10. Rodney Hudson, Las Vegas Raiders

The third and final member of the Raiders offensive line to appear on this list, Rodney Hudson, is the best player on the Raiders’ entire team in my eyes. Hudson is coming off arguably his best season to date. He was honored as a second-team All-Pro. He isn’t a great athlete for the position but his motor is constantly running and his play strength is elite. He’s one of the league’s best linemen and should continue to be one of the top centers in the NFL for the foreseeable future.

9. Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns

Further silencing the narrative that the Browns have a bad offensive line, Joel Bitonio is the second Cleveland player to make this list. Twice named to the Pro-Bowl and All-Pro teams, Bitonio has been one of the most under-appreciated players in the NFL since he was drafted in 2014.

Bitonio struggled with injuries early in his career but he hasn’t missed a snap over the past three seasons. Cleveland’s interior offensive line performed well last year and Bitonio was a major reason why. Hopefully, their investments in the tackle position pay off this year.

8. Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ali Marpet went from Hobart college to one of the top 10 interior offensive linemen in the NFL. Marpet has played all three interior positions in his short NFL career and has settled in as one of the top left guards in the NFL. He’s an impressive athlete for the position and he hits with a thunderous force.

Marpet is expected to continue to dominate for the Buccaneers. The team has made some serious investments into the offensive line with their pick of Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs in the 2020 NFL Draft. Add him to Marpet and Jensen, and the Buccaneers could quietly have one of the better offensive lines in football this season.

7. Joe Thuney, New England Patriots

The Patriots were wise to franchise tag Joe Thuney as he was undoubtedly headed to a market that would have made him the highest-paid guard in NFL history. Thuney is a good athlete and quality blocker in space. He’s also as clean as they come, committing zero total penalties last season. New England should look to complete a long term deal as soon as possible to ensure they don’t lose one of their top players.

6. Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles

Jason Kelce, my personal all-time favorite center, has been one of the Eagles’ greatest players. He’s an elite athlete and the best pulling center in NFL history. No center has even been able to snap the ball and get out into space like Kelce.

His technique has been mastered over his nearly 10 years in the NFL, and he has been a major constant over the Eagles dominant offensive lines over the past few seasons. Kelce should have a few more quality years left, and a place in the NFL Hall of Fame should be waiting for him once he retires.

5. Brandon Scherff, Washington Redskins

The Redskins offensive line is a massive question mark this year. One thing that won’t be, the play of Brandon Scherff. Scherff was selected with the fifth overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, and while that may seem high for a guard, he has been well worth it.

Scherff is one of the league’s strongest and nastiest players. His ability to impose his will is truly terrifying. Well coached at Iowa and in the NFL, he’s also one of the most technically refined guards in the NFL. If it hadn’t been for back to back injury-shortened seasons, Scherff would have a very strong case to make the top three here.

4. David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers

Outside of Pittsburgh, the casual NFL fan doesn’t commonly think about David DeCastro when discussing the NFL’s best linemen. They should. DeCastro is the Steelers’ best offensive player and has developed into a truly special talent.

While he’s not a good athlete, he’s commonly in the correct spot at the correct time. His strength at the point of attack is elite and his use of leverage is second to none in the NFL. Expect DeCastro to continue dominating in Pittsburgh.

3. Brandon Brooks, Philadelphia Eagles

Signing Brandon Brooks in free agency is one of the best choices Howie Roseman has ever made and he’s widely considered as one of the league’s top GMs. After having a modest start to his career in Houston, Brooks has developed into an elite player for Philadelphia.

He’s arguably the league’s best interior pass protector. A strong athlete, Brooks is capable of making any block required of him. Whether it’s getting into space or pushing a pile, he is up for the task.

2. Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts

To be fair, this is more “1B” than it is “2”. The NFL has tons of guard talent but there are only truly two at the top. After that, there is a very real drop off. Quenton Nelson and Zack Martin are the best of the best by far. In terms of pure talent, Nelson is the best guard in the NFL.

He’s insanely strong, impressively agile, and he continues to perfect his technique. He can drive any defensive tackle 10 yards downfield, and he’s as consistent as they come in pass protection. I expect Nelson to overtake Martin as the top guard in the NFL as soon as this season, but for now, he comes in at number two.

1. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys

There’s always a recency bias when speaking about NFL players. Nelson is new as he’s only been in the NFL for two years. It’s easy to say he’s the best guard in the league. However, with Martin, you’re getting the true definition of consistency. Six seasons, 94 games started of 94 possible games. Four-time first-team All-Pro, and a Pro Bowl in every season.

Martin has been the best guard in the NFL for the past five years. While he’s not the physical specimen Nelson is, he has the best hands and feet in the league, and his ability to leverage his body is elite. People take Martin’s excellence for granted simply because he has been doing it for years.

Honorable mentions

Will Hernandez, New York Giants
David Andrews, New England Patriots
Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ronald Leary, Denver Broncos
Andrew Norwell, Carolina Panthers

Matt Valdovinos is a draft analyst for PFN. Follow him on Twitter @MVScouting. Follow PFN on Twitter @PFN365

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