NFL News & Analysis

Offensive line rankings entering the 2021 NFL season

Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns offensive guard Wyatt Teller (77) at the line of scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

PFF's play-by-play grading provides a unique perspective regarding offensive line play, and with the 2021 season upon us, it’s time to rank the best offensive lines in the NFL.

While star power has an impact, the best offensive lines have depth across the starting five and often with their backups, so those teams will be ranked higher. Of course, finding five strong starters is a challenge, and even some of the better offensive lines will enter the season with question marks. Here are the best offensive lines in the NFL heading into the 2021 campaign.

View PFF's 2021 position rankings: 
QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | OG | C | DI | EDGE | LB | SCB | OCB | S

1. Cleveland Browns

The Browns return all five starters from the league’s best offensive line in 2020, a unit that ranked first in pass-blocking grade and second in run-blocking grade. They overhauled the tackle position prior to 2020, and free agent right tackle Jack Conklin delivered with career-highs in both overall grade (84.0) and pass-blocking grade (81.5). Rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. was the weak link on the unit, recording a 62.6 overall grade, but he impressed with a 77.6 pass-blocking grade. His explosiveness in the run game will be an asset if he cleans up some technique issues.

At left guard, Joel Bitonio is coming off a career-high 81.8 run-blocking grade while also earning 85.0-plus marks in pass protection in each of the past four years. Right guard Wyatt Teller was the biggest question mark coming into 2020, but he finished the campaign with the highest overall grade among NFL guards (92.3). Teller brought power and quicks to the run game on his way to a league-high 93.6 run-blocking grade, though he struggled in pass protection down the stretch and finished the season with just a 61.7 mark in that facet.

Center J.C. Tretter was already one of the league’s best, but he posted a career-high grade 81.0 overall grade in 2020, good for second among centers. As for the backups, Chris Hubbard is a solid swing tackle who can play guard, and fourth-rounder James Hudson projects similarly. The Browns return the league’s best offensive line, and while it looks strong on paper, it may be unrealistic to expect four veterans to replicate last year’s career-highs. 

2. Indianapolis Colts

Prior to last season, we listed the Colts as having the NFL's best offensive line. The group finished the 2020 season ranked seventh.

Injuries struck hampered left tackle Anthony Castonzo, who was limited to 749 and retired this offseason, leaving the Colts with a massive hole to fill his spot. After staying quiet in free agency and in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Colts settled on former Kansas City Chief Eric Fisher, who is coming off Achilles surgery and may not be ready for the start of the season. When healthy, Fisher is a solid starter; his 80.1 overall grade ranked 16th among tackles last season.

Right tackle Braden Smith posted an identical 80.1 overall grade last season, his second straight year ranking as a top-16 offensive tackle. Smith made the rare transition from college guard to NFL tackle, and he’s developed into one of the best at it from the right side.

Left guard Quenton Nelson may be the best offensive lineman in the league, ranking as a top-three guard in each of his three NFL seasons. Nelson can make every block in the run game, and he’s graded at 81.8 or better every year in pass protection, so he’s the total package. Right guard Mark Glowinski‘s 67.1 overall grade last year ranked 24th among guards. He allowed 28 total pressures, tied for the 13th-most at the position during the regular season.

At center, Ryan Kelly is a dependable option with two top-10 finishes at the position in two of the past three years.

The Colts have also built good depth, including left tackle Sam Tevi, center Joey Hunt and tackle Julie’n Davenport. 2020 fifth-rounder Danny Pinter is another player to watch after he saw just 103 snaps last year.

The Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the league once again, especially when Eric Fisher is healthy and ready to go.

3. New England Patriots

The Patriots are known for trotting out top offensive lines year after year. Last season was no different, and 2021 should be a similar story.

Left tackle Isaiah Wynn took a step forward in his second season, grading out at 82.6 overall, good for 11th among tackles. He had the fifth-lowest percentage of negatively graded plays in the run game, a stable number for tackles from year to year, so expect more of the same.

The Patriots rotated through several players at right tackle last season, with rookie sixth-rounder Michael Onwenu taking the majority of the snaps. He was one of the biggest surprises in the league, as he was excellent whether playing right guard or right tackle, and his 84.3 overall grade was by far the best of any rookie offensive lineman.

New England traded for Trent Brown, which will likely push Onwenu to left guard to replace Joe Thuney. Brown returns to New England after two years with the Raiders, where he graded out at 69.1 in 2019 and 68.9 last year on 282 snaps. Brown spent one year in New England in 2018, earning a career-high 73.4 overall grade.

The right guard spot is manned by Shaq Mason, one of the most powerful run blockers in the NFL. He has recorded 80.0-plus grades in the run game in four of his five seasons, though last year saw him post a career-low 60.5 mark in pass protection.

At center, David Andrews returns after notching a 67.7 overall grade last season, tied for 16th among centers. It was Andrews’ lowest grade since his rookie year in 2015, so expect him to bounce back toward the top half of the league.

New England has solid depth, as well, starting with the return of Ted Karras, who can play center or guard. Justin Herron also showed some ability as a sixth-round rookie, and Onwenu’s versatility is almost worth an extra roster spot.

The Patriots have solid starters all over the line, possibly forming the best offensive line in the league by the end of the season.

4. New Orleans Saints

The Saints finished with the No. 8 offensive line in 2020, and they will again boast one of the better lines in the NFL in 2021.

They’re led by Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk, the best tackle tandem in the league. Both players are an excellent combination of power, quickness and technique. Armstead graded out at 84.9 in 2020, seventh-best among tackles. And he’s now earned 80.0-plus grades in five of his past six seasons. Ramczyk took a step back from previous levels last year but still recorded a 79.4 overall mark, the worst grade of his four-year career. That shows just how good he’s been and will continue to be.

At center, Erik McCoy has notched 78.0 and 69.4 overall grades in his two seasons, with his 2020 mark being dragged down by a few rough games. He should be one of the more dependable starters at the position in the coming years. Former first-rounder Cesar Ruiz posted just a 53.8 grade as a rookie, good for 67th among 84 guards. Most of his struggles came in pass protection, where his 42.3 grade ranked 78th, but that was an area of strength for him coming out of college and we should see growth in 2021.

Left guard Andrus Peat crept back toward average after two subpar years, as his 61.9 overall grade ranked 48th among guards. The key on the interior will be McCoy and Ruiz continuing their development to complement Armstead and Ramczyk at tackle.

James Hurst also returns as a swing tackle after he posted a 69.6 overall grade while filling in at left tackle and playing as an extra tight end. He’s become one of the better sixth offensive linemen in the league.

The Saints again have the pieces to rank among the NFL's top offensive lines, with their final spot likely being determined by health and the development of their young interior players.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After fielding the fifth-ranked offensive line by the end of the 2020 campaign, the Bucs return all five starters along with added depth.

Rookie right tackle Tristan Wirfs was fantastic last season, finishing with the No. 9 overall grade among tackles (84.1) while allowing just 24 pressures on 851 pass-blocking snaps. Wirfs added a power component to the Bucs’ rushing attack, also posting the 11th-lowest rate of negatively graded plays among 84 qualifying tackles. Left tackle Donovan Smith has played at least 1,000 snaps and improved his overall grade for six straight seasons now, last year finishing with a career-high 72.8 grade.

Left guard Ali Marpet has graded “in the green” for all six years of his career, and his 80.7 overall grade ranked seventh among guards last season. Right guard Alex Cappa continued his ascent with a career-high 67.7 overall grade, while center Ryan Jensen finished 20th among centers at 63.6 overall.

The Bucs also added much-needed depth with Notre Dame tackle Robert Hainsey in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He has five-position versatility after improving every year in college and grading out at 89.6 last season. Josh Wells returns with swing tackle ability, too. After already having a top starting unit, the Buccaneers gained depth this offseason to shore up the group should any injuries arise.

6. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys finished just 27th in our final 2020 offensive line rankings, but that was due in large part to injuries. This unit looks much better on paper heading into 2021.

At left tackle, Tyron Smith returns after playing just 154 snaps last season. Between missed time and actual performance, Smith is clearly no longer a top-three left tackle with few holes in his game. The good news is that when he’s on the field, Smith is still a solid option, grading between 76.0 and 82.0 in his past three full seasons, it’s just a matter of staying healthy, as he hasn’t played a full campaign since 2015.

On the right side, La’el Collins returns after missing all of 2020 due to hip surgery. Collins broke out with an 86.4 overall grade in 2019, the fifth-best mark among tackles. He was outstanding in the run game, earning an 89.4 grade that ranked third, and he’s remained solid in pass protection throughout his career. If Collins is healthy, it’s a huge boost for Dallas' prospects at the tackle position.

Zack Martin is as good as it gets at right guard, and he’s the second-best all-around guard in the league — behind only Indianapolis' Quenton Nelson. Martin has graded out at 85.0 or better in all but one of his seven NFL seasons. Left guard Connor Williams finished with the No. 17 grade among guards last season (70.8). He’s improved in all three years of his career, and another step forward is not out of the question in 2021.

The biggest question mark on Dallas' offensive line outside of health is at center, where the team has struggled without Travis Frederick in the fold. With Frederick now retired, Joe Looney and Tyler Biadasz both saw time last year, ranking 34th and 33rd, respectively, out of 37 qualifying centers in overall grade. Biadasz projects as the starter for 2021. He was an outstanding run blocker in college, so the Cowboys should expect improvement in that department in his second year in the league.

The one benefit to the 2020 disaster could be the experience that tackles Brandon Knight and Terrence Steele earned. Each graded among the league’s worst tackles, but they’re now depth pieces. The Cowboys also added a top backup tackle in 35-year old Ty Nsekhe.

Dallas should be much improved up front, though health and the center position remain question marks for 2021.

7. Kansas City Chiefs

The biggest story of the offseason in Kansas City was the overhaul of the offensive line. The Chiefs finished 11th in our final offensive line rankings for 2020, but that was prior to their injuries and rough finish to the season in the Super Bowl.

The overhaul started with the releases of long-time tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, who formed one of the best duos in the league. The Chiefs traded for Ravens starting tackle Orlando Brown Jr., essentially giving up a first-rounder in a big exchange of picks. Brown has been a top tackle since being drafted in the third round in 2018, grading out at 77.8 overall in 2020, good for 26th among tackles. He’s improved every year and done his best work in pass protection, though there’s a big change in scheme coming from Baltimore’s run-heavy attack.

Mike Remmers returns at right tackle, where he posted a solid 71.3 grade during the 2020 regular season, good for 41st among tackles. While that performance is in line with much of Remmers’ career, he also endured two subpar seasons in 2018 and 2019, so he’s a mid-level option at the position.

The other big splash by the Chiefs was signing left guard Joe Thuney to a monster contract in free agency. Thuney has developed into one of the NFL's best guards, ranking in the top 10 in each of the past three years.

Right guard will be a battle between Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who opted out in 2020, and the unretired Kyle Long, who we last saw grade at just 38.0 on 250 snaps in 2019. Duvernay-Tardif ranked 50th out of 87 qualifiers in 2019 in PFF grade, while Long was one of the better guards in the league throughout much of his career before injuries hurt his performances in 2018 and 2019.

The Chiefs brought in Austin Blythe to play center after he recorded a 70.3 grade for the Rams last season, 10th-best among centers. He’ll battle second-round pick Creed Humphrey, a three-year starter at Oklahoma who finished with the eighth-best grade in the nation last year.

Kansas City has also built up impressive depth, drafting guard Trey Smith in the sixth round this year and tackle Lucas Niang in the third round in 2020. Niang could be in the mix at right tackle.

After completely re-shaping their offensive line, the Chiefs now field one of the best combinations of high-upside starters and depth in the NFL.

Andrew Whitworth
Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth (77) prepares to block San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) during the second half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

8. Los Angeles Rams

Last year at this time, we were trying to figure out how the Rams' offensive line fell so flat in 2019. Regardless, the unit rectified things in 2020 and finished third in PFF's final rankings.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth is still going strong, even at 39 years old heading into the 2021 season. He graded out at 86.8 last season, the sixth-best mark in the NFL, though he did miss seven weeks of action and struggled in the playoff loss to the Packers. Whitworth is one of the best tackles of his generation, still performing at a high level when many of his peers have been retired for years.

Right tackle Rob Havenstein enjoyed a bounceback 2020 after an uncharacteristically poor 2019. His 80.6 overall grade tied for 14th, which is more in line with his 83.3 mark that was posted in 2018. It’s his 50.9 grade in 2019 that is the outlier at this point.

David Edwards had a strong second season at left guard, grading out at 70.5 overall — 18th-best among guards. Right guard Austin Corbett experienced the classic third-year breakout en route to a 73.4 overall grade that ranked 11th in the league. He still has room to improve in pass protection, where his 61.5 grade ranked just 43rd. Corbett will get a shot to replace departed center Austin Blythe, who was solid in 2020.

2019 third-rounder Bobby Evans is slated to start at right guard after grading out at 49.4 on 472 snaps at tackle in 2019, and he wasn’t much better with a 43.6 grade on just 98 snaps last season. The Rams are counting on a Corbett-like breakout from Evans in order to maintain their status as one of the best units in the league.

Brian Allen will be a top backup at both center and guard. We last saw him in 2019 when he graded out at just 58.6 overall, including a 45.4 grade in pass protection.

The Rams have the pieces to rank as one of the league’s best offensive lines as long as they stay healthy. 

9. San Francisco 49ers

After finishing ninth in PFF's 2020 end-of-season rankings, the 49ers may be back in the top 10 once again by 2021's end.

Trent Williams showed no rust after missing 2019 and finished with the highest grade among tackles in 2020 (91.9). It’s the third time Williams has graded at the top of his position, with his previous best finishes coming in 2013 and 2016. He is the best run-blocking tackle in the game and allowed only 19 pressures on 562 pass-blocking attempts last year.

Right tackle Mike McGlinchey is right there with Williams in the run game, as his 91.3 run-blocking grade ranked second last season. Since entering the league in 2018, McGlinchey has the third-highest percentage of positively graded run blocks, but he ranks just 35th in pass-blocking grade.

Left guard Laken Tomlinson is coming off a career-high 78.8 overall grade, 10th-best at the position. He’d posted consistent 66.0 to 69.0 grades in his three previous years as a starter with the 49ers, and his best work came as a run blocker, where he earned an 80.9 grade.

The other guard spot is a question mark. Second-rounder Aaron Banks is the favorite to win the job, though. He is a big-bodied guard who posted a mid-level run-blocking grade on zone runs in his Notre Dame career.

There’s a new look at center, as well, as Alex Mack reunites with head coach Kyle Shanahan. Mack is an outstanding zone blocker and a great scheme fit, but he’s coming off the lowest grade of his career (65.9). He may not be able to handle power players as he once could, but if Shanahan can tap into Mack’s strengths, there could be a huge payoff.

10. Detroit Lions

It's fair to be optimistic about Detroit building one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

Left tackle Taylor Decker is coming off career-highs in overall grade (82.0) and pass-blocking grade (85.8) while ranking 12th overall among tackles last season. He’s ranked above average in both pass blocking and run blocking since entering the league in 2016.

The Lions will trot out rookie Penei Sewell at right tackle after drafting him with the seventh overall pick. He was the top offensive tackle on the PFF draft board. Sewell posted the highest grade we’ve seen from a true freshman and the highest overall grade for any offensive tackle since 2014 prior to his opting out of the 2020 season. Sewell has the tools and production to become one of the better all-around tackles in the league very soon.

Center Frank Ragnow has improved in all three of his NFL seasons, headlined by an 80.3 grade last season, the third-best mark among centers. Ragnow allowed half as many pressures last season as he did in 2019 on just about the same number of snaps.

Guard is the biggest question mark for the Lions’ offensive line. 2020 third-rounder Jonah Jackson started at left guard last year, but his 57.0 overall grade ranked just 58th out of 84 qualifiers. Jackson showed plenty of potential as a pass protector in college, so the hope is that his 67th-ranked 51.2 pass-blocking grade will improve. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is the starter at right guard, where he performed well on 282 snaps a year ago. Vaitai has spent most of his career at right tackle, but his power is a better fit at guard, which should mitigate some of his pass-blocking woes.

The Lions appear to have built the foundation of an excellent offensive line for the foreseeable future.

11. Arizona Cardinals

Arizona’s offensive line during head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s two seasons has a distinct trend of excelling on pass plays but faltering in the run game. The unit has two top-10 rankings in PFF pass-blocking grade but two bottom-10 rankings in run-blocking grade.

Despite the low run-blocking grade, the Cardinals' line has excelled at creating yards before contact, generating the third-highest EPA per play on runs last season (0.07) in large part due to quarterback Kyler Murray’s rushing ability.

Left tackle D.J. Humphries enjoyed a breakout 2020 season, ranking fifth among tackles in overall grade (88.3) to go with the No. 3 run-blocking grade (90.8). He’s become a run-game weapon, both at the point of attack and out in space, and he had the highest percentage of positively graded run blocks among tackles last season. Right tackle Kelvin Beachum re-signed as a free agent after ranking 27th in pass-blocking grade last season. He epitomizes the quality, league-average tackle.

Left guard Justin Pugh and right guard Justin Murray profiled similarly last season, as they both ranked among the top 16 guards in pass-blocking grade. However, Pugh ranked just 38th with a 62.7 run-blocking grade, and Murray’s 45.6 mark was the sixth-worst in the league.

At center, the Cardinals look much improved after adding Rodney Hudson, perhaps the league’s best pass-protecting pivot man. He’s coming off the lowest pass-blocking grade of his career (70.0), but he preceded that with three straight 90.0-plus grades. He allowed just 11 pressures from 2017 to 2019 before allowing 14 last season. Hudson still has plenty to offer, even as he heads into Year 11.

Max Garcia, Lamont Gaillard, Brian Winters and second-year tackle Josh Jones, who has starting potential down the road, all provide solid depth for the Cardinals, too.

12. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens' offensive linemen combined for the third-best overall grade in 2019, but the group dropped off to just 23rd last season. Losing starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley to injury was a big part of that decline, as he played only 312 snaps on the year. Stanley has developed into one of the best pass protectors in the game, grading out at 92.8 in 2019 and 91.0 last season. He’s less effective as a run blocker, but he’s recorded a 65.0 grade or better in every year since entering the league in 2016.

Baltimore traded former starting right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, and the team waited until after the draft to replace him with free agent tackle Alejandro Villanueva. Villanueva has played left tackle his entire career, so it will be an adjustment moving to the right side. He’s been the model of consistency at the position, grading between 74.0 and 81.2 in each of his past five years while never grading below 77.0 as a pass blocker during that time.

The interior of the Ravens’ offensive line was a weakness in 2020, but they have a potential big upgrade at right guard in Kevin Zeitler. He’s coming off the worst season of his career, but he graded between 73.0 and 89.0 in every season since 2012. Heading into his 10th season, Zeitler has historically been a solid run blocker and an excellent pass protector. It's worth the risk for Baltimore to see if he can get back to previous form.

Bradley Bozeman returns after starting at left guard after posting a 63.4 grade in 2019, 36th among guards, and a 64.3 grade in 2020, good for 41st. He’ll get a shot at center after the Ravens used three different starters there last year.

Patrick Mekari also returns after he was the top center on the team last season, earning a 66.9 overall grade.

Left guard is now a question mark, though, with Ben Powers, rookie Ben Cleveland, Greg Mancz and Tyre Phillips all in the competition.

The Ravens have a solid all-around offensive line, but they need a smooth transition from Villanueva and improved play on the interior in order to move up the rankings.

13. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have generally fielded a top offensive line in recent years, but they dropped to 19th in 2020 as injuries took their toll.

It’s a pivotal year for 2019 first-round left tackle Andre Dillard, who struggled on 337 snaps as a rookie before missing all of last season due to injury. Dillard was an outstanding pass protector in college, and Philadelphia needs him to find that form early in 2021.

Right tackle Lane Johnson consistently ranks among the best at his position, though his 71.9 grade in 2020 was the lowest of his career. Johnson is normally a dominant run blocker and a solid pass protector, and he’s graded out at 80.0-plus in five of his eight NFL seasons.

Right guard Brandon Brooks returns after missing all of 2020, an unfortunate injury after he was the highest-graded guard in the league in 2019 (92.8). If he’s back to form, the Eagles get one of the best pass-protecting guards to shore up the middle of their line.

Isaac Seumalo returns to left guard after an odd season that saw him rank eighth as a pass blocker but just 68th as a run blocker. Center Jason Kelce has been the highest-graded center over the past few years, but his 69.6 overall grade in 2020 ranked 11th. It was his lowest grade since his rookie 2011 season. But perhaps the Eagles are looking to the future with second-round pick Landon Dickerson. He has injury concerns, but he topped all college centers in run-blocking grade last season and earned the top grade among centers in the draft class.

The other intriguing player is Jordan Mailata, a 2018 seventh-rounder who played rugby and is still a baby in football years. Mailata was forced into action and held his own with a 70.3 overall grade last season, including the 13th-highest percentage of positively graded run blocks among tackles.

The Eagles could rank anywhere by the end of the season, but if their veterans stay healthy and avoid declines, this has the potential to be one of the best offensive lines in the league once again.

14. Buffalo Bills

The Bills finished 10th in our final 2020 rankings, and they’ve done a great job of rebuilding the trenches over the past few years.

The tackle tandem of Dion Dawkins and Daryl Williams is one of the league’s best; they finished 14th and 22nd, respectively, in overall grade last season. Dawkins has been incredibly consistent in his four NFL seasons, especially in pass protection, where he’s graded between 76.0 and 79.2 every year. Williams returns via free agency after playing well on a shrewd one-year deal. He’s bounced around the offensive line during his six-year career, but his two best seasons came in 2017 and 2020 — both of which he played right tackle from start to finish.

On the interior, center Mitch Morse has graded at 67.3 and 63.3 in his two years as a starter in Buffalo, and much like the rest of his career, he’s done his best work in pass protection. Bills guards earned a mere 60.7 grade as a unit last year, an area where the team must improve in 2020. Jon Feliciano returns as the starting right guard after posting the highest run-blocking grade on the team (76.1) but also the lowest pass-blocking grade (46.4). He’s been a league-average starter over the past two years and could be pushed by Ike Boettger, Forrest Lamp and Jamil Douglas.

Cody Ford is expected to start at left guard, and it’s a pivotal year for the 2019 second-rounder. He recorded just 50.3 and 53.8 grades in his first two seasons, so the Bills are hoping the common third-year breakout comes to fruition in 2021.

The Bills also did a fine job of adding depth, including two monster draft picks in Tommy Doyle and Spencer Brown. Both tackle prospects are at least 6-foot-8, serving as solid developmental options behind the starting duo of Dawkins and Williams.

Once again, the Bills have a solid offensive line unit and they continue to attack the position with volume. Their depth is strong, whcih should help them handle any injuries that pop up throughout the season.

15. Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee offensive line had distinct strengths and weaknesses last season. It finished sixth in run-blocking grade (77.5) but just 25th in pass-blocking grade (59.4). That all evened out to the No. 15 offensive line in our final rankings.

Left tackle Taylor Lewan returns after playing just 239 snaps last season. He’s been one of the better left tackles in the NFL, grading out at 75.0 or better in all six years of his career prior to an injury-shortened 2020.

Right tackle became an issue for the Titans after the team released 2020 first-rounder Isaiah Wilson, who played just three snaps with the team. The battle will involve Kendall Lamm and Ty Sambrailo, though the Titans would surely like second-rounder Dillon Radunz to win the job. Radunz is an explosive athlete who projects well in Tennessee’s zone-heavy system. The only question mark is his lack of experience in pass protection. He saw only 215 true pass sets in his three years at North Dakota State.

Left Rodger Saffold is as dependable as they come, grading out at 70.0 or better in each of his past five seasons. Like the other Titans, Saffold was better in the run game than in pass protection last season. It’s a similar story for right guard Nate Davis, who posted a 72.6 run-blocking grade (13th) but just a 52.6 pass-blocking grade (60th).

Center Ben Jones has graded “in the green” in all nine years of his NFL career, and he finished with the No. 5 grade among centers (78.6) last season.

The Titans' offensive line should excel in the run game once again in 2021, but the unit must get better in the pass game if it's to get back into the top 10. 

16. Green Bay Packers

Packers offensive linemen rank fourth in overall grade over the past three years, and the unit finished 2020 with the No. 2 ranking in the league.

David Bakhtiari is the NFL's premier pass-blocking tackle, grading out at 94.4 in the department over the past three years — by far the top mark in the league. He’s also a solid run blocker and the anchor of the Green Bay line.

Right tackle is more of a question mark heading into the season after last year’s starter, Rick Wagner, departed. Wagner’s 78.2 overall grade ranked 24th among tackles, and that production will be difficult to replicate. Billy Turner is first up to replace Wagner after posting a 70.5 overall grade last season across left tackle, right tackle and right guard. Turner had graded between 55.0 and 65.0 in his previous three full seasons.

On the interior, center is the biggest question mark. Corey Linsley is moving on after posting the league’s highest grade a year ago, but the Packers have added several versatile players, so they should have some options. Elgton Jenkins could play guard or center, and he’ll dabble at tackle with Bakhtiari still recovering from injury. He’s recorded solid 69.1 and 66.9 grades in his first two years.

Lucas Patrick returns at right guard after posting a 66.9 overall grade in his first year as a starter. The Packers drafted center Josh Myers in the second round this year, though he never graded above 72.5 in his time at Ohio State. He likely starts at center in an ideal world for Green Bay. The Packers also drafted tackle Royce Newman in the fourth round and tackle Cole Van Lanen in the sixth round for added depth.

The Packers' question marks along the offensive line are more prominent than in past years, and there’s some early season shuffling to do, but they have the makings of a solid offensive line.

Oct 25, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team guard Brandon Scherff (75) prepares to block against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at FedExField. Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

17. Washington Football Team

Washington’s offensive line was a pleasant surprise a year ago, finishing sixth in PFF's 2020 end-of-season rankings.

Washington signed former Bears tackle Charles Leno, who has graded out at 70.0 or better in four of the past five years. He’s a consistent, mid-level tackle, which is a valuable commodity in the NFL.

The Football Team released former starting right tackle Morgan Moses, which potentially puts the position in the hands of second-rounder Samuel Cosmi. Cosmi earned a 90.8 overall grade at Texas last year, but he could also use some time to clean up his pass sets. Cornelius Lucas returns as one of the better swing tackles in the NFL. He recorded a 72.2 overall grade with the Bears on 507 snaps in 2019 before posting a solid 78.9 mark last year on 608 snaps, good for 23rd among tackles.

Right guard Brandon Scherff returns on the franchise tag after his 86.3 overall grade ranked fourth among guards in 2020. He has a 97th percentile pass-blocking grade on true pass sets over the past three years, making him a trusted pass protector.

Center Chase Roullier has improved in each of his four NFL seasons, and his 76.4 overall grade ranked sixth among centers. Roullier had the third-best pass-blocking grade on true pass sets last season (79.0).

At left guard, Wes Schweitzer returns after a career-high 69.0 grade last season, though Washington also traded for Ereck Flowers, who started in for the team in 2019. Flowers has graded between 64.0 and 67.0 in each of the past four years, the last two of which came at guard.

Washington should have another solid line along with excellent depth.

18. Los Angeles Chargers

It’s been an offseason of overhauling up front for the Chargers, and it appears they’re on the right track after years of trotting out subpar offensive lines. Four-fifths of the line features new starters, starting with rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater. He allowed just five pressures on 355 attempts in 2019 and moves like a tight end when getting to the second level in the run game. At right tackle, Bryan Bulaga returns after being limited to just 444 snaps last year in his first season with the Chargers. When healthy, Bulaga has graded out at 75.0 or better in his past three full seasons. But the major question is that health, as those seasons were 2016, 2018 and 2019.

The Chargers snagged another former Packer in Corey Linsley, the top center on the PFF free agent board. Linsley is coming off a career-high 86.4 overall grade, which he earned after surrendering only seven pressures on 530 pass-blocking snaps. He’s produced grades of 75.0 or better in all but one of his seven NFL seasons.

Both of Los Angeles' starting guards, Matt Feiler and Oday Aboushi, also came over in free agency. Feiler has yet to grade below 65.0 overall in his four-year career, and that’s while lining up at both guard and tackle. Aboushi is coming off his best grade since 2014, as he finished with a 66.6 mark in 2020, tied for 27th among guards. That’s the kind of solid, yet unspectacular, play the Chargers need if they’re going to rise out of the bottom five of offensive lines around the league.

Among the backups, rookie fifth-rounder Brenden Jaimes is the one to watch — he was one of the better pass protectors in the draft class but has some work to do in the run game.

The Chargers are making all the right moves on paper, and their offensive line should be one of the most improved units in the NFL.

19. Seattle Seahawks

Despite the offseason buzz surrounding quarterback Russell Wilson and building around him, the Seahawks’ offensive line ranked 16th in the NFL in pass-blocking grade, the best rank of Wilson’s career. The entire unit finished 14th in our 2020 rankings.

Left tackle Duane Brown has easily been Seattle’s best lineman since they traded for him during the 2017 season. His 87.8 overall grade ranked fifth among tackles last season, and he’s now recorded 80.0-plus grades in seven of his past 10 seasons.

Right tackle Brandon Shell is coming off a career-high 71.4 overall grade, bucking the three-year trend of grading in the low 60.0s. Shell nearly cut his pressures in half, going from giving up 43 in 2019 to only 24 on a similar number of attempts last season.

On the interior, rookie third-rounder Damien Lewis had distinct splits. He produced an 83.5 run-blocking grade that ranked fifth in the league but also a 47.0 pass-blocking grade that ranked just 73rd out of 84 qualifiers. Lewis played mostly right guard last season, and he’ll take his run-blocking prowess to center this season.

Seattle traded for Gabe Jackson, who will fill the right guard spot. He was last year’s No. 41-graded guard, at 63.7 overall. Jackson has had an odd career: He graded “in the green” in each of his first five NFL seasons, but he’s taken a step back in the past two seasons. However, it’s a worthwhile risk for a player who has been a stout pass protector over his career.

Left guard is the biggest question mark for Seattle, with Jordan Simmons slated to start. He graded out at just 50.0 overall on 621 snaps last season, good for 75th among guards. Ethan Pocic and Phil Haynes should factor in, though Pocic did not perform well in his previous stint at left guard and Haynes has just 43 career snaps.

The Seahawks are looking solid on paper, but that depends upon Lewis making a successful transition to center and Shell maintaining last year’s career-year status.

20. Houston Texans

Like many of the Texans’ offseason moves, they attacked the offensive line with volume. This should be a decent group after the unit finished 23rd in our final 2020 rankings

Left tackle Laremy Tunsil dropped off a bit last year, ranking 28th with a 75.4 overall grade. He’s developed into one of the best pass-protecting tackles in the league, as his 85.8 pass-blocking grade ranked fourth. However, he finished the year as just the 50th-ranked run-blocking tackle (61.7).

Marcus Cannon comes over from the Patriots to likely man the right tackle spot. Cannon opted out last year, but he’s graded at 70.0 or better in his past four seasons, with a peak at 86.6 back in 2016. That will likely push 2019 first-rounder Tytus Howard inside to guard after he earned grades of 59.4 and 62.1 in his two years at right tackle.

At left guard, Max Scharping is the incumbent, but he’s also posted subpar grades in his two NFL seasons. Scharping has been better in pass protection than in the run game, a theme for Texans linemen over the past two years.

Justin Britt has come out of retirement to play center. We last saw Britt in 2019, when his 62.0 overall grade ranked 25th among centers. His best season came in 2016 (81.6), and he’s graded in the 60.0s in each season since then

There’s good depth beyond the projected starters, including guard Lane Taylor, who graded in the high 60.0s in his three years as a starter from 2016-18. Geron Christian and Roderick Johnson are both viable backups at tackle, and guard Hjalte Froholdt is a fine developmental prospect who has played just 70 snaps in two NFL seasons.

The Texans should field a mid-tier starting offensive line to go with one of the better second units in the league.

21. Denver Broncos

The Broncos finished just 25th in our final 2020 offensive line rankings, dragged down by a 57.2 run-blocking grade that ranked 28th among offensive lines.

Left tackle Garett Bolles had a breakout 2020 season, grading out at 90.6 overall — the third-best mark among tackles. Bolles had consistently graded in the low to mid-70s in his first three years in the league, but he cut down on his penalties — thanks in part to the league’s officials cutting down on holding calls — and ranked in the top four in both pass blocking and run blocking.

Right tackle Ja’Wuan James opted out in 2020 and has since been released after tearing his Achilles during offseason workouts. That opened the door for the Broncos to sign Bobby Massie, a solid starter who has graded between 63.0 and 73.0 in all nine years of his career.

Dalton Risner will start at left guard, and he’s graded out at 64.4 and 61.3 in each of the past two years. Those numbers scream “average,” but Risner is primed for the classic Year 3 breakout, so look for a better performance from him. Right guard Graham Glasgow has been a dependable starter at both center and guard throughout his NFL career, grading between 68.5 and 74.1 in each of his past four seasons.

Center is the big question for the Broncos. In 2020, then-rookie Lloyd Cushenberry III managed just a 40.5 grade, ranking last among centers. His 29 pressures allowed tied for fifth, and he ranked last as a run blocker, so look for third-rounder Quinn Meinerz to compete for the starting spot. Meinerz has the leverage and power to make the leap from Division III football.

The Broncos look solid across the board, and they should improve upon their 2020 ranking with better play in one or two spots.

22. New York Jets

The Jets have tried to improve their offensive line with volume over the past few years, but they still finished with a 29th ranking after the 2020 season.

There’s reason for more optimism, starting with left tackle Mekhi Becton, who graded out at 74.4 overall as a rookie, good for 32nd in the NFL. Becton can maul defenders at the point of attack and ranked fifth in positively graded plays in the run game while showing well in pass protection with a 65th-percentile grade on true pass sets.

Right tackle looked like it could still be an issue for the Jets, but they signed one of the underrated players in the league in Morgan Moses back in June. Moses tied for 18th among tackles with a 79.9 overall grade last season, his best mark since 2016. That move pushes George Fant to a backup role after he graded out at 61.6 overall grade last season, good for 69th among 89 tackles. 

Connor McGovern returns at center, where he recorded a 70.5 run-blocking grade but a 42.7 pass-blocking grade that ranked second from the bottom last season. Dan Feeney comes over to challenge for playing time after his 48.2 overall grade was the second-worst mark among centers last season. Feeney’s highest grade through four full NFL seasons (60.8) came in his rookie 2017 campaign.

First-rounder Alijah Vera-Tucker will likely start at left guard, though there’s a chance he could compete with Fant at right tackle. Vera-Tucker had success at both guard and tackle in college, and he projects as an excellent pass protector with some stickiness to his blocks in the run game. Greg Van Roten returns at right guard after finishing with the 44th-ranked grade (63.0) among guards last season. Alex Lewis produced a career-high 66.6 grade last season, so he’ll also be in the mix while providing good depth.

The Jets continue to make moves to get their line back on track, but they must improve at right tackle and Vera-Tucker needs to hit the ground running for this to become a middle-of-the-pack unit.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars return all five starters to an offensive line that finished 22nd in our final rankings last season.

Jacksonville put the franchise tag on Cam Robinson, who recorded a 61.7 overall grade last season, ranking 67th among 89 qualifying tackles. That was Robinson's highest grade in a full season; he’s been a below-average tackle for the entirety of his career. Right tackle Jawaan Taylor managed just a 56.5 grade last season to rank 79th, and he allowed a league-high 58 pressures. The usual caveat for young offensive linemen applies here: They can make jumps in their third and fourth full seasons. And that’s exactly what the Jaguars need if they’re going to improve up front.

Jacksonville also drafted Walker Little in the second round this year, a projection in his own right. Little has played just 72 snaps since 2018, when he posted just a 69.3 overall grade, but he’s a toolsy project with plenty of potential.

The interior is the strength of Jacksonville's line, starting with left guard Andrew Norwell, who has never graded below 73.7 as a pass blocker and peaked as the top pass-blocking guard in the league in 2017. The right guard spot is manned by A.J. Cann, who came off three subpar seasons to grade out at 69.1 last year, good for 19th among guards. Norwell and Cann finished sixth and 13th, respectively, in pass-blocking grade last season.

Brandon Linder posted the best pass-blocking grade of any center (87.6) in 2020, his sixth straight season with an 80.0-plus mark. He combines with Norwell and Cann to give the Jaguars one of the best pass-blocking trios in the league on the interior. Linder also ranked sixth as a run blocker (76.7), proving he’s a top center in the NFL.

The Jaguars must get better play from their tackles, but they’re stout on the interior. The potential is there to move up the offensive line rankings.

24. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons’ offensive line has tapered off in recent years, and the unit ranks just 21st in pass-blocking grade over the last two years.

Left tackle Jake Matthews is as steady as it gets, grading out at 70.0 or better in every year since 2014. He ranks as a top-notch pass protector, slotting in at eighth out of 95 qualifiers in pass-blocking grade on true pass sets over the past three years (82.2). Matthews is closer to the middle of the pack as a run blocker, though he’s done his best work on zone runs and should fit into the new system in Atlanta.

At right tackle, 2019 first rounder Kaleb McGary took a step forward last season. His overall grade improved from 53.0 to 64.3, but he has still graded in the 50.0s in pass protection in his two NFL seasons. He’s the opposite of Matthews, with just the 73rd best grade on zone runs. But Year 3 offensive linemen often take a big step forward, so a breakout is not out of the question for McGary.

Fellow 2019 first-rounder Chris Lindstrom has progressed nicely, as his 77.1 overall grade ranked ninth among guards last season. The left guard spot will have a new look, with James Carpenter moving on after two subpar years in Atlanta. Third-rounder Jalen Mayfield is expected to start, but he’s a project who played about 1,000 college snaps with mediocre grading despite showing good strength.

The biggest question up front is who replaces Alex Mack, the second highest-graded center in the NFL since he joined Atlanta in 2016. Matt Hennessy, a 2020 third-rounder, will get the first crack at it after grading out at just 47.0 on 225 snaps at left guard and center as a rookie. The Falcons also drafted Drew Dalman in the fourth round out of Stanford, an excellent outside zone fit who may have issues in pass protection after never grading above 74.0 in college.

The Falcons head into 2021 with two reliable starters and 2.5 question marks, so their final ranking will be determined by how well the youth progresses.

Landover, Maryland, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams (73) blocks Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) during the second half at FedExField. Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

25. Cincinnati Bengals

One of the biggest stories of the offseason was how the Bengals were going to rebuild their offensive line. Since then, they’ve taken a few steps in the right direction.

Left tackle Jonah Williams is the team's best lineman, producing a 70.1 overall grade last year — good for 45th among tackles. He had the 12th-best pass-blocking grade on true pass sets, a great indication of future pass-blocking success, though he ranked just 72nd out of 84 qualifiers in run-blocking grade (53.4).

Cincinnati signed Riley Reiff to a one-year contract to play right tackle, and he should be an upgrade over what the Bengals have had there in recent years. Reiff has earned grades of 69.9 or better in all but one of his nine NFL seasons, and he’s a good fit for the Bengals zone-heavy rushing attack.

Perhaps the most intriguing lineman is second-rounder Jackson Carman, who represents the “other” piece to the decision to draft wideout Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth overall pick. Carman will likely start at right guard after playing left tackle for three years at Clemson. He was a solid college player, grading between 73.0 and 79.2 in all three seasons, and his size and power should play well at guard. The Bengals will also eye starting Carman at right tackle in 2022.

Trey Hopkins returns at center after grading out at 63.8 last season, the 19th-best mark among centers. He’s settled into that grading range over the past three years, so it certainly could be worse. Left guard is a battle between Xavier Su’a-Filo, Quinton Spain and Michael Jordan. Spain has the best grading profile of the trio, though he’s a few years removed from his best work and has graded in the 50.0s in his two years with the Bengals. Either way, left guard looks like a weakness again for Cincinnati.

The Bengals also added tackle D’Ante Smith and center Trey Hill in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively. It wasn't exactly the offensive line overhaul Bengals fans expected, but they're players who could pay dividends in a few years.

Overall, Cincinnati has moved in the right direction on the offensive line, but they need better play from the interior trio.

26. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders finished just 24th in our final 2020 offensive line rankings, but that was due in large part to injuries to two starters.

Left tackle Kolton Miller has made great strides after a rough rookie season in 2018, grading out at 72.9 overall in 2020 — good for 36th among tackles. Miller still has work to do in the run game, where his 55.4 grade ranked just 70th out of 84 qualifiers, but he finished with an impressive 81.3 pass-blocking grade (16th).

Las Vegas' new right tackle is first-rounder Alex Leatherwood, a surprise selection at No. 17 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Leatherwood is a toolsy tackle prospect who made some of the most impressive run blocks of anyone in the draft class, but he was just OK in pass protection, with grades of 82.0 and 73.4 in his last two years at Alabama.

At left guard, Richie Incognito returns after playing just 74 snaps a year ago. He hasn’t graded below 71.0 since 2007, proving to be the model of consistency at guard. A healthy Incognito is a huge boost to the run game but an even bigger help in pass protection. The right guard spot will be manned by Denzelle Good, who is coming off a career-high 958 snaps en route to a 56.7 grade, good for 59th out of 84 qualifiers.

With center Rodney Hudson being traded, center will be a battle between Andre James and Nick Martin. James has struggled to a 23.4 overall grade on 117 career snaps, while Martin has been a solid pass protector and a below-average run blocker in his four years as a starter with the Texans. Even with Hudson declining in recent years, it will be tough to match his performance.

The Raiders moved on from three solid starters this offseason, so the pressure is on their young players to develop and the veterans to improve in order to match where this unit was just two years ago prior to last season’s injuries.

27. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings’ offensive line has struggled in recent years, including a 26th-place finish in our final 2020 rankings.

There are some big changes this offseason, starting with first-round left tackle Christian Darrisaw. He’s coming off the highest grade (95.6) of any Power Five tackle in the nation last season, and the second-highest since 2014, including 90.0-plus grades in both pass blocking and run blocking. Darrisaw brings great power to the run game and moves well enough to succeed in Minnesota’s zone-heavy attack.

Right tackle Brian O’Neill has been the most consistent lineman for Minnesota, and he’s coming off a career-high 78.0 overall grade, which ranked 24th among tackles. He’s a smooth-moving zone blocker who finished with the No. 8 run-blocking grade (83.7) last season.

The interior is where the Vikings have had their issues, especially in pass protection. Center Garrett Bradbury is a prime example — he’s been far better in the run game but ranked last and second to last in pass-blocking grade among centers in his two NFL seasons. Ezra Cleveland started at right guard down the stretch, and he’ll slot in there again in 2021. Cleveland profiled similarly to Bradbury, grading out at a solid 67.5 as a run blocker but just 52.0 in pass protection.

The left guard spot has two options in Mason Cole and third-rounder Wyatt Davis. Cole has two full seasons under his belt, but both were at center. He earned grades of 53.6 in 2018 and 54.4 last year. Davis battled through injury in 2020 at Ohio State, but he looked like one of the best guard prospects in the draft after his 2019 performance.

The Vikings’ offensive line has a new look this season, and the unit's ability to move up the rankings may be dependent on two rookies and one second-year player.

28. Chicago Bears

It’s a new look for the Bears' offensive line, starting at the tackle spots. Charles Leno Jr. departs after seven years with the team, and Bobby Massie moves on after five years in Chicago.

Second-rounder Teven Jenkins will likely get the first shot on the left side after an excellent career at Oklahoma State. Jenkins saw his grade improve every year in college, and he’s a powerful run blocker who should also be a solid pass protector. While he spent most of his time at right tackle, Jenkins does have 482 career snaps at left tackle.

On the right side, Germain Ifedi is in line to start after playing both right guard and right tackle last season. Ifedi started at right tackle for the Seahawks from 2017 to 2019, and he didn’t grade above 60.0 overall in any of those years, with most of his issues coming in the run game. The Bears also added Elijah Wilkinson this offseason. He’ll compete for a starting role after posting grades of 59.6 and 52.4 in each of the past two years at right tackle for the Broncos.

The interior has been a game of musical chairs in Chicago in recent years, and that was the case last year in part due to injuries. The two consistent fixtures have been Cody Whitehair and James Daniels. Whitehair has graded out at 70.0 or better in four of his five years while playing mostly left guard and center. Last year, he recorded an 83.8 mark as a run blocker but just a 47.0 mark in pass protection.

Daniels has graded between 65.0 and 70.0 in each of his three NFL seasons while also playing both left guard and center. With Whitehair playing well at left guard down the stretch last season, we may see him stick there due to Daniels moving to right guard. That opens up center for Sam Mustipher, who earned an 59.5 overall last season, ranking 29th among centers.

The Bears also added fifth-rounder Larry Borom, who played tackle at Missouri but likely projects better on the interior.

The big question for the Bears is the tackle position, where they got league-average play for several years. Until that is answered, this looks like a bottom-10 offensive line heading into 2021.

29. Miami Dolphins

After ranking last among offensive lines in 2019, the Dolphins' young unit made strides in 2020, finishing 28th in our 2020 rankings. That may not sound like much, but there is optimism that the youth movement will take another step forward this season. It’s notable that the Dolphins cut back on their sacks last year, but that was driven more by quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa getting rid of the ball quicker than any other team.

First-round left tackle Austin Jackson struggled as a rookie, ranking 80th out of 84 qualifiers in overall grade (52.3). He was one of three rookies to see significant time for the Dolphins last year, with Robert Hunt being the most impressive of the trio. Hunt graded out at 65.8 overall while playing right tackle. Jesse Davis started at right tackle prior to moving to right guard on his way to a 62.6 overall grade for the year. It was the highest grade of Davis’ four years as a starter, but it still ranked just 46th among 84 qualifying guards.

Solomon Kindley featured at left guard — the third rookie to play — and recorded just a 51.3 overall grade, ranking 74th among guards. He’ll be challenged by second-rounder Liam Eichenberg, who played tackle at Notre Dame and finished with an impressive 89.9 overall grade last season.

Matt Skura is the new starting center, and he’s had an up-and-down NFL career through four seasons. His 68.7 grade in 2019 marked a career-high, but he graded below 61.0 in his other three seasons as a starter.

The Dolphins have plenty of question marks heading into 2021, but they have at least three second-year players in the starting lineup. Their development will determine how much this unit improves.

30. Carolina Panthers

Nine Panthers offensive linemen played at least 100 snaps a year ago, and 2021 will likely see even more fresh faces on the left side of the line.

Left tackle was a revolving door last season, with starter Russell Okung battling injuries. And with Okung still out in free agency, it looks like Cam Erving’s job to lose. Erving has played all over the offensive line, but he’s slotted in exclusively at left tackle for the past two years. However, he’s still a question mark, as last year was the first time he graded above 50.0 in his six-year career. He posted a 58.0 overall grade on just 279 snaps.

Third-rounder Brady Christensen should challenge Erving after an incredible career at BYU that saw him grade out at 87.8 and 96.0 in his last two years. Greg Little was drafted as a developmental second-rounder in 2019, but he’s disappointed on 358 snaps in two seasons.

Right tackle is the sturdiest position on Carolina's line thanks to Taylor Moton returning. He graded at 81.6 overall last year, good for 13th among tackles. He’s graded as a top-18 tackle in each of the past three years.

Center Matt Paradis has posted identical 63.4 overall grades in each of his two years with the Panthers, though those numbers are disappointing when considering his previous four years in Denver saw him grade between 74.0 and 90.2 in each season. The good news is that Paradis improved greatly in pass protection, surrendering 19 pressures compared to 47 in 2019.

The Panthers signed Pat Elflein in free agency, and he’ll get a shot at left guard. The former third-rounder has struggled in pass protection in three-plus years as a starter. His highest-graded season was a 66.6 mark back in his rookie year in 2017. Dennis Daley may be the answer at right guard after producing a 57.7 grade at left tackle as a rookie in 2019. He recorded a 64.7 grade on just 135 snaps across both left tackle and right guard. He’ll battle John Miller, whose 61.2 overall grade last season ranked 52nd out of 84 guards.

The Panthers have three offensive line positions with projected starters who have a history of below-average play, and that’s a big concern unless their younger players step up.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers

With three new starters up front, Pittsburgh's offensive line enters 2021 with its most question marks in years. The unit regressed to 17th in our final 2020 rankings after years of exemplifying the way offensive lines should be built — with solid starters and limited weaknesses in the starting lineup.

Chukwuma Okorafor moves from right to left tackle after grading out at 57.4 overall last season, ranking 74th out of 84 qualifying tackles. It was Okorafor’s first year as a starter, and while we’ve seen linemen make jumps in Years 3 or 4, he needs to take big strides this season.

The right tackle spot is manned by Zach Banner, who has shown power in the run game despite seeing just 302 snaps since entering the league in 2017. Banner has proven to be below average in pass protection during his limited time as a pro.

Former starting center Maurkice Pouncey retired, and while his on-field play has generally underwhelmed compared to his hype, he did provide stability up front for the Steelers. J.C. Hassenauer and third-rounder Kendrick Green will compete for the starting spot. Hassenauer graded out at 57.7 overall on 303 snaps last season, while Green ranked near the top of the draft class in both positively and negatively graded run blocks over the past two years.

Right guard David DeCastro appeared to be the one stabilizing player up front, even coming off a career-low 66.2 overall grade, but he was released last month and could be retiring. That added yet another hole to the Steelers’ offensive line and led to the signing of Trai Turner. He was once one of the bright young guards in the league, but since recording his best grade in 2015, his grades have gotten worse in each of the past four years, including a 34.8 mark that ranked third-worst among guards last season.

2020 fourth-rounder Kevin Dotson had a fine rookie season, posting similar grades as DeCastro, including a much better mark in pass protection (87.2) than the run game (55.1).

The Steelers enter 2021 with big question marks all over the place, and their offensive line looks like a bottom-tier unit unless players develop across the board.

Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Austin Jackson (73) blocks Seattle Seahawks defensive end Benson Mayowa (95) in front of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

32. New York Giants

Giants offensive linemen have combined to produce the fifth-worst overall grade in the league over the past two years, and they rank in the bottom eight in both pass blocking and run blocking. 

Starting left tackle Nate Solder opted out in 2020, whcih hurt the team's depth up front. First-rounder Andrew Thomas started at left tackle and struggled to a 62.4 overall grade. His 54.7 pass-blocking grade also ranked just 82nd out of 89 qualifiers. Solder is currently in the mix to start at right tackle, a position he hasn’t played since his rookie year in 2011. In his two years in New York, Solder has posted a solid 75.7 grade and a career-low 64.9 mark. He could be a cap casualty before the season.

Matt Peart, a 2020 third-rounder,  is competing at right tackle after grading out at 69.7 overall on 150 snaps as a rookie. Peart enjoyed a good career at UConn and is young at the position, so he has starting potential at some point.

On the interior, Nick Gates returns after moving to center for the first time in his career in 2020. He managed just a 59.7 grade, though, ranking 29th among centers. Guard is wide open, with several players battling for the two starting spots. Will Hernandez is a three-year starter at left guard, although he hasn’t graded over 60.0 since his rookie season. Shane Lemieux played 504 snaps there last year and struggled to a 32.2 overall grade. Zach Fulton is also in the mix after recording a 63.0 overall grade last season, ranking 44th among 86 qualifying guards.

For perspective, former Giants starter Kevin Zeitler earned a 65.9 overall grade, though that’s the only time in his career with a season mark below 73.0. Kenny Wiggins and Jonotthan Harrison also have starting experience, but neither has graded above 62.1 in any season in their respective NFL careers.

The bottom line is that the Giants' offensive line is a massive question mark. They need their young players to develop and their veterans to provide career years just to rank in the middle of the pack for 2021.


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