The Indianapolis Colts are beginning to bounce back up the rankings now that their starting five linemen are finally healthy. The Dallas Cowboys stay at No. 1, but the Kansas City Chiefs are pushing them hard, proving that not everything is going wrong for their offense. The Miami Dolphins are rooted at the bottom of the rankings with the worst group in the league, but there are several other lines collapsing as we progress through the 2021 NFL season.
Let’s run through the rankings team by team.
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1. DALLAS COWBOYS (No Change)
Best-graded: G Zack Martin | 93.9
Worst-graded: C Tyler Biadasz | 58.7
The Cowboys' offensive line has been the best in the NFL through the first half of the season, but the unit is holding its breath over the health of left tackle Tyron Smith, having just caught a glimpse of life without him against Denver.
Smith has a 92.3 overall PFF grade after allowing just five total pressures in seven games. Terence Steele allowed nine pressures in the one game he tried to replace Smith at left tackle. Steele had been solid on the right side but looked like a disaster on the left. If Smith comes back, this line is elite as both a pass-blocking unit and a run-blocking unit. But if the team has to come up with a new answer at left tackle, it will need someone better than Steele.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (Up 6)
Best-graded: C Creed Humphrey | 90.4
Worst-graded: T Mike Remmers | 64.5
Kansas City's offense is struggling and doesn't look anything like the high-flying, explosive enterprise it has been since Patrick Mahomes entered the lineup. But the problems aren’t with the offensive line, which has actually been better than a season ago despite a complete overhaul. Rookies Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith have been the unit's best-graded players, and no individual player has been getting consistently taken to pieces. Right tackle Lucas Niang is the biggest weakness thus far, and even he has allowed just one sack all season.
3. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (No Change)
Best-graded: G Ali Marpet | 84.3
Worst-graded: C RYAN JENSEN | 68.8
Few offensive lines can boast the kind of stability this group has. Each of the starting five has taken all but a handful of snaps this season, and all five have an overall PFF grade of at least 68.0, with only one average grade by facet between them. Tom Brady getting rid of the ball at the second-fastest rate in the league helps them look even better from a pass-blocking standpoint. No member of this line has surrendered more than 15 total pressures across eight games, and right tackle Tristan Wirfs is averaging just one pressure allowed per game.
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS (Down 2)
Best-graded: G Wyatt Teller | 89.8
Worst-graded: T Jedrick Wills Jr. | 59.9
When Cleveland’s line is healthy and firing on all cylinders, it’s a dominant force and one of a few lines that could easily occupy the top spot in the rankings. Wyatt Teller is getting back to his level of play from last season, and it just earned him a new, big-money extension. He now boasts a 90.8 PFF run-blocking grade and has allowed 12 total pressures across nine games. Jedrick Wills Jr. and injuries have been the things eating into the quality of this unit. The Browns have three tackles with 100 or more snaps who each have a sub-60.6 PFF grade.
5. LOS ANGELES RAMS (Down 1)
Best-graded: T Andrew Whitworth | 81.8
Worst-graded: G David Edwards | 65.1
A poor Week 9 effort may have moved the Rams down the rankings on its own. Brian Allen (38.4) and David Edwards (61.0) struggled to deal with the power of the Tennessee Titans' Jeffery Simmons, and for the first time this season, Matthew Stafford was under pressure enough to affect his game. Aside from that performance, all five starters of this line have played well this season, with Andrew Whitworth somehow still playing like one of the best left tackles in the game as he approaches his 40th birthday. Whitworth has allowed just seven total pressures in eight games.
6. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (Up 3)
Best-graded: C Chase Roullier | 69.9
Worst-graded: G Ereck Flowers | 67.2
It might not be obvious based on win-loss results, but few teams have as good a platform to work from on offense as the Washington Football Team. Washington doesn’t have a bad performer on the offensive line, and while not every player is grading well in both the run game and as a pass protector, the overall baseline is extremely high. Rookie Samuel Cosmi has missed significant time now but potentially returns to action this week. Ten different offensive linemen have seen snaps for Washington so far this season, and not one of them has a PFF pass-blocking grade lower than 62.2.
7. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (Down 2)
Best-graded: T Trent Williams | 96.1
Worst-graded: G Daniel Brunskill | 60.0
Trent Williams is the best-graded offensive lineman at any position in the league this season, earning a monstrous 96.1 overall mark from his seven games of play. Williams has allowed 11 total pressures on 260 pass-blocking snaps, but his work in the run game is on another level. He simply erases players at the point of attack and opens up all kinds of space for the team's backfield. Williams is a star, but the rest of this line is more solid than spectacular.
8. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Down 2)
Best-graded: C Jason Kelce | 81.9
Worst-graded: G Landon Dickerson | 61.1
The past couple of weeks seem to have shown Philadelphia how good its offensive line is. The Eagles have all of a sudden started to lean on a run game that was likely always there, even with the personnel up front frequently changing. The Eagles have used 10 different offensive linemen this season but are starting to settle into a rhythm with a consistent five now that injuries have slowed their assault. Jordan Mailata has had to play left and right tackle this season, allowing just 13 total pressures from seven games of doing so. This line could get better down the stretch if injuries stay out of the way.
9. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (Up 1)
Best-graded: C Corey Linsley | 86.1
Worst-graded: T Storm Norton | 50.5
The Chargers having a good offensive line seems almost antithetical to what we know about the team, but it proves that one can overhaul a bad unit with enough determination. Matt Feiler is having a career year as a modest free-agent acquisition to play one guard spot, while Corey Linsley and Rashawn Slater — the two higher profile additions — are both backing up their investment. If offensive linemen won such awards, then Slater would be the Offensive Rookie of the Year through nine weeks. He has allowed just 12 total pressures in eight games despite having to block Myles Garrett in one of them.
10. ARIZONA CARDINALS (Up 1)
Best-graded: T D.J. Humphries | 70.9
Worst-graded: G Josh Jones | 51.3
Depth is something of a concern for the Arizona offensive line, and Josh Jones remains a weak link at one guard spot. Jones has allowed 19 total pressures and has PFF grades of 55.0 or below as both a run blocker and a pass protector. Rodney Hudson’s return is significant for this group, as he has still yet to allow any pressure at all from his six games of play. Tackle D.J. Humphries continues to be the class of the group, allowing 17 total pressures from 338 pass-blocking snaps while earning a 76.7 PFF run-blocking grade.
11. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (Down 4)
Best-graded: G Michael Onwenu | 87.8
Worst-graded: T Justin Herron | 47.9
After struggling through a wave of injuries and COVID-19-related absenses, the Patriots' offensive line is looking more like we expected it to before the 2021 season began. They are a better run-blocking unit than they are in pass protection, and Michael Onwenu leads the way with a 91.4 run-blocking grade.
The starting five all have above-average PFF grades, and if they stay in the lineup for the remainder of the year, this line should rise in the rankings. But the second New England has to go into the bench, the drop in performance is clear and severe. Four of the backups who have played this season have overall PFF grades below 55.5.
12. GREEN BAY PACKERS (Up 1)
Best-graded: T Elgton Jenkins | 83.2
Worst-graded: G Royce Newman | 46.3
Green Bay has still yet to be able to deploy David Bakhtiari — arguably the best left tackle in the game — this season. He is expected to be activated this week and could represent very welcome reinforcements over the second half of the campaign, even if Elgton Jenkins has been the group’s best player in his place at left tackle.
Jenkins has allowed just 10 total pressures in six games and possesses rare positional versatility. He would likely flip to the right side without incident in any reshuffle. Fourth-round rookie Royce Newman has been the weakest player, surrendering 18 total pressures at right guard and earning a 43.2 PFF run-blocking grade.
13. BALTIMORE RAVENS (Down 1)
Best-graded: C Bradley Bozeman | 72.5
Worst-graded: T Tyre Phillips | 58.5
Ronnie Stanley has been officially shut down for the season since the last time these rankings were done, so Baltimore’s line is lacking its best player. Alejandro Villanueva is better on the left side than the right, so there is a silver lining to the loss. Villanueva has still struggled at left tackle, surrendering 32 total pressures (10 of which came in one game on the right side) but earning the best run-blocking grade (72.3) of the unit.
The majority of the line has been solid, but they are a group protected by the Ravens' unique scheme and the threat of quarterback Lamar Jackson, which changes how pass-rushers attack the backfield. Outside of Villanueva, no other Ravens lineman has allowed more than 14 total pressures on the season.
14. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (No Change)
Best-graded: T Ryan Ramczyk | 83.8
Worst-graded: G Andrus Peat | 51.2
The top three overall PFF grades among the nine Saints linemen to see snaps this season are all tackles. Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead are each among the best in the league at their respective positions, while James Hurst has performed well as a backup and a utility lineman wherever he has played. The starting interior has been far weaker, however, with no guard or center earning an overall PFF grade above 60.0 on the season. Two of those players have pass-blocking grades in the 20.0s, surrendering plenty of impactful pressure up the middle.
15. NEW YORK JETS (Up 1)
Best-graded: C Connor McGovern | 73.1
Worst-graded: G Greg Van Roten | 63.0
The Jets' offensive line has been a pleasant surprise this season and may continue to look better if rookie quarterback Zach Wilson is forced from the starting lineup for a while. Wilson has one of the league’s longest average times to throw and has not been helping his line look good. Both Mike White and Josh Johnson were immediately better in that area. This unit has been particularly good as a run-blocking line, ranking 10th league-wide with a 78.5 PFF grade in that facet.
16. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (Up 7)
Best-graded: T Matt Pryor | 74.3
Worst-graded: T Julie’n Davenport | 47.3
No team has been on the same kind of odyssey within the offensive line rankings as the Colts through nine weeks. They entered the season ranked second in the NFL, only to plummet to 23rd — a spot that was giving the benefit of the doubt that the unit was better than we had seen on tape to that point.
Indianapolis has started to jump back up the list because we have finally seen the five starters on the field at the same time, and the results are spectacular. The group destroyed the New York Jets' defensive front on Thursday night and still has the potential to be as good as any line in the league. There’s no guarantee the unit remains intact over the remainder of the season, but if it does, the Colts have one of the best groups in the league.
17. Tennessee Titans (Down 2)
Best-graded: T David Quessenberry | 80.0
Worst-graded: G Aaron Brewer | 59.9
Tennessee’s line is going to be tested during life after Derrick Henry over the second half of the season. The first look wasn’t great — as Adrian Peterson struggled to just 2.1 yards per carry, 2.0 of which came after contact, against the Rams. The Titans as a team generated 69 rushing yards, and 59 came after contact.
The line has always been better at run blocking this season than in pass protection, and the left side was dominated by the Rams, posting PFF pass-blocking grades of 33.2 and 25.5. Bobby Hart is not a viable starter at left tackle, so the team needs Taylor Lewan back as soon as humanly possible.
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18. BUFFALO BILLS (Up 1)
Best-graded: T Dion Dawkins | 67.7
Worst-graded: G Cody Ford | 49.0
Buffalo’s strategy of amassing safe and reliable, but unspectacular, players on the offensive line is faltering a little this season, as those players collectively all ride the downswing of their playing variance. Nobody along the line has an overall PFF grade above 67.7, and only Dion Dawkins can boast a PFF grade higher than 70.0 in any facet of play. That’s still far from the catastrophe some teams are dealing with, but it’s a long way from the best this group is capable of. All five starters have surrendered at least 13 total pressures so far this season.
19. DENVER BRONCOS (No Change)
Best-graded: T Garett Bolles | 71.7
Worst-graded: G Dalton Risner | 57.4
The last time these rankings were written, Quinn Meinerz looked to be on the verge of assuming a starting spot in what could prove to be an upgrade. Meinerz has now seen 127 snaps across three starts. On those snaps, he has earned a good PFF pass-blocking grade (77.2) — allowing just two hurries — but has a run-blocking grade of only 32.0, the worst mark on the team.
Denver’s line isn’t terrible, but it has a bad habit of losing badly in unfavorable situations, and three different players have allowed at least four sacks on the season. Garett Bolles has surrendered only 16 pressures, but five of them have been sacks.
20. CINCINNATI BENGALS (No Change)
Best-graded: G Quinton Spain | 75.0
Worst-graded: G Jackson Carman & C Trey Hopkins | 43.5
Sometimes, you have to have faith in the greater sample size and be convinced that a player will pull his way out of a bad run of play. Quinton Spain earned a 56.7 overall PFF grade last year coming off a bad season in Buffalo in 2019 (55.8). But before that, he had three consecutive years of much better play to his name. He has bounced back in 2021 to the tune of a 75.0 overall grade. Spain has allowed just one sack and 10 total pressures and is the best-graded lineman on the team. Paired with Jonah Williams, the Bengals have a very solid left side of the line.
21. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (No Change)
Best-graded: G Andrew Norwell | 75.0
Worst-graded: G A.J. Cann | 45.9
Jacksonville’s line has had to undergo some enforced changes this season and is now up to nine different players with at least 50 snaps. A.J. Cann has by far the lowest PFF pass-blocking grade (32.6) of the group, but he hasn’t played since Week 4. Andrew Norwell has allowed only five total pressures, and no sacks, on 344 pass-blocking snaps. There is likely a combination of players on this line that is better than the starting five that opened the season. The question is whether the Jaguars can stumble upon it as they go.
22. CHICAGO BEARS (Up 9)
Best-graded: T Jason Peters | 76.7
Worst-graded: C Sam Mustipher | 51.3
You could easily have been led into thinking that the Bears have the worst offensive line in the league based on some of the results and the hysteria surrounding the group over the first half of the season. The truth is far from it.
Their line isn’t good, but it is perfectly manageable, and the best player they have plays the most important position. Jason Peters, breathing down the neck of his 40th birthday, has allowed just 17 total pressures in nine games and has PFF grades of at least 70.0 in both run blocking and pass protection. The line certainly has some issues, but it’s an average to below-average unit that has been looking far worse due to the rest of the offense.
23. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (Down 5)
Best-graded: T Duane Brown | 70.3
Worst-graded: C Kyle Fuller | 51.3
Seattle’s line never looked good with Russell Wilson at quarterback, but with him now out, it's clear how much he helped the unit despite holding onto the ball. With Geno Smith at quarterback, the group’s weaknesses are on obvious display, and five different linemen have surrendered at least 10 total pressures this season. Perhaps most concerning for the Seahawks is that Duane Brown may be finally slowing down. He's earned a 70.3 overall PFF grade, the lowest mark since his rookie season as he plays his age-36 season.
24. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (Up 2)
Best-graded: T Brian O’Neill | 68.8
Worst-graded: T Rashod Hill | 40.1
Christian Darrisaw looks like he will be a major upgrade for the Vikings at left tackle, but they got a look at another potential personnel change this past week when Mason Cole started at center and earned a 74.6 PFF game-grade against Baltimore. Garrett Bradbury has only four games in his NFL career that can match that number, and none of them have come since Week 10 of 2020.
Minnesota has a former first-round pick invested in Bradbury, but at some point, that is nothing but a sunk cost. Meanwhile, Brian O’Neill has allowed just eight pressures in eight games as the team’s best lineman.
25. DETROIT LIONS (No Change)
Best-graded: C Frank Ragnow | 86.2
Worst-graded: T Matt Nelson | 51.5
The Lions are faced with an interesting good news/bad news situation now with Taylor Decker‘s return from injury. Decker will slot in at left tackle, where he has overall PFF grades of at least 70.0 in four of his past five seasons. But that means rookie Penei Sewell will move back to right tackle, where he was disastrous in the preseason. Sewell recorded a 38.6 PFF grade in the preseason at right tackle, but he's posted a 67.5 mark at left tackle so far this regular season. The Lions may be prepared to write off some struggles from Sewell in a season where they aren’t winning anything in order to get him ready for next season and beyond on the right side.
26. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (Down 2)
Best-graded: T Kolton Miller | 80.4
Worst-graded: T Brandon Parker | 37.7
Outside of Kolton Miller at left tackle, the Raiders' line is struggling. Miller has allowed 13 total pressures across 357 pass-blocking snaps and has a solid run-blocking grade, but that’s where the good news ends. Alex Leatherwood — the team’s first-round rookie — was among the worst right tackles in the NFL until he moved inside to guard. He has been better there but remains below average, particularly as a pass protector. Leatherwood has allowed 33 total pressures this season and at least two pressures in every game. He also has 10 penalties in eight games.
27. HOUSTON TEXANS (Down 5)
Best-graded: T Marcus Cannon | 65.9
Worst-graded: G Tytus Howard | 40.6
This far down the list, every line has some serious weak links. Justin McCray has played 239 snaps for the Texans this season, earning a lowly 21.1 PFF pass-blocking grade. Four of the six linemen with the most snaps have run-blocking grades below 60.0, including Laremy Tunsil. The Texans' line has been largely passable in pass protection, but the weak spots have been bad enough to undo the work done by the other members of the unit.
28. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (No Change)
Best-graded: G Trai Turner | 67.3
Worst-graded: T Dan Moore Jr. | 51.9
No quarterback is getting the ball out of his hands faster than Ben Roethlisberger on average, a data point that is critical context when assessing the performance of the Steelers' offensive line. The unit simply isn't being asked to protect for long enough to fully expose its weaknesses in that area, but the group's deficiencies are more readily apparent in the run game.
First-round rookie running back Najee Harris incentivizes the team to run the ball, but Pittsburgh is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry — 2.5 of which is coming after contact. None of the starters has a PFF run-blocking grade above 66.0.
29. CAROLINA PANTHERS (No Change)
Best-graded: T Taylor Moton | 71.0
Worst-graded: G Trent Scott | 43.9
Carolina’s offensive line had some glaring weak points on paper heading into the season, and they have been exposed through the first half of the year. Taylor Moton is among the league’s better right tackles and the best-graded player on the unit, but even he isn’t having his best season. He has allowed 19 total pressures, the same number he surrendered all of last season. Cam Erving has a 56.1 overall PFF grade, and just one starter has a pass-blocking grade above 55.0.
30. ATLANTA FALCONS (No Change)
Best-graded: G Chris Lindstrom | 78.4
Worst-graded: G Jalen Mayfield | 42.4
All five starters of the Falcons' offensive line starters have allowed double-digit pressures over the season, with rookie guard Jalen Mayfield surrendering 31 across 345 pass-blocking snaps. Mayfield also has five penalties to his name and has been the weakest link, but the group is short of standouts outside of Chris Lindstrom, who has yet to allow a sack — the only member of the starting five who can say that.
31. NEW YORK GIANTS (Down 4)
Best-graded: T Andrew Thomas | 70.3
Worst-graded: G Matt Skura | 47.6
New York’s offensive line was taking baby steps in the right direction this season, but injuries have changed all of that and cast them back toward the bottom of the rankings. Andrew Thomas was a disappointment as a rookie but has been the unit's best player this season — and the team has missed him dearly when he hasn’t been playing. New York has now played 11 different offensive linemen at some point this season, and six of them have PFF pass-blocking grades below 50.0.
32. MIAMI DOLPHINS (No Change)
Best-graded: G Michael Deiter | 61.6
Worst-graded: T Liam Eichenberg | 46.2
Miami’s offensive line is on pace to surrender a historical volume of pressure, despite the offense trying to protect the group with RPOs and a fast average time to throw. The Dolphins have surrendered 152 total pressures, 30 more than any other line, and therefore possess the league’s lowest pass-blocking efficiency metric.
Four players have surrendered at least 20 total pressures, with three of them tying for the team lead (37). Miami’s offensive line is a complete mess that is tainting any evaluation of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.