Most improved offensive lines after the 2023 NFL Draft: Tennessee Titans and Washington Commanders come out on top

Tennessee Titans first-round draft pick offensive tackle Peter Skoronski, center, poses with general manager Ran Carthon, left, and head coach Mike Vrabel, right, during a press conference at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, April 28, 2023. Skoronski 042823 An 008

Tennessee Titans get a needed boost: Peter Skoronski allowed just six total pressures for Northwestern last season and posted a 92.3 pass-blocking grade on true pass sets. He should be an instant upgrade to what was the worst offensive line in the league last season.

Washington Commanders add contributors: Despite spending their top two picks in the draft on cornerbacks, the Commanders were still able to come out of the draft with Ricky Stromberg and Braeden Daniels, who could contribute in 2023.

Arizona Cardinals add the best pure tackle prospect: Johnson is the best pure tackle prospect in this draft but also has the ability to play guard initially as the Cardinals try and juggle an offensive line that has strength at left tackle several times over and weaknesses almost everywhere else.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes


The 2023 NFL Draft is over, but there’s still time to evaluate how each team did before the rookies take the NFL field for the first time.

You can find PFF's team-by-team draft grades on PFF.com, but this article will focus on the trenches and identify the teams that improved the most on the offensive line.

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Tennessee Titans

R1 (11): OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
R2 (33): QB Will Levis, Kentucky
R3 (81): RB Tyjae Spears, Tulane
R5 (147): TE Josh Whyle, Cincinnati
R6 (186): OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland

Peter Skoronski was the best offensive lineman available in the draft, but his short 32 ¼-inch arms make it unclear whether he is a tackle or a guard at the next level, which significantly impacts his value at the top of the draft.

However, the Titans could use the help at either spot, so the distinction might matter less for them than for other teams. Skoronski allowed just six total pressures for Northwestern last season and posted a 92.3 pass-blocking grade on true pass sets. He should be an instant upgrade to what was the worst offensive line in the league last season.

The Titans also came back in the sixth round to take Maryland tackle Jaelyn Duncan, who embodies “developmental prospect.” Duncan has elite movement skills — he posted explosive vertical and broad jumps in the 85th percentile or better — but hasn’t yet married that athleticism with on-field performance. He allowed seven sacks last season and earned a PFF grade of 61.6, but he represents a low-risk, high-reward Day 3 gamble for the Titans.

Related: Tennessee Titans 2023 NFL Draft picks, analysis and prospect spotlight


Washington Commanders

R1 (16): CB Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State
R2 (47): CB Jartavius Martin, Illinois
R3 (97): C Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas
R4 (118): T Braeden Daniels, Utah
R5 (137): EDGE K.J. Henry, Clemson
R6 (193): RB Chris Rodriguez Jr., Kentucky
R7 (233): LB Andre Jones, Louisiana

Despite spending their top two picks on cornerbacks, the Commanders were still able to come out of the draft with multiple offensive linemen who could contribute in 2023.

They spent the third-round pick on Ricky Stromberg, a center from Arkansas with the size and position flexibility to challenge for playing time at guard before taking over in the middle sometime down the line. Stromberg got better in each of the last three seasons and didn't allow a sack or knockdown across more than 400 pass-blocking snaps last season.

A round later, the team grabbed tackle Braeden Daniels from Utah. Daniels played three different spots on the offensive line over the last few years for Utah and can cover multiple spots on the Washington line. He allowed just two sacks over the last three seasons.

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Arizona Cardinals

R1 (6): T Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
R2 (41): EDGE BJ Ojulari, LSU
R3 (72): CB Garrett Williams, Syracuse
R3 (94): WR Michael Wilson, Stanford
R4 (122): G Jon Gaines II, UCLA
R5 (139): QB Clayton Tune, Houston
R5 (168): LB Owen Pappoe, Auburn
R6 (180): CB Kei’Trel Clark, Louisville
R6 (213): DI Dante Stills, West Virginia

Paris Johnson Jr. was the player Arizona wanted with its top pick, but the team was able to engineer a trade back from No. 3 overall, pick up a first-round selection next year and still jump back up to No. 6 to take him, the player they would have happily drafted with their original pick all along.

Johnson is the best pure tackle prospect in this draft but also has the ability to play guard initially as the Cardinals try and juggle an offensive line that has strength at left tackle several times over and weaknesses almost everywhere else.

Later in the draft, the team added UCLA product Jon Gaines II, a guard who has been solid as both a run-blocker and pass-blocker over the last several seasons. He allowed 18 total pressures on more than 500 pass-blocking snaps in 2022.

Related: Arizona Cardinals 2023 NFL Draft picks, analysis and prospect spotlight


Cleveland Browns

R3 (74): WR Cedric Tillman, Tennessee
R3 (98): DI Siaki Ika, Baylor
R4 (111): T Dawand Jones, Ohio State
R4 (126): EDGE Isaiah McGuire, Missouri
R5 (140): QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson
R5 (142): CB Cameron Mitchell, Northwestern
R6 (190): C Luke Wypler, Ohio State

The Browns drafted two offensive linemen, and it’s entirely possible that neither one will start in 2023, but it’s equally likely that they have just future-proofed one of the best offensive lines in football and given them the flexibility to get younger and cheaper without suffering a drop in performance.

After being touted as a potential first-round selection, Dawand Jones tumbled in the draft before being picked by the Browns in the fourth round with the 111th overall pick. There were reports that his attitude at his pro day turned teams off, but he was dominant on the field, both in the Big Ten and during a day of practice at the Senior Bowl.

The mammoth Ohio State tackle didn’t give up a sack or knockdown protecting C.J. Stroud last season and surrendered just 16 total pressures over two years as the Buckeyes right tackle. If Cleveland can keep Jones' weight under control and his fire burning, they could have one of the steals of the draft.

The Browns also halted Luke Wypler‘s slide in the sixth round at Pick 190. Another Ohio State offensive lineman, Wypler has been one of the best centers in the college game over the last two seasons, earning overall grades of 82.4 and 79.6 in two years as a starter. He is a little undersized, but he has the ability to be a starter in the NFL.

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New England Patriots

R1 (17): CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
R2 (46): EDGE Keion White, Georgia Tech
R3 (76): S Marte Mapu, Sacramento State
R4 (107): C Jake Andrews, Troy
R4 (112): K Chad Ryland, Maryland
R4 (117): OG Sidy Sow, Eastern Washington
R5 (144): OG Atonio Mafi, UCLA
R6 (187): WR Kayshon Boutte, LSU
R6 (192): P Bryce Baringer, Michigan State
R6 (210) WR Demario Douglas, Liberty
R6 (214): CB Ameer Speed, Michigan State
R7 (245): CB Isaiah Bolden, Jacksonville State

At this spot, there is an argument for one of the teams that drafted a guaranteed starter along the line — and nothing else — but I will instead argue that the Patriots did the most to bolster the offensive line.

With an offensive line in need of help, New England targeted defense with its first three draft picks but then circled back to bring in three interior linemen with their next four selections.

Jake Andrews from Troy, Sidy Sow from Eastern Michigan and Atonio Mafi from UCLA will all compete to upgrade the interior of the New England offensive line, and the team will see what sticks. Sow is a particularly intriguing prospect with over 3,500 snaps of play under his belt across five seasons at Eastern Michigan. Mafi has been an excellent run-blocker for Chip Kelly’s UCLA side and earned an 88.3 grade in that facet last season.

None of those players will necessarily start, but the Patriots are happy to shuffle personnel up front when needed. Michael Onwenu could easily shift to right tackle to accommodate one of their rookies if they impress and demand playing time.

Related: New England Patriots 2023 NFL Draft picks, analysis and prospect spotlight


 

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