Making the Grade – Guards, 2008-2010
Making the Grade – Guards, 2008-2010
People have up and down years. It’s that fact that inspired us to look at what players have done over the past three years, rather than just one year on its own.
So that’s what brings us to the second of three parts of looking at what offensive linemen have done over the past three years; in this session, the guards. As individuals, they’re often overlooked as many simply look at rushing stats to explain what they’ve done. Instead, we offer our cumulative ratings as a better judge of their impact.
We’re going to throw all the guards in together, but they’ll need to have played at least two thirds the amount of snaps of the average amount of the five guards who have played the most. That number is 2,359.
1. Logan Mankins, New England Patriots
Even missing half of the 2010 season couldn’t keep Mankins from finishing our top guard over three years. He may give up some penalties and allow some pressure, but Mankins is the most dominant guard in the run game. Able to drive defenders back and get to the next level, you’ll understand why the Patriots took the unusual step of franchising a guard to secure his services for another year.
2. Carl Nicks, New Orleans Saints
Nicks has been getting better and better, culminating in a 2010 where he finished the year as our top ranked guard by some distance. Twice now he’s earned that spot as our highest-rated left guard. The Saints face an interesting dilemma with so much money already invested in one guard, with Nicks worthy of a similar deal.
3. Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints
The most expensive interior linemen in all of the league, Evans play dropped off after getting that huge contract. Before that, he proved himself with a monstrous 2009 year. His relentless run blocking style really put defenders in their place. Carl Nicks has raised the stakes this year, can Evans respond in 2011?
4. Bobbie Williams, Cincinnati Bengals
He may be coming to the end of his career and showing signs of slowing down, but Williams has constantly been one of the league’s most underappreciated players. Worthy of a perennial Pro Bowl slot, Williams has ranked in the top three of right guards each year of our existence. First signs this year of his run blocking dropping off, but he’s got the savvy to prevent pressure getting to his quarterback.
5. Chris Snee, New York Giants
In 2008, he was our top ranked right guard, and in 2009 he was third. This year? He dropped to 13th, and actually ended the year with a poor negative run blocking score. Still under 30, you’d like to chalk this up to a down year for the Giant, but given the nature of his poor performance you do have to wonder.
6. Brandon Moore, New York Jets
On a line that features our third-ranked left tackle, top-ranked center and top-ranked right tackle, Moore can get lost in the shuffle. It’s a shame because he’s pretty darn good, ranking in our top five right guards every year except this year (when he finished seventh). Not the most punishing of blockers, but more than capable.
7. Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers
Sitton upped his game considerably in 2010, with his run blocking being raised to another level in a fantastic post season. Before that, the knock on him was while he kept his quarterback upright, he was a bit hit-or-miss in the run game. As a vital cog in the Packers Super Bowl win, you can forget that now. The best is likely yet to come.
8. Rich Seubert, New York Giants
He may not be quite the player he was in 2008, but Seubert is still playing at an above average clip and has the added benefit of being quite versatile. That 2008 was something special though, with the Giant having our third highest grade for run blocking that year.
9. Brian Waters, Kansas City Chiefs
The perennial Pro Bowler is slowing down, with his selection this year a product more of an earned reputation as opposed to a particularly impressive year. Since his superb 2008, Waters just hasn’t been the same player.
10. Todd Herremans, Philadelphia Eagles
Herremans had a break out 2008, but has failed to really build on that and become one of the elite guards as he threatened to do. You can blame some of that on injury and being used in other positions, but when he’s been on the field he just hasn’t been consistent enough. Has been as good as any guard at times, though.