Before the 2020 college football season began, PFF ranked every single offensive line in the country as a part of the 2020 PFF College Magazine, which is available to PFF College subscribers and will be done again in 2021. Now it’s time to give an update!
Below, you will find every single FBS offensive line ranked from No. 1 to No. 127 (three FBS schools are not playing this fall due to COVID-19 concerns). Please note that these rankings have nothing to do with the NFL potential on the roster; they are also not solely based on 2020 PFF grade or 100% indicative of future play. Several factors went into these rankings, including level of competition and every offensive lineman’s grading profile.
True pass sets — a set of play features that are the most stable and predictive — are mentioned frequently in these rankings. True pass sets are passing plays that face at least a four-man rush and feature no play action, no screen pass, no quick throw and no rollout. Click here to read about how true pass sets factor into PFF's college-to-pro evaluation process.
1. Notre Dame
Not only does Notre Dame have the best offensive line of the 2020 college football season, but it also has one of the best offensive lines we have seen in the PFF College era.
Left tackle Liam Eichenberg, left guard Aaron Banks, right guard Tommy Kraemer and right tackle Robert Hainsey all rank eighth or higher in the FBS in PFF grade at their respective positions. And center Jarrett Patterson was right up there at No. 9 before he went down with a season-ending injury after Week 11. Against North Carolina in Week 13, the Irish missed Patterson’s presence as well as that of Kraemer, who was out due to an appendectomy. Zeke Correll recorded a 41.9 PFF grade in his first game in Patterson’s spot, and Josh Lugg posted a 63.8 mark while filling in for Kraemer.
Center is an area to keep an eye on for Notre Dame the remainder of the season, but don’t worry too much about right guard, as the Irish should be getting Kraemer back in a few weeks.
Say what you will about BYU’s cupcake schedule — the team genuinely has the second-best offensive line in the entire country. Left tackle Brady Christensen and his 96.2 overall grade are on pace to shatter the PFF College era record for highest single-season PFF grade among tackles. Whether he is pass protecting or run blocking, Christensen has been elite. He has allowed just two pressures on 293 pass-blocking snaps en route to a 96.0 pass-blocking grade, and his 95.2 run-blocking grade is also the best in the FBS. He’s not the only top performer on this line, though. Center James Empey ranks fifth in the FBS in pass-blocking grade, guard Tristen Hoge ranks fifth in PFF grade and Chandon Herring ranks fourth among right tackles in PFF grade. Coach Eric Mateos, I apologize for the poison, but we have to give credit when credit is due.
Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson is putting up video game-like numbers through four games. A big reason for his production is his vision, ability to fight through contact and just overall talent. But it’s also because of the line in front of him. The Bulls’ front five has been opening lanes all throughout their four games, and the unit ranks behind only BYU for the highest group run-blocking grade in the FBS. It’s not just one or two guys carrying the load, either — the entire offensive line has been lights out. Not to mention, their pass protection has been nearly perfect this year. Buffalo’s offensive line ranks first in pressure rate allowed. We knew left tackle Kayode Awosika and center Mike Novitsky would be great, but no one quite saw Jake Fuzak breaking out like he has. The right tackle ranks second at the position in PFF grade since his season began (91.1).
The Hokies boast some of the best tackle play in the country this season. Their tackle unit ranks first in the FBS in combined PFF grade and is anchored by Christian Darrisaw. The junior ranks first among Power Five tackles in PFF grade, at 95.6 — a mark that flirts with the best single-season grade a Power Five tackle has earned in the PFF College era. He has yet to allow a single sack or hit on 250 pass-blocking snaps and is hardly ever going to be out-leveraged in the run game. This dominant play has led him to earn a first-round grade on our most recent 2021 NFL Draft board. Luke Tenuta starts at right tackle for Virginia Tech, and while he isn’t as good a pass-protector as Darrisaw, he’s one of the best at the position in the run game. His 87.2 run-blocking grade ranks 10th-best in the FBS among qualifying right tackles.
Center Drake Jackson and right tackle Darian Kinnard have been as good as expected for Kentucky this season. Each ranks first at their position in the SEC in PFF grade. Landon Young and Luke Fortner haven’t quite taken that next step forward to near-elite status this season, but virtually every FBS program would love to have those two starting on their line. They don’t come in at number one, but Young ranks fourth among SEC left tackles in PFF grade and Fortner ranks sixth among all SEC guards.
The Thundering Herd’s offensive line has been exceptional across the board, but no piece has been better than right guard Cain Madden. The fifth-year senior cut his weight by over 25 pounds during the COVID-19 lockdown, and the results have been astounding. Madden has the best grade among FBS guards by over two grading points, at 94.2. He has yet to allow a sack or a hit on 173 pass-blocking snaps and is dominant in the run game, earning a 95.0 grade.
PFF’s Preseason All-Sun Belt team offensive line was almost entirely filled by Appalachian State players, and that is likely to remain for the final team at the end of the season. The interior offensive line — left guard Ryan Neuzil, right guard Baer Hunter and center Noah Hannon — all are first in the Sun Belt at their respective positions in PFF grade. And tackles Cooper Hodges and Cole Garrison rank in the top five amongSun Belt tackles.
Oklahoma has no linemen at the elite level in terms of PFF grade, but all five starters have performed well for the Sooners. Each of the five has a season PFF grade above 70.0. The biggest thing we wanted to see among Oklahoma’s offensive line entering the year was a bounce-back season from center Creed Humphrey. He earned a 78.9 PFF grade as a redshirt freshman in 2018, but instead of taking that next step forward in 2019, he regressed. His grade fell to 67.3, and he performed inconsistently in pass protection. Humphrey has looked vastly better this season, improving his PFF grade to 81.9. He has allowed just four pressures on 293 pass-blocking snaps (all hurries) and ranks seventh in the FBS in run-blocking grade.
Center Landon Dickerson has been on a tear since his lowly performance in the 2020 opener. In his seven starts since posting a 30.5 pass-block grade in that contest, Dickerson ranks third among FBS centers in PFF grade (89.7). First-round prospect Alex Leatherwood hasn’t quite improved to the level many had hoped for, in part because of poor pass blocking. He has allowed three sacks and four hits en route to a 66.8 pass-blocking grade on the year.
Yet, he has still been a great run-blocker, generating an 83.1 grade in that facet.
The Hawkeyes have consistently produced one of the top offensive lines in the Big Ten, and this season is no different. Led by center Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa’s offensive line ranks 12th in the FBS as a unit in PFF grade. Linderbaum shined last season in his first year at center after changing positions from the defensive side of the ball. And now in 2020, he has taken his play to elite status. Linderbaum has recorded a 90.3 PFF grade this season — the highest among FBS centers — with just one pressure allowed on 215 pass-blocking snaps.
More than 12 offensive linemen have taken a snap for the Badgers this season, and no matter who has been on the field, their line has been great in pass protection. Wisconsin currently ranks second in the FBS in pass-blocking grade and first in pressure rate allowed (5%). Left tackle Cole Van Lanen leads the unit with an 85.3 PFF grade that ranks 13th in the FBS. He’s looking more and more like his 2018 self that impressed us all (90.8 PFF grade) versus his 2019 form that disappointed (72.6 PFF grade).
12. Ohio State
The Buckeyes’ interior offensive line has been a bit of a disappointment this season, but the unit still slots in at No. 12 thanks to superb play from tackles Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere. Munford’s 89.4 PFF grade ranks seventh among all FBS tackles, and Petit-Frere isn’t too far behind at 16th. Petit-Frere’s pass protection, in particular, has been elite. He has played 153 pass-blocking snaps this season without allowing a single pressure. And a good chunk of those snaps came against a formidable Penn State pass-rushing duo, Shaka Toney and Jayson Oweh. Right guard Wyatt Davis was one of the best all-around interior offensive linemen of 2019, but he has failed to replicate that success in 2020. His PFF grade has dropped from 82.6 last season to 67.5 through four games this year.
13. Air Force
Air Force again flaunts one of the top run-blocking lines in college football. Since 2016, the Falcons’ offensive line has posted run-blocking grade ranks of second, first, 26th, first and sixth so far this season. Left guard Nolan Laufenberg was the top performer for Air Force last season, which has remained the case this year. He was the second-most valuable guard in the FBS a season ago, and his 90.2 run-blocking grade in 2020 ranks second in the FBS.
14. Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers had one of the best pass-blocking offensive lines of 2019, and it has carried over into 2020. The unit as a whole has produced the fourth-best pass-blocking grade in the FBS. Right guard Jordan Meredith has been as good as advertised, ranking 10th among all FBS guards in PFF grade. Yet, the main story of this line involves the two starting tackles — Cole Spencer and Marson Brooks — as they have combined to produce the second-best pass-blocking grade among Group of Five tackle units.
Army drops back to pass just 15% of the time, the lowest rate in the FBS, and the team’s offensive line has been woeful on those limited snaps. The Black Knights slot in at 124th in the FBS in unit pass-block grade. But what matters most in an offense like this is run-blocking performance, and the unit passes with flying colors there. While the line ranks fourth-to-last in pass-blocking grade, it sits at fourth in unit run-blocking grade.
Perhaps the first surprise on this list is Washington’s offensive line ranking 16th. We have just three games worth of tape on the Huskies’ offensive line, but that limited sample has been a lot better than expected. The unit returned only two starters, yet it has managed to rank 14th in the FBS in pass-blocking grade. Left tackle Jaxson Kirkland was one of those two, and his 90.1 pass-blocking grade attests to his dominance in that facet.
There is no glaring weakness on this Georgia offensive line. Whether it’s a pass or a run, all five starters have been good relative to their counterparts. Each starter has a PFF grade in the 70.0s, leading to the group earning the third-best PFF grade in the SEC. Considering this unit lost three starters to the NFL this past offseason, that’s quite impressive.
18. Oklahoma State
The Pokes’ offensive line has been anchored by standout play from right tackle Tevin Jenkins, who took his play to elite status after recording PFF grades of 78.8 and 85.7 in his first two years in a starting role in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Jenkins’ 92.0 PFF grade this season leads all FBS right tackles. He was unfortunately hurt in Week 12 against Oklahoma, which caused him to miss Oklahoma State’s Week 13 affair with Texas Tech. Jenkins then decided to opt out of the season to focus on the 2021 NFL Draft.
Outside of tackles Jackson Carman and Jordan McFadden, Clemson’s run blocking has been disappointing. The interior offensive line ranks at a lowly 83rd in run-blocking grade among FBS teams. Despite those struggles, right guard Will Putnam has been great in pass protection. He boasts an 80.1 grade in that facet with just four pressures allowed on 364 pass-blocking snaps (all hurries). Carman and McFadden are really the key reasons for Clemson cracking the top 20. Those two have given the Tigers the ninth-best tackle unit in the FBS in terms of PFF grade.
Alijah Vera-Tucker was one of college football’s best pass-blocking guards in 2019, and he has gotten even better in his move to left tackle this season. Through three games, Vera-Tucker owns a Power Five-best 92.8 pass-blocking grade with just one loss on 155 such snaps. The rest of the line has been solid, but Vera-Tucker is the main reason for the Trojans being here at No. 20.
21. Boston College
Boston College’s offensive line has been a bit disappointing this season. The unit hasn't lived up to expectations, but it’s clearly still been great compared to the rest of the FBS — as evidenced but its No. 21 ranking. A majority of the sacks allowed have been the fault of quarterback Phil Jurkovec, not the offensive line. In fact, Boston College ranks 13th in the FBS in pass-blocking grade. The big issue with this group collectively is run blocking, where the Eagles’ 53.0 grade is only slightly above-average.
No Group of Five offensive line has surpassed expectations more than Troy’s. All five of the key contributors have earned pass-blocking grades above 77.0, making them the fifth-best unit in college football. The Trojans returned only two starters from last season — left tackle Austin Stidham and center Dylan Bradshaw — and that pair has improved by leaps and bounds.
The Cavaliers have had a sneaky good set of pass-blockers this season. Virginia’s offensive line ranks 19th in the FBS in pass-blocking grade, and it accomplished that despite playing the second-most true pass sets of any front five in college football. Redshirt sophomore guard Joe Bissinger, who has served mostly as a rotational piece with just one start in 2020, has been the top performer. On 47 pass-blocking snaps in his freshman year in 2019 and 135 pass-blocking snaps this season, he has yet to allow a single pressure.
24. San Diego State
Despite suboptimal offensive production from the Aztecs in 2020, their offensive line did it’s job to the best of its ability. That is, until the team’s Week 13 matchup with Colorado. San Diego State’s offensive line ranked second in the FBS in unit PFF grade from Week 8 through Week 12 before a dismal outing against its only Power Five opponent this season.
The offensive line produced a 53.4 grade, its worst of the season, ranking 72nd of 88 FBS schools in Week 13. Left tackle Kyle Spalding still managed to hold down the fort in pass protection — just as he has all year long. On 180 pass-blocking snaps over six starts, he has allowed zero sacks or hits en route to the third-best pass-blocking grade in the FBS. Week 13 verified that San Diego State has a great Group of Five offensive line, but it’s not quite in that elite tier of Power Five units.
Liberty has been a surprise at virtually every position group this season, especially at tackle with Cooper McCaw and Tristan Schultz. McCaw entered the year with just 313 snaps in his collegiate career and has managed to earn an 87.2 PFF grade (17th among FBS tackles) in his first full season starting at right tackle in 2020. As for Shultz, he entered 2020 as a two-year starter at tackle for the Flames and was coming off a horrid 2019 campaign. He posted a 36.2 pass-blocking grade that year while surrendering an 18.5% pressure rate. This year, Schultz has increased his pass-blocking grade to 73.8 while holding his opposition to just a 3.3% pressure rate.
After back-to-back years of strong play in 2018 and 2019 that ended in PFF grades of 79.7 and 83.9, respectively, Texas left tackle Samuel Cosmi has taken his play to elite status in 2020. His consistency stands out the most, with him recording a single game PFF grade above 70.0 in each of his seven starts. That has combined to form a 90.3 season grade, ranking ninth among all FBS tackles. However, he opted out for the remainder of the season following Texas' loss to Iowa State in Week 13. While there hasn’t been another member of this offensive line to take that next step forward, the rest of the bunch have been quality starters for the Longhorns. The unit as a whole ranks 13th among Power Five offensive lines in PFF grade.
27. Western Michigan
Mark Brooks began 2019 as a rotational player at right tackle before closing out the season as a starter for the final three games. And he showed a lot of promise with an 81.5 PFF grade on 463 snaps. This year, the redshirt senior has continued that hot stretch of play as the starting right tackle. Brooks has recorded an 87.1 PFF grade through four games, the seventh-best mark in the Group of Five. He and left guard Mike Caliendo — the eighth-highest graded guard in the Group of Five — anchor this line.
After two strong years at left guard for Memphis, Dylan Parham kicked over to right tackle for the 2020 season and has become one of the best at the position. Parham is the eighth-highest graded right tackle in the FBS and jumps to third in pass protection. He has allowed just six total pressures on 374 pass-block snaps this season.
FIU has a top-three guard and tackle in the C-USA. Right guard Obinna Nwankwo and right tackle Lyndell Hudson Jr. have earned grades above 80.0 as both pass protectors and run blockers. Only two other offensive linemen in the conference have accomplished that feat this year. Nwankwo and Hudson are key reasons why FIU’s ground game is averaging 8.0 yards per carry when running at or outside the right guard (second-best in FBS).
Mizzou flaunts one of the biggest breakout offensive lineman of the 2020 season. Right tackle Larry Borom has improved his PFF grade by over 20 grading points from a season ago and has shut down the opposing pass rush in every single game played. In five games, Borom has logged 190 pass-blocking snaps and allowed just one pressure. That gives him a 0.5% pressure rate on the year (tied for second-best among FBS right tackles).
Center Bryson Harris missed all of 2019 due to injury before coming back a lot stronger in pass protection this year. Ths sixth-year senior's 87.2 pass-blocking grade ranks fourth among FBS centers this season. His teammate Nick Rosi, however, has not been nearly as good this season — largely due to a position switch. Rosi started at left guard as a redshirt freshman in 2019 and earned an impressive 80.9 PFF grade. Playing mostly right tackle in 2020, he has lowered his pass-blocking grade from 83.9 to 56.3.
The fact that Oregon’s offensive line ranks this high is quite a surprise considering they lost all five starters from last year’s unit to the NFL, graduation and, in Penei Sewell’s case, an opt-out. Left tackle Steven Jones has yet to start a game this year but has proven he deserves to do so with his performance so far. Jones has logged 172 snaps despite not receiving a start, recording the fourth-best PFF grade among Pac-12 tackles (79.1).
Louisiana's offensive line has been pretty top-heavy this season with O’Cyrus Torrence and Max Mitchell leading the unit. Torrence was exceptional in pass protection as a true freshman in 2019, posting an 80.5 grade while allowing no sacks or hits. This season has been no different. Torrence raised his pass-blocking grade to 86.8 and has yet to allow a sack or hit while ranking second among FBS right guards in pressure rate allowed (0.8%). Mitchell was an all-around performer in 2019, and that’s remained the case in 2020. He has a grade above 80.0 as both a pass blocker and a run blocker, having allowed a lone pressure on 236 pass-block reps.
From a pass protection perspective, Minnesota's offensive line has not performed up to snuff. This Gophers' unit ranks 95th in unit pass-blocking grade and just one of the five starters on the line has produced a pass-blocking grade that meets the Big Ten average at their respective position (Conner Olson is seventh among Big Ten right guards). When it comes to run blocking, though, this line has been in the upper echelon of college football; it leads the Big Ten and ranks 10th overall in the FBS.
The interior of Temple’s offensive line ranks in the top-tier of the Group of Five in pass protection. The Owls’ interior linemen are ninth in the FBS in combined pass-blocking grade and have allowed just six total pressures on 71 true pass sets. Their run blocking, however, isn’t nearly as strong. Temple’s interior unit dips to 89th in the FBS in unit run-blocking grade.
Pitt has tasked its offensive line with the fifth-highest rate of true pass sets in the FBS (54%), and the group has held up pretty well. It ranks seventh in the ACC in pass-blocking grade and has gotten strong play out of left guard Bryce Hargrove. The fifth-year senior has recorded an 80.1 pass-blocking grade on the year and ranks third among ACC guards in pass-blocking grade on true pass sets.
37. Washington State
Left guard Jarrett Kingston, center Brian Greene and right tackle Abraham Lucas have all performed well in pass protection for the Cougars this season. Those three have yet to allow a sack or hit on 88 pass-block snaps, with a hurry being the only knock against them. That’s led all three to pass-blocking grades above 80.0. Lucas, however, is the only player on the line who has been an all-around great player in their two games this season. That isn’t really a surprise — he was the Power Five's 10th-highest graded tackle in 2019. He currently is one of four tackles in the Pac-12 with a grade above 75.0 in both pass protection and run blocking.
38. Oregon State
The Beavers' run blocking stacks up well to its FBS counterparts this season, ranking 18th among 127 offensive lines by grade in that facet. We wish we could say the same for the pass protection, but unfortunately for quarterback Tristan Gebbia, it’s been bad. The unit slots in at just 93rd in pass-blocking grade.
39. Penn State
Center Michal Menet is one of the many disappointing performers on Penn State's offensive line this season. He made great progress throughout his first two years at the position in 2018 and 2019 with PFF grades of 73.4 and 78.2, respectively, but he has taken a step back in 2020. Menet’s PFF grade has slid over 10 grading points down to 67.7. Will Fries, on the other hand, has been a surprise performer on this line in his fourth season as a starter. The fifth-year senior failed to post a PFF grade above 70.0 in each of his first three seasons as a starter, but he has improved this year in each facet at both right guard and right tackle en route to a 79.2 PFF grade.
40. Texas A&M
Texas A&M’s offensive line has been on opposite ends of the spectrum in pass protection versus run blocking. The Aggies' backfield has produced better-than-expected results, and a big reason for that is their offensive line that’s tied for 23rd in the FBS in run-blocking grade. It's been a different story in pass protection, where the unit ranks 81st. The Aggies have played a higher rate of true pass sets than any other group in the SEC, but either way, the results have been subpar.
Center Taaga Tuulima was a standout pass-blocker but a relatively poor run-blocker in both 2018 and 2019. This year, he has performed even better in pass protection but has gotten a little bit worse in the run game.
Tuulima has a pass-block grade over nine grading points higher (88.4) and a run-block grade nearly nine grading points lower (50.9) than last season. What matters most is his ability to protect the quarterback, though, and the fact that he's allowed just four pressures (all hurries) in six starts is impressive.
Center Michael Saffell is giving Stanford’s Drew Dalman a run for his money for top center in the Pac-12 — as expected. Since the Pac-12 kicked off its season in Week 10, Saffell ranks sixth in the Power 5 in pass-block grade and has allowed just one pressure on 103 pass-block snaps.
Right tackle Jake Curhan was also expected to be near the top of the conference at his position, but he got off to a rough start with three pressures allowed in their season opener against UCLA. He was then forced to miss the following two weeks due to COVID-19 protocol, and despite the concerns about how the Cal line would hold up with Curhan out, they gave up the 12th-lowest pressure rate in the FBS over those two games.
The Bearcats’ offensive line has been exceptional against the blitz. The line as a whole has combined for the eighth-best pass-block grade and 10th-best pressure rate allowed in the FBS when the defense blitzes. Left tackle James Hudson is the top performer for Cincinnati and is the only tackle in the AAC to log over 100 pass-block snaps and not allow a single sack or hit (261 pass-block snaps in total).
Cam DeGeorge has been nothing short of impressive for the Cardinals. He has played over 85 snaps at left guard, right guard and right tackle and has managed to post an 86.5 pass-block grade on the season.
What hasn’t been impressive, is the play of starting tackles Adonis Boone and Renato Brown. Those two have not quite replaced Mekhi Becton and Tyler Haycraft as the team had hoped. Boone has posted a mediocre 60.0 PFF grade for the season, and Haycraft has been marginally better at 66.8.
Ohio Bobcat Hagen Meservy entered the 2020 season with over 1,600 snaps at right guard and just three snaps at right tackle. And the results weren’t all that great, as he recorded a PFF grade in the low 60s in those three seasons. He started the season at guard and earned a 63.7 PFF grade before kicking out to tackle and flourishing in his last two games.
Maryland has protected new starting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa fairly well this season. And that’s a big surprise considering how bad they were last season and that they lost their only decent performer, Ellis McKennie. The Terps ranked 124th in team pass-block grade a season ago but they have improved that rank to 29th this year.
47. Central Michigan
The Chips have one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the MAC with Derek Smith. The sixth-year senior shined at left guard in 2019 but flipped to right tackle this season and has gone from good to great. Smith has tied for the third-best PFF grade among FBS tackles at 91.3 since the MAC’s season began in Week 10.
They haven’t gotten the best performance from Jamezz Kimbrough at center, though. He ranks 96th at the position in PFF grade (51.9) since CMU’s season began.
Guards Paul Grattan and Duke Clemens have really brought this unit down, posting pass-block grades of 26.9 and 33.4, respectively. Jon Gaines II actually got the starting nod over Clemens in Week 13 and performed remarkably better. Gaines registered an 80.9 PFF grade for the game and paved lanes for the ground game.
Six players have logged over 100 snaps on Houston’s offensive line this year, and five of those six have performed fairly well, earning individual pass-block grades above 70.0. They have seen a high rate of true pass sets and even lead the AAC in team pass-block grade on those reps.
50. Kent State
Kent State tackle Bill Kuduk started his career at Kansas State in 2017. He took a redshirt, played just 12 snaps in 2018, then transferred to the Golden Flashes, which forced him to miss all of 2019. Kuduk has started right away in 2020 and has been a bit of a surprise performer, earning a 78.7 PFF grade for the season. He did give up a couple of hits against Buffalo, but those have been his only two pressures allowed on 160 pass-blocking reps so far.
51. NC State
The Wolfpack’s offensive line has been a roller coaster. Watch them on a run play, and one would think that they are one of the best lines in the ACC. Watch them on a pass play, and they look like one of the worst. NC State ranks 17th in the FBS in OL run-block grade but 114th in pass-block grade.
Ikem Ekwonu began the year at left guard before moving back to left tackle, but he has struggled in pass protection wherever he has lined up — his grade in that facet is a disappointing 48.2. He has been very good in the run game, however, just as he was in 2019. He has raised his run-blocking grade from 85.0 in 2019 to 90.9 this season, fifth among FBS tackles.
Illinois has fielded one of the most disappointing offensive lines in the Power 5 this year. Kendrick Green has been the only standout performer in a group that was expected to have several. He has started three games at left guard and two games at center, and Green has come away with an 88.2 run-block grade so far this season. Meanwhile, Doug Kramer has been the most disappointing Illinois lineman — he's managed a 27.9 pass-block grade in his three starts after posting a pass-blocking grade above 80.0 in each of the past two seasons.
Left tackle Jaylon Thomas is the anchor of this unit. He has earned grades above 82.0 as both a pass-blocker and run-blocker this season en route to a PFF overall grade of 86.6. Interior offensive lineman Hayden Howerton hasn’t been too shabby, either. Howerton’s PFF grade sat between 58.0 and 62.0 between 2017 and 2019. This year, he has raised that to 77.5. After those two, the production takes a pretty steep hit.
To no one’s surprise, center Drew Dalman has anchored this offensive line and has been one of the top players at the position so far. Dalman closed his 2019 season, his first as a full-time starter, with a hot streak of play, recording the fifth-best PFF grade at the position over his final five games. He has continued that into 2020 with the sixth-best PFF grade at the position since the Pac-12 began their season in Week 10. He is a big reason why the Cardinal ranks third in the conference in OL run-blocking grade.
While UAB’s offensive line ranks in the top five in the FBS in sack rate allowed — they have allowed just two sacks so far this year — they are still losing a considerable amount of reps. The Blazers' unit ranks 77th among FBS offensive lines in terms of pass-blocking grade. Their run blocking has been significantly better than that, though, as their PFF run-blocking grade ranks 26th.
Nevada’s offensive line had one hiccup early on in the season, and it's hurt their ranking a bit. Nevada’s line posted a poor 22.2 pass-block grade against UNLV in Week 9, allowing pressure on more than 40.0% of their snaps. They cut that pressure rate in half in their other five games, though.
The Midshipmen lost three of their five starters from a standout unit that ranked 18th in the FBS in run-blocking grade last year, and the team has struggled to replace that production. Right guard Peter Nestrowitz and right tackle Billy Honaker are the only two returnees and are the top performers of this group. They have posted run-block grades of 82.9 and 71.0, respectively, across eight starts this season.
LSU had to replace multiple key guys at every position group this season, including the offensive line, where they saw four starters head off to the NFL. The results this year have been as expected: average, at best. The Tigers rank right in the middle of the pack in the SEC in both pass-block grade (seventh) and run-block grade (sixth).
The Razorbacks’ offensive line is aided significantly by Kendal Briles’ play-action-heavy offense. They have dropped back into a true pass set at the lowest rate in the Power 5 in 2020 at 15.5%. Still, this group has done exactly what is needed of them, and they are not losing a concerning rate of reps. Arkansas’ offensive line ranks seventh in the SEC in PFF grade, right behind LSU.
60. San Jose State
Left tackle Jack Snyder has bolstered this line in 2020 by taking his play from good to elite. Snyder has raised his PFF grade from 77.0 to 89.0 this season, his fourth year as a starter. His work in pass protection has been nearly flawless so far. He has earned an 89.1 pass-block grade and hasn't allowed a single pressure across 155 pass-block snaps. Unfortunately, we can’t speak as positively about the rest of the line, though.
61. Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan’s offensive line has been extremely inconsistent this season. In their second and third games of the season, Week 11 and 12, EMU’s linemen produced sub-60.0 pass-block grades and lost a total of 35 reps in pass protection. In their other two games, Weeks 10 and 13, they earned pass-block grades above 77.0 and lost a total of just 13 reps in pass protection on more snaps.
There was some concern entering the season with how this offensive line would hold up outside of Trey Smith and Georgia transfer Cade Mays. And it hasn’t been too pretty. To no one’s surprise, Smith has been the top performer of this group, though he hasn’t quite taken the kind of step forward that many expected. Smith recorded a 78.6 PFF grade in 2019, but that has taken a dip to 74.9 this season.
Tulsa’s interior offensive line has been less than ideal this season. As a whole, those positions have combined to produce a PFF grade that ranks 109th in the FBS.
However, the tackle play from Chris Paul and Tyler Smith has been exceptional. Tulsa jumps to 10th in the FBS in PFF grade when looking solely at their set of tackles. Paul’s performance at right tackle has been most impressive, especially since he started at right guard in 2018 and left guard in 2019. He currently ranks third among all AAC tackles in PFF grade.
64. Georgia Southern
Left guard Aaron Dowdell has been a big surprise on this Georgia Southern offensive line. Dowdell went from a redshirt at UCF in 2016 to JUCO in 2017 to a 53.0 PFF grade for the Eagles over 2018 and 2019. This year, Dowdell's 78.7 PFF grade is the third highest-grade among Sun Belt guards.
65. Ball State
The overall pass blocking has been decent from Ball State (36th in the FBS in pass-block grade), but outside of right tackle Curtis Blackwell, the run blocking has not. Blackwell's run-block grade (79.0) is over 16 grading points higher than his next closest teammate's. Considering he recorded run-block grades of 39.7, 61.6 and 56.4 in his previous three years at primarily right guard, that’s pretty impressive.
66. Miami (OH)
Right tackle Bennett Clark's Week 10 outing against Ball State really tanked this group’s unit grade. He recorded a 0.0 pass-block grade in that game, with three sacks and five hurries allowed across 41 pass-blocking snaps. Clark hasn’t played since due to COVID-19.
As expected, though, the RedHawks have gotten strong play out of left tackle Tommy Doyle and center Danny Godlevske. Each has earned a pass-block grade above 80.0 this season.
67. Iowa State
Left guard Derek Schweiger has been one of the secret superstars of the Big 12 this season. He played just 18 snaps over his first three seasons at Iowa State, stepped into a starting role this season and has been one of the best pass-protectors in the conference. Schweiger has yet to allow a sack or hit on 328 pass-block snaps and has allowed just five hurries on those snaps. His 86.4 pass-block grade so far is the seventh-best among Power 5 guards.
68. Utah State
The offensive line has been perhaps the best part of this Utah State team, so this 66th-place ranking shows how bad things are. Left tackle Alfred Edwards has been the only standout performer on the Aggies’ line. He is the lone lineman to record a PFF grade above 70.0 as both a pass-blocker and run-blocker, leading to a 75.3 overall grade this season.
69. Coastal Carolina
While this Coastal Carolina team has been cruising all year long to an undefeated 9-0 record, the offensive line hasn’t been as impressive as other areas of the team. Just one of the starters has earned a PFF grade above 64.0 this season. True freshman left guard Willie Lampkin is that man, as he's graded out at 77.1 so far this season, third among all first-year offensive linemen.
70. New Mexico
The Lobos' offensive line has been average, as expected. Four of the five starters have earned PFF grades between 59.0 and 69.0, with the one outlier being right tackle Teton Saltes. The fifth-year senior is coming off an unreal outing against Utah State in Week 13 that ended in a career-high 92.3 single-game PFF grade. That has helped give him a 74.4 mark for the season.
71. Michigan State
All five of Michigan State’s offensive linemen with at least 200 snaps this season have recorded a PFF grade between 61.0 and 65.0. It doesn’t get much more average than that. Guard Blake Bueter falls outside of that snap threshold, but he has been the top performer on the line this season. Bueter started the first two games before getting hurt, then he got in last week against Northwestern for a handful of snaps. Overall, he has logged 66 pass-block snaps and has yet to allow a pressure en route to an 80.9 pass-block grade.
Duke has had seven offensive linemen play over 250 snaps this season. They have had a couple of those players be low performers with PFF grades in the low 50s but have also had a couple of players perform fairly with PFF grades in the mid-70s. Their top performer was center Will Taylor, who has earned a pass-block and run-block grade above 70.0. He, however, suffered a season-ending injury six games into the season. Taylor was already filling in for starting center Jack Wohlabaugh who suffered a torn ACL prior to the season’s start. This brought in Graham Barton to fill in at center, and he has been the bottom performer on this team with a 52.3 PFF grade in four games.
Losing Jalen Mayfield due to an injury these last few games has no doubt hurt the Wolverines’ offensive line. Mayfield started the first two games of the season and led the team in PFF grade at 76.1. Andrew Stueber flipped from right guard to right tackle in Mayfield’s absence and has actually been better in pass protection. He has an 80.8 pass-block grade on the year and allowed just six pressures (all hurries) on 241 such snaps.
74. Colorado State
Colorado State’s offensive line has been the definition of average in each of their three games played this season. The Rams rank seventh in the Mountain West and 70th in the FBS in offensive line PFF grade this season. Considering they returned just one full-time starter from last year’s unit and threw three transfers — all of whom came from Boston College — into starting roles in their first year with the team, average is a lot better than what was expected from this group.
75. West Virginia
This Mountaineer offensive line has no doubt been a better group of run-blockers than pass-blockers. West Virginia is tied for 47th in run-block grade but falls to 86th in pass-block grade. They have played a higher rate of true pass sets than any team in the Big 12, but they have struggled to handle the decent pass-rush units in the conference regardless.
Right tackle Jean Delance has been a hindrance to the Gators’ offense. He struggled last season in his first year in a starting role with a 50.1 PFF grade and has gotten worse this season in pass protection. Delance has a 50.2 pass-block grade on the season and has allowed three or more pressures in all but one game. Left tackle Stone Forsythe, however, has been the exact opposite. He has an 84.3 pass-block grade this season and has allowed only seven total pressures. Delance gave up that many pressures in one game this year (Week 10 at Georgia).
77. Miami (FL)
The U has unfortunately been without left guard Navaughn Donaldson so far this season. He was Miami’s best pass-blocker last year with a 77.6 grade in that area. Donaldson could still make an appearance this season and that would bolster this line significantly. Jakai Clark and Ousman Traore have plugged in at left guard in his replacement and have earned grades of 55.3 and 54.3 respectively.
Northwestern’s offensive line suffered a crushing blow with left tackle Rashawn Slater opting-out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns and focusing on the 2021 NFL Draft. Slater was the eighth-highest-graded tackle in the FBS last season at 90.0. This forced four-star true freshman Peter Skoronski into the starting lineup as Slater’s replacement, and he has been one of the most impressive first-year players in the country. Skoronski owns an 80.2 PFF grade for the season that is ninth among Power 5 left tackles. He’s about the only positive in this unit, though.
79. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders’ tackles have brought them down significantly on this list. They rank 113th of the 127 FBS tackle units in pass-block grade this season. The interior, however, has been a pleasant surprise. Jack Anderson, Weston Wright and Dawson Deaton combined have the seventh-best pass-block grade among FBS interior offensive lines. The collective run-blocking is nothing to write home about, though.
80. Georgia State
To no surprise, center Malik Sumter is the only decent performer on this line. He was the Panthers’ second-highest-graded linemen of the 2019 group and is the highest this season by over eight grading points (72.5). Though all of Sumter’s success is predicated on his run-blocking, which isn’t ideal.
Center Esteban Avila has been the only all-around decent performer on this line. Avila has recorded grades above 70.0 as both a pass- and run-blocker for the Horned Frogs. This has given him the second-best PFF grade among Big 12 centers at 74.3.
82. Boise State
Whether it has been Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzaled or Donte Harrington, the Broncos haven’t gotten great play at center. Boise State ranks fourth-to-last in the entire FBS in center PFF grade. They have, however, gotten great play out of guard Jake Stetz. He only played 403 snaps last season, but he formed exceptionally well with an 83.0 PFF grade. This year, Stetz has been the starter at right guard and has allowed just two pressures (both hurries) in five games en route to a 75.8 PFF grade.
83. Texas State
The overall pass protection from the five main starters hasn’t been too bad. Four of the five — left tackle Dalton Cooper, left guard Eddie Rivas, right guard Tate Heitmeier and right tackle Russell Baker — all have pass-block grades between 69.0 and 74.0. Alex Costilla originally was bringing down this unit quite a bit to start the season. He was the Bobcats’ starting right tackle in their first two games and was disastrous (31.3 pass-block grade). Regardless of who has been on the field though, the group’s run-blocking has been suboptimal. They are tied for 98th in the FBS in run-block grade.
84. Bowling Green
Interior offensive lineman Sam Neverov is the lone decent performer on this line. That comes as a bit of a surprise considering Neverov posted a lowly 47.0 pass-block grade in 2019 on 214 such snaps. This year, he has raised that mark to 83.4 with just one pressure allowed while logging snaps at every position on the interior.
Left tackle Connor Galvin is the only offensive lineman Baylor has with a PFF grade above 60.0. Galvin was cooking as a pass-blocker in his first five starts of the season. Over the course of that span, he recorded a pass-block grade of 82.4. Then he went up against the Kansas State pass-rush in Week 13 and was the one to get cooked. Galvin posted a career-low 30.3 pass-block grade in that game.
86. Ole Miss
Lane Kiffin isn’t presenting this line with very many true pass set opportunities, and yet the group has still been poor in pass protection. Ole Miss has the sixth-lowest rate of true pass sets in the FBS at 16%, and they rank 109th in pass-block grade overall.
87. Wake Forest
Wake’s offense has produced surprisingly great results this season, but the offensive line has little to do with that success. This unit ranks 94th in the FBS in pass-block grade. Their center play in particular has been at the bottom of the barrel this season, with the players taking snaps at that position combining for the second-worst pass-block grade in the FBS. On a more positive note, Je’Vionte’ Nash has stepped in at right tackle and has performed really well in the run game for his first year manning a starting spot. The fifth-year senior has earned the 12th-best run-blocking grade among right tackles at 85.0.
88. Fresno State
The run-blocking from Fresno State has been not so hot through their first four games of 2020. They are tied for 101st in the FBS in unit run-block grade and on average are giving the ball-carrier 1.2 yards before contact per attempt (114th in the FBS). Everyone other than left tackle Dontae Bull — who has a 75.3 run-block grade on the year — has underperformed in that area. The Bulldogs’ pass protection hasn’t been as bad as their run blocking but isn’t anything great either. They rank right at the FBS average in pressure rate allowed at 30.4%.
This group has struggled against the top pass-rush units in the SEC. They had one of the worst single-game outings of any SEC line this season back in Week 5 against Georgia (33.8 pass-block grade). Tackle Brodarious Hamm has been Auburn’s top offensive lineman this year. He too struggled against teams such as Georgia, Alabama and LSU, but Hamm has still managed to put together a 74.1 pass-block grade for the year.
The Green Wave offensive line has performed far worse than anticipated this season. They rank 92nd in the FBS in unit pass-block grade and sit at 103rd in pressure rate allowed at 34%. Tulane doesn’t task their offensive line with a lot of true pass sets, but things get even worse when you dive into those specific plays. They drop to 113th in pass-block grade as a group and have allowed an FBS-high 11 sacks on those.
Northern Illinois’ best lineman this season hasn’t even been the full-time guy at his respective position. Benn Olson has split time with John Champe at left guard, yet he has earned a higher PFF grade than anyone on the team. His pass-blocking in particular has been great with zero pressures allowed on 95 such snaps en route to a grade of 82.9 in that facet.
The Roadrunners have had 10 offensive linemen play over 100 snaps this season, and their best performer from that group is tackle Makai Hart. The JUCO transfer got off to a rough start in his UTSA career against UAB and BYU, but he has since been great. In his six starts since, Hart has posted a 77.3 PFF grade.
93. Louisiana Tech
The tackle play for Lousiana Tech has been a borderline liability and is the key reason why LA Tech comes in here at 93. Their tackles have produced the sixth-worst pass-block grade in the FBS and the two starters — Donavaughn Campbell and Antawn Lewis — rank 209th and 217th among 230 qualifying FBS tackles in pressure rate allowed. On the bright side, the interior of the line has been significantly better. Louisiana Tech’s interior offensive line ranks 16th in the FBS in pass-block grade.
Left tackle Brenden Jaimes was the only Cornhusker offensive lineman with any high hopes of good play this season and that’s exactly been the case so far. Jaimes hasn’t been nearly as good as what he was last year in pass protection when he earned an 88.1 grade in that facet, but he has still been good relative to his counterparts. The left tackle has recorded a 75.4 pass-block grade this year and allowed the fifth-lowest pressure rate among Big Ten tackles at 1.9%. As for everyone else on Nebraska’s offensive line, they have allowed over twice the pressure rate of Jaimes and are all under a 60.0 pass-block grade for the year.
There have been a lot of problems within this 0-5 UNLV team in 2020, and the offensive line has been one of them. Whether it’s a pass or run, this unit has struggled. They are tied for 95th in the FBS in PFF grade and second-to-last in the Mountain West. Right tackle Justice Oluwaseun has been the only standout performer on this line and, quite frankly, on the entire offense. He has recorded the fifth-best PFF grade among Mountain West tackles at 77.7 in his five starts.
Interestingly enough, Purdue center Sam Garvin went from the team’s best performer on the offensive line in 2019 to the worst in 2020. There were high hopes for Garvin this year after recording a 72.6 PFF grade in his first year on the playing field at Purdue, but clearly that hope has vanished. He lowered his PFF grade this season to 54.6.
UTEP’s offensive line has gotten better in recent weeks, but their first three outings against Stephen F. Austin, Texas and Abilene Christian were too bad to ignore. Against those two FCS schools and a Power 5 program, UTEP as a whole has a 46.7 pass-block grade. In their four games since, they have raised that mark to 65.0.
The Bulls’ offensive line has been protected a great deal by the scheme and it shows on their output when given a true pass set. On such plays, they fall outside the top 100 in the FBS pass-block grade. And the run-blocking hasn’t been any better. USF has had a poor performing line from top to bottom when it comes to run-blocking and as a whole ranks 117th in the FBS in grade in that facet of play.
The interior of this line has been absolutely brutal to the Buffs. Colorado’s interior offensive line ranks third-to-last in the FBS in PFF grade and last among all Power 5 programs. The tackle play, however, has been a lot better. William Sherman has prevented the group from ranking any lower than it is here with a decent PFF grade of 77.6 this season.
100. South Carolina
Outside of left guard Sadarius Hutcherson, there’s not a whole lot of positive with South Carolina’s offensive line. The fifth-year senior has looked remarkably better in 2020 than he has in any other season of his career. Hutcherson has a 74.4 PFF grade on the season with really only one blemish on his grading profile in pass protection. He gave up four pressures to LSU back in Week 8, but that has been the only game this season he allowed multiple pressures.
101. Kansas State
Kansas State’s offensive line has been protected a bit by the system, but the unit has still underperformed. Left guard Josh Rivas has been the only decent performer as the lone Wildcat on the line with a PFF grade above 65.0. Rivas still struggles with blitz and stunt recognition, like he did in 2019 as a rotational player, but his run-blocking has been decent. He ranks 19th among Power 5 guards in run-blocking grade at 74.1.
102. North Carolina
The Tar Heels' offensive line hadn’t been anything special leading up to their Week 13 contest against Notre Dame, but against the Irish this past week they went from average-at-best to full-blown liability. They posted the second-worst PFF grade we have recorded in a single game this season by a Power 5 offensive line. The unit on average allowed the UNC ball-carrier to be contacted behind the line of scrimmage, and it gave up an FBS-high 50% pressure rate. North Carolina now ranks third-to-last in the ACC in offensive line PFF grade.
Arizona’s line across the board has struggled to pick up stunts in their three games this season. They rank third-to-last in pressure rate allowed on stunts since the Pac-12 began its season back in Week 10. That is a key reason why Grant Gunnell and Will Plummer have had the second- and third-highest percentage of dropbacks with pressure in the Pac-12 this season.
Offensive line is one of many areas of struggle for the 0-8 Commodores. They rank ahead of only Mississippi State in offensive line PFF grade in the SEC and are giving up a consistently bad rate of pressure every week. In their last four games in particular, Vandy ranks last in the conference in pass-blocking grade with eight more pressures allowed than any other SEC offensive line (47).
The overall pass-protection has been fine for FAU, but what matters most in this offense is the run-blocking, which has not been up to par. The offensive line ranks 120th in the FBS in run-blocking grade, and that largely falls on the interior. FAU’s starting center and guards own the three worst run-blocking grades on the team.
UMass has fielded an offensive line that has been a little better than anticipated, particularly in pass protection. They haven’t had many severe losses on their true pass sets and are tied for 48th in the FBS in pass-blocking grade as a unit. Left tackle Larnel Coleman and guards Max Longman and Reggie Marks III have been the key reasons why, as the three all have pass-blocking grades above 70.0. The run-blocking, however, has been as bad as expected, with the Minutemen’s line ranking sixth-to-last in the FBS in run-blocking grade.
107. Florida State
Florida State hasn’t had a good offensive line for quite some time now. This year’s unit has struggled in all of their eight games played, leading them to a PFF grade that ranks 106th in the FBS. The group has seen a relatively low rate of true pass sets with 10 on average per game, and they have given up far too many sacks on those. In fact, they are seventh-to-last in the FBS in sack rate on true pass sets at 19%. Florida State’s offensive line has received a lot of criticism throughout the 2020 season, and rightfully so.
108. Southern Miss
It was expected entering the year that Southern Miss would have one of the worst offensive lines in the Group of 5, and that prediction has held true. The unit has combined for a PFF grade that is tied for 101st in the FBS and has been a borderline liability on their true pass sets. When taking out play-action passes, screens, RPOs and quick throws, the Southern Miss line has allowed an astounding 55% pressure rate (116th in the FBS).
Utah’s offensive line was one of the weakest links on their 2019 squad, and they lost their only reliable pass-protector due to exhausted eligibility. Needless to say, expectations were relatively low for this unit in 2020, and through two games that looks to be the case. The Utes have allowed the second-worst pressure rate in the FBS the last two weeks.
110. Arizona State
Arizona State has played in just one game this season due to COVID-19, and the offensive line was a true mixed bag in that lone outing. Against USC in Week 10, the Sun Devils saw an outstanding performance from Texas A&M transfer Kellen Diesch in his debut with the team. That game was actually the first start of the fifth-year senior’s entire career and ended with him earning the 10th-best PFF grade by a tackle that week. While they got supreme play from Deisch, the rest of the unit wasn’t too hot and resulted in the Sun Devils producing the 10th-worst unit pass-blocking grade of the week.
Rice’s offensive line has been up and down in their three games this season. They posted a 54.2 pass-blocking grade in their opener, improved that to 69.0 with zero quarterback knockdowns in their second game, but then got torched in their most recent game. Against a middling North Texas pass rush, Rice allowed five sacks on 43 pass-blocking snaps and a pressure over 50% of the time.
We knew Rutgers wouldn’t be as bad as they were in 2018 and 2019 as a whole this season, but we had our doubts regarding the offensive line turning the tide. So far, they haven't. The run-blocking in particular has been the downfall with a grade rank in that area that ranks fifth-to-last in the FBS.
All of the Orange’s offensive linemen rank at the bottom of the ACC at their respective position in PFF grade. Their best linemen has been left guard Chris Elmore and he ranks just 14th among 19 qualifying ACC left guards in PFF grade at 56.2.
UCF’s offense led by Dillon Gabriel has been a strong one throughout 2020 despite an underwhelming 6-3 record, but the offensive line has prevented them from even further success more than anything. Six different linemen have played substantial snaps for UCF this season, and not one has posted a PFF grade above 60.0. Altogether they have combined for the eighth-worst offensive line PFF grade in the FBS, and every single one has allowed double-digit pressures.
Wyoming has fielded one of the worst pass-blocking lines in college football so far this season. Their unit pass-blocking grade is the ninth-worst in the FBS, and their pressure rate allowed is the second-worst. Every single player to take a snap has been a culprit: All Wyoming linemen with at least 50 snaps this season have recorded a sub-60.0 pass-blocking grade.
116. North Texas
There are really two starters on this North Texas line bringing down the unit’s ranking. Left tackle Cole Brown and center Manase Mose have posted pass-blocking grades of 41.8 and 9.8, respectively this season. Mose was great in his first year in a starting job back in 2018 in right guard. That year, he posted a pass-blocking grade of 82.4. Mose stayed put at guard for 2019 before kicking to center this year, where he has been a down-for-down concern.
117. Arkansas State
Guards Ivory Scott and Andre Harris Jr. have each fared pretty well for Ark State in pass protection this season. Scott has a 74.4 pass-blocking grade on the season and Harris has been great since his return to the lineup in Week 10 with an 83.9 pass-blocking grade. Everyone else, however, has not been so hot. Starting right tackle Wyatt Luebke has allowed three or more pressures in all but one game played this season. He leads all FBS right tackles in total pressures allowed (39).
118. Mississippi State
The Bulldogs’ offensive line hasn’t been nearly as bad as they were in their home opener when they lost a whopping 58 reps, but they have still been no bueno. A big reason why their numbers have improved is because SEC teams have played them the way they should — they are dropping eight and playing zone. When looking at how Mississippi State fares against non-three-man rushes, they drop to fifth-to-last in unit pass-blocking grade.
First off, tackles D’Mitri Emmaunel and Jon Jacobs haven’t been awful in pass-protection. Those two have earned respectable pass-blocking grades of 72.0 and 74.0 this season. The problem has been the play of the interior offensive line, which collectively ranks 121st in pass-blocking grade.
120. East Carolina
There may not be a more inconsistent offensive line in the Group of 5 than East Carolina’s. They have had four games this season with sub-45.0 pass-blocking grades, but four above 75.0. It doesn't have much to do with game plan from one week to the next. They have just been that inconsistent, and it falls on every offensive lineman. All seven of the key contributors have allowed multiple quarterback knockdowns and double-digit pressures overall.
UL-Monroe has one of the least-efficient offenses in college football for many reasons, and one of them is the offensive line. The group has been tasked with a lot of true pass sets per game, and the results have been damning. Their pass-block grade on such plays is the ninth-worst in the FBS at 29.9 and they've allowed the most sacks plus hits on true true pass sets with 29.
122. Middle Tennessee
Middle Tennessee comes in at No. 122 solely because of the run-blocking. The Blue Raiders rank last in the FBS in run-blocking grade. There have been 10 different offensive linemen to play over 100 snaps for Middle Tennessee, and all but one has posted a PFF grade below 58.0. That lone standout performer is right tackle Robert Jones, who has been one of the better tackles in the C-USA with a 75.4 PFF grade. His pass-protection has been lights out, with no sacks or hits allowed on 320 pass-blocking snaps.
123. Georgia Tech
True freshman quarterback Jeff Sims invites in his fair share of pressure when he shouldn’t, but the offensive line as a whole is doing him no favors. Even when the Yellow Jackets have faced a subpar ACC pass-rush this season, the offensive line has put together a poor performance. All five linemen with at least 100 snaps this season have allowed double-digit pressures, and every single one has a PFF grade below 55.0.
Indiana has fielded one of their best teams in school history this year. The creative and deceptive defense of Tom Allen and Kane Wommack has played a big part of this team’s success, but no one has contributed more than quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Unfortunately, he is out for the year following a torn ACL on Saturday, but Penix led the FBS in big-time throws by 10 at 26 since the Big Ten began in Week 8. And when you look at the offensive line he had in front of him, it makes his performance that much more impressive. No Power 5 offensive line has allowed more quick pressure since Week 8 than the Hoosiers. That has led Penix to be under pressure on 41% of his dropbacks, and it's the reason the unit ranks second-to-last in the Power 5 in pass-blocking grade. Penix was able to overcome the routine poor pass protection, but now a question remains: Can replacement Jack Tuttle do the same?
Akron has not one, not two, but three offensive linemen who have a season pass-blocking grade at or below 28.0. That doesn’t help quarterback Zach Gibson whatsoever in his first year starting. Throw in the fact that his pocket presence has a long ways to go, and you have yourself a horrid passing offense.
The offensive line is just one of the Jayhawks’ many struggles throughout the program. The group combined has a pass-blocking grade of 18.2, over 12 grading points worse than any other offensive line. Only one offensive lineman on the roster has a pass-blocking grade above 50.0, and he barely eclipses that mark at 55.1. Malik Clark, who started at left tackle in his first seven games and left guard in his most recent, has a 0.0 pass-blocking grade on the year. That is not a typo. Hopefully Clark remains at guard, as it was just two years ago that he posted an 82.5 pass-blocking grade at that position.
127. South Alabama
No offensive line has recorded a worse grade on true pass sets this season than South Alabama’s. They have allowed a pressure on such dropbacks at a rate over twice the FBS average at 70%. They have been no better in the run game, either, as they rank second-to-last in the FBS in offensive line run-blocking grade. When the offensive line is that bad, it’s virtually impossible to lead an efficient offense. This holds true for the Jaguars.