It's not unusual for players to get hurt during preseason workouts or games. But in 2020, we've got the unique development of players who will either miss games due to COVID-19, or are already opting out of the entire season. And those developments have impacted the initial offensive line rankings.
The biggest developments since our preseason magazine went to press:
Brandon Brooks (Achilles) is out for the year. He's a Pro Bowl guard on an Eagles line that was already breaking in a new left tackle, so that's a definite concern for Philadelphia's blocking up front. The team was ready to move on from 38-year-old tackle Jason Peters, having drafted his replacement in the first round a year ago (Andre Dillard). Instead, they're bringing back Peters and are going to try him at Brooks' spot, while also having some protection in case Dillard struggles at tackle. Peters had slipped, but it's certainly possible this line is worse at two spots.
Nate Solder has opted out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. Solder hasn't been the game-changer the Giants thought they were getting when they made him the league's highest-paid lineman two offseasons ago, but the plan was to have him at left tackle for another year while top pick Andrew Thomas started out on the right side, then moved over a year from now. Now it should be Thomas on the left and a lesser option (probably Cameron Fleming) on the right side. In theory they could be better on the left, if Thomas is all they're hoping for from Day 1. But they could also be worse at both tackle spots.
Marcus Cannon has opted out, one of several Patriots to take the year off. Cannon is one of the game's best right tackles, so that's a significant loss. Korey Cunningham appears to be next in line; he's a former seventh-round pick who started six games for Arizona two years ago but was a backup in New England last year. A major downgrade, if that's what New England is forced to go with.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is opting out of the season. The starting right guard for the Super Bowl champs wasn't elite but probably above-average. Kansas City, though, was able to bring in Kelechi Osemele, an above-average -- and at one point, a first-team all-pro -- with the Ravens and Raiders for most of his career. His one-year stint with the Jets last year was a disaster, but that was due to a clash with the front office/coaching staff over an injury issue. Kansas City shouldn't lose anything at that spot.
Jon Feliciano (pectoral) is out for the year. Buffalo's starting right guard wasn't a difference maker, but Buffalo had continuity on its line. Daryl Williams is the best bet to fill in. Probably not a critical blow (Feliciano was one of the league's lower-paid starters at his position).
Current rankings are below. Eagles and Patriots slip the most since the magazine. Colorful image with projected starters can be seen at our Facebook page.
|OFFENSIVE LINE RANKINGS|