Offensive Line Rankings: 2-10
Which teams make up the 10 best offensive lines in the NFL in 2021?
10) Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers offensive line was infuriating at times during the 2020 NFL season. When they were good, there were not many better units in the entire league. Yet, they also had games where they looked like a shell of themselves. In David Bakhtiari, they have an extremely reliable left tackle, although he could miss the start of the season. In 725 snaps, Bakhtiari produced just 4 blown blocks and 2 sacks allowed.
Elgton Jenkins and Lucas Patrick will return on the interior of the line. The question is who will join them and at what position. With the departure of the impressive Linsley in free agency, there is a big hole at center. It will be a big ask for rookie center Josh Myers to fill that hole in 2021. The other concern is Billy Turner at right tackle. Turner had a total of 27 blown blocks in 2020, including 14 in run-blocking situations.
9) Los Angeles Rams
Much like the Packers, the Los Angeles Rams offensive line is headlined by a talented left tackle in Andrew Whitworth. In nine games, Whitworth generated just 4 blown blocks and conceded 1 sack. Still, entering his age-40 season, there is a concern that Whitworth will not be able to remain on the field all season. Saying that, his seven-game absence in 2020 was the first time he had missed a game since the 2017 season and the second time since 2013.
The Rams will also see David Edwards, Austin Corbett, and Rob Havenstein return in 2021. All three were roughly league-average at their positions in 2020 and combine to make the Rams’ unit a solid one entering 2021. In addition, the return of Brian Allen at center could be a crucial element. Austin Blythe was the weakness of this line last season, so they will be hoping Allen, who started 9 games in 2019, can provide an improvement.
8) New England Patriots
The loss of Joe Thuney is somewhat of a hammer blow to this Patriots offensive line. His departure, coupled with the return of Trent Brown, will allow Michael Onwenu to shift inside to guard. Onwenu was stellar last season but will have to be exceptional for this line not to see a drop-off from Thuney. Onwenu will pair with the returning David Andrews at center and Shaq Mason at guard. That is a strong interior grouping for New England in 2021.
The questions come at tackle and, more precisely, the depth at the position. Isaiah Wynn managed just 10 games in 2020, and Trent Brown has played just 16 games combined in the last two years. If both can remain on the field, this group could finish among the best offensive lines in the NFL in 2021. However, if they get injured, and the Patriots have to start moving pieces around, we could see some fragility in the depth options.
7) Kansas City Chiefs
Coming out of the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line appeared in tatters. Yet, they have taken several steps to improve the unit heading into the 2021 season. First, the return of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif from working in healthcare provides an immediate boost at right guard. They then added the impressive Joe Thuney, who was the Patriots’ best lineman last season.
Prior to the draft, the Chiefs traded for offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr., who should start at left tackle. Brown posted a blown block percentage of just 1.5% last season but was credited with 4 sacks. He will combine at tackle with either Mike Remmers or Lucas Niang. Remmers was not all that impressive last season, which should open the door for Niang.
At center, the competition between Austin Blythe and Creed Humphrey could be important. Blythe struggled last season at times, but the Chiefs may not be willing to throw Humphrey into the fire straight away.
6) Cleveland Browns
The Browns will see their starting five return for the 2021 season after an impressive performance in 2020. Jedrick Wills understandably dealt with some struggles as a rookie starting at left tackle last season. He allowed 7 sacks on 24 blown blocks. Regardless, a blown block percentage of 2.6% is still an impressive start to his career.
Across the line, there are impressive numbers, with only Wyatt Teller and backup Chris Hubbard having a blown block percentage above 2%. The interior group of Teller, J.C. Tretter, and Joel Bitonio is one of the best interior combinations in the entire league. The line is then bookended by Jack Conklin, who continued his impressive play following his move from Tennessee to Cleveland.
5) Baltimore Ravens
The loss of Ronnie Stanley hurt the Baltimore Ravens in 2020, but his welcomed return in 2021 will be a huge boost. Stanley held just a 1% blown block rate before his injury. Only four tackles posted a better number in that category than Stanley.
The factor preventing this unit from ranking higher among the best NFL offensive lines in 2021 is questions over their lineup. The arrival of Kevin Zeitler and Alejandro Villanueva gives the Ravens some veteran presence at guard and right tackle.
Nonetheless, it is the center position where questions will be raised after inconsistent play last season. Bradley Bozeman will compete with Patrick Mekari for a starting role. Mekari took over from Skura last year and generally produced solid results. However, with a competition between Ben Cleveland, Ben Powers, and Bozeman for the left guard role, we could see the Ravens look to get Bozeman on the field at a new position for him in the NFL.
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Blocking for Tom Brady will always shine a light on an offensive line, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers line did not shy away from the glare last season. Other than Donovan Smith, all starters had a blown block percentage of 2% or below. That includes impressive rookie Tristan Wirfs, who had just 16 blown blocks and allowed just 3 sacks. Smith did struggle more, accounting for 5 sacks on 3.2% blown block percentage — 24 of his 29 blown blocks came on passing snaps.
The interior of the line was strong with Ali Marpet, Alex Cappa, and Ryan Jensen. Those three combined for 43 blown blocks on around 2,500 snaps. As a group, they were responsible for 7 stuffs and just 4 sacks. There is nothing to suggest this offensive line should not be one of the best in the league rankings once again in 2021.
3) Washington Football Team
The Washington Football Team will return four of their five starters in 2021. The only change is the addition of Charles Leno Jr., who replaces Morgan Moses. Leno has an opportunity to be an upgrade on Moses, which would make this an impressive line all the way across. Leno could slot in at the LT position he is familiar with and Cornelius Lucas switching to right tackle. Or Leno may make the switch to RT and leave Lucas on the left side.
Plying at left tackle last season, Cornelius Lucas was impressive last season. He had just 8 blown blocks in over 500 snaps and was credited with just 2 sacks. In fact, the entire remainder of the line had a blown block rate below 2%. The quality of Brandon Scherff is well-known, while Chase Roullier has become one of the best centers in the league. Furthermore, Wes Schweitzer impressed in his first season in Washington, with just 16 blown blocks on 931 snaps.
2) Dallas Cowboys
If the Dallas Cowboys can stay healthy on their offensive line, there is arguably no better group in these rankings. Zack Martin reminded everyone how impressive he is, starting games at both right guard and right tackle before his injury. The six games he missed were only the second time in his career he has missed any games.
Equally, Tyron Smith (only played two games in 2020) and La’el Collins (missed the whole season) do not deserve the tag of injury-prone. Collins only missed one game in the previous three years, while Smith played 13 or more games in the first nine years of his career.
At center, Tyler Biadasz looked the part in his four starts. In 405 snaps, he had just 5 blown blocks and was credited with allowing 1 sack. Connor Williams is the weakest link at left guard but had just a 2.7% blown block rate last season. Playing alongside the quality that this line possesses with Collins, Smith, and Martin should only further boost the performances of Biadasz and Williams.
Who is the best offensive line in the NFL heading into 2021?
Which offensive line tops our rankings as we head towards the 2021 NFL season?
1) New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints offensive line has long been considered at the top of positional rankings. In Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk, they have two of PFN’s top five offensive tackles. Armstead arguably had a down year in 2020 and still had a blown block rate of just 1.9%.
Those two are supported by the fantastic interior group of Erik McCoy, Andrus Peat, and Cesar Ruiz. Ruiz made an impressive start to his NFL career, with just 12 blown blocks on 691 snaps. Peat and McCoy combined for 21 blown blocks on 1,714 reps. The projected starting five in 2021 were attributed with conceding just 14 sacks last season. Therefore, they rightly take their place as the best offensive line group in our rankings heading into the 2021 NFL season.
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All stats from Sports Info Solutions.