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The Big Uglies - NFC

Preseason Matchup Analysis

By Doug Orth | 6/17/24 |

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 the public at large 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 NFC team at their likely spots. Here is the link to each AFC team's breakdown from last week. 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 this article, I rank each team's offensive line 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 Paris Johnson Jr. 22 6 7 55.1 64.2
LG Evan Brown 27 6 6 57.2 59.1
C Hjalte Froholdt 27 7 6 67.4 61.1
RG Will Hernandez 28 6 7 60.6 70.2
RT Jonah Williams 26 6 6 54 57.9
31 32
C/G Trystan Colon 26 55.5 69.2
G Elijah Wilkinson 29 57.5 40.7
G/T Isaiah Adams # 23
T Kelvin Beachum 35 51.7 67.6
T Christian Jones # 24

Offensive line coach: Klayton Adams (second season with Arizona)

Cornerstone(s): Johnson enjoyed a strong three-game stretch at the end of his rookie season, perhaps reinforcing Arizona's belief in him as the long-term answer at left tackle. While there figures to be a learning curve on the left side after playing all 1,129 of his snaps on the right side as a rookie, there is a reason he was the No. 6 overall pick - and first lineman off the board - in 2023.

Reason(s) for optimism: Williams steadily declined after a very good first two seasons in Cincinnati and was probably unhappy for most of 2023 after playing right tackle for the first time since his freshman season at Alabama in 2016. Arizona plans to keep him at right tackle and move Johnson to the left side, but the team is probably content to have a player four years younger than D.J. Humphries manning one of the tackle spots even if he is not an upgrade. Froholdt accounted well for himself in his first full year as a NFL center and should only get better the longer he plays the position.

Potential question mark(s): Williams may be a reason for optimism, but he is a question mark as well. Fortunately, Arizona has the luxury of turning to 35-year-old Beachum if Williams is unable to live up to the Cardinals' belief in him (two years, $30 million).

Reason(s) for concern: Brown is a much better lineman than Wilkinson - last year's snap leader at left guard - but there is likely a bit of concern with the former entering the season after playing a mere 72 snaps at that specific position during his five-year NFL career. He arguably is much more valuable to the team as a reserve and could end up doing just that if Adams - a third-round pick this spring - can adapt quickly at guard. The problem with that is more of a natural tackle (and built like one) at 6-5 and 315 pounds.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Jake Matthews 32 6 8 60.2 80.1
LG Matthew Bergeron 24 6 6 59.6 57.1
C Drew Dalman 25 8 6 90 53.0
RG Chris Lindstrom 27 9 8 87.5 78.6
RT Kaleb McGary 29 7 7 76.5 69.5
36 35
C Ryan Neuzil 26 56.2 59.1
G Kyle Hinton 26 54.5 79.2
T Tyler Vrabel 22 62.1 71.6
T Storm Norton 30 66.4 69.3

Offensive line coach: Dwayne Ledford (fourth season with Atlanta)

Cornerstone(s): The Falcons are in good shape with Matthews and McGary holding down the tackle spots and Lindstrom on the short list of best guards in the league.

Reason(s) for optimism: Bergeron was considered one of the best run-blockers in the 2023 draft class. While that did not exactly manifest itself in his rookie season, he is such a powerful force that it is likely to happen soon. An adjustment period should have been anticipated after playing a mere four snaps at guard during his four-year college career at Syracuse.

Potential question mark(s): It is a small question mark since he is so good as a run blocker, but it is mildly concerning that Dalman has struggled so much as a pass blocker over three NFL seasons now that Atlanta figures to throw the ball more often.

Reason(s) for concern: Depth. Atlanta enjoyed reasonably good health on the offensive line in 2023, but there is a concerning lack of depth at every spot. Norton played well when needed while McGary was sidelined last year, but he is the only reserve who has logged significant NFL snaps. It is also worth noting that none of the four listed reserves was drafted.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Ikem Ekwonu 23 7 7 77 62.3
LG Damien Lewis 27 6 6 57.9 63.0
C Austin Corbett 28 6 7 51 44.5
RG Robert Hunt 27 7 7 74.7 74.4
RT Taylor Moton 29 6 8 65.6 78.1
32 35
G/T Brady Christensen 27 57.5 51.4
G Cade Mays 25 71.2 43.0
G Chandler Zavala 25 41.5 7.1
T Yosh Nijman 28 57.7 59.3

Offensive line coach: Joe Gilbert (first season with Carolina)

Cornerstone(s): Hunt had better be a cornerstone after the Panthers inked him to a five-year deal worth $100 million. He is worth betting on, however, after consistently grading out as a very good run- and pass-blocker over his four-year stay with the Dolphins. (Carolina used seven players at right guard in 2023.) Moton has been a fixture at right tackle since 2018 and might be a more well-known commodity if Carolina had posted a winning record at any point since he became a regular starter.

Reason(s) for optimism: Ekwonu's career has not taken off as one might have expected when he was the No. 6 overall pick in 2022, but it is important to remember how chaotic things have been in Carolina over the last two-plus seasons. He will not turn 24 years of age until Halloween and began showing signs of putting it together near the end of last season. Lewis arrives from Seattle and should have no problem upgrading left guard - a spot that Carolina used six players to fill after Christiansen was lost for the season in Week 1.

Potential question mark(s): Corbett's 2023 campaign was destined for failure after he tore his ACL in the season finale of the 2022 season. He played in only four games last year before he underwent season-ending surgery on the same knee. Christensen is listed as the backup center and has displayed his versatility since arriving in Carolina in 2021, but he never took a snap at the pivot in college and has yet to do so as a pro.

Reason(s) for concern: Corbett needs to stay healthy. No one else listed above has taken a NFL snap at center.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Braxton Jones 25 7 7 68.2 70.8
LG Teven Jenkins 26 7 7 71.7 68.6
C Ryan Bates 27 7 6 77.2 70.8
RG Nate Davis 27 6 5 55.3 47.9
RT Darnell Wright 22 7 6 66 61.4
34 31
C/G Coleman Shelton 28 74.6 49.2
G/T Larry Borom 25 50.4 45.2
G/T Kiran Amegadjie # 22
G/T Matt Pryor 29 87.7 80.8

Offensive line coach: Chris Morgan (third season with Chicago)

Cornerstone(s): Chicago appears to have struck gold with its fifth-round selection of Jones in 2022, although he took a slight step back in 2023. How much of that was a result of Justin Fields holding the ball as long as he did is up for debate. Either way, Jones appears entrenched as the long-term left tackle for the Bears. Wright, who will turn 23 in August, could emerge as one of the best right tackles in the league as early as this season after holding up well as a rookie.

Reason(s) for optimism: Jenkins took a bit of a step back in 2023 but is in no danger of losing his job at left guard. While he will not be the answer at tackle that Chicago wanted him to be in 2021, he appears to have found his long-term home. Bates was a depth piece in Buffalo that the Bears have been eyeing for a couple of years. Last year's grades came on only 35 snaps, but he has consistently graded out well as a run- and pass-blocker across 1,692 snaps in five NFL seasons. He should be a noticeable upgrade over Lucas Patrick. Chicago also has a capable reserve at center and tackle with ex-Ram Shelton and Borom, respectively.

Potential question mark(s): Davis bottomed out in 2023 after earning a three-year deal worth $30 million last offseason. He performed well enough over his two final years as a Titan to believe last season was an expected bump in the road for a player on a bad offense, but it does not bode well for him that his drop-off was so significant.

Reason(s) for concern: If Jenkins and Davis play well and stay healthy, Chicago should be fine at guard. If the duo repeats 2023 from a performance perspective and Jenkins cannot stay healthy, the Bears could be in trouble. Backup guard Ja'Tyre Carter has yet to distinguish himself after logging only 206 snaps in two pro seasons and may not make the team, while Pryor's NFL existence (42 snaps in 2023 with the 49ers) has produced mostly mixed results.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Tyler Guyton # 23 5 5
LG Tyler Smith 23 7 7 80.7 70.2
C Cooper Beebe # 23 6 5
RG Zack Martin 33 6 7 62.3 75.1
RT Terence Steele 27 6 5 56.5 48.9
30 29
C/G Brock Hoffman 24 54.3 57.0
G T.J. Bass 25 54.2 54.9
G/T Chuma Edoga 27 56.8 63.7
T Asim Richards 23 63 63.9
T Nathan Thomas # 22

Offensive line coach: Mike Solari (second season with Dallas)

Cornerstone(s): Tyler Smith was drafted in 2022 to be Tyron Smith's successor, but he has played so well at left guard that he will likely remain there for the foreseeable future. While Martin is no longer the dominant force he once was as he enters his age-34 season, he is still an above-average right guard.

Reason(s) for optimism: Guyton projects as a high-level pass protector long-term. Although there is virtually no chance he matches the standard Tyron Smith set any time before 2026, he should be much more dependable than the 33-year-old veteran who has played no more than 13 games in any year since 2015.

Potential question mark(s): Martin cannot afford to look or feel his age this season in what appears to be a transition year for this offensive line. Especially after losing Tyler Biadasz in the pivot to free agency, Dallas can ill afford to lose its rock next to him - regardless of whether Beebe or Hoffman wins the center job. Steele failed to follow up on his breakout 2022 campaign, giving up eight sacks and a career-high 56 pressures. With Martin likely needed to help Hoffman or Beebe, Dallas cannot afford Steele to struggle again. The Cowboys also lack the tackle depth to replace Steele if he is unable to rediscover his 2022 form.

Reason(s) for concern: Hoffman is a former undrafted free agent in 2022 who saw his first pro snaps last season. It would be unrealistic to expect him to perform at the same level as Biadasz, and it is certainly possible he will end up losing his job to Beebe by November - if not sooner.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Taylor Decker 29 6 8 73.9 79.4
LG Graham Glasgow 31 7 6 82.1 54.8
C Frank Ragnow 28 8 7 91.3 70.3
RG Kevin Zeitler 34 6 7 62.4 82.3
RT Penei Sewell 23 9 8 95.1 79.2
36 36
C Michael Niese 26
G Kayode Awosika 25 60.5 46.0
G/T Giovanni Manu # 23
G/T Christian Mahogany # 23

Offensive line coach: Hank Fraley (fifth season with Detroit)

Cornerstone(s): Decker, Ragnow and Sewell. Decker has been a consistently great left tackle since before HC Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes arrived on the scene in 2021. Ragnow was incredibly beat up at the end of last season and still enjoyed his finest year as a pro. No tackle in the NFL graded out higher last season than Sewell. He saved his best games for the playoffs, posting overall grades of 90-plus against the Buccaneers and 49ers.

Reason(s) for optimism: Jonah Jackson and Halapoulivaati Vaitai were not bad at their jobs by any means, but they have been the weakest links on what has otherwise been a dominant line at times. Both have struggled to stay healthy in recent years. Durability has not been a problem for Zeitler, who continues to churn out one good season after another despite turning 34 in March. The end is coming soon for him, but he should be a noticeable upgrade on Jackson for at least the upcoming season.

Potential question mark(s): Glasgow has been more Mr. Versatility than a standout starter for most of his eight-year NFL career. It would appear he is locked into a starting job at left guard entering 2024, but it should not come as a surprise that opponents will view him as the weak link on a line that features four players capable of earning Pro Bowl or All-Pro honors.

Reason(s) for concern: Losing Jackson to the Rams in free agency and not re-signing Vaitai is forcing Glasgow into the lineup and has created a situation where the team lacks depth at just about every spot. Manu is an interesting project, but he needs time to develop after playing his college football in Canada. Niese, who has yet to take a NFL snap despite being in the league since 2022, is listed as Ragnow's backup. Colby Sorsdal struggled mightily as a rookie and could be cut if Detroit goes with nine linemen, while Awosika has not shown much in part-time action since 2021.

 Green Bay
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Rasheed Walker 24 6 6 56.3 74.7
LG Elgton Jenkins 28 6 7 56.4 78.3
C Josh Myers 25 5 6 53.2 55.7
RG Jordan Morgan # 22 5 5
RT Zach Tom 25 8 8 81.2 72.3
30 32
C/G Jacob Monk # 23
G Sean Rhyan 23 50.8 42.5
G/T Royce Newman 26 43.3 52.2
G/T Travis Glover # 23
T Andre Dillard 28 56.6 47.4

Offensive line coach: Luke Butkus (third season with Green Bay)

Cornerstone(s): Jenkins battled through knee pain throughout 2023, resulting in the worst of his five pro seasons. His knee issues were probably the key reason his run-blocking grade was a career-low 56.4. Jenkins' versatility figures to keep him in Green Bay long-term. Tom impressed in limited duty as a rookie and parlayed that into a starting right tackle job in 2023. There is some thought within the organization that the 25-year-old has Hall of Fame potential at center, so a move inside could happen in 2024 if Myers struggles and Morgan shows he can handle right tackle. Needless to say, the Packers believe he will be a foundational piece somewhere across their offensive line.

Reason(s) for optimism: One of the reasons Green Bay may feel emboldened to move Tom inside is because Morgan was drafted to replace David Bakhtiari. Walker accounted for himself nicely at left tackle last year as Bakhtiari struggled to get on the field.

Potential question mark(s): Myers has yet to distinguish himself in three NFL seasons. Green Bay used a fifth-round pick on Monk, but he played much more guard at Duke.

Reason(s) for concern: Tom suffered a torn pec in April, which makes him highly questionable for the start of the season. The Packers' top Week 1 option if he is not ready could be Dillard, who has been a colossal disappointment as a pro. It may be too much to ask for Morgan to start right away at tackle and he may be needed at guard anyway. In short, if Tom is not ready and Morgan has not earned enough trust by the opener, Green Bay could be in huge trouble on the right side.

 LA Rams
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Alaric Jackson 25 6 6 59.5 68.3
LG Jonah Jackson 27 7 6 60.3 60.7
C Steve Avila 24 6 7 56 65.0
RG Kevin Dotson 27 7 8 88.4 66.8
RT Rob Havenstein 32 7 6 85.6 66.9
33 33
C/G Beaux Limmer # 23
G/T KT Leveston # 24
G/T Joe Noteboom 28 48.9 51.6
T Warren McClendon Jr. 23 57 45.0

Offensive line coach: Ryan Wendell (second season with Los Angeles)

Cornerstone(s): Avila and Dotson. Avila was an iron man at left guard as a rookie last year and held up well. Once the opportunity arose for the team to add Jonah Jackson, the Rams decided to take advantage of Avila's versatility and move him back to center - a position he logged more than 1,000 snaps while at TCU. It would be a stunner if he does not become one of the top 5-10 pivots in the league over the next couple of seasons. Listing Dotson as a cornerstone after one great season with the Rams is questionable, but he is likely viewed as such in LA. He took a huge step forward as a run blocker and was a key reason why the Rams' transition to more of a power-running attack worked out so well.

Reason(s) for optimism: While Jonah Jackson-Avila may not be an upgrade over Avila-Brian Allen, Allen's availability has been a hit-or-miss proposition in recent years. Solely from the standpoint of durability and availability, the Rams likely upgraded the interior of their line.

Potential question mark(s): Havenstein has been a steady presence at right tackle over his nine-year tenure with the Rams. He is coming off one of his best years, but some decline should be expected soon from the 6-8 and 330-pounder who turned 32 in mid-May. Alaric Jackson held up well at left tackle despite emerging as something of a surprise starter over Noteboom last summer, but he is probably the weakest link of the front five right now. Patience should be exercised, however, as 2023 was his first extended work at left tackle since college.

Reason(s) for concern: Depth across the line figures to be a concern. Allen (Cleveland) and Coleman Shelton (Chicago) left in free agency, taking away the two men who have snapped the ball to Matthew Stafford an overwhelming majority of the time since he arrived in 2021. Limmer - the team's sixth-round draft choice this spring - is expected to be Avila's primary backup. Noteboom has seemingly settled in as a swing tackle capable of playing guard, but injuries and inconsistency have plagued him throughout his six-year stay in LA.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Christian Darrisaw 25 8 8 73.9 85.3
LG Dalton Risner 28 5 6 50 67.4
C Garrett Bradbury 28 6 5 65.5 56.8
RG Ed Ingram 25 6 6 59.1 60.9
RT Brian O'Neill 28 7 7 71.7 73.4
32 32
C/G Michael Jurgens # 24
G/T Blake Brandel 27 63.8 52.2
T David Quessenberry 33 57.2 68.3
T Walter Rouse # 23

Offensive line coach: Chris Kuper (third season with Minnesota)

Cornerstone(s): Darrisaw is already one of the best left tackles in the league at age 25. O'Neill is arguably a top-10 right tackle as well.

Reason(s) for optimism: It feels like a bit of a stretch to say a sixth-round draft choice like Rouse is "reason for optimism," but there is a decent chance he ends up being a decent swing tackle for a team that has not had one of those very often in the Kevin O'Connell era.

Potential question mark(s): Risner was arguably Minnesota's best interior offensive lineman after joining the team during the season. The team ended up bringing him back in May, but there is also a reason why he was on the open market for as long as he was. Ingram and Brandel have yet to show much at either guard spot, which becomes a real problem when the center is not superhuman.

Reason(s) for concern: Bradbury had the best season of his career in 2022 but was mostly average last season. His pass blocking has typically been a weak spot, which is an issue in an O'Connell offense. The 29-year-old (in mid-June) does not have any legitimate competition for his job and has two years remaining on his contract, so Minnesota is probably stuck with him until the end of the 2025 season.

 New Orleans
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Taliese Fuaga # 22 6 5
G Nick Saldiveri 23 5 5 59.9 32.2
C Erik McCoy 26 7 6 89.4 59.3
RG Cesar Ruiz 25 5 6 46.3 58.3
RT Trevor Penning 25 5 6 49 60.8
28 28
C/G Lucas Patrick 30 61.6 40.6
G/T Olisaemeka Udoh 27 50.5 49.8
T Landon Young 26 51.1 45.9
T Josiah Ezirim # 23

Offensive line coach: John Benton (first season with New Orleans)

Cornerstone(s): Although it is unfair to ask him to be one, Fuaga will need to be the foundational piece of this offensive line. He has the talent to be a 10-year anchor at left tackle - that much is not in question. The problem is Penning - the Saints' 2022 first-rounder - has been a massive disappointment at left tackle. McCoy has been a fixture at center for five years and is coming off his best season in four years.

Reason(s) for optimism: The Saints may have no choice but to move Penning over to right tackle, and it may end up being a blessing in disguise. His aggressiveness may end up playing better over there, although that suggestion is pure speculation on my part. Patrick will likely be a backup in New Orleans, but his ability to play center and guard will come in handy for a team lacking depth.

Potential question mark(s): Ryan Ramczyk's knee is enough of a concern that his football-playing future might be in question. He has been a stud at right tackle in the Big Easy for seven seasons, so his absence would be a huge deal for what may be one of the worst offensive lines in the league this season with him healthy.

Reason(s) for concern: Udoh graded out well on 189 snaps in 2022, but he was otherwise sub-par over his other four seasons with the Vikings. The fact he and Saldiveri are battling it out to start at left guard is telling. The depth is also bad. Players like Shane Lemieux and Patrick may have plenty of experience but are journeymen at this point.

 NY Giants
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Andrew Thomas 25 7 8 64.1 80.2
LG Jermaine Eluemunor 29 6 6 71.5 64.7
C John Michael Schmitz 25 6 5 51.3 26.9
RG Jon Runyan 26 5 6 53.2 62.4
RT Evan Neal 23 5 5 51.1 38.5
29 30
C Austin Schlottmann 28 59.4 72.3
G Aaron Stinnie 30 58.9 53.7
G/T Marcus McKethan 25 53.9 26.8
G/T Joshua Ezeudu 24
T Matt Nelson 28 53.9 71.6

Offensive line coach: Carmen Bricillo (first season with New York)

Cornerstone(s): Thomas missed most of the first half of last season and it showed in the Giants' on-field product. Despite failing to post the same blocking grades he did in 2022, he is still the present and long-term future at left tackle in New York.

Reason(s) for optimism: Runyan may not be the reason the Giants' line goes from awful last season to great this year, but he is a clear upgrade over the four players who manned right guard in 2023. The same can probably be said for Eluemunor and the six players who played at left guard. Stinnie will be the third guard and may also be an upgrade over any of the players who played the position for the team last season.

Potential question mark(s): Schmitz was too good of a prospect to give up on after one year and was likely a victim of the terrible line play around him.

Reason(s) for concern: It is getting late early for Neal, who has struggled mightily to adapt to the NFL through two years. It is fair to wonder how long the ankle injury that eventually landed him on IR bothered him. Nevertheless, the grace period for him keeping his job likely ends this season if the Giants do not see significant improvement. While he is not a long-term answer by any stretch, Nelson gives the team a decent option behind Neal if that does not happen.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Jordan Mailata 27 8 8 83.9 84.5
LG Landon Dickerson 25 6 7 66.9 76.9
C Cam Jurgens 24 7 6 64.8 51.6
RG Tyler Steen 23 5 5 64.1 21.9
RT Lane Johnson 34 7 8 75.8 80.0
33 34
C/G Trevor Keegan # 23
C/G Dylan McMahon # 23
C/G Matt Hennessy 26
T Mekhi Becton 25 56.3 60.7

Offensive line coach: Jeff Stoutland (12th season with Philadelphia)

Cornerstone(s): Mailata and Johnson may form the best tackle tandem in the league. Both men excel in the run and pass game. The only concern here is that Johnson just turned 34.

Reason(s) for optimism: Dickerson may not have reached elite status yet, but he may not be far off. While he benefited greatly from playing in between Mailata and the recently retired Jason Kelce, the 25-year-old would not have been able to hold his spot on a deep and talented roster if he was not pulling his weight. Philadelphia reportedly asked for Kelce's input on his potential successor before the 2022 draft and he identified Jurgens as his choice, which is obviously quite the endorsement. Now able to play his natural position with Kelce no longer around, expect Jurgens to quickly become one of the top pivots in the league over the next year or two. Stoutland is unquestionably one of the two or three best line coaches in the league, so his presence alone means we should give any questionable offensive line talent the benefit of the doubt.

Potential question mark(s): Steen's transition from college tackle to guard did not go particularly well in 2023, albeit on 71 snaps as a rookie. Becton could be a consideration there if Steen struggles again in 2024, but the ex-Jet never played guard in college and has not yet to do so in the NFL.

Reason(s) for concern: Steen's inexperience is probably more concerning than his ability to handle the right guard job. The Eagles were wise to add Hennessy in free agency despite the fact he missed all of last season due to a preseason knee injury. Nevertheless, the departures of Kelce and Sua Opeta will limit some of the versatility this line had as well as their ability to withstand injuries. Becton is a luxury as a third tackle, but the overall depth on this line will not be entering camp what it was in previous seasons.

 San Francisco
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Trent Williams 35 9 8 92.5 84.3
LG Aaron Banks 26 5 5 55.8 50.2
C Jake Brendel 31 6 6 72.6 45.3
RG Jon Feliciano 32 7 6 85.6 63.5
RT Colton McKivitz 27 6 6 66.3 58.3
33 31
C/G Ben Bartch 25 64.4 48.6
G/T Dominick Puni # 23
G Spencer Burford 23 62.9 26.7
T Jaylon Moore 26 69.8 69.7

Offensive line coach: Chris Foerster (fourth season with San Francisco)

Cornerstone(s): Father Time will win out eventually, but Williams has not bowed down at that alter yet. Williams may still be the best tackle - if not offensive lineman - in the league entering his age-36 season.

Reason(s) for optimism: McKivitz may never make a Pro Bowl, but he has turned out to be a more than adequate replacement for Mike McGlinchey. Entering his age-28 season, he should be a fine right tackle in San Francisco for at least two more years. Feliciano did not see regular time until the second half of the year, but he graded out very well over that time. While Puni is probably the long-term plan at right guard, he gives the team a very capable option early if Banks or Feliciano get hurt.

Potential question mark(s): Banks is entering his third season as the starting left guard for the 49ers. He has yet to display consistently the talents and traits that made him a second-round pick in 2021. Feliciano would ideally be a third guard on this roster, so Banks needs to step up or Puni needs to adjust to the NFL quickly.

Reason(s) for concern: Perhaps the biggest worry up front for San Francisco is age. Williams is year-to-year at this point, Feliciano is 32 and Brendel will join him by the start of the season. The 49ers have used Day 3 picks to address their line over the last four drafts but have little to show for it other than Moore, who has shown some promise on limited snaps.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Charles Cross 23 6 7 58.3 69.7
LG Laken Tomlinson 32 5 6 49.6 60.6
C Olusegun Oluwatimi 24 5 6 50.1 75.5
RG Christian Haynes # 24 6 5
RT Abraham Lucas 25 6 7 58.8 44.4
28 31
C/G Nick Harris 25 58.7 66.3
G Anthony Bradford 25 58.5 38.9
G/T Sataoa Laumea # 23
T George Fant 31 51.9 68.7
T Michael Jerrell # 24

Offensive line coach: Scott Huff (first season with Seattle)

Cornerstone(s): Cross took a while to get healthy after getting injured in Week 1, but he ended up grading out slightly better than he did during his spectacular rookie season in 2022. The former first-round pick, who will not turn 24 until around Thanksgiving, is well on his way to becoming one of the best left tackles in the league.

Reason(s) for optimism: A knee injury ended up being the main reason the 2023 season was a lost one for Lucas, who was wildly impressive as a rookie the year before. So long as his knee issue is a thing of the past, it would be surprising if he and Cross fail to return to their previous form. Fant is a quality swing tackle who should fill in nicely at either left or right tackle if Cross or Lucas misses time again. Seattle badly needed to add some talent at guard and/or center and likely got a good one who might be able to play both spots in Haynes. He will begin his pro career at right guard - the same spot that he played for five years at UConn.

Potential question mark(s): Oluwatimi is primed to become a full-time starter at center in 2024 after logging only 128 snaps across four games as a rookie. At least in the short term, he is a downgrade from his predecessor (Evan Brown). Fortunately, the addition of versatile veteran pivot Harris should guarantee the Seahawks get at least adequate play at the position.

Reason(s) for concern: LG Damien Lewis fled Seattle for the big money Carolina offered him in free agency, forcing the Seahawks to counter with Tomlinson, who has struggled during his NFL career when he was not in San Francisco. The two players graded out similarly last season (Tomlinson was with the Jets), but Seattle would have probably preferred to keep Lewis since he is about five years younger than the 32-year-old Tomlinson.

 Tampa Bay
Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Tristan Wirfs 25 7 8 73.8 86.1
LG Ben Bredeson 26 6 5 41.4 42.4
C Graham Barton # 22 6 6
RG Cody Mauch 25 5 5 37.6 52.1
RT Luke Goedeke 25 6 6 70 72.5
30 30
C Robert Hainsey 25  50.3 57.3
G/T Elijah Klein # 24
G Sua Opeta 27 50.2 57.9
T Brandon Walton # 26

Offensive line coach: Kevin Carberry (first season with Tampa Bay)

Cornerstone(s): Wirfs proved to be a natural at left tackle after not playing the position at all during his first three pro seasons and very rarely during his three-year stay at Iowa. He is Tampa Bay's best offensive lineman and it is not particularly close.

Reason(s) for optimism: The Buccaneers have missed Ryan Jensen for the better part of the last two seasons. It was important for them to find someone to replace him, and the odds are strong they did so with their first-round selection of Barton in April. Barton could conceivably play any of the five positions along the line. Players with that kind of versatility rarely fail in the NFL, so he is probably one of the better bets from this draft class to become a regular Pro Bowler. Goedeke took a huge step forward in his sophomore season - moving back to his college position of right tackle instead of the left guard spot he occupied most of his rookie campaign. Tampa Bay likely feels good that it has a pair of young bookend tackles for the next five or so years.

Potential question mark(s): As is the case of most rookie linemen, Mauch struggled throughout most of 2023. His struggles were profound enough though that the Bucs are likely questioning his ability to become a long-term fixture up front. He is yet another young player who could benefit from the upgrade at center that Barton should provide.

Reason(s) for concern: Left guard was a problem last year with Aaron Stinnie and Matt Feiler manning the spot. It is unlikely Bredeson will make it any better, which is likely one of the reasons why Opeta was added. The problem is that Opeta may not be a much better option.

Pos Player Age 24 R-Rat 24 P-Rat RB G PB G
LT Cornelius Lucas 32 6 6 49.7 73.6
LG Nick Allegretti 28 5 6 59.6 73.7
C Tyler Biadasz 26 6 6 68.3 64.6
RG Sam Cosmi 25 7 7 80.9 74.0
RT Andrew Wylie 29 6 6 66.1 67.5
30 31
C/G Ricky Stromberg 23 46.3 41.7
G Chris Paul 25 45.1 27.8
C/G Michael Deiter 27 55.2 59.4
G/T Brandon Coleman # 23

Offensive line coach: Bobby Johnson (first season with Washington)

Cornerstone(s): Cosmi has been a bright spot for the Commanders since he was a second-round draft choice out of Texas in 2021. Even though he graded out well in each of his first two seasons, last year was the first time he managed to be a full-time player. He responded with a Pro Bowl-caliber season.

Reason(s) for optimism: Biadasz may already be the second-best lineman Washington has. To his credit, he enjoyed one of the most prolonged good stretches of his career at the end of last season as a member of the Cowboys. While Allegretti was never able to become a regular starter in Kansas City, he should be a clear upgrade at left guard over Saahdiq Charles and Paul. The 28-year-old played some of his best football during the Chiefs' somewhat improbable Super Bowl run late last season and can play all three interior spots.

Potential question mark(s): Wylie's first season in Washington was arguably the best of his career, but he is much better suited to be a swing tackle than a regular starter.

Reason(s) for concern: Asking Lucas to replace Charles Leno Jr. seems like a lateral move at best. He may be a bit of a downgrade. Making matters worse is that the soon-to-be 33-year-old (in July) has only once started more than eight games (12 in 2022). It should not come as a surprise if third-round pick Coleman makes some starts in place - be it due to injury or performance - in 2024.

As promised, my final projected grades for each team's offensive line.

 Run-Blocking Projected Grades (Startling Linemen)
Team Gr Team Gr Team Gr Team Gr
Falcons 36 Panthers 32 Chiefs 31 Dolphins 30
Lions 36 Broncos 32 Chargers 31 Buccaneers 30
Bears 34 Colts 32 Raiders 31 Commanders 30
Rams 33 Vikings 32 Steelers 31 Texans 29
Jets 33 Patriots 32 Bengals 30 Giants 29
Eagles 33 Titans 32 Browns 30 Saints 28
49ers 33 Cardinals 31 Cowboys 30 Seahawks 28
Ravens 32 Bills 31 Packers 30 Jaguars 26

 Pass-Blocking Projected Grades (Startling Linemen)
Team Gr Team Gr Team Gr Team Gr
Lions 36 Ravens 33 Vikings 32 Texans 30
Colts 36 Bills 33 Bears 31 Dolphins 30
Chiefs 36 Jaguars 33 Broncos 31 Patriots 30
Falcons 35 Rams 33 Raiders 31 Giants 30
Panthers 35 Jets 33 49ers 31 Buccaneers 30
Browns 34 Cardinals 32 Seahawks 31 Cowboys 29
Chargers 34 Bengals 32 Titans 31 Steelers 29
Eagles 34 Packers 32 Commanders 31 Saints 28

 Overall Blocking Projected Grades (Startling Linemen)
Team Gr Team Gr Team Gr Team Gr
Lions 72 Chargers 65 Broncos 63 Buccaneers 60
Falcons 71 Ravens 65 Titans 63 Steelers 60
Colts 68 Bears 65 Bengals 62 Texans 59
Chiefs 67 Browns 64 Packers 62 Jaguars 59
Panthers 67 Bills 64 Raiders 62 Seahawks 59
Eagles 67 Vikings 64 Patriots 62 Giants 59
Rams 66 49ers 64 Commanders 61 Cowboys 59
Jets 66 Cardinals 63 Dolphins 60 Saints 56

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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