2013 Offensive Line Rankings
In this look back at the offensive line units in 2013, Khaled Elsayed sets them in order, ranking all 32 and naming the studs and duds from each.
2013 Offensive Line Rankings
8. Detroit Lions (7th)
PB: 5th, RB: 14th, PEN: 1st
Stud: Normally when your stud is a third-round rookie that’s a bad thing. But Larry Warford (+22.8) proved a steal with a season that earned him second team All-Pro honors here at PFF. The good news for Lions fans is he’s not the finished article.
Dud: How about this. The lowest rank they got was from a guy who played just 205 snaps and that was a mere -1.9. That’s Jason Fox by the way.
Analysis: A performance few saw coming. Gone were both starting tackles and the right guard. By the end of the year they’d replaced them with a sophomore left tackle many thought was out of his depth, a third-round rookie and an undrafted free agent. And yet they didn’t miss a beat. Held together by the excellent Dominic Raiola, the Lions have a line that just got very young in a lot of key areas.
7. Carolina Panthers (27th)
PB: 10th, RB: 7th, PEN: 6th
Stud: It’s been a year to remember for Jordan Gross (+33.5). Retirement had been talked about, but surely he won’t quit when playing this well?
Dud: When you convert a defensive linemen to starting right guard there are going to be teething problems. That said, they can be relieved that Nate Chandler (-9.0) wasn’t the total liability he could have been.
Analysis: A big part of their offensive turnaround. They lost Amini Silatolu to injury but Travelle Wharton came in and played lights out in his 851 snaps. Throw in the good (although media overrated) play of Ryan Kalil and it’s really just the right side of the line you look at and think they could do with upgrading the talent/ experience level there.
6. Minnesota Vikings (9th)
PB: 7th, RB: 6th, PEN: 15th
Stud: Right tackle Phil Loadholt (+25.0) earned All-Pro honors in our eyes. He didn’t get the press he garnered last year as the team struggled but he remains the prototypical right tackle.
Dud: At this point in his career, Charlie Johnson (-5.4) might be best served in more of a utility linemen role. There are plenty of worse guards out there and if he’s the worst player on your line, you’re probably doing well.
Analysis: No doubt the team won’t be happy with how the left side performed with Matt Kalil suffering something of a sophomore slump. The good news is Brandon Fusco took a huge leap forward with his play to the point he was a legitimate All-Pro candidate. John Sullivan remains a quality center and whoever ends up coaching this unit can be happy with the talent they’ll be inheriting.
5. Washington Redskins (16th)
PB: 4th, RB: 10th, PEN: 3rd
Stud: An All-Pro-(or at least second team)-like performance from Trent Williams (+38.3). He has moments that make you smack your head, but by and large he’ll slow down elite pass rushers and has the kind of athleticism that generates movement whatever scheme you’re running.
Dud: Too many bad days for Chris Chester (-5.5) who continues to baffle with his streaky play.
Analysis: This ranking won’t please many Redskins fans who see the line as the root of their problems. The truth is the Shanahans had the zone blocking scheme working perfectly with huge cutback lanes regularly there for their backs to work with. Much is made of the hits Robert Griffin III took as if every single one of them must be the responsibility of the line. Well we charged RGIII himself with 10 of those sacks (more than any other player on the team) as the team gave whoever was quarterback ample time to get the job done. The big question now is what Jay Gruden intends for this line and whether he’ll move to a more power based scheme that could put a number of jobs on the line.
4. Dallas Cowboys (22nd)
PB: 9th, RB: 2nd, PEN: 24th
Stud: They got good play out of both tackles but Tyron Smith (+28.3) was the pick of the bunch. The 23-year-old is already one of the best left tackles in a league filled with good ones.
Dud: No player earned a lower grade than Ronald Leary (-9.4). The former undrafted free agent was largely decent but had a tricky middle spell to his season where he gave too much ground in pass protection.
Analysis: When things go wrong in Dallas they get magnified. But the truth is their line was a pleasant surprise as they opened up some big holes for DeMarco Murray and gave Tony Romo ample time to work with. While the tackles were the stars of the show but Travis Frederick came in and really added something to the run game.
3. Denver Broncos (4th)
PB: 2nd, RB: 4th, PEN: 7th
Stud: We didn’t expect Louis Vasquez (+33.6) to be quite this good but he was. Our All-Pro right guard, he even chipped in with good play at tackle to fully justify the outlay on him.
Dud: Left guard Zane Beadles (-5.7) is good out in space but his work in pass protection really leaves a lot to be desired.
Analysis: When Ryan Clady went down who saw this coming? Well Chris Clark filled in ably while the duo of Vasquez and Manny Ramirez delivered the goods in the run game. A real cohesive unit and while they benefit from the pocket presence of their quarterback, it’s a two-way street with both elements helping each other out.
2. Cincinnati Bengals (8th)
PB: 1st, RB: 5th, PEN: 12th
Stud: It’s hard enough to be good at one line position, but Andrew Whitworth (+36.7) excelled at two. A move to guard seemed to reinvigorate his run blocking while he kept his quarterback clean at the tackle spot.
Dud: He’d be a solid starter on most teams, but Kyle Cook (-4.8) remains the weakest link on a strong unit.
Analysis: Lose your starting guards? No problems. We’ll just ship in our backup left tackle and rotate a guy or two around. It was extremely impressive to see how the Bengals coped with injury, ending the year with six offensive linemen who played at least 350 snaps with a positive grade. With a lot of talent to work with, which five they put out next year will be worth keeping an eye on (and where they line up).
1. Philadelphia Eagles (19th)
PB: 18th, RB: 1st, PEN: 19th
Stud: Another season, another year of Evan Mathis (+46.7) putting on a clinic at guard. You don’t see linemen win as consistently as he does and it’s remarkable to think of his early career when you look at what he’s done these past three years.
Dud: It’s never bad when your dud, Lane Johnson (+0.2) earns a positive grade. The rookie right tackle started off slowly, giving up too much pressure but came on strong to finish the year.
Analysis: When you factor in that they started a rookie at one tackle spot and a veteran coming off two Achilles tears at the other, it’s miraculous they finished so high. By the season’s end no line created as much at the point of attack as this unit with three All-Pro candidates on board, and even with their sometimes porous pass protection they waltzed to the top spot. It’s an area for improvement on a fantastic line.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled