1. Cleveland Browns
The Browns were the best O-line last season because they had five guys across the board playing at a high level and two guys who were in the conversation for best at their position in Jack Conklin and Wyatt Teller. All five of their starters are back this season and have no injuries or covid issues to start the year.
2. New England Patriots
The Pats had the second-best O-line last year, but Thuney was one of their best guys and is now in Kansas City. Everyone else is back, and the loss of Thuney is alleviated by Onwenu’s move from RT to replace him at LG. New England also traded for Trent Brown to take over at RT. Overall their talent on the starting five is not far off from last year so expect another great season from the Pats O-line.
3. New Orleans Saints
The Saints enter the year with a group that can challenge the Browns for the top spot. They have the best tackle duo in the NFL in Armstead and Ramczyk and good interior players inside in McCoy and Peat. The one concern will be if second-year man Ruiz can live up to his first-round pick status and bounce back from a disappointing rookie year.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The defending champs enter the season with a top-five caliber line as all five starters are returning after a great season in which they were instrumental in helping the Bucs win the Super Bowl. Wirfs looks like a budding superstar and they have one of the best interior groups in the league. This unit should be even better than they were last season.
5. Indianapolis Colts
A few weeks ago, it looked like the Colts were going to get off to a rough start upfront as it was reported Quentin Nelson could be out for weeks and Eric Fisher was expected to begin the year on IR. However, Nelson looks good to go for week one and Fisher has been activated on the 53-man roster and could be available for week one as well. Fisher might need a few weeks to work his way back in shape but once he has, the Colts should have an elite O-Line again in 2021.
6. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas still has elite talent upfront. The big question for them is can they stay healthy. Zach Martin has already been lost for week one due to Covid 19 but there are currently no major injuries issues upfront for the Cowboys entering week one and that makes them an elite O-line as they only have one weak starter at center.
7. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers O-line is loaded. There’s only one liability at RG in Brunskill but they are good to great everywhere else with Trent Williams leading the way coming off a season in which he was the NFL’s best overall offensive lineman.
8. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles were hurt by injuries last season upfront but, entering week one they have a clean bill of health. If they can keep it that way, expect the Eagles to be a top 10 unit as they still have one of the top right-sided lines in the league and the left side is only getting better with the development of LT Jordan Mailata.
9. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals were one of the elite pass pro teams in 2020 and could be even better after trading for Rodney Huson to upgrade the one weakness they had upfront at C. They need some other guys besides DJ Humphries to run block at a high level to get them in the top five conversation, but if they can just be decent and keep being elite in pass pro this is a top 10 unit.
10. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams O-line had a bounce-back year in 2020 and looks to keep it going this season. They have very strong tackle play, although Whitworth’s age (39) is concerning, and quality guard play. However, there are question marks at the C position, as they will miss Austin Blythe who they lost in free agency. They are replacing Blythe with their 2018 fourth-round pick Brian Allen who is a full-time starter for the first time in his career.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
It is hard to rank the Chiefs O-line entering week one. They have essentially three rookies projected to start opening day with a host of vets that will be returning from injury and ready to replace them later in the year. With so many unproven guys starting upfront the Chiefs do not enter the season as a top 10 group, but fans should expect them to finish as a top 10 unit.
12. Washington Football Team
The addition of Charles Leno Jr. at LT combined with Brandon Scherff, who is an elite guard, and Chase Roullier, who was one of the best centers in 2020. Will make the team from Washington a very formidable group. How well their second-round pick Samuel Cosmi plays as the starting RT will be the key to whether or not this group is just good or great.
13. Tennessee Titans
The Titans O-line was ok last year overall but the loss of Taylor Lewan for the majority of the season really hurt. He’s back and ready to go for week one along with the rest of the starters and the Titans look like they will have a formidable group. They have some pass pro weaknesses, most notably in the interior, but they are also one of the better interior run-blocking teams in the league.
14. Detroit Lions
The overall quality of the Lions O-line is dependent on their first-round pick Penei Sewell. They already have two very good players in Frank Ragnow and Taylor Decker. If Sewell lives up to the pre-draft hype, there is no reason the Lions cannot be one of the better O-lines in the league line.
15. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers O-line should be the most improved unit in the NFL in 2021 considering they were the worst in 2020. They have four new starters with free agent C Corey Linsley leading the way. Their first-round pick Rashawn Slater will also be another big addition.
16. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks O-line does not get the best press, evident by their names being drug through the mud as a potential point of contention for Russell Wilson during his off-season fight with Pete Carroll and Seattle’s front office. However, they were really solid a year ago and should be even better this season after trading for Gabe Jackson from the Raiders. They also reworked Duane Brown’s deal so he should be happy and ready to go.
17. Baltimore Ravens
With Stanley out a big chunk of the season in 2020, the Ravens took a step back up front despite their great team rushing success. Given their scheme and the generational athlete they have at QB, they do not need great run blocking so newcomers Kevin Zeitler and Alejandro Villanueva should fit in and help this group as they specialize in pass blocking.
18. Denver Broncos
The Broncos are led up front by Garrett Bolles, who looks to continue his dominance after coming off a career year in which he was one of the best players in the NFL. Combine that with newcomer Bobby Massie at the other tackle spot, who played well for Chicago last season, plus decent guards and the Broncos could be a lot higher if they were not returning the worst starting C in the NFL last season. The good news is Cushenberry was just a rookie so there is room for improvement.
19. Buffalo Bills
The solid play of the Bills O-line greatly contributed to Josh Allen’s career year in 2020. If you look at the Bills across the board, they really only have one guy that scares you in third-year RG Cody Ford. However, they also do not have any high-end pro-bowl caliber players upfront either, and that is why they are a middle of the pack caliber unit.
20. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons O-line showed improvement in 2020 and should take another small step in 2021. They have a lot of young players who should continue to grow, most notably RG Chris Lindstrom who could be on the verge of becoming a pro-bowl level player after taking a leap last year in his second season. They also have Jake Matthews at LT who is a pillar of consistency as a one-dimensional pass-blocking specialist.
21. Green Bay Packers
The Packers should be higher on this list. However, the best pass-blocking offensive lineman of this era, David Bakhtiari, is starting the season on the PUP list recovering from a torn ACL near the end of last season and will not even be eligible to play again until after week six. That will also force their second-best O-lineman, Elgton Jenkins to move from LG to LT to cover for him which further weakens their line.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have a very good interior front led by Brandon Linder who is one of the best centers in the game. However, they have been unable to get it right at their tackle positions and it will be a make or break year for LT Cam Robinson who is playing on the franchise tag.
23. New York Jets
It is hard to have a definitive position on the Jets O-line right now with the youth and upside they have upfront. However, if their two blue-chip prospects on the left side, Mekhi Beckton and Alijah Vera-Tucker have great seasons, the Jets will take a step up in the rankings and be a quality group.
24. Houston Texans
Laremy Tunsil is one of the best LTs in the NFL and is elite in pass pro. That will not be enough to save this from being one of the bad O-lines in the NFL in 2020. There is not much else to be excited about after Tunsil with this group.
25. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have a promising young LT in Jonah Williams and they signed Riley Rieff in free agency which actually gives them a quality duo at tackle. However, it most likely will not be enough to overcome a lack of talent at the interior spots.
26. Chicago Bears
Cody Whitehair and James Daniels are both talented guards, though they had their struggles in pass pro last year. The big problem for the Bears will be the loss of Leno Jr. And Massie at the tackle spots as they now have one of the worst tackle duos in the league with Ifedi and Wilkerson until Jason Peters is ready to play. Peters might help a little, but his best days are long gone as he is an old 39.
27. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings struggled up front last season and losing Riley Reiff really hurts as the tackle positions were the one thing they could count on last year. The interior really struggled in 2020 and most of those guys are back. Brian O’Neil is a really good player at RT but he may be all they have unless Christian Darrisaw, their first-round pick in the 2021 draft, plays better than expected.
28. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers had a respectable line last season but, they lost some starters and are now starting Cameron Irving at LT and Pat Elflein at LG. Those are two of the worst starters in the NFL and one is at the most important position on the line. Taylor Moton and Matt Paradis will not be enough to overcome that.
29. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders are almost completely starting over upfront so it is expected that they will struggle, especially early in the year. At least Kolton Miller will still be around at LT but the rest of the O-line is three inexperienced guys that are unproven and a 38 year-old Richie Incognito coming off a serious Achilles injury.
30. Miami Dolphins
This is the point on the list where the worst of the worst O-lines reside. The good news for the Dolphins is they have three guys that were picked in the first or second round of the past two drafts. The bad news is Robert Hunt is their best offensive lineman based on last season.
31. New York Giants
The Giants are a strong candidate to be the worst O-line in football. Even if Andrew Thomas begins to look a lot better, there just is not a lot of talent on this unit.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers O-line could pass block last season but there is no denying that group was getting old and on the decline. Replacements needed to be made but preferably with established players or high draft picks. The Steelers were heavily cap strapped, had low picks, and desperately needed an RB in the draft as well so resources were limited. All that being said, either the Steelers know something the rest of us do not about the guys they plan to start this year or they made a callosal mistake with their approach on the O-line this offseason. They are banking on a declining and injury prone Trai Turner and a bunch of unknown.