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The Big Uglies - AFC

Preseason Matchup Analysis

By Doug Orth | 6/11/24 |

There is generally a lot of lip service paid to offensive lines in the fantasy community. For the most part, fantasy analysts and managers overwhelmingly tend to reach the following conclusions about teams as it relates to offensive lines:

1) They must have a good pass-blocking line if the quarterback doesn't take a lot of sacks and
2) They must have a good run-blocking line if multiple backs on the same team run "well" consistently.

As is typically the case in this industry, such analysis is far too simplistic and far from 100 percent true. So why does that logic seem to reign supreme? Analyzing offensive line play is not glamorous or easy and requires a high degree of football intelligence. Most analysts would rather resort to their models and hope for the best when it comes to the health or performance of NFL offensive lines.

There are also no well-established stats (or easily) available to the public - other than those that players accumulate at other positions - to inform the general fan as to how those five linemen are performing play after play. Shockingly, offensive line coaches are not going to share that information with Joe Q. Fan anytime soon either.

Why does any of this matter? If "it all starts up front" as coaches have been saying for decades, then getting a sense of how proficient an offensive line is at their job should mean quite a bit to the fantasy game.

Below you will find a team-by-team breakdown of the projected five starting linemen for each AFC team at their likely spots. As was the case last season, I am giving each starter and the starting group as a whole a run- and pass-blocking projected score to illuminate how I expect the lines to perform in 2024. At the end of next week's article, I will rank each team's offensive line (1 to 32) as a run-blocking unit, pass-blocking unit and by overall score.

As I did last season, I am including backup linemen. I am doing this to 1) illustrate the depth each team appears to have and 2) account for potential camp battles in which the "underdog" overtakes the "favorite." Pro Football Focus' run-blocking grade (RBG) from last season is included in the second-to-last column, while PFF's pass-blocking grade (PBG) from last season is in the last column.

Green box - Player graded 80 or higher in that particular discipline per PFF (100-point scale)
Blue box - Player graded between 70 or 79.9 in that particular discipline
Yellow box - Player graded between 60 or 69.9 in that particular discipline
Red box - Player graded 59.9 or lower in that particular discipline
Black box - Rookie or did not play in 2023

# - Rookie
- Currently injured

24 R-Rating - Projected run-blocking grade
24 P-Rating - Projected pass-blocking grade

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Ronnie Stanley 30 6 7 63 75.9
LG Andrew Vorhees 25 6 6
C Tyler Linderbaum 24 8 8 78.6 78.3
RG Ben Cleveland 25 6 7 62 80.7
RT Roger Rosengarten # 22 6 5
32 33
C Nick Samac # 22
G/T Josh Jones 26 52.2 55.8
C/G/T Patrick Mekari 26 72.1 63.1
T Daniel Faalele 24 50.5 43.6

Offensive line coach: Joe D'Alessandris (eighth season with Baltimore)

Cornerstone(s): Stanley, assuming he can stay healthy. Including the playoffs, Stanley played 15 games last season, which was easily his highest total since 2019. Linderbaum took a huge step forward as a pass blocker in his second season and may be close to being considered a top-five pivot in the league - if he is not there already.

Reason(s) for optimism: Mekari has logged significant snaps at every spot but left guard over five seasons in Baltimore and done so at a high level. He gives Baltimore some peace of mind should any one of the new guys get hurt or play poorly.

Potential question mark(s): Stanley's age and injury history. Mekari has played well when called upon to replace Stanley, but anyone else on this roster trying to play left tackle other than Stanley is a downgrade for the Ravens. While Cleveland also took a huge step forward as a pass blocker, injuries have limited him to a mere 633 snaps over his first three NFL seasons.

Reason(s) for concern: Only two holdovers from last year's starting five. G John Simpson (Jets), G Kevin Zeitler (Lions) and T Morgan Moses (Jets) bolted in free agency, putting Baltimore in a position where it will likely be forced to rely heavily on Cleveland and two players who have yet to play a NFL snap (Vorhees and Rosengarten). Vorhees would have likely been a Day 2 pick in the 2023 draft - instead of a seventh-rounder - had he not suffered a torn ACL during the NFL Scouting Combine, but the Ravens will need him to be good right out of the gate. Rosengarten needs to prove his sub-par performance against Michigan in the national championship was a bad day at the office and not an example of what will happen when matched up against NFL-caliber talent. Lamar Jackson will be able to mask some of his deficiencies, but Rosengarten is a below-average athlete.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Dion Dawkins 30 6 7 66.9 77.4
LG David Edwards 27 7 7 85.9 68
C Connor McGovern 26 5 7 44.5 73.8
RG O'Cyrus Torrence 24 6 5 58.1 48.2
RT Spencer Brown 26 7 7 73.3 66.5
31 33
C Sedrick Van Pran-Granger # 22
C/G Will Clapp 28 56.9 55.1
T La'el Collins 30
T Ryan Van Demark 26 64.4 27.2
T Tylan Grable # 22

Offensive line coach: Aaron Kromer (third season with Buffalo)

Cornerstone(s): Dawkins has been a fixture at left tackle in Buffalo for seven years and graded out well as a good pass blocker every season.

Reason(s) for optimism: Brown took a huge step forward in Year 3 and was consistently good in 2023 once he got a feel for new OC Joe Brady.

Potential question mark(s): The more run snaps McGovern has played, the more he has been exposed in that area. That is a huge problem for Buffalo if it intends to be a run-heavy team under Brady. Torrence probably does not deserve to be considered a question mark after one season, but he did not grade out well as a blocker in the run or pass game. (He was considered perhaps the best run-blocking guard in last year's draft.) Edwards was limited to 194 snaps in his first season as a Bill after playing 230 in his final season with the Rams in 2022.

Reason(s) for concern: Depth. Things could go south fast if Dawkins misses multiple games. Torrence's play seemed to drop off once Brady took over the offense. He was considered by many to be a first-round talent in 2023, so Buffalo desperately needs him to make a big jump in his second season. Clapp and Collins provide plenty of experience for the Bills, but their recent play (Clapp) and injury woes (Collins) with other teams make it unlikely either player will be of much good if Buffalo needs one or both to play multiple games.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Orlando Brown Jr. 28 6 7 57.1 66.6
LG Cordell Volson 25 5 5 64 46.7
C Ted Karras 31 6 7 64.2 69.6
RG Alex Cappa 29 6 6 67.3 58.6
RT Trent Brown 31 7 7 80.7 72.8
30 32
C Matt Lee # 23
G Cody Ford 27 58.1 41.5
G/T Jackson Carman 24 57.7 48.5
T Amarius Mims # 21

Offensive line coach: Frank Pollack (fourth season with Cincinnati)

Cornerstone(s): None.

Reason(s) for optimism: Georgia's coaching staff stated before the draft that Mims was the most gifted offensive pass protector in recent program history (presumably during the Kirby Smart era). Mims did not give up a sack on 402 pass-block snaps and should have time to adjust to the pro game playing behind Orlando and Trent Brown.

Potential question mark(s): When motivated and in good shape, Trent Brown is a very good right tackle. He should be very motivated on a contending team in 2024, but injuries have been a consistent thorn in his side for most of the last five seasons. While Mims was likely drafted to replace Brown in 2025, the Bengals' likely hope is that the rookie can be spoon-fed snaps in the early going. Another Trent Brown injury would likely squash those hopes quickly.

Reason(s) for concern: Volson has not shown a great deal of promise through two seasons. The problem is that Cincinnati does not have a great alternative on the roster if Volson gets hurt or fails to improve in 2024. Ford is a journeyman and Carmen has yet to establish himself at guard or center in three NFL seasons.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Jedrick Wills Jr. 25 5 6 54.5 60.1
LG Joel Bitonio 32 6 7 60.8 71
C Ethan Pocic 28 6 7 68 72.9
RG Wyatt Teller 29 7 7 74 67.3
RT Jack Conklin 29 6 7 71.7 78.9
30 34
C Brian Allen 28 66.5 79.8
G Zak Zinter # 23
G Michael Dunn 29 63 55.8
G Luke Wypler 23 65.9 54.5
T Dawand Jones 22 53.5 73

Offensive line coach: Andy Dickerson (first season with Cleveland)

Cornerstone(s): Despite their ages, Bitonio and Teller.

Reason(s) for optimism: Jones was one of the league's most pleasant surprises among rookie offensive linemen in 2023. The Browns are in good hands even if Conklin struggles to stay on the field again.

Potential question mark(s): Wills takes a regular beating from Cleveland's fans because he is either hurt (four missed games in 2021 and nine in 2023) or struggling in pass protection. Former OL coach Bill Callahan's exit probably is not going to help him with the latter, although we have seen occasions where the light comes on for a lineman in his walk year. Two of Conklin's last three seasons have been cut short due to injury. As he enters his age-30 season, it is fair to wonder if his body is starting to break down. Bitonio has been an iron man for seven straight years, but his play dipped a bit last season. He will turn 33 years of age in October.

Reason(s) for concern: The departure of Callahan - widely considered the best offensive line coach in the league - will hurt this team at some point. There is enough talent and depth on this line to predict the downturn will not happen in 2024, but folks should not expect this unit to be quite as dominant as it has been in years past.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Garett Bolles 32 6 8 64.3 83.8
LG Ben Powers 27 6 6 59.7 62.1
C Luke Wattenberg 26 5 4 61.7 33
RG Quinn Meinerz 25 8 7 88.7 67.8
RT Mike McGlinchey 29 7 6 74.8 63.5
32 31
C Sam Mustipher 27 67.1 61
G Nick Gargiulo # 23
G/T Quinn Bailey 28 42.5 79.3
G Calvin Throckmorton 27 41.1 57.8
T Matt Peart 26 34 55.8

Offensive line coach: Zach Strief (second season with Denver)

Cornerstone(s): Bolles' run-blocking prowess dropped off a bit in 2023, but he continued to grade out well as a pass blocker. While age is starting to become a concern, he is one piece Denver can feel good about heading into 2024.

Reason(s) for optimism: Meinerz's trajectory continues to move in the right direction, grading out as the top run-blocking guard in the league per PFF. He has displayed incremental progress as a pass blocker and could move into the discussion of the best guards in the league if he can decrease the number of pressures he allowed in 2023 (23).

Potential question mark(s): Powers has been a better pass blocker than a run blocker ever since he became a regular contributor in 2020, but his pass-blocking grade took a nosedive in 2023. How much of that had to do with Powers adjusting to the Broncos' offense after four years with the Ravens is anyone's guess. Regardless, Powers needs to be better as a player entering the second season of a four-year, $51.5 million deal.

Reason(s) for concern: Lloyd Cushenberry III came into his own at center in 2023, so his departure hurts. The Broncos have little choice but to hope Wattenberg overcomes his fifth-round draft pedigree (2022) and the fact he has managed to play a mere 129 steps through two seasons. He is easily the most likely of the starters to be benched. Mustipher has proven to be capable during his four-year NFL career when called upon at center, but quality depth at guard and tackle is lacking.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Laremy Tunsil 29 6 9 66.7 84.9
LG Kenyon Green 23 5 4
C Juice Scruggs 24 5 5 50.8 48.9
RG Shaq Mason 30 6 6 65.8 64.7
RT Tytus Howard 28 6 6 49.6 38.9
28 30
C Jarrett Patterson 24 62.9 53.7
G Kendrick Green 25 56.3 69.9
G/T LaDarius Henderson # 22
T Charlie Heck 27 56.3 39.3
T Blake Fisher # 23

Offensive line coach: Chris Strausser (second season with Houston)

Cornerstone(s): Tunsil has been among the top pass blockers in the league for the better part of the last five or six seasons. As Houston continues to evolve into one of the best offenses in the league (thus reducing the number of obvious passing situations the team finds itself in) and his fellow linemen stay reasonably healthy, Tunsil could be in for his best season yet.

Reason(s) for optimism: Howard mostly lined up at left guard in 2021 and moved out to right tackle in 2022 for going back to left guard in 2023. He was struggling through his worst season as a pro before going down for the season in Week 12. Following the Texans' selection of Fisher in the second round, Howard could move back to left guard at some point if Kenyon Green continues to struggle. If the Texans can ever leave him at one spot for more than one year, Howard could be a very solid pro. Perhaps Fisher's arrival will allow that to happen.

Potential question mark(s): Fisher is listed as a question mark only because he is a bit on the raw side. There is a decent chance he would have been a top-20 pick in next year's draft had he stayed at Notre Dame, so Houston (and Fisher) may experience growing pains as he irons things out if he cracks the starting lineup this year.

Reason(s) for concern: Very little went right for Scruggs as a rookie. He got hurt before the start of the season and was not able to make his debut until around Thanksgiving. For now, it might be wise to give him a pass on 2023 since he was out for so long, but it is also not encouraging he showed minimal progress across nine games.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Bernhard Raimann 26 7 8 74.6 81.3
LG Quenton Nelson 28 6 8 63.4 80.3
C Ryan Kelly 31 7 7 75.2 78.3
RG Will Fries 26 5 5 59.7 65.4
RT Braden Smith 28 7 8 90.1 71
32 36
C Wesley French 27 47.5 56.7
C/G Tanor Bortolini # 21
T Blake Freeland 23 47.6 42.6
T Matt Goncalves # 23

Offensive line coach: Tony Sparano Jr. (second season with Indianapolis)

Cornerstone(s): Raimann may already be in the discussion as a top 10 left tackle in the league. Nelson's run blocking over the last three seasons has fallen off from his first three, but he returned to his earlier form as a pass blocker last season. Smith does not receive a lot of publicity for his standout play, but he is about as good as it gets at right tackle in the league.

Reason(s) for optimism: While he missed some time early last season, Kelly enjoyed his best year since the Colts drafted him in 2016.

Potential question mark(s): Fries has yet to show much upside entering his fourth season, although that is hardly surprising for a 2021 seventh-round draft choice. Bortolini is a center by trade, but versatility is one of his calling cards. His selection might have been made with upgrading Fries in mind.

Reason(s) for concern: Indianapolis should feel good about its depth at center and tackle, leaving quality depth at guard as the Colts' only glaring weakness up front after Fries.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Cam Robinson 28 5 7 51 78.8
LG Ezra Cleveland 26 6 6 60.4 57.4
C Mitch Morse 32 5 7 61.5 72.5
RG Brandon Scherff 32 5 7 61.1 78.7
RT Anton Harrison 22 5 6 45.8 60.7
26 33
C Luke Fortner 26 40 54.9
G/C Tyler Shatley 33 44.6 51.3
G/T Walker Little 25 53.8 62.6
G/T Javon Foster # 24

Offensive line coach: Phil Rauscher (third season with Jacksonville)

Cornerstone(s): None.

Reason(s) for optimism: Morse gives Jacksonville the kind of quality pivot it has lacked since Brandon Linder enjoyed his last healthy season for the Jaguars in 2019. Even as the Jaguars' season was coming off the rails near the end, Harrison came on as a pass blocker late in his rookie year.

Potential question mark(s): Scherff bounced back from a rough 2022 campaign last year, but his run blocking in Jacksonville has not been at the same level as it was in Washington. At age 32, this may be who he is now. Robinson has missed multiple games in six of seven seasons and was sidelined for eight last year. He is a league-average left tackle as it is, but he is unfortunately the best option Jacksonville has at the spot by a fair margin.

Reason(s) for concern: No Jacksonville lineman has graded out higher than 61.1 as a run blocker in either of the last two seasons. Cleveland graded out much higher than that (72.8) in Minnesota before his midseason trade to the Jags, but that level of play is nowhere close to good enough. Little is a capable swing tackle, but that is about all the depth the Jaguars have on the offensive line. Jacksonville also did not do much to address the line in free agency of the draft, so the same issues that grounded this offense late last season could easily happen again in 2024.

 Kansas City
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Wanya Morris 23 5 7 47.1 63.4
LG Joe Thuney 31 6 8 65.8 84.5
C Creed Humphrey 24 8 8 84.1 74.3
RG Trey Smith 24 7 7 76.2 68.1
RT Jawaan Taylor 26 5 6 42.6 64.6
31 36
C/G Hunter Nourzad # 23
G C.J. Hanson # 23
T Lucas Niang 25 48.4 56.5
T Kingsley Suamataia # 21

Offensive line coach: Andy Heck (12th season with Kansas City)

Cornerstone(s): With Jason Kelce heading into retirement, Humphrey is definitely in contention for being the top center in the league. Thuney is on the shortlist of the best guards in the league as well.

Reason(s) for optimism: Smith was a first- or second-round talent who was drafted in the sixth round in 2021 due to a health scare in college (blood clots in his lungs). The Chiefs' willingness to take a gamble on his talent continues to pay dividends. While he is not quite among the elite guards in the NFL, he is safely inside the top third or so.

Potential question mark(s): Morris will probably at least match what Donovan Smith did at left tackle in 2023 and has the athleticism to be good there one day, but inconsistency figures to haunt him in his first full season as a starter following an up-and-down rookie campaign. He is set to battle second-round selection Suamataia to protect Patrick Mahomes' blind side.

Reason(s) for concern: Taylor did not come anywhere close to justifying the four-year, $80 million contract he received from the Chiefs last offseason. Perhaps we can blame it on his first season in Kansas City, but he has steadily regressed after proving to be a quick study as a rookie in Jacksonville in 2019. The Chiefs drafted three rookies to replace some of the key reserves they lost in free agency this spring. Of that bunch, only Suamataia is probably anywhere close to ready. In short, depth is an issue.

 Las Vegas
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Kolton Miller 28 7 8 73.3 79.3
LG Dylan Parham 24 6 5 57.6 61.8
C Andre James 27 6 7 75 71.2
RG Jackson Powers-Johnson # 21 5 5
RT Thayer Munford Jr. 24 7 6 80.4 59.2
31 31
G Jordan Meredith 26 60.1 56.7
C/G Cody Whitehair 31 42.4 55
G/T Andrus Peat 30 62.1 54.5
T DJ Glaze # 21

Offensive line coach: James Cregg (first season with Las Vegas)

Cornerstone(s): Miller did not quite play at the same level in 2023 that he did the previous two years, but he is still one of the best left tackles in the game.

Reason(s) for optimism: James finally had the kind of season that former HC Jon Gruden believed was possible, finishing as one of seven centers who managed to score above 70 in both run- and pass-blocking grades in 2023. Powers-Johnson was considered one of the best centers in April's draft and excelled there in his final season at Oregon, but he also graded out well at right guard the year before. While there is sure to be a transition phase for him, he should end up being a solid long-term starter there and give the Raiders a nice fallback option should James miss time.

Potential question mark(s): Munford might be on the verge of putting it all together. He excelled as a run blocker in 2023 after faring well as a pass blocker as a rookie the year before. The problem is he has been average at best in the "other" area each season, failing to reach a 60-point grade as a pass blocker last season and as a run blocker in 2022.

Reason(s) for concern: Entering his third season, Parham's status as a starter is probably the most tenuous of the five players listed as starters above, although the Raiders did well to bring in quality veteran options such as Whitehair and Peat through free agency.

 LA Chargers
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Rashawn Slater 25 7 8 59.5 84.7
LG Zion Johnson 24 6 6 57.2 58.8
C Bradley Bozeman 29 6 6 67.5 48.9
RG Jamaree Salyer 23 6 7 49.4 61.2
RT Joe Alt # 21 6 7
31 34
C/G Brenden Jaimes 25 39.8 71.1
G Jordan McFadden 24 49.5 54
T Trey Pipkins III 27 50.3 67.3
T Foster Sarell 25 45.9 51.6

Offensive line coach: Mike Devlin (first season with Los Angeles)

Cornerstone(s): Even though he struggled a bit as a run blocker in 2023, Slater is still one of the best left tackles in the NFL. Alt may not be the greatest fit as a right tackle and may be in for some rough spots as a rookie after playing left tackle in all three of his seasons at Notre Dame, but the odds are very good he will eventually emerge as a top 10 player at his position before long.

Reason(s) for optimism: A player being bumped out of the starting lineup is rarely a reason for optimism, but teams rarely have the luxury of sending a capable tackle with 3,000-plus snaps on his resume to the bench. Such is the case with Pipkins, which gives the Chargers some enviable depth at an important position.

Potential question mark(s): Salyer and Johnson are both good players whose NFL careers have not quite taken off yet. In the case of Johnson, it is more surprising given his incredible athleticism and first-round draft pedigree. Both players will be helped by playing next to stud tackles such as Slater and Alt. If Bozeman blends in well with his new team, then this offensive line has the potential to be great.

Reason(s) for concern: The Chargers did well to find a capable center to replace Linsley, who announced his retirement due to a heart issue. The problem is Bozeman has only enjoyed one great year in six NFL seasons. While it is possible he can get back to that level with the talent Los Angeles has up front, it is not a given. Despite limited action through three NFL seasons (264 snaps), Jaimes has proven to be a decent reserve in the pivot, so the Chargers at least have a fallback option.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Terron Armstead 32 7 8 72.6 79.5
LG Isaiah Wynn 28 5 6 43.2 67.5
C Aaron Brewer 26 6 5 78.7 52.5
RG Robert Jones 25 6 5 62.3 49.3
RT Austin Jackson 25 6 6 69.5 62.3
30 30
C/G Liam Eichenberg 26 49.1 43.2
G Lester Cotton 28 45.4 57.2
G/T Jack Driscoll 27 37.2 58.6
T Kendall Lamm 32 55.3 67.1
T Patrick Paul # 23

Offensive line coach: Butch Barry (second season in Miami)

Cornerstone(s): While he has yet to play a full season in 11 years in the league due to injuries, Armstead is a rock on the left side.

Reason(s) for optimism: Paul was likely drafted with an eye on being Armstead's long-term replacement and will have the benefit of learning from one of the best (Armstead is said to love tutoring young linemen).

Potential question mark(s): Jackson enjoyed easily his best season since he was drafted by Miami in 2020 and deserves the benefit of the doubt after playing so little in 2022. There is a distinct possibility he found his home at right tackle, but he struggled enough at left tackle and left guard in his first two years to reserve judgment. The Dolphins also have some quality depth in Cotton and Lamm, but neither player is someone Miami wants to give 500-plus snaps to again in 2024.

Reason(s) for concern: The loss of RG Robert Hunt to Carolina in free agency stings for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that Miami lacks a player that can adequately replace him. Wynn is capable of being a solid guard, but that is a lot different than having a player who played at a Pro Bowl level over the last two seasons. While the Dolphins landed a decent free-agent center in Brewer, he will likely be a noticeable drop-off from Connor Williams, who is still a free agent after suffering a "pretty significant" ACL tear on Dec. 11.

 New England
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Chukwuma Okorafor 26 5 5 62.6 60.7
LG Cole Strange 25 6 6 66.2 57.7
C David Andrews 31 7 6 78 51.2
RG Sidy Sow 26 7 6 71.3 46.3
RT Mike Onwenu 26 7 7 72.2 68
32 30
C/G Nick Leverett 27
C/G Jake Andrews 24 60.8 34.2
G Atonio Mafi 23 39.9 27.7
G/T Layden Robinson # 23
T Caedan Wallace # 24

Offensive line coach: Scott Peters (first season with New England)

Cornerstone(s): Onwenu may not be on anyone's top 10 right tackle list, but the 26-year-old has played well enough at right guard (2022) and right tackle (2023) to be a piece New England can build around up front.

Reason(s) for optimism: Sow is a ridiculously smooth mover at 6-5 and 324 pounds, which is reflected in his 71.3 run-blocking grade as a rookie. As he enters Year 2 of his transition from Eastern Michigan to the NFL, his pass-blocking grade should increase as well. As long as that happens, the Patriots can feel good about him.

Potential question mark(s): Andrews' pass blocking was the worst it has been in eight NFL seasons last year, which raises the question if his skills are declining as he enters his age-32 season. Strange was unable to build on his solid rookie season and is now expected to miss as much as the first half of the upcoming season with a knee injury, which will likely force either Leverett or fourth-round rookie Robinson into the lineup at right guard (Sow will move over to the left side).

Reason(s) for concern: Although Okorafor has been a reasonably good tackle throughout his six seasons as a pro, he could be in for a rude awakening on the left side (two career snaps at left tackle) after playing the bulk of his career on the right side in Pittsburgh (3,974). While his arrival keeps Onwenu at right tackle and is better than any other option New England had at left tackle, Okorafor is not in the same class as the man he replaces (Trent Brown), at least when the latter is healthy and motivated. There is also very little in the way of good or proven depth at every spot.

 N.Y. Jets
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Tyron Smith 33 6 8 68.4 89.3
LG John Simpson 26 6 6 57.2 59.2
C Joe Tippmann 23 7 6 67.4 52.7
RG Alijah Vera-Tucker 24 7 6 82.7 56.8
RT Morgan Moses 33 7 7 80.3 77
33 33
C/G Wes Schweitzer 30 47 60
G/T Max Mitchell 24 49.4 47.5
T Olu Fashanu 21
T Carter Warren 25 49.9 45.5

Offensive line coach: Keith Carter (second season with New York)

Cornerstone(s): Vera-Tucker is the closest thing the Jets have to a foundational piece, although it is concerning he has not made much progress as a run blocker in three years. Playing next to someone as good as Smith and not being asked to play multiple spots should help his cause immensely, however.

Reason(s) for optimism: It is hard to overstate how much of an upgrade Smith and Moses should be over what the Jets have become accustomed to at tackle. Both are older (33) and at least Smith is likely to break down during the season if history is any indication, but New York made a smart and necessary investment in their present and future by drafting Olu Fashanu in the first round in April. Fashanu may not be ready for the big time in Week 1, but New York will be doing whatever it can to get him prepared to take over for Smith in 2025.

Potential question mark(s): The only reason that Tippmann is listed here is because he is entering his second NFL season after playing his first one with a dreadful offense. He graded out well for a rookie given the circumstances, so the 2023 second-rounder could easily be considered a strong breakout candidate this year with the upgrades New York made this spring.

Reason(s) for concern: Simpson is probably the weakest link on the Jets' overhauled line, but he should be at least a small upgrade from what Laken Tomlinson gave the team at left guard in 2023. Set to turn 27 years of age in August, Simpson is at least a younger option (Tomlinson turned 32 in February). The interior depth is a bit lacking, but New York is probably in better shape with its backups at guard and tackle at least half of the teams in the league.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Broderick Jones 23 6 6 61.2 47.6
LG Isaac Seumalo 30 7 7 73.1 66.4
C Zach Frazier # 22 6 5
RG James Daniels 26 6 6 58.6 60.5
RT Troy Fautanu # 23 6 5
31 29
C/G Nate Herbig 29 71.9 48.5
G Mason McCormick # 24
G Spencer Anderson 24 60
T Dan Moore Jr. 25 60.5 42.1

Offensive line coach: Pat Meyer (third season with Pittsburgh)

Cornerstone(s): Seumalo was a standout in his first season with Pittsburgh after earning a big deal from the Steelers following a solid 2022 campaign with the Eagles. Even at 30 years old, he figures to be a key contributor on this line for at least two more years.

Reason(s) for optimism: The rebuild may not be complete yet, but it is getting close. Four-fifths of the projected starting offensive line is 23 years old or younger and that assumes Fautanu is a Week 1 starter. Jones, Frazier and Fautanu all possess immense upside and should be considered the long-term answers at left tackle, center and right tackle, respectively. Assuming Moore loses the left tackle job to Jones, Moore would give the Steelers one of the best swing tackles in the league - one who logged more than 3,000 snaps in his first three seasons.

Potential question mark(s): Daniels is coming off the worst of his six years as a pro. At age 26, it is possible he just needed Pittsburgh to give him some more talent to work next to each week. With that said, he is the weakest link on the offensive line now, and it does not help his cause that his run blocking - which will be important in new OC Arthur Smith's offense - has been mostly average since joining the Steelers two years ago.

Reason(s) for concern: The guard play after Seumalo. McCormick joins the roster after he was drafted in the fourth round out of South Dakota State in the spring. If he makes a quick transition to the pros, then the Steelers should have one capable backup at each of the three spots. Either way, the o-line depth in Pittsburgh is better than it has been in some time.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT JC Latham # 21 7 5
LG Peter Skoronski 22 6 7 58.6 63.5
C Lloyd Cushenberry III 26 7 7 72.4 76.4
RG Daniel Brunskill 30 6 6 62.5 67.7
RT Dillon Radunz 26 6 6 78.7 59.7
32 31
C X'Zauvea Gadlin # 24
G Andrew Rupcich 25 54.9 68.6
G Saahdiq Charles 24 55.4 53.9
T Jaelyn Duncan 23 41.5 29.2
T Nicholas Petit-Frere 24 55.4 27.8

Offensive line coach: Bill Callahan (first season with Tennessee)

Cornerstone(s): Skoronski may not have enjoyed a Quenton Nelson-like rookie season, but he could eventually enjoy a somewhat similar early-career arc as Tennessee continues to fix what was probably the worst offensive line in the league last year.

Reason(s) for optimism: Latham is considered about as good of a prospect as the Chargers' Joe Alt. While he could struggle with speed rushers early, it would be a surprise if the No. 7 overall pick does not shore up that weakness quickly. At 6-6 and 342 pounds with good feet, he should be a mauler in the run game almost immediately. Cushenberry is coming off easily his best season as a pro with the Broncos and serves as a huge upgrade over Aaron Brewer. Over the course of the last two offseasons, the Titans have likely solidified the left side of their line long-term. The addition of Callahan cannot be overstated either. This offensive line will be exponentially better in 2024 simply because he is coaching them.

Potential question mark(s): Brunskill graded out reasonably well given the circumstances in Tennessee last year. He will be 30 1/2 years old at the start of this season and seems unlikely to get much help from right tackle Radunz, who became a much better run blocker in 2023 but dropped off dramatically as a pass blocker.

Reason(s) for concern: Radunz is less of a concern than he was a year ago, but he is the one starter whose seat is hot. Petit-Frere could end making starts if the North Dakota State product is unable to take a big step forward. Four of the five reserves mentioned above played somewhat significant snaps for Tennessee (or were expected to in Petit-Frere's case), but all of the depth is young and mostly unproven.

Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and has appeared as a guest analyst on several national sports radio shows and podcasts, including Sirius XM's Fantasy Drive, FantasyPros and RealTime Fantasy Sports. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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