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Ranking the NFL Offensive Lines: Who’s Slightly Below-Average

Take a look inside to find out who the best and worst offensive lines in the NFL are.

John Owning



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 little 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.

We looked at the worst units in the NFL in our first volume and the below-average units in our second volume now we’re moving on to those that are a small step above.

22. Seattle Seahawks

Best Player: Russell Okung

Player Who Needs To Improve: Alvin Bailey

The Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line is extremely poor in pass protection, but they do a good job of opening holes in the running game for Marshawn Lynch. A lot of the struggles the Seahawks’ offensive line has is mitigated by Russell Wilson’s ability to elude pressure and make plays with his arm or legs.

The Seahawks traded their best offensive lineman, Max Unger, which has left them void of any Pro-Bowl caliber players up front. Russell Okung is a steady force at left tackle for the Seahawks, but even he has had a lot of trouble protecting Wilson’s blind side.

Alvin Bailey is a player who is country strong with a lot of athleticism, but he has yet to really put it all together as of yet. It would be a huge benefit to the Seahawks if he could take the next step in his development.

As a whole, the offensive line is an extremely athletic group that needs a lot of technical work as they get abused by defensive linemen who are known as technicians. It looks like Wilson will be running for his life once again this season.

21. Indianapolis Colts

Best Player: Anthony Castanzo

Player Who Needs To Improve: Khaled Holmes

The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line is a much-maligned unit that has Andrew Luck running for his life on a regular basis. However, people forget that they are actually a pretty good run-blocking unit that has poor running backs running behind them.

Anthony Castanzo is a very good tackle who protects Luck’s blind side extremely well. However, unlike his counterparts, he needs to improve his strength and become a bigger presence in the run game. Jack Mewhort is another offensive lineman who has done a solid job for the Colts.

Khaled Holmes is a center who has a ton of potential, but he allows opposing defenses to get interior pressure way too often. It is much harder for a quarterback to deal with pressure in his face than from the edge. This is something the Colts will have to shore up, if they hope to give the New England Patriots a run for their money this year.

20. San Diego Chargers

Best Player: Orlando Franklin

Player Who Needs To Improve: D.J. Fluker


The San Diego Chargers have a lot of talent on offense, but they have been held back by below-average offensive line play for quite some time now. They try to mitigate it by having a quick hitting offense, but that can only do so much.

The Chargers made a huge upgrade when they signed Orlando Franklin to play left guard for them this season. He will be a great addition to the offensive line and he will improve the play of those around him. King Dunlap is another solid player along the offensive line. It will be just be a matter of how consistent Dunlap will be from week to week.

For the Chargers offensive line to take another step, they will need D.J. Fluker to drastically improve his play. He has been very poor in pass protection and he has even struggled with run blocking, which was supposed to be his forte.

Phillip Rivers isn’t getting any younger and the Chargers’ window to make a Super Bowl run closing, they will need their offensive line to drastically improve in 2015.

19. Oakland Raiders

Best Player: Donald Penn

Player Who Needs To Improve: Austin Howard

The Oakland Raiders are the butt of many jokes, but they appear to be a team on the rise. They have a lot of young weapons on offense and an ever-improving defense. The unit that will be hugely responsible for the Raiders’ next step will have to be the offensive line.

The Raiders have made a very smart move this offseason as they signed Rodney Hudson. Hudson is one of the most underrated centers in the league as he has been very good for a long time. He will solidify the interior of the offensive line, which will allow Derek Carr more time to throw and Latavius Murray more room to run between the tackles.

Donald Penn was a very good acquisition last year as he proved to be a very good run blocker and pass protector at the left tackle spot for the Raiders. Gabe Jackson is another great young guard in the NFL, just look at how well he held up against J.J. Watt in their meeting last year.

The Raiders’ right side of the offensive line is lacking in proven talent as Austin Howard and Khalif Barnes haven’t done a very good job for the Raiders thus far.

18. New Orleans Saints

Best Player: Max Unger

Player Who Needs To Improve: Jahri Evans


Drew Brees has always been great at dealing with pressure of the edge, as he is one of the best at stepping up in the pocket and making beautiful throws down the field; however, he has been poor when dealing with pressure from the interior of the offensive line. This is why it was a great move to trade for Max Unger, which will limit the number of times Brees will get pressure up the middle.

Unger is a very good center who can do whatever the offense requires of him. He can block a nose tackle one on one or he can combination block with the guard and work to a linebacker. Unger’s presence will greatly improve the Saints’ offensive line.

The most promising player on the Saints’ offensive line is first-round pick Andrus Peat who can play inside or outside. He is a nasty run blocker with great athleticism to go along with his smooth feet in pass protection. Terron Armstead and Zach Strief are very capable tackles, which may be a reason why Peat moves inside.

If Jahri Evans can get back to his old self, the Saints could have the most improved offensive line in the league and a huge reason they make it back to the playoffs in 2015.




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

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