Week 6 of the NFL season is here, and PFN’s OL power rankings and tiers are in flux. Some teams have remained steady in our rankings, while others have moved up or down the spectrum. Here’s how NFL offensive lines are shaping up after five weeks of action.
NFL OL Power Rankings Rundown | Week 6
Let’s go around the league and delve into the most notable offensive line situations in the NFL. We’ll start in Carolina, where the roster is in limbo following an early-week change.
Will the Panthers Trade Taylor Moton?
After the Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule on Mondy, the conversation inevitably shifted to Carolina’s asset management plans. With a head coaching search underway, the Panthers could conceivably hold a firesale, acquiring as much draft capital as possible in an effort to make Carolina a desirable landing spot.
If the Panthers go that route, Christian McCaffrey, Robbie Anderson, Derrick Brown, and others could become trade candidates before the Nov. 1 deadline. Right tackle Taylor Moton, Carolina’s most accomplished offensive lineman by a wide margin, might be a more interesting case.
Moton and the Panthers agreed to a new five-year, $85 million contract in July 2021 that will keep him in Carolina through 2025. He’s currently the fifth-highest-paid right tackle in the NFL behind Ryan Ramczyk, Brian O’Neill, Lane Johnson, and Braden Smith.
The Panthers would absorb the remainder of Moton’s prorated signing bonus on their cap in the event of a trade, so an acquiring team would get the 28-year-old on a three-year, $52.8 million deal.
What could Carolina get in exchange for Moton? Depending on which draft capital chart you’re using, the Baltimore Ravens received the equivalent of something between the 20th and 40th overall pick when they traded Orlando Brown Jr. to the Chiefs in 2021. Washington got a fifth and future third for Trent Williams in 2020 after he’d missed the entirety of the previous season.
The Panthers would likely ask for a least a second-round pick for Moton, and some teams — Miami, Denver, Tennessee — may be willing to meet that price. Still, it probably doesn’t make sense for Carolina to go down this path.
General manager Scott Fitterer — whom Panthers owner David Tepper publicly backed after firing Rhule — invested in Carolina’s offensive line over the offseason. After signing guard Austin Corbett and center Bradley Bozeman (the latter of whom has become an overqualified backup), the Panthers used the sixth-overall pick on left tackle Ikem Ekwonu.
This was a concerted effort to revamp the front five, and I don’t think Carolina will blow things up at the position group simply because they’ve moved on from their head coach. Having an above-average player like Moton under contract at a premium position for several years to come should be more appealing to a new HC than a Day 2 draft pick.
Alijah Vera-Tucker Can Play Anywhere, Anytime
The Jets’ offensive line got two pieces of good news on Sunday. First, veteran Duane Brown returned from injury and immediately slotted back in as the team’s left tackle. Second, New York found out that Alijah Vera-Tucker is not only a jack of all trades but a master of all.
Think about what AVT has done since being drafted 14th overall in 2021. He played right guard his entire rookie season, then moved to left guard to begin the 2022 campaign to accommodate veteran addition Laken Tomlinson.
After Gang Green’s offensive tackles were ravaged by injury, Vera-Tucker lined up at left tackle against the Steelers in Week 4. Then, with Brown back for Week 5, AVT moved to right tackle, where he didn’t allow a single pressure against the Dolphins, per PFF.
Talk to any offensive lineman, and they’ll tell you how difficult it is to change positions frequently. Vera-Tucker has somehow transitioned between three different spots over three weeks and dominated each game.
New York will likely shift AVT back to guard once George Fant or Max Mitchell returns to play right tackle, but it might be worth keeping him at RT, a more valuable position than right guard. Either way, credit the Jets for finding a way to get their five best available linemen on the field together, and props to Vera-Tucker for his incredible versatility.
Dolphins Get a Glimpse of Life Without Terron Armstead
Terron Armstead is one of the most talented offensive tackles in the NFL, but there’s a reason he only received $15 million annually — 14th among left tackles — from the Dolphins over the offseason. Injury issues forced him to miss half of the 2021 campaign, and he’s never completed a full slate in his 10-year career.
Armstead left Week 5’s loss to the Jets after aggravating a toe injury that had been bothering him in recent weeks. He saw a specialist in New York this week, and he hopes to be able to play against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6.
Journeyman Brandon Shell took over at left tackle and was subsequently overwhelmed by New York’s pass rushers. Meanwhile, Miami is already starting a replacement at right tackle (Greg Little for Austin Jackson), and left guard Liam Eichenberg has been a disaster through five games.
The Dolphins surely baked in Armstead’s injury problems into their offensive line plans, and they probably assumed they’d have to start someone like Shell eventually. But it might be time for them to think about other depth options.
Eric Fisher is still sitting on the free agent market. Daryl Williams, who can play both guard and tackle, represents an even more affordable route. Miami could also consider a trade over the next three weeks. Somehow, some way, they need to add more capable bodies up front.
Broncos, Colts Shuffle Lines on Thursday Night Football
The Week 5 edition of Thursday Night Football was an absolutely disgusting affair headlined by Russell Wilson’s struggles. As if things couldn’t get any worse in Denver, the Broncos also lost left tackle Garett Bolles for the rest of the season.
Bolles was the Broncos’ best offensive lineman, and the dropoff to backup Calvin Anderson will be steep. Anderson, who has five career starts under his belt, may not even ultimately be the season-long answer at left tackle. Denver could experiment with Anderson, Billy Turner, and Cameron Fleming to see which combination works best at left and right tackle.
On the other side of the field, the Indianapolis Colts also reset their offensive line on TNF. Rookie Bernhard Raimann took over at left tackle, Matt Pryor moved from left tackle to right tackle, and right tackle Braden Smith relocated to right guard. Got all that?
All this rearranging was part of an Indy effort to get a once-vaunted offensive line back on the right track. The Colts also signed 37-year-old tackle Ty Nsekhe — typically one of the best reserve linemen in the NFL — to their practice squad on Tuesday, according to PFN’s Aaron Wilson.
NFL OL Rankings | Tiers 1-4
Now that we’ve taken a deeper look at some of the more notable offensive line groups around the NFL, let’s lay out how they rank based on tiers.
OL Rankings: Tier 1
Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions
OL Rankings: Tier 2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos
OL Rankings: Tier 3
Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, Seattle Seahawks
OL Rankings: Tier 4
New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers