Best offensive lines in the NFL this season originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Doesn’t matter how good a quarterback or running back is if he doesn’t have time to make a play.
That’s why offensive linemen are the unsung heroes of the NFL. It can be a thankless position that on gameday more commonly gets recognized for a mistake that leads to a sack than a success that leads to a gain.
The offensive lines that best minimize those mistakes and provide ample pass protection and run blocking are arguably the most valuable players on the field behind the quarterback.
Here are some of the top projected offensive lines heading into the 2022 NFL season:
5. Green Bay Packers
LT David Bakhtiari, LG Jon Runyan, C Josh Myers, RG Royce Newman, RT Elgton Jenkins
Injury concerns are keeping this unit from ranking higher on the list. At full strength, the Packers could boast the top O-line in the league. But a recurring knee injury limited David Bakhtiari to just 27 snaps last season and Elgton Jenkins is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in 2021, leaving the Packers without a return timeframe for their top two lineman.
If Bakhtiari and Jenkins are unable to return to form, this spot should belong to a Detroit Lions team that has invested heavily in its offensive line, which includes three former first-round picks.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
LT Donovan Smith, LG Luke Goedeke, C Ryan Jensen, RG Shaq Mason, RT Tristan Wirfs
Tom Brady probably was slightly concerned at one point this offseason. The Bucs’ offensive line was left with some major voids to fill after the sudden retirement of 28-year-old Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet and the free agent defection of guard Alex Cappa to the Cincinnati Bengals. One hole was filled by Brady’s former teammate Shaq Mason, a veteran guard the Bucs acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots for a 2022 fifth-round pick. Tampa Bay then used one of its second-round picks on Luke Goedeke, a tackle at Central Michigan who will convert to guard.
3. Cleveland Browns
LT Jedrick Wills Jr., LG Joel Bitonio, C Nick Harris, RG Wyatt Teller, RT Jack Conklin
The Browns’ O-line doesn’t get nearly the shine that it deserves. Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller were among the best pass protectors in the league last season. If Jedrick Wills Jr. (13 games played last season) and Jack Conklin (seven games played last season) can stay on the field, this unit could transform into the best in the league.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
LT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Lucas Niang/Andrew Wylie
The revamped Kansas City line proved that it was solidified last season with the additions of 2021 second-round pick Creed Humphrey, free-agent signee Joe Thuney and hidden gem sixth-round pick Trey Smith. That gives the Chiefs what is arguably the top interior line in the league heading into the season. Orlando Brown’s 81% run block win rate was second-highest in the league last season among offensive tackles. The biggest question mark on the line is at right tackle, with Lucas Niang struggling mightily at times last season.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
LT Jordan Mailata, LG Landon Dickerson, C Jason Kelce, RG Isaac Seumalo, RT Lane Johnson
Jordan Mailata went from being a rugby player, to a seventh-round pick in the NFL draft who didn’t play his first two seasons, to one of the top left tackles in the league. His emergence, along with veteran Lane Johnson recording a near league-best 95% pass block win rate among tackles last season, gives the Eagles a formidable combination at the position. The unit also does damage when the Eagles keep the ball on the ground, with Mailata, Jason Kelce and Landon Dickerson all finishing top-five in their respective positions in run block win rate. It’s the most well-balanced offensive line in the league.
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