The 2021 Final Offensive line rankings will be different from the weekly power rankings done on this site throughout the regular season. The power rankings were a fluent snapshot of the state of each offensive line at a specific point in the season, and while body of work was considered in the power rankings, it was a secondary criterion. In these end of year rankings, I will examine the overall body of work of each o-line, grade each player that played 400 or more snaps at an o-line position for each team, and use a combination of group success and individual evaluation to rank the offensive lines of all 32 NFL teams for the 2021 NFL regular season.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
LT. Donavan Smith: B+, LG. Ali Marpet A, C. Ryan Jensen B, RG. Alex Cappa B-, RT. Tristan Wirfs A
The Bucs had the best offensive line in 2021. Tampa had the second most pass snaps and second highest pass play percentage of any team in the NFL and yet they only allowed 12 sacks which were the second-fewest of any o-line. They were by far the best pass-blocking unit in the league. This unit finished with a PA% of 15.3% which led the NFL by over two percentage points. They are also the only offensive line in which all five starters had a PA% of less than 5% and were close to having all five starters with a PA% less than 4% (Cappa finished at 4.02%). Quietly, Tampa became a solid run-blocking unit as the season progressed. The numbers won’t show it because they threw so much, but the Bucs finished 15th in YPC, and all five starters received a run-block grade of 70 or higher from PFF.
2. Dallas Cowboys
LT. Tyron Smith A+, LG. Connor Williams B, Tyler Biadasz C+, RG. Zach Martin A+, La’el Collins A-, T. Terrence Steele C+, Connor McGovern C+
At their peak, the Cowboys o-line was better than any other team’s offensive line peak. Despite having to play numerous lineups due to injuries, covid, suspensions, and a benching, this unit was still elite overall for the season. While the run-blocking wasn’t consistently great for the year, this unit was fantastic in pass pro all season. They allowed the fewest sacks of any o-line and finished second in PA%. Tyron Smith and Collins returned after missing almost all of last season, and both played well. Smith was the second-best tackle in the NFL, and Collins has a case for top 10 tackle on a per snap basis. Martin was the best guard in the NFL, Connor Williams had his best season even with all the penalties, and Terrence Steele and Tyler Biadisz were two of the more improved offensive linemen in the league. Even Connor McGovern played at an above-average level when called upon. This was easily the deepest o-line in the NFL as they had seven guys playing at the level of quality starter or better, and as you reach the bottom of the list, you’ll find that there were teams that struggled to find two guys that could play at that level.
3. New England Patriots
LT. Isaiah Wynn B, LG. Ted Karras B-, C. David Andrews B+, RG. Shaq Mason A, RT. Trent Brown B+, G/T. Michael Onwenu B+
The Patriots had a stretch during their seven-game win streak where their offensive line was playing better than any other line in the NFL. If not for the slow start caused by Trent Brown's week one injury that left a revolving door at RT, the Pats might've been higher on this list. After watching Justin Herron, Yasir Durant, and Yodny Cajuste all struggle at RT, the Pats made the move to play Ted Karras at LG and move Michael Onwenu to RT and everything changed. A few weeks later, Brown returned to the lineup at RT, and they kept the success going. Onwenu rotated in at either TE or other line positions, and the Pats had 6 players playing at a high-level upfront. This group finished fourth in PA% at 19.1%, and after a slow start as a run-blocking group they emerged as one of the better run-blocking units as well.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
LT. Jordan Mailata A-, LG. Landon Dickerson C+, C. Jason Kelce A-, RG. Jack Driscoll C+, RT. Lane Johnson A, G. Nate Herbig C
The Eagles o-line overcame a lot of adversity this season and despite that, were one of the very best units in the NFL. They were one of only two teams that finished top three in run-block and pass-block win rate. This is a team that lost both of their starting guards by week three and another guard in week 12. Yet rookie Landon Dickerson really stepped up and played very well in his first season as helped solidify the LG spot. Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata were the best tackle duo of 2021. Mailata was arguably the second-best run-blocking tackle, and Lane Johnson has a case for arguably the second-best pass-blocking tackle. He allowed no sacks and finished with the third-best PA%. Kelce continues to be a timeless wonder at the center position. He earned his fifth pro-bowl selection in large part due to another stellar season in which he was arguably the league’s best run-blocking center, and he continues to always be available as he has started 122 straight games. As a group, they were only average in pressures allowed as they finished 16th in PA% at just over 25%, but I believe they were better in pass pro than the raw numbers suggest. They finished third in pass-block win rate, and many of their starters received higher pass-blocking grades from PFF than starters on teams that rank higher than them in PA%. But the primary reason the Eagles were a top-five o-line in 2021 was their run-blocking. Their elite run-blocking led the way for the Eagles to be the NFL’s best rush attack and get into the playoffs.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
LT. Orlando Brown B+, LG. Joe Thuney A-, C. Creed Humphrey A, RG. Trey Smith C+, RT. Andrew Wylie C, T. Lucas Niang C
After injuries and Covid sit-outs left the Chiefs o-line decimated by the time last year’s Super Bowl rolled around, KC felt like they needed to get better and younger upfront during the offseason. They had five new starters this season, including three rookies on opening night. Everything they did worked because the Cheifs o-line was better than last year’s and it’s healthy entering the postseason. They traded for Orlando Brown and he was a pro-bowler this season. They signed Joe Thuney as a free agent and he was the best pass-blocking guard in the NFL. They hit their draft picks out of the park as they got Creed Humphrey in the second round who was a top-three center as a rookie, and Trey Smith in the sixth round who was arguably the best rookie guard in 2021. The Chiefs finished sixth in PA% and were one of only two teams to finish top three in run-block and pass-block win rate.
6. Cleveland Browns
LT. Jedrick Wills C, LG. Joel Bitonio A+, J.C. Tretter B+, Wyatt Teller A-, RT. Blake Hance C-
The Browns o-line was the best in 2020, but they took a slight step back in 2021 in large part due to play at the tackle position. Jack Conklin was playing well, but he only played in seven games this season. The combination of Blake Hance, James Hudson started the rest of the games at RT, and both struggled. Wills limped into the season and got off to a slow start and never really seemed to play at the level he did in his rookie season. However, the interior guys all played great. Bitonio was neck-and-neck with Zach Martin for best guard this season, and Wyatt Teller had a pro-bowl caliber season as well. JC. Tretter was one of the better centers in the NFL. When their starting five was fully healthy, the Browns were the top rushing attack in the NFL early in the season, and they looked like they were going to pickup where they left off in 2020.
7. Los Angeles Rams –
LT. Andrew Whitworth A, LG. David Edwards C+, Brian Allen B, RG. Austin Corbett B-, RT. Rob Havenstein B+
The Rams o-line was one of the top-five units in the first half of the season. However, this unit’s play was not as consistent after they came off the bye week in week 12. In the Rams first 10 games, this group didn’t not have a game in which they allowed pressure at a rate of 30% of more. They had three such games in their final seven including the finale which was a disastrous performance for this group. In week 18, the Rams had a chance to win the division and clinch the two seed, but their o-line had their worst game of the season by far. They allowed six sacks and pressure on 58% of pass snaps. Overall, the Rams o-line had a successful year, but their play down the stretch cost them a top-five finish. Andrew Whitworth was a top-five tackle however, and Havenstein played well at the other tackle spot. Brian Allen had his struggles in pass pro but was one of the better run-blocking centers this season. Austin Corbett and David Edwards were one of the better guard duos in the league with Corbett playing at a slightly higher level. This group ultimately succeeded due to their chemistry and execution. The film shows that this group executes their assignments well, and they were the least penalized o-line in the NFL. They also finished first in pass-block win rate and seventh in PA%.
8. Los Angeles Chargers
LT. Rashawn Slater A-, LG. Matt Feiler B+, C. Corey Linsley A, RG. Michael Schofield III C+, RT. Storm Norton C-
The Chargers were another good o-line that hurt its rank with it’s final game. The Chargers loss to the Raiders ultimately cost them a playoff appearance, and their o-line was a big part of the problem. The Raiders dominated them upfront, and while many may want to point the finger at just Storm Norton, who allowed 11 pressures and two sacks by himself, Slater and Feiler also struggled on the left side. Their final game notwithstanding, this was a great year for the Chargers o-line. They were arguably the worst o-line in the NFL last season, and a year later they finished as a top-10 unit. The free-agent additions of Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler paid huge dividends in the interior. Linsley was the best center in the NFL this season and Feiler had a major bounce-back year after a disappointing season the year before in Pittsburgh. But their biggest addition was perhaps their first-round pick Rashawn Slater who made the pro-bowl at LT in just his first season and was the best tackle in the AFC in 2021. The only thing that kept the Chargers o-line from going from very good to great was injuries to the right side of the line. Bryan Bulaga was supposed to be this team’s starting RT, but he was lost for the season after only one game. Norton ended up starting the rest of the year at RT, and he was one of the worst pass-blocking tackles in the NFL this season. Oday Aboushi was the team’s starting RG but was lost for the year in week five. Michael Schofield took over for him, and though he struggled at first, he began to play better down the stretch which helped solidify the Chargers o-line and left them with only one weak link.
9. San Francisco 49ers
LT. Trent Williams A+, LG. Laken Tomlinson B, C. Alex Mack B-, RG. Daneil Brunskill C-, RT. Tom Compton B+, T. Mike McGlinchey B-
It wasn’t perfect or even always pretty, but the 49ers o-line has the body of work of a top 10 unit. I regularly ranked the 49ers o-line in the top 10 of the weekly o-line power rankings, but when their starting RT Mike McGlinchey went down in week nine I worried this unit would begin to falter. However, that was not the case. Tom Compton stepped in and did an amazing job. He honestly started playing better than McGlinchey, and the 49ers o-line didn’t miss him at all. Compton was only solid in pass pro, but he leads all tackles in run-block win rate and has the second-highest run-block grade from PFF at the tackle position. Combine that with what Trent Williams was doing all season as the NFL’s best offensive lineman and solid play in the interior from Laken Tomlinson and Alex Mack, and you’ve got one of the better units in the league. Daniel Brunskill was their weak link at RG, and had they got better play from that position, they’d be in the top five conversation.
10. Washington Football Team
LT. Charles Leno Jr. B, LG. Ereck Flowers B-, C. Chase Roullier B+, RG. Brandon Scherff B- , RT. Cornelius Lucas C+, T. Samuel Cosmi B-, G/C. Wes Schweitzer B
Washington’s o-line was one of the hardest-hit groups with injury back luck. Only two of their starters played in more than 11 games. This unit was playing at an elite level in the first month of the season. They had moved up as far as the number three rank in the week six edition of the o-line power rankings. Brandon Scherff got hurt in week four and was in and out of the lineup all season after that, he only played in 11 games. Samuel Cosmi was the next starter to go down in the following week and ended up missing eight games. Cosmi may have finished as the second-best rookie tackle had he stayed healthy because he was playing better than Sewell at the time he got hurt. Chase Roullier was the next starter to go down, and he was perhaps their biggest loss. He was in the midst of a pro-bowl caliber season, but he got hurt in week eight and never played another game. It was bad enough this unit had three starters suffer injuries and miss significant time, but things got even worse when they lost their best backup in Wes Schweitzer for the year. He had filled in at center and guard throughout the season and played well. They would also go on to lose Tyler Larson, another backup interior player. Keith Ismael started the final four games at center and was the team's fourth player to start at center in 2021. Despite all the injuries and lineup turmoil, Washington’s numbers on the season were very respectable given the circumstances. They finished top 20 in PA% at 25.7%, ninth in pass-block win rate, and 1st in run-block win rate.
11. Baltimore Ravens
LT. Alejandro Villanueva C-, LG. Ben Powers B-, C. Bradley Bozeman B, RG. Kevin Zeitler A-, RT. Patrick Mekari C
The Ravens o-line had some drastic lows and triumphant highs. They certainly came along way from their performance in the first month of the season in which they allowed 50 pressures in their first four games. They pretty much played the entire year without their best player as Ronnie Staley was shut down for the rest of the season after starting in week one. Alejandro Villanueva started the rest of the season at LT and was a liability all season in pass pro, but he did help in the run game. The Ravens o-line was able to overcome the loss of their star tackle thanks to strong interior line play. Keven Zeitler was this unit’s best player in 2021. His 2.2% PA% was the second-best among all guards. Bradley Bozeman was one of the better centers in the NFL as he finished second in pass block win rate and seventh in run-block win rate. The Ben combo of Ben Powers and Ben Cleveland got most of the snaps at LG, and both were solid. The unsung hero of the group was Patrick Mekari who had played mostly center and guard entering this season but became the team’s primary starting RT once Villanueva took over at LT. A lot of interior guys that get bumped out struggle in pass pro, but Mekari finished near the middle-of-the-pack in PA% and was a plus for this unit in that aspect. If Staley can return to form next season and Baltimore brings everyone else besides Villanueva back, this o-line will be in top-10 contention in 2022.
12. Detroit Lions
LT. Taylor Decker B-, LG. Jonah Jackson C+, C. Evan Brown B-, RG. Halapoulivaati Vatai C+, RT. Penei Sewell B+, T. Matt Nelson F
Like the Packers, the Lions never got to play a game with their projected starting five. LT Taylor Decker started the year on IR and didn’t play his first game until week 10. However, the Lions o-line got off to a slow start, and it wasn’t until Decker returned to the lineup that this unit started to play at a higher level. Decker only played in eight games, but he was good when he played. Frank Ragnow was this team’s best lineman a year ago and was on pace to be again before he was lost for the season. He was the best center of the 2021 season at the time he got hurt in week four. Evan Brown took over the rest of the way at center and ended up being a revelation. He didn’t bring the value Ragnow gives you in the run game, but he was one of the better pass-blocking centers in the NFL this season. What Lions fans should be most excited about is their first-round pick Penei Sewell. He had a good rookie campaign overall, played both tackle spots, and showed he could improve and overcome adversity. Sewell got off to a good start and then had a three-game stretch where he looked like one of the worst tackles in the league. He eventually figured it out and was good the rest of the way. He looks like he’s going to be an elite run-blocker in this league for years. His pass-blocking isn’t on that level yet, but he was solid in that aspect this season, but the signs are there that he can get better and be good in that aspect as he gets more experience. The biggest problem for the Lions o-line this season was guard play. Vaitai Halapoulivaati and Jonah Jackson struggled during most of the first half of the season. However, both ended up improving later in the year. Big V ended up having a decent season in pass pro. Jackson was their weakest link in pass pro but was a plus as a run-blocker. Overall, Lions fans should be excited about the prospect of this unit playing at full strength next year. The Lions should have a top-10 caliber offensive line in 2022.
13. New Orleans Saints
LT. Terron Armstead B+, LG. Calvin Throckmorton D-, C. Erik McCoy B-, RG. Cesar Ruiz C, RT. Ryan Ramczyk A-, T/G. James Hurst C+
The Saints o-line didn’t live up to expectations this season, but injuries were the primary reason why. The Saints opening day starting five played only 22 snaps together throughout two different games all season. In week one, Erik McCoy got hurt after only five snaps and didn’t return until week seven. In the week seven game he returned in, Andrus Peat got hurt and was lost for the season after 17 snaps. Their best two linemen, Terron Armstead, and Ryan Ramczyk played well when they were on the field, but they missed a combined 16 games. Cesar Ruiz was the only starter that played every game, but the problem with that is he’s the worst starter of the five and had to play five games out of position at center to replace McCoy while he was out. At full strength, the Saints have a top-10 offensive line, maybe even top-five. But they just weren’t healthy.
14. Buffalo Bills
LT. Dion Dawkins B+, LG. Ike Boettger C, C. Mitch Morse C+, RG. Darryl Williams C+, RT. Spencer Brown C, G. Cody Ford F, G. Jon Feliciano C-
The Bills o-line was another unit that got off to a slow start and then turned things around. For the Bills it wasn’t about getting healthy, it was about a lineup change. Any Bills lineup that featured Dion Dawkins at LT, Mitch Morse at C, Darryl Williams at RG, Spencer Brown at RT, and Cody Ford on the bench was the Bills best lineup regardless of who else was at LG. Ford was such a disaster in pass pro that he single-handedly made this o-line worse because their numbers with him in the lineup vs. without are drastically different. Cody Ford played 50 or more snaps in seven games this season. In those games the Bills average PA% was 31.3%, which would’ve ranked 31st. In their other 10 games, their average PA% was 16.8%, which would’ve been second-best in the NFL. Essentially the Bills were second best in pressures allowed when Ford wasn’t out there and second-worst when he was. This group was led all year by Dion Dawkins who made his first pro-bowl appearance. He finished top three in the AFC in PA% and seventh in pass-block win rate among tackles. Darryl Williams was their next best player and most versatile. He played 600 snaps at RG and 571 at RT, essentially half of his snaps came at both spots, and he was better at guard. The LG position was a revolving door due to injuries, and we saw Jon Feliciano, Ike Boettger, and Ryan Bates all get snaps at that spot. Bates ended up playing down the stretch and put up the best numbers in a small sample size, but Boettger was probably the best of the three. Spencer Brown was a serviceable tackle who was a plus in the run-game and serviceable in pass pro. His biggest benefit to this unit was that he allowed Williams to play RG and kept Ford off the field. Morse was solid at center.
15. Indianapolis Colts
LT. Eric Fisher C, LG. Quenton Nelson B+, C. Ryan Kelly D+, RG. Mark Glowinski C, RT. Braden Smith B+, G. Chris Reed C
The Colts entered this season with what was supposed to be an elite o-line. The team got off to a horrible 0-3 start, and the o-line was bad during that stretch. A lot of things went wrong for the Colts upfront during the first half of the season. Braden Smith wasn’t quite ready to go at the start of the year and was sidelined for seven weeks after starting week one. That left a hole at RT, and Julie’n Davenport was put in to replace Smith but was one of the worst pass-blocking tackles in the NFL. Eric Fisher would eventually get his act together, but at the beginning of the year it was just too much to ask of him to play LT in the NFL so soon coming off an Achilles injury. Ryan Kelly was struggling early and unfortunately continued to do so all season in pass pro. Quenton Nelson was the only player playing well upfront for the Colts to start the year, but he got hurt in week three and ultimately missed four games on the year. He struggled once he returned from injury which led to him having the worst season of his young brilliant career. The RG spot was a problem all season. Glowinksi had a very disappointing season, and Chris Reed wasn’t much better a lot of the time. However, it's not how you start it's how you finish, and eventually this o-line got it together and became an elite run-blocking group. Fisher began to get more comfortable and started playing better, Nelson got healthier and started playing better, and Smith returned to the lineup in week eight and was one of the best tackles in the NFL from that point on. Ultimately, this group’s inability to consistently pass-block well hurt this team and cost them a trip to the playoffs. The Colts finished 31st in PA% ahead of only the Dolphins who before they started finally winning games were having a historically bad season in pass pro.
16. Tennessee Titans
LT. Taylor Lewan C+, LG. Rodger Saffold C+, C. Ben Jones B, RG. Nate Davis C, RT. David Quessenberry B-, G. Aaron Brewer C-
The Titans offensive line underachieved in 2021. They were one of the worst pass-blocking units in the NFL as they finished with a 29.4 PA% which ranked 28th in the NFL, and finished 24th in pass block win rate. The only player on the entire offensive line that had a good season pass-blocking was Lewan who was top 25 in PA% among tackles. He was their best overall player when healthy but he missed four games, and he was usually missed when he was out. 10 offensive linemen took 50 or more snaps for Tennessee this season. Lewan and Jones were the only players that had a PA% of less than 5%, and Jones PA% of 4.12% is awful by center standards as he ranked 30th at his position. The Titans fared better run-blocking. They weren’t great at it but significantly better at it than pass-blocking. David Quessenberry had a breakout season as a run-blocker, and Ben Jones, Nate Davis, and Rodger Saffold all had decent to good seasons in that aspect as well. However, football is a pass-first game in 2022, and o-lines that can’t pass block aren’t good offensive lines.
17. Green Bay Packers
LT. Elgton Jenkins A-, LG. Jon Runyan C+, C. Lucas Patrick C-, RG. Royce Newman C-, RT. Billy Turner C+, T. Yosh Nijman C
The Packers offensive probably had the most stressful season of any of the good offensive lines. They played a large chunk of the season with four starters out. Their best player, David Bakhtiari, was on IR to start the year, and he was supposed to be back somewhere around midway through the season, but he ended up having a setback and did not play until week 18. Elgton Jenkins was a pro-bowl guard in 2020, but he was moved to LT this season to replace Bakhtiari, and was excellent. Unfortunately, he only made it through eight games before being lost for the year to injury. Josh Myers was the team’s second-round pick and got the nod as the team’s day one starting center. He was off to an inconsistent start but showed flashes that he could play. However, he ended up missing 10 straight games after his week-six start before coming back for the finale. Patrick Lucas was slated to play guard this season but was moved to center while Myers was out and did a solid job. With Jenkins playing tackle and Lucas now at center, the guard spots were mostly played by Jon Runyan, a 2020 sixth-round pick, and Royce Newman, their 2021 fourth-round pick. Newman and Runyan ended up starting the most games upfront for the Packers. Runyan ended up having a good season and looks like a real player for this team moving forward. He finished 13th among guards in PA% in his first full season as a starter. Newman had his moments where he looked like a day three rookie, but he had a solid season and could one day be a legitimate starter in this league. The Packers were hit hardest at the tackle positions this season. Not only did Bakhtiari and Jenkins miss a lot of time, but the starting RT Billy Turner was lost for the season in week 14. Turner was having a solid season before the injury. Yosh Nijman took over at LT after Jenkins went down and was serviceable there. Dennis Kelly took over at RT for Turner down the stretch and played well. So well that it looks like the Packers are going to go with him at RT over Nijman for the playoffs. Given all the injuries and lineup changes it’s hard to put a lot of stock in this unit’s overall numbers on the year. However, the one thing you can hang your hat on this season about this group is the fact that Rodgers was protected most of the season, and they didn’t hurt this team because they ended up with the best record in the NFL.
18. Denver Broncos
LT. Garett Bolles B, LG. Dalton Risner C+, C. Lloyd Cushenberry III C, RG. Quinn Meinerz C+, RT. Bobby Massie C+
The Broncos offensive line was one of the most up and down units in the league, but at their best, they could get the job done. They had many good pass-pro games that were wasted by poor QB play. Garrett Bolles was the best of the bunch as expected. He missed a few games, but when he was on the field, he played well as he finished 22nd in PA% among tackles. Bobby Massie had a down year. It was his worst pass pro season since 2015 as he allowed pressure at a rate of 7.4%, which ranked 65th out of 78 eligible tackles. Lloyd Cushenberry played the most and showed some improvement. He was awful in his first season as a starter in 2020. While he wasn’t great in 2021, he tied for most sacks allowed by a center with five and was 27th in PA%, he went from possibly worst starting center to serviceable starting center. The Broncos were most impacted by injuries at the guard positions. They had four players take 300 or more snaps at guard: Dalton Risner, Graham Glasgow, Quinn Meinerz, and Netane Muti. Risner and Glasgow were the opening day starters. Risner, Glasgow, and Meinerz all had solid seasons, but Muti was a major liability in pass pro. Denver finished 16th in pass-block win rate and 15th in run-block win rate.
19. Arizona Cardinals
LT. D.J. Humphries C+, LG. Justin Pugh C+, C. Rodney Hudson B-, RG. Josh Jones D+, RT. Kelvin Beachum C+, G/C. Max Garcia C+, G/C. Sean Harlow C
The Cardinals o-line got off to a good start, but they faltered down the stretch. Injuries and lineup changes hurt this team but so did inconsistent play and their top two guys not playing up to expectations. The Cardinals had 14 players take snaps at an offensive line position this season. However, more concerning was the fact that D.J. Humphries had a disappointing season. Humphries was one of the best tackles in the NFL last season, but this year he was a liability at times in pass pro. His PA% was 6.3% which ranked 53rd among tackles. At least he was good in the run-game. Rodney Hudson had a good year pass-blocking, but he wasn’t very good in the run game. Kelvin Beachum had a good year pass-blocking as well but like Hudson he too had his struggles as a run-blocker. The Cardinals had solid protection on the interior across the board when their best guys were available. Josh Jones started the season at RG and moved between guard and tackle throughout the season. He was ok for a rookie but ultimately Max Garcia proved to be a better player when he got his opportunities. Garcia filled in at guard and center throughout the season and did a solid job in pass pro. Justin Pugh was their best guard and arguably best player. Overall, this group was one of the better pass-blocking lines, but they struggled across the board outside of Humphries in the run-game.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars
LT. Cam Robinson C, LG. Andrew Norwell B+, C. Brandon Linder B, RG. Ben Bartch C-, RT. Jawaan Taylor C-, C. Tyler Shatley C-
The Jaguars o-line had their share of struggles at certain points throughout the season, but they were one of the best pass-blocking lines down the stretch. Part of the problem was Brandon Linder’s injury. Linder got hurt in week five and didn’t return until week 12. Week 12 was when the turnaround for the Jags o-line started. Linder led all centers in run-block win rate and was sixth in pass-block win rate. The Jags had four games in which they had a PA% higher than 25% before week 12. They had none after week 12. Another reason for the Jags turn around was the improved tackle play. Cam Robinson finished the season playing the best football of his career down the stretch, and the same could be said for Jewaan Taylor. In the first half of the season, it looked like the Jags would need to find two new starting tackles, now they might have to think about resigning Robinson long-term and giving Taylor another year as the starter at RT. Andrew Norwell was this unit’s most valuable player this season. He started all 17 games, finished 7th in run-block win rate, and 17th in PA%.
21. New York Jets
LT. George Fant B-, LG. Alijah Vera-Tucker C+, C. Connor McGovern B-, RG. Greg Van Roten C-, RT. Morgan Moses C+
The Jets were dealt a bad hand early when they lost their talented young LT, Mekhi Becton, for the entire season after only one game. However, George Fant moved over to LT and started at that spot from week two on and ended up having a career year. Fant led all AFC tackles in PA% and was fifth overall in the category. He was shockingly one of the best pass-blockers in 2021. Unfortunately, most of the other players in this group really struggled in pass pro, and the Jets o-line finished 25th with a PA% of 27.9%. With Beckton out for the year, Morgan Moses was called on to start at RT due to Fant moving to LT. Moses had a good year as a run-blocker but he struggled in pass pro. His PA% of 7.2% ranked 64th among tackles. The three primary players the Jets played at guard all struggled in pass pro as well. Alijah Vera-Tucker was the team’s first-round pick in 2021 and he shows a lot of promise as a run-blocker but he struggled as a pass-blocker. He was the 60th ranked guard in PA%. The RG position was even worse. Greg Van Roten started the majority of the season at RG, but his poor play compelled the Jets to make a trade for Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff who eventually replaced him as the starting RG. However, the year off from being a covid opt-out seemed to have negatively affected him because Tardiff was just as bad as Van Roten. At least Connor McGovern provided some help in the passing game at the center position. He was this group’s second-best pass-blocker and second-best overall player this season. He was a 2020 free agent signing that came over from the Broncos and was supposed to help turn this o-line around. However, a disappointing season a year ago had some feeling like he was a bad signing. McGovern bounced back this season and had a really good year for the Jets. He was 17th among centers in PA% and was their best run-blocker. If the Jets can resign Fant and Beckton returns healthy and plays well, the Jets o-line should be much improved next season.
22. Atlanta Falcons
LT. Jake Matthews B-, LG. Jalen Mayfield F, C. Matt Hennessy C+, RG. Chris Lindstrom A-, RT. Kaleb McGary C
The Falcons had two guys play at a high level, and everyone else struggled. Let’s go ahead and get the good out of the way. Chris Lindstrom was this unit’s best player. He had his best season and it should’ve culminated in him earning his first pro-bowl selection, but he was snubbed. Jake Matthews pretty much did what he’s been doing his entire career, really good in pass pro, not so good run-blocker. Matt Hennessy, their starting center was the opposite. He had a good season run-blocking but was one of the worst pass-blocking centers in the NFL. His PA% was 5.06% which ranked 34th among centers, and he was one of only two starting centers with a PA% over five percent. This was a big season for Kaleb McGary. He was the team’s first-round pick in 2019 and hadn’t not played up to his draft position in his first two seasons. He had the worst PA% of his career and the Falcons will probably be looking for a new RT next season. Jalen Mayfield was the team’s third-round selection in 2021 and he was solid in the run-game but a disaster in pass pro. Mayfield allowed 11 sacks, the most of any offensive lineman in the NFL, and his PA% was 9.16% which was ranked 77th among guards. The Falcons o-line had a PA% of 29.7% which ranked 30th. They also finished 26th in pass-block win rate and 29th in run-block win rate.
23. Chicago Bears
LT. Jason Peters B-, LG. Cody Whitehair C+, C. Sam Mustipher D, RG. James Daniels C+, RT. Germain Ifedi C+, T. Larry Broom D+
The Bears offensive line played slightly better than expected this season. I had them ranked as the 26th best line in the preseason o-line rankings. The biggest surprise was the tackle play. Jason Peters may be a hall of famer, but I didn’t expect him to play well this season at the age of 40 coming off an injury the year before. However, he was a top 40 player at the position and had flashes of brilliance where he looked like his old self. Germain Ifedi also exceeded expectations. The Bears o-line could’ve been higher on this list if he played more than seven games. The Bears backup tackles were awful this season, and that was this unit’s biggest issue. Larry Borom ended up playing the most snaps at RT for the Bears this season and ranked 66th in PA%. Elijah Wilkinson, Teven Jenkins, Alex Bars, and Lachavious Simmons also got snaps throughout the year at either LT or RT and played poorly. While the Bears o-line as a whole played better than expected when at full-strength, the interior guys underachieved. Sam Mustipher was coming off a mediocre rookie season and followed it up by playing even worse this season. Center should definitely be a priority position for the Bears this offseason. James Daniels and Cody Whitehair weren’t bad this season, but Whitehair just hasn’t played to the level he showed earlier in his career in two straight seasons now. Daniels had his worst pass pro season, but he was their best run-blocker this season.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
LT. Jonah Williams B-, LG. Quinton Spain B+, C. Trey Hopkins D+, RG. Hakeem Adeniji F, RT. Riley Reiff C+, G. Jackson Carman C-
The Bengals offensive line started hot this season. They were one of the better pass-blocking units in the NFL in the first half of the season as they ranked 7th in PA% after eight games. However, they fell off across the board as a unit in pass pro (they finished 18th at 25.4%), and they finished 30th in pass-block win rate. Quinton Spain was the best player in this group. He was the only player in this unit to finish top 20 at his position in PA%, and he was a force in the run-game. The Bengals got off to a slow start as a run-blocking team, but they got better in that aspect as the season progressed and finished 10th in run-block win rate. I thought that was a little too high based on what I saw on film, but they definitely improved. Jonah Williams also had a strong season as a run-blocker. Unfortunately, he really struggled in the second half of the season in pass pro, and the LTs primary job is to protect the QB. Reiff had a good season run-blocking as well and he was their best pass-blocking tackle. Unfortunately, he missed five games, and Isaiah Prince started most of them when he was out. Prince, Trey Hopkins, and the revolving door at RG were the biggest problems for this o-line. Hopkins's play fell off in both phases declined from what he did in 2020, and one could make the case that the other Trey, Trey Hill, would be a better option at center moving forward. Xavier SU’A-Filo started the season at RG, but a combination of injuries and poor play led to him losing the job. Jackson Carman took over in week three and played the position the best for Cincy this season but he missed games due to injury as well which opened the door for Hakeem Adeniji to get starts at RG and he was the worst of the three.
25. Minnesota Vikings
LT. Christian Darrisaw B-, LG. Ezra Cleveland C+, C. Garrett Bradbury D+, RG. Oli Udoh D-, RT. Brian O’Neil B+, C/G. Mason Cole C-
The biggest concern about the Vikings o-line entering the season was their interior line play, and as expected, they didn’t play well. Bradbury was one of the worst pass-blocking centers in the NFL as he ranked 32nd among centers in PA%. He has value as run-blocker but he’s just been so bad in pass pro every season of his young career. As bad as he was, Oli Udoh was this unit’s worst pass protector. His 6.8% PA% led the team and ranked 69th among guards. Ezra Cleveland had a solid season in pass pro to at least give the Vikings one decent interior pass-blocker. He was also their best interior run-blocker and had a quality second season. The Vikings eventually got good overall tackle play starting in week six, but their overall numbers on the season were severely damaged by the five Rashod Hill starts at LT while Christian Darrisaw was out. Darrisaw was the Vikings 2021 first-round pick and once he took over the LT position in week six, things got a lot better for this unit. He’s already a good run-blocker, and he’s a decent pass protector and shows potential to get even better. Last but certainly not least, Brian O’Neil started in all 17 games at RT and was one of the best tackles in the NFL and easily this unit's best player. He finished seventh in PA% among tackles and only allowed only one sack. If the Vikings can find an upgrade at RG for Udoh and Darrisaw and Cleveland continue to improve, the Vikings could be one of the most improved o-lines next season.
26. Seattle Seahawks
LT. Duane Brown C+, LG. Damien Lewis C-, C. Ethan Pocic C+, RG. Gabe Jackson C, RT. Brandon Shell C+, C/G. Kyle Fuller F, T. Jake Curhan F
The Seahawks o-line may have been the most disappointing o-line in the NFL. They were a disaster in pass pro much of the season and finished with a PA% of 28.8% which ranked 26th. Seattle traded for Gabe Jackson in the offseason who had a reputation for being one of the better pass-blocking guards in the NFL. However, he was the worst pass-blocker of their starters. His 6.45% PA% led all starters and ranked 65th among all guards. Combine that with the fact that he was only ok in the run-game, and I’d say the Seahawks o-line might’ve been better had they not traded for him at all. Damien Lewis was another disappointment at the other guard spot. He was one of the best rookie offensive linemen in the NFL in 2020 despite his pass-blocking issues because he was such a plus in the run game. This season, he was still bad in pass pro and his run-blocking fell off. The center position was a problem during the first half of the season because Ethan Pocic got hurt 14 snaps into week one, and Kyle Fuller took over and was the worst pass-blocking center in the NFL while Pocic was gone. Pocic eventually returned in week eight, and though he immediately helped with his run-blocking and was an upgrade over Fuller, he too struggled and finished with the 33rd ranked PA% among centers at 4.9%. It’s extremely difficult to get anything done in the passing game when all three interior offensive line positions are struggling in pass pro. This unit didn’t fare a lot better at the tackle positions either. Duane Brown’s overall numbers ended up being respectable on the season because he had great games at the beginning of the year and finished strong playing well in three of their last four games. However, he was awful and looked washed up in many of the games in between during which their season was falling apart. At one point, Duane Brown was tied for most sacks allowed by a tackle and finished tied for sixth-most allowed. Brandon Shell and Jake Curhan combined to make up the majority of RT snaps, and they both struggled to pass-block as well. Shell might’ve been the Seawhaks most consistent pass protector in 2021. He didn’t have the highs that Brown had but he also had fewer lows. Him missing seven games also really hurt this unit because when Curhan replaced him, he was even worse than any of the interior guys.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers
LT. Dan Moore Jr. D, LG. Kevin Dotson C, C. Kendrick Green D+, RG. Trai Turner B-, RT. Chukwuma Okorafor C, G. John Leglue C-
The Steelers offensive line was the toughest to evaluate in the NFL. On one hand, they don’t allow much pressure at all. Their o-line had a PA% of 18.3% which ranked third in the NFL. On the other, they ranked 31st in pass-block win rate. The combination of Ben’s lack of arm strength and this o-line's lack of talent led the Steelers to rely heavily on a quick passing game that makes it hard to truly get a sense of just how good or bad this offensive line really is in pass-pro, but part of me believes that if they had to pass-block the way the Dolphins o-line had too, they’d have similar numbers. The Steelers o-line was even worse run-blocking. The Steelers finished 30th in run-block win rate and were one of only two teams that failed to average over two yards rushing before contact. The best player in this group was Trai Turner. The veteran bounced back from a disastrous 2020 season with the Chargers to have a solid year, but he’s far from the pro-bowl caliber player he used to be. Kevin Dotson showed the most promise out of the remaining players, but make no mistake, the Steelers need to prioritize dedicating real resources to their 0-line this offseason. It can’t just be declining veterans and day three draft picks. They need to spend money on real free agents and draft an offensive lineman on day one or day two because this is the second straight season in which this o-line has been unable to contribute to a respectable run game, and it doesn’t look like they’ll have a good enough QB anytime soon to overly rely on the passing game.
28. Houston Texans
LT. Geron Christian C-, LG. Tytus Howard C, C. Justin Britt B-, RG. Max Scharping C-, RT. Charlie Heck D, G/C. Justin McCray D-
The Texans offensive line was devastated by injury this season. They lost both Laremy Tunsil and Marcus Cannon, their starting tackles, by week five for the season, and Justin Britt, their best interior guy, missed seven games. When the Texans o-line was at full strength they had a very respectable pass-blocking unit. However, things sort of fell apart for a while after the injuries started to mount. Regardless of who was out there, the Texans weren’t able to run block. They finished 32nd in run-block win rate and struggled in that phase all season even at full strength. However, the Texans were very competitive and even won a few games down the stretch, and this unit’s improved play in pass pro helped contribute to their late-season surge. In three of their final six games, the Texans o-line had a PA% of less than 20%, and it wasn’t just because they were dinking and dunking and trying to keep Mills out of harm's way like earlier in the season. Tytus Howard played the most games and snaps on this o-line and had his best season. He had a PA% of 3.9% which ranked 23rd among guards. If the team resigns Britt and Tunsil and Cannon bounce back they can be a decent group next year, but the priority has to be finding a guard that can run-block.
29. Las Vegas Raiders
LT. Kolton Miller B+, LG. John Simpson D+, C. Andre James C+, RG. Alex Leatherwood F, RT. Brandon Parker D-
It was mostly Kolton Miller or bust for the Raiders offensive line in 2021. He played at a pro-bowl level much of the season, although he did have some struggles down the stretch. The play of Andre James helped as well. He was their second-best lineman and really started to play well after week six. He quietly finished top 10 in PA% among centers after being near the bottom in the first month of the season. The rest of the o-line left a lot to be desired. It’s not fair to call a player a bust after just one season, but Alex Leatherwood looks like another bad first-round pick by the Raiders. He started the season at RT where he was the worst player at the position and resulted in the team being forced to move him to RG. He was a little better at RG but not a lot better. Brandon Parker replaced Leatherwood at RT, and he was a bad as well. Parker had the second-worst PA% at 9.53% of any eligible tackle this season. John Simpson was serviceable in pass pro, but he was their worst run-blocker. It all resulted in the Raiders being ranked 27th in PA% at 29.3% and 31st in run-block win rate. The Raiders front office is going to have to prioritize improving this offensive line immediately.
30. New York Giants
LT. Andrew Thomas B, LG. Matt Skura F, C. Billy Price C, RG. Will Hernandez D+, RT. Nate Solder C-, T. Matt Peart C
The Giants offensive line continues to be a problem and they had another rough season in 2021. The good news is, Andrew Thomas isn’t a bust. He had a bad rookie season, but he was one of the most improved players in the NFL this season. He had a PA% of 3.68% which ranked 15th among tackles and he was a solid run-blocker. I don’t think any of their other offensive linemen had a good season. Billy Price and Nate Solder were solid in the run-game but both really struggled in pass pro. Will Hernandez played every game for whatever that’s worth. Once Daniel Jones got injured, you can practically throw out any protection numbers because the Giants play calling got very conservative due to the coaching staff didn’t trust either backup QB. Just from watching the games, it wasn’t hard to tell this was one of the worst offensive lines in 2021.
31. Carolina Panthers
LT. Cam Erving F, LG. Michael Jordan F, C. Matt Paradis C, RG. John Miller D-, RT. Taylor Moton B, G/T. Dennis Daley D-, C/G. Pat Elflein D-, T. Brady Christensen D
The Panthers had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2021, but injuries played a role. They certainly weren’t great at full strength by any means, but it’s worth noting that the Panthers had nine offensive line play 300 or more snaps, that’s the most in the NFL. The one guy that didn’t miss any time was RT Taylor Moton who was this unit’s best player. He had a PA% of 3.65% which ranked 14th among tackles, and he was a good run-blocker. The only other player that was somewhat respectable was starting center Matt Paradis. Like every other Panther not named Moton, he struggled in pass pro, but he a plus in the run game. Unfortunately, he was lost for the season after week nine, and that left the Panthers playing their final eight games with only one offensive lineman playing at a high level in either phase. This o-line finished with a PA% of 29.5%, which ranked 29th, and they were ranked 29th in pass-block win rate.
32. Miami Dolphins
LT. Liam Eichenberg F, LG. Austin Jackson D-, C. Michael Deiter C, RG. Robert Hunt C+, RT. Jesse Davis D-, C. Austin Reiter F
While it’s true that by the end of the year, the Raiders and Panthers were clearly the worst offensive lines in the NFL and the Dolphins were much improved, The Dolphins were just so awful in their first 11 games that they still deserve this ranking. The league average PA% in 2021 was 24.3%. The Dolphins o-line didn’t have a PA% at that rate or lower for the first time until week 12. They had eight games in which they had a PA% over 30% and four games over 40%. Their improved play down the stretch of the regular season notwithstanding, the Dolphins PA% for the season was still 31.6% which was last in the NFL. They were also last in pass-block win rate but ninth in run-block win rate. While it’s true the Dolphins offensive line ran-block better than it pass-blocked, they certainly weren’t a top 10 run-blocking line. What’s most interesting about this offensive line is how the Dolphins view them after their 180 down the stretch. Entering week 12, I imagine the sentiment in the front office was that they needed at a minimum three new starters on the offensive line. Robert Hunt was the only player in this group that was serviceable most of the season and maybe you keep Eichenberg and give him another year at guard. But now things have changed. Austin Jackson was terrible most of the year, but he was mostly solid down the stretch. Eichenberg had a few good games but then struggled to close the year. Michael Deiter played a lot better once he returned from injury and solidified the interior pass protection. My guess is they’ll bring in some veteran free agents to challenge their young guys and ensure they don’t have another 11 game stretch of historically bad offensive line play to start next season.