NFL

Ranking the NFL Offensive Lines: Who’s The Worst?

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The backbone of every offense is the offensive line. The running backs, wide receivers, tight end and quarterbacks get the majority of the credit for moving the ball and scoring touchdowns, but none of that what would be possible without diligent effort and effective play from the offensive line as a whole.

Unlike other positions and units, the offensive line has to work together as a whole. If one offensive lineman is not in sync with the others, it will lead to the whole unit failing on any given play. Playing on the offensive line is not for the unintelligent as you have to recognize and understand a variety of looks, blitzes and stunt from defenses.

Furthermore, not only does an offensive lineman have to be extremely intelligent, they must also be incredibly strong and deceptively athletic. Also, an offensive lineman has the littles room for error from a technique standpoint. On almost every pay, an offensive lineman will line up against a player who is much more athletic then them and it some cases just as strong. Therefore, if they are extremely technical, they will get beaten repeatedly by opposing defensive linemen.

When a team has a great offensive line, it makes everything they do on offense easier. The quarterback has more time to find his receivers and the running backs have bigger holes to run through. It isn’t impossible to have a good offense with a below-average offensive line, but it makes things a lot more difficult.

Without further ado, let’s rank all 32 offensive lines in the NFL and see how it shakes out.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Best Player: Logan Mankins

Player Who Needs To Improve: Evan Dietrich-Smith

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been plagued by awful offensive line play for the last few years. Their running backs haven’t had any throws to run through and their quarterbacks haven’t had any time to throw. With the Buccaneers’ recent investment in Jameis Winston that should be extremely worrisome.

Now, the Buccaneers have attempted to strengthen the offensive line through the draft with the selections of the athletic Donovon Smith and Ali Marpet. Even though neither has ever stepped onto an NFL field yet, both should be an upgrade over their predecessors.  The player who will have to set the example for Marpet and Smith is Logan Mankins, who was the only solid player on a terrible offensive line next year.

Overall, the Buccaneers offensive line is devoid of experience and talent, which is a troubling mix. Hopefully for Winston’s sake, they can figure it out quickly.

31. Buffalo Bills

Best Player: Cordy Glenn

Player Who Needs To Improve: Seantrel Henderson

With Rex Ryan at the helm, the Buffalo Bills are likely to become a run-heavy team that wants to beat up opposing defenses. Unfortunately, the Bills don’t have the personnel to maximize that type of ideology. Cordy Glenn is a solid player, but he should never be the best offensive lineman are your team, which he is for the Bills.

Eric Wood is a decent center who won’t make too many mistakes, but he isn’t going to be the reason anything great happens as well. The player who can single handily turn this offensive line around is Seantrel Henderson.

The player who can single handily turn this offensive line around is Seantrel Henderson, who is the most talented offensive lineman on the entire roster. He has the height, weight, length, athleticism and power that you want in an offensive tackle; however, he is very poor technically right now. There are times where you see him make incredible blocks, but there are for too many times where he misses the easy ones.

If Henderson drastically improves, this offensive line can go from bad to mediocre, which is a huge jump, but with Henderson’s history that isn’t likely to happen.

30. St. Louis Rams

Best Player: Roger Saffold

Player Who Needs To Improve: Greg Robinson

The St. Louis Rams have used a ton of draft capital on their offensive line in this year’s and last year’s draft. Last year, it was the No. 3 overall pick Greg Robinson and this year it was Rob Havenstein, Jamon Brown, Andrew Donnal and Cody Wichmann.

The bad news is that Robinson struggled mightily last year as he jumped back and forth from guard to tackle. Robinson really struggles with his footwork in pass protection as he usually is unbalanced with his kick slide, which leads to him being vulnerable to power.

Havenstein is an interesting player to watch as he has the ability to step in an be a solid right tackle from day one. he isn’t very athletic, but he is technically sound. Donnal, Brown and Wichmann are players who will likely sit initially as they develop.

The best player on the Rams’ offensive line is Roger Saffold, which should be worrisome. Saffold is a solid player, but if he is your best offensive line, you have serious problems.

29. Atlanta Falcons

Best Player: Jon Asamoah

Player Who Needs To Improve: Jake Matthews

The Atlanta Falcons is a subpar offensive line that needs their current players to stay healthy and develop rapidly or they could be even worse than they were last year. The were high hopes for Jake Matthews entering his rookie year, but he struggled mightily to deal with the power of NFL defensive ends. The Falcons really need Matthews to step up or Matt Ryan could be a lot worse for wear this season.

Jon Asamoah is the most consistent offensive lineman on the team, but he’s not spectacular in any way. He does a good job of carrying his out his assignments, but he doesn’t make the job easier on any of the other offensive linemen. Joe Hawley is a solid center, but he will have to stay healthy. When the Falcons lost him, their offensive line play when downhill.

Sam Baker is another player coming off an injury and it will be interesting to see if he can regain his form early in the season.

The Falcons have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball, but that could all be for not if the offensive line doesn’t step up its play.

28. Tennessee Titans

Best Player: Chance Warmack

Player Who Needs To Improve: Taylor Lewan

The Tennesse Titans offensive line is young on the rise, but as it stands now they are very unknown. Chance Warmack should be a candidate for breakout player of the year as he was one of the best guards in the league during the latter half of the season. Taylor Lewan is young and ever improving, which is a great sign for the Titans.

Unfortunately, the other three offensive linemen have woefully underperformed while they have been with the Titans. Brian Schwenke hasn’t developed the core strength to deal with the strength and power of defensive tackles in the NFL. Andy Levitre hasn’t been as good as everyone thought he could be with the Titans and Byron Stingly shouldn’t be starting for any team.

Luckily, the Titans have young reinforcements on the way with Andy Galik, one of the steals of the draft, Jeremiah Poutasi and Quinton Spain, another steal. If two of those three can develop, the Titans offensive line can be good in a couple of years; however, they will likely struggle as a whole next year.

 

 


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com