titans Run Grade 88 Pass Grade 89 Total 177
Getting older now and shakier for the run this past year, plus Johnson didn’t run as well, but still held up well for the pass and overall this line still stacks up well.
6. Houston Texans Run Grade 88 Pass Grade 89 Total 177
They have finally figured it out up front and RB Foster’s production in 2010 and QB Schaub’s durability last two years show that, so pretty darn solid all-around
7. Philadelphia Eagles Run Grade 91 Pass Grade 86 Total 177
Some issues early in season, but a good job blocking for the run. Pass pro was another story, although Vick can make any line look bad at times. #1 pick Danny Watkins plays inside, but he can only help them.
8. Atlanta Falcons Run Grade 88 Pass Grade 88 Total 176
Graded out well for the run and the pass again in 2010 so this is a pretty stable and solid line.
9. San Diego Chargers Run Grade 88 Pass Grade 88 Total 176
LT McNeil finally reported last year and the line was decent in blocking for the run and the pass, but they didn’t draft anyone of note.
10. Kansas City Chiefs Run Grade 89 Pass Grade 87 Total 176
This line wasn’t great in pass pro, but they were outstanding blocking for the run and upgraded their interior with #2 pick Rodney Hudson
11. Green Bay Packers Run Grade 87 Pass Grade 89 Total 176
Haven’t totally put it together yet but they keep getting younger and now have two #1 picks at T and with a strong RB group in place they should show good improvement.
12. Dallas Cowboys Run Grade 88 Pass Grade 88 Total 176
Although far from dominant in 2010, they graded out pretty well for the run and the pass and #1 pick Tyron Smith can only help them, so still a respectable line.
13. Cleveland Browns Run Grade 89 Pass Grade 87 Total 176
Pretty solid for the run as expected but not as good for the pass, yet the personnel could be a factor in that.
14. Baltimore Ravens Run Grade 88 Pass Grade 86 Total 174
Solid for the run in ’10 but less effective than in the past and have an issue at T as pass pro was worse than usual, although slow receivers didn’t help. 3rd round pick T Jah Reid could help
15. Carolina Panthers Run Grade 86 Pass Grade 88 Total 174
Talent is there, but injuries hurt them in 2010. If RT Otah is back this year they should be one of the better lines out there, yet you wouldn’t know it from their offensive success.
16. Detroit Lions Run Grade 86 Pass Grade 88 Total 174
Their rushing stats were bad, but that’s probably not the OL’s fault as they had a poor running game, and they held up very well for the pass and have all five starters back.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers Run Grade 87 Pass Grade 87 Total 174
Never a team strength but if they are healthier they could improve, and the OL wasn’t a huge weakness for them last year.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars Run Grade 89 Pass Grade 85 Total 174
They were actually outstanding for the run at times last year, as their high draft picks on the line are helping, but they have room for improvement in pass protection.
19. Stl Louis Rams Run Grade 86 Pass Grade 88 Total 174
They’re not there yet, but the OL clearly improved as the season wore on and were better for the pass than the run, and at least we can say this OL isn’t a liability.
20. Cincinnati Bengals Run Grade 86 Pass Grade 87 Total 173
Fell off blocking for the run after a solid 2009, yet improved blocking for the pass after a weak ’09 in that area, so hard to handicap this line.
21. Indianapolis Colts Run Grade 86 Pass Grade 87 Total 173
Terrible for the run last year and while Manning makes them look much better than they are for the pass, they were weak in that area too, but some help is on the way with their #1 and #2 picks.
22. Miami Dolphins Run Grade 85 Pass Grade 86 Total 171
Really struggled blocking for the run inside this past year and were average for the pass, but #1 pick Pouncey will help inside and they do have some solid talent.
23. Denver Broncos Run Grade 85 Pass Grade 85 Total 170
Below average for the run in 2010 and only average for the pass so probably a below-average OL all things considered. #2 pick Orlando Franklin may help depth and performance.
24. San Francisco 49ers Run Grade 88 Pass Grade 85 Total 173
Better for the run than the pass but they are young and have talent, so they could be slightly above average at worst.
25. Washington Redskins Run Grade 87 Pass Grade 85 Total 172
We thought their bookend tackles would really help them last year but they were actually much better for the run than the pass in 2010, so fair to skeptical, yet this line isn’t awful.
26. Oakland Raiders Run Grade 87 Pass Grade 84 Total 171
Not a very talented line and could lose veteran Gallery, but they were fantastic for the run last year at least, yet pass protection is an issue for them.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Run Grade 86 Pass Grade 85 Total 171
They may be losing some players to FA and this is a line that seems to be slipping in all areas so this is a bit of a red flag for this team.
28. Minnesota Vikings Run Grade 85 Pass Grade 85 Total 170
Run numbers look better than they should because Peterson is one of the best of all time, and they are pretty bad blocking for the pass, so this is a poor group.
29. Chicago Bears Run Grade 84 Pass Grade 86 Total 170
New OL coach Mike Tice did get this group to play better after a laughable start, and #1 pick Carimi has to help pass protection, but they are still shaky inside.
30. Seattle Seahawks Run Grade 85 Pass Grade 85 Total 170
They are certainly trying to upgrade the OL in the draft with two consecutive #1 picks in 2009-2010 but they were still quite shaky in 2010 and it’s fair to remain skeptical.
31. Buffalo Bills Run Grade 84 Pass Grade 85 Total 169
Still have serious talent issues throughout the line but they actually weren’t awful in 2010 at least.
32. Arizona Cardinals Run Grade 84 Pass Grade 85 Total 169
Graded out below average for the run and the pass in 2010 and their starting five is up on the air with free agency, so things aren’t looking particularly good.