10. Shaq Mason
I rated the Cowboys as the best o-line of 2021. However, the Patriots were ranked 3rd and were the clear-cut best in the second half of the season. Shaq Mason was the best of that bunch as he led the charge as an elite player in both phases of the game. He was one of the best run-blocking guards in the NFL as his consistent play helped a mundane Pats offense that lacked firepower at the skill positions maintain drives primarily due to their top 10 rushing attack. He was also sixth in PA% at 2.75%.
9. Lane Johnson
Lane Johnson had one of the most underrated seasons of any player in the league. I think it was largely because he missed four games for personal reasons. However, when he was out there, he was an elite tackle this season and would have gotten award recognition if he were in the AFC instead of the NFC, which was loaded with excellent tackle play this season. Had he played the full season, I might’ve ranked him a little higher, but the other 8 guys on this list all had elite seasons and either played the whole season or slightly better.
8. Ali Marpet
Marpet’s sudden and shocking retirement this offseason came as a major surprise. Not only because he’s only 29, but because he was one of the top 10 offensive linemen in football this past season. We’ve discussed how the Chiefs threw the hell out of it, and right behind them as the team with the second-highest pass rate was the Bucs. In large part, because they had by far the best pass-blocking o-line in the NFL and Marpet was a big reason why. Marpet was top 10 in PA% among guards at 2.81%, one of only 10 guards to post a sub 3 percent PA%. On top of that, he proved to be a great all-around player serving as the Bucs best run-blocker and finishing fourth among guards in run-block win rate. The Eagles had many guys contribute upfront for their top-ranked rush attack, making them one of the surprise teams of 2021 and resulting in a playoff berth. Lane was great in the run game, but he was right at the top in pass pro. He was tied for first in pass-block win rate and finished with a PA% of 2.64, 3rd among tackles.
7. Corey Linsley
I thought Corey Linsley was the best center in the NFL in 2021, and he proved to be one of the best free-agent acquisitions of the year. The Chargers were the worst o-line in the NFL in 2020, and primarily due to the play of Linsley and Slater, they became a top 10 unit overnight. Linsely was great in both phases of the game. And while his run-blocking was impressive, his biggest impact on the Chargers was in the pass game. Center is the one O-line position where I don’t believe pass pro is more important than run blocking. But Linsley’s impact went beyond his pass blocking. His presence on that line helped a cast of new characters gel. The tape looked drastically different from 2020 to this past year when it came to picking up blitzes, and I have to believe the presence of Linsley on and off the field played a major role in that. He finished top-five in pass-block win rate and top 3 in PA% among centers.
6. Tristan Wirfs
It was tough leaving the most efficient pass-blocking tackle in the NFL out of the top five, but that’s just how stiff the competition was this year. Wirfs led all tackles in PA% at 1.76%, and he was the only tackle with a sub 2% PA percentage. His play played a large role in why the Bucs were so successful throwing at a high volume, and how Brady was one of the least pressured QBs in the league. As great as he is in the pass game, he’s got to get better as a run-blocker. And I must point out that he made strides throughout the year. His run-blocking in the second half of the year was much better than in the first half, but it’s still far off from the tackles above him, who are also elite in pass pro.