With a month of the season under our belts, we have a good sense of what the league's best and worst offensive lines are. And as injuries strike, and lines get more damaged (or return to health), there is more movement. Here are where things stand right now, along with some of the major developments.
Five teams look very good atop the rankings. Philadelphia, Kansas City, Green Bay and Buffalo aren't surprising, in that all have multiple elite players, and have spent money or draft picks to build those groups, either protecting franchise quarterbacks or fronting stellar ground games. The fifth is Detroit, which has hit on some picks (including right tackle Penei Sewell, pictured) and currently has the league's top-performing offense. That won't continue (schedule has helped, and some of that production is in garbage time), but that line is a nice building block for Detroit.
With the Packers, they had been looking a little shaky early on, still trying to get David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins back from injury. Those guys are back, and this is part of the reason why Green Bay is one of the favorites in the NFC.
Another line looking better than expected is Jacksonville. The same can be said about the entire team, really, but the improved line -- and improved quarterback play making it look even better -- is a factor in the Jaguars now looking like the favorites in the AFC South.
The Bengals are also improved, although it didn't seem that way when Joe Burrow was getting sacked 13 times the first two weeks. But just 3 the last two weeks. Cincinnati definitely had a bottom-5 line a year ago, but it's closer to middle of the pack right now.
On the other hand...
If you saw Matthew Stafford getting sacked 7 times for the second time this season last night, you're well aware that offensive line is a liability. Those were both very good pass rushes (Bills and 49ers), but that line looks like a big concern for the team the rest of the way, especially against quality opposition.
San Francisco isn't much higher, and maybe they're too low -- Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't sacked last night. But they won't have Trent Williams (ankle) for multiple weeks, and the personnel looks ordinary at best. Kyle Shanahan, like his father, has long gotten superior play from the system over the individuals, but we'll see if the 49ers are able to keep it going until they get Williams back.
Currently last (someone has to be) is Washington. That's not encouraging for Carson Wentz or the ground game, which hopes to have Brian Robinson in the lineup soon. But Washington is down to its third-string center, due to injuries, and the interior blocking doesn't look good.
Current rankings are below. I'll post a colorful table showing player grades at our Facebook page by tomorrow.
|OFFENSIVE LINE RANKINGS|