NFL News & Analysis

Most improved offensive lineman at every position: Minnesota Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw is dominating in 2022

Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) celebrate after the touchdown in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

• A massive step forward for Christian Darrisaw: Last year, the Vikings tackle gave up five sacks on 398 pass-blocking snaps. This year, he's given up just one on 350 snaps.

• A career year for Ethan Pocic: The 27-year-old failed to grade among the top 10 centers while playing on a struggling offensive line in Seattle. Now with the Browns, he is currently the second-highest-graded center in the league.

Robert Hunt making waves in Miami: Hunt is one of only five guards who rank in the top 15 in both run-blocking and pass-blocking grade.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Left tackle: Christian Darrisaw, Minnesota Vikings

2022 Grade: 89.1
2021 Grade: 71.9

Darrisaw currently ranks second among all offensive tackles in PFF overall grade, largely due to his improvement as a pass-blocker. The Virginia Tech alum showed flashes in the run game as a rookie, but he gave up five sacks, six hits and 11 hurries across 398 pass-blocking snaps to finish the season 36th among tackles in PFF grade.

This year, he has allowed just one sack on almost the same number of snaps as last season, and his 3.5% pressure rate is ways ahead of the 5.5% from his rookie campaign.

Best game in 2022: Week 8 vs. Cardinals (91.7 PFF grade)

Honorable mention: Andrew Thomas, New York Giants


Left guard: Damien Lewis, Seattle Seahawks

2022 Grade: 68.4
2021 Grade: 57.1

While this may not be Lewis’ best season in the NFL — he earned a 71.2 grade as a rookie in 2020 — this is his most consistent campaign, as he ranks in the upper half of the league in both run-blocking and pass-blocking grade.

He has held his ground well as a run-blocker over the last two seasons, but it is his improvement in pass protection that puts him on this list. In 2020 and 2021, the former LSU Tiger allowed pressure on 5.7% and 6.0% of his pass-blocking snaps, respectively. This year he has allowed pressure on just 3.5% of snaps and is on pace to give up the fewest pressures of his career by far.

Best game in 2022: Week 9 vs. Cardinals (88.8 PFF grade)

Honorable mention: Aaron Brewer, Tennessee Titans


Center: Ethan Pocic, Cleveland Browns

2022 Grade: 82.6
2021 Grade: 67.3

Pocic, another former LSU lineman, is the only player to make this list after changing teams in the offseason. The Browns signed the 27-year-old in free agency to replace J.C. Tretter, and there might not be a better example to highlight how much the players around an offensive lineman can impact performance.

While Pocic improved steadily during his time in Seattle, he failed to grade among the 10 best centers while playing on a struggling offensive line. Currently, he is the second-highest-graded center in the league and is trailing Creed Humphrey by just the smallest possible margin.

Pocic is having his best season in both facets of the game, as he ranks top-six in both run-blocking and pass-blocking grade.

Best game in 2022: Week 8 vs. Bengals (94.0 PFF grade)

Honorable mention: Sam Mustipher, Chicago Bears


Right guard: Robert Hunt, Miami Dolphins

2022 Grade: 77.1
2021 Grade: 67.4

In 2020 and 2021, Hunt was a rare bright spot on an otherwise underwhelming Dolphins offensive line. But as the Miami line has improved, Hunt has also taken a big step forward.

The third-year guard's 77.1 PFF grade ranks eighth among players at the position through Week 9, but what might be even more impressive is that he is one of only five guards who rank in the top 15 in both run-blocking and pass-blocking grade.

His pressure rate has improved in every season, too: This year his 3.2% pressure rate ranks 17th among guards.

Best game in 2022: Week 3 vs. Bills (94.3 PFF grade)

Honorable mention: Nate Davis, Tennessee Titans


Right tackle: Kaleb McGary, Atlanta Falcons

2022 Grade: 79.0
2021 Grade: 62.8

The Falcons declined McGary’s fifth-year option back in May, telling considering the talent on the roster. Still, he failed to grade above 65.0 in any of his first three years, and his best season was in 2020 when he ranked 53rd among players at the position in PFF grade.

Now he finally seems to have figured it out, and his 79.0 grade ranks ninth among players at the position. This, of course, is mainly due to the fact that he ranks third among all offensive tackles in run-blocking grade (84.8).

His struggles in pass protection — he's already given up three sacks — might be concerning if he were playing for any other team, but his dominance in the ground game matches perfectly with Atlanta’s run-heavy approach.

Best game in 2022: Week 9 vs. Chargers (91.6 PFF grade)

Honorable mention: Terence Steele, Dallas Cowboys

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