Baltimore Ravens tackle Ronnie Stanley may be the best pass protector in football. For years that was Joe Thomas in Cleveland, but with Thomas retiring and moving into the media landscape, the title is up for grabs. Green Bay’s David Bakhtiari has been the best pass protector in the NFL for the past few seasons, but he now has a new challenge in the Ravens' left tackle, whose 92.5 PFF pass-blocking grade leads the NFL.
This season, Stanley is putting up a historically incredible statistical effort. Most people like to judge offensive linemen by sacks, and in 13 games, he has yet to allow one. But by now, we know sacks are a blunt instrument in terms of evaluating pass protection. Once the offensive lineman is beaten in pass protection, he has very little influence over whether it becomes a pressure, hit, sack or nothing at all. On average, 68.8% of all losses in pass protection result in some kind of pressure (the others being plays where the ball is gone before the quarterback ever has a chance to feel pressure coming), but less than 10% become sacks (9.13% in 2019).
Looking at total pressure gives us a far more complete look at Stanley’s prowess than by restricting ourselves to sacks alone, and he has surrendered just six total pressures in 13 games, or fewer than one every other game. To put that into some kind of context, there are six starting tackles this year who have surrendered more than 40, and 24 tackles have allowed more pressures in a single game than Stanley has allowed all season.