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The top 25 NFL offensive tackles heading into the 2020 season

The top 25 NFL offensive tackles heading into the 2020 season

10. Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans

Taylor Lewan gets a lot of attention for his off-field attention-seeking antics. However, his play for the Titans down the stretch was undeniable last year. He possesses excellent length and is an incredible athlete for someone of his size.

He paved the way for Derrick Henry to lead the league in rushing yards, while also protecting Ryan Tannehill’s blindside as he would go on to lead the NFL in quarterback rating. Lewan has dealt with injuries and a suspension over the past two seasons, but if he can play a full season this year, he should continue to be a top-10 tackle in the NFL.

9. Laremy Tunsil, Houston Texas

Laremy Tunsil was widely considered a top-10 tackle in the 2016 NFL Draft but a released video of him on draft night doing certain illegal substances caused him to fall to the 13th overall selection. There, the Miami Dolphins got one of the best values in the entire draft. Tunsil played left guard early in his career but took over as the starting left tackle in his sophomore campaign.

From there, he’s developed into one of the top tackles in the NFL. Now a member of the Houston Texas, Tunsil wins with great size and athletic ability. He’s refined his technique and his feet are some of the quickest in the league. Tunsil will be a vital member of the Houston Texans, as long as their willing to pay him what he’s worth.

8. Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans Saints

The Saints are the only team in the NFL to have two tackles appear in the top 10. They’re my pick for the best line in the NFL and Ryan Ramczyk is a major reason why. Ramczyk was dominant in 2019, allowing zero sacks all season. He’s not an elite athlete but his movements are smooth and precise. His hand usage in pass protection is truly special and he’s a very good run blocker. With minimal weaknesses, Ramczyk will continue to be a force for the Saints.

7. Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs

In the introduction, I mentioned that the most important thing for an offensive lineman is consistency. Mitchell Schwartz is the human representation of consistency. In his eight seasons in the NFL, Schwartz has started 135 of 135 possible games. His technique is arguably the best in the NFL and his lower body strength is dominant.

However, Schwartz does have some obvious athletic limitations. For him to appear so high on this list, despite his lack of even average athletic ability, is a testament to how much work he’s put in developing his craft.

6. Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers

This was one of the more difficult placements on the entire list. On one hand, it seems almost insulting to have Trent Williams at six, because when he’s playing he has a legitimate argument as the best tackle in the league. On the other hand, Williams did not play a snap last season, and it’s almost disrespectful to list him over the players that had an elite season last year.

Williams is an elite athlete, who’s transcendent physical abilities have helped him become one of the top tackles in football. Whether it’s his consistent dominance in pass protection, or his special ability to block in the open field, Williams is still one of the league elite offensive tackle.

5. Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles

Lane Johnson went from being the third tackle taken in his draft class to one of the top tackles in the NFL. Johnson was a special athlete coming out of Oklahoma, but many thought he was raw and would need time to develop. Johnson had a quality rookie campaign but really stood out in his sophomore year.

Since then, Johnson has continued to refine his technique as he utilizes his impressive physical tools. Johnson has become a wall in pass protection and a key component of the Philadelphia run game.

4. Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore Ravens

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but Ronnie Stanley has been as consistent as any tackle in the NFL since being draft in 2016. Stanley has always lacked elite size, strength, and speed but he makes up for it in his elite hand placement and foot speed. His technique is next to flawless and has my vote for best in the NFL.

Stanley stays busy in the Ravens offense, being asked to do more than 99% of other NFL tackles, yet he displays elite play day in and day out. If I had to start a team with any left tackle, I would select Stanley.

3. Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys

Tyron Smith is the most talented tackle in the NFL. When he’s healthy, he’s always a heavy favorite for the best. The problem? He’s never healthy. Smith hasn’t played a full 16 games since 2015, and the injuries have started to diminish his play and overall consistency. The NFL is a better league when Smith is healthy, he’s an elite 1% athlete at his size, and possesses arguable the top height-weight-speed combination in the NFL.

2. Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints

Terron Armstead is the second member of New Orleans and the 2013 draft class to make the list. However, unlike the previously listed Ramczyk and Johnson, Armstead was not a first-round pick. The Saints selected Armstead in the third round and he has since developed into one of the most impressive tackles in the NFL.

Coming out of college, Armstead was an elite athlete, however, he lacked size. In the NFL, he has made up for the lack of size by converting his natural athletic ability into strength at the point of attack. His athletic ability also allows him to possess, what I believe, are the best feet in the NFL. Armstead’s understanding of leverage is the best in the NFL, and it’s why he’s been able to dominant the NFL despite being a bit undersized.

1. David Bakhtiari, Green Bay Packers

The third member to appear on this list from the 2013 NFL Draft, David Bakhtiari was the ninth tackle taken in the class. Similar to Armstead, he possessed strong athletic ability but lacked size. He weighed in under 300 pounds at the combine and some worried he wouldn’t be able to provide movement in the run game or that he would struggle against stronger edge rushers. He has since proved them wrong by focusing on gaining strength and perfecting his technique.

Bakhtiari is my selection for the best offensive tackle in the NFL, because, above all else, he provides an elite level of consistency in all facets of the game. He may not be the biggest or the fastest, but when it comes down to it he has been the best tackle in the NFL over the past two years.

Honorable mentions

Charles Leno, Chicago
Alejandro Villanueva, Pittsburgh
Matt Feiler, Pittsburgh
Taylor Moton, Carolina
Eric Fisher, Kansas City

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

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