mike fabiano from nfl.com ranks all o lines
i don't agree with us being 22
Offensive linemen are the Rodney Dangerfields of the National Football League -- they simply get no respect. But without the presence of these enormous warriors, offensive skill position players and Fantasy Football heroes like Peyton Manning, Priest Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson would not be able to produce the sort of statistics that owners look for in drafts.
After all, football is won down in the trenches where the blood, sweat and tears of studs like LTs Jonathan Ogden, William Roaf and Orlando Pace create opportunities for their more publicized teammates to produce attractive statistics.
In an effort to decipher value, we ranked all 32 offensive lines based on last season's run and pass production, short-yardage and goal-line effectiveness and offseason movement.
Offensive Line Rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs
There's no question about the success of this line, which assisted three different backs (Holmes, Derrick Blaylock, Larry Johnson ) to 100-yard performances last season. The return to prominence of Roaf was a positive, and consistent contributions from RG Will Shields and C Casey Wiegmann will make this the best unit in the league. Holmes is a talented and versatile back, but part of his appeal in drafts is this bulldozer of a line in front of him.
2. Seattle Seahawks
The left side of this line might be the best in the league, as LT Walter Jones and LG Steve Hutchinson dominate the opposition on a regular basis. RT Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack is also a valuable contributor, and the addition of first-round selection C Chris Spencer adds depth behind C Robbie Tobeck. RB Shaun Alexander's success as a goal-line back can be attributed in part to his line, which should be considered one of the league's elite units.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Age and injuries became a concern last season, but the addition of RG Vincent Keydrick and selection of LT Terry Adam and C Jason Brown in the draft are positive moves. The line boasts some trucks in LT Jonathan Ogden, who is one of the league's best tackles, and former Cleveland Brown RT Orlando Brown. This unit will be important to the success of QB Kyle Boller and should open holes for RB Jamal Lewis to pound through all season.
4. Denver Broncos
This line and the genius of head coach Mike Shanahan seem to breed stud running backs on a consistent basis. In fact, a Broncos featured back as failed to rush for 1,000 yards in a season just once during Shanahan's tenure. G Tom Nalen and LT Matt Lepsis are solid, and RT George Foster has worked out well. The production of this line will have much to do with the success of RB Tatum Bell, who should emerge as the regular-season starter.
5. Minnesota Vikings
This line is the Alps of the NFL with LT Bryant "Mount" McKinnie, C Matt Birk and RG Chris Liwienski all in the mix. Birk has an injured groin but vowed to be on the field for the team's regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The line will protect QB Daunte Culpepper well and improves the value of RB Michael Bennett, who is the unquestioned starter in the backfield now that RB Onterrio Smith (suspension) is out for the season.
6. Indianapolis Colts
One of the most underrated lines in the entire league, this unit seems invisible at times due to the immense talent of the team's skill position players. C Jeff Saturday and LT Tarik Glenn are consistent and solid, and the unit as a whole allows Manning the time he needs in the pocket to find his glut of talented receivers in the pass attack. The line is also at least part of the reason stud RB Edgerrin James is such a valuable option in all drafts.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have done well to field a solid line in recent seasons, as the additions of LT Tra Thomas and RG Shawn Andrews have all been successful. RT John Runyan is consistent but must avoid injuries in order for this unit to be the best it can be. QB Donovan McNabb will continue to benefit from the protection he receives from his linemen, as will RB Brian Westbrook, who is one of the league's most versatile and underrated backs.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers did little to alter the line in the offseason outside of the selection of RT Trai Essex in the third round of the draft. Still, this unit is a productive one and was part of the reason RB Jerome Bettis rushed for a career-best 13 touchdowns last season at the age of 32. The line does need to do a better job in its pass protection -- QB Ben Roethlisberger was sacked once every 10 attempts -- but overall LG Alan Faneca and his linemates are a top-10 unit.
9. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders offense has more weapons than the U.S. Armed Forces, but its success will start on the line. RT Robert Gallery and LT Barry Sims combined to form one of the league's best bookend tackles and are important to the protection of QB Kerry Collins, whose arm might get sore from all the passes he'll toss to WRs Randy Moss, Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry. The success of the line will also impact RB LaMont Jordan, who should have a career season.
10. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers will construct their entire offense around the run, so their line will be important to the unit's overall success this season. The addition of LG Mike Wahle was one of the team's best offseason moves, as he joins talented RT Jordan Gross and C Jeff Mitchell. RBs DeShaun Foster, Stephen Davis and Eric Shelton will all benefit from the performance of this impressive line, though Foster is expected to start and will have the most value in drafts.
11. Green Bay Packers
The loss of Wahle and RG Marco Rivera (Cowboys) were difficult to bear, but this line should still remain one of the league's better units. LT Chad Clifton and RT Mark Tausher are top-flite talents, but RG Greg Ruegamer and LG Adrian Klemm need to step up in the absence of Wahle and Rivera. The Packers would never put a patchwork line on the field in front of immortal QB Brett Favre, so expect this unit to perform well despite their offseason losses.
12. New York Giants
The Giants boasted an underrated offensive line last season, so the addition RT Kareem McKenzie makes it even more impressive. The unit will have to protect QB Eli Manning well in order for him to find success in his second pro season, but that shouldn't be an issue (he was sacked just 13 times in nine contests as a rookie). RB Tiki Barber, who had a career season in 2004, should also benefit from the skills of this line and remains a nice second- or third-round choice.
13. Detroit Lions
This line has more potential than most in the league, which is great news for owners who land RB Kevin Jones in the first two to three rounds. The team boasts incumbent starters RG Damien Woody and LT Jeff Backus, and the additions of LG Jeff DeMulling and RG Kyle Kosier were positive moves. The Lions offense has a chance to emerge into a productive threat with either QB Joey Harrington or QB Jeff Garcia under center, and the line should assist in its development.
14. Cincinnati Bengals
This unit has chance to emerge as a top-10 line this season. LT Levi Jones and RT Willie Anderson are a solid pair of bookend tackles, and LG Eric Steinbach is a consistent and reliable starter. QB Carson Palmer should be allowed a glut of time in the pocket to find his receivers downfield and emerge as a solid sleeper candidate in all formats. The prowess of the line should also mean another 1,200-plus yard, double-digit touchdown season from RB Rudi Johnson.
15. New England Patriots
The loss of LG Joe Andruzzi (Browns) will hurt, but it's hard to imagine a scenario where this line won't continue to be solid under head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots added depth with the draft selections of OGs Logan Mankins and Nick Kaczur, who will back up starter OG Russ Hochstein. QB Tom Brady should continue to have time to throw and RB Corey Dillon allowed room to run, so owners should consider them both prominent draft choices.
16. Washington Redskins
The Redskins boast a nice line that will improve with the return of RT Jon Jansen from an injured knee. LT Chris Samuels and RG Randy Thomas are consistent starters and important in the team's decision to focus on RB Clinton Portis' strenghths as a runner. This unit should also allow QB Patrick Ramsey much time in the pocket to make his reads either under center or in the shotgun, but that won't guarantee production for the former Tulane standout.
17. St. Louis Rams
The Rams released troublesome RT Kyle Turley in the offseason, but landed RT Alex Barron with their first-round selection in the draft. The unit still boasts an All-Pro in Pace but could have some issues in the interior if age catches up with RG Adam Timmerman (33). Still, this unit should do well to protect QB Marc Bulger and open holes for RB Steven Jackson, who will start ahead of veteran RB Marshall Faulk this season.
18. Atlanta Falcons
Last season's sack totals (50) doesn't do this unit justice as it's more difficult to protect a quarterback like Michael Vick, who tends to leave the pocket and scramble more than most field generals. Where their skills are showcased is in the run: The Falcons led the entire league in rushing last season, due in large part to RT Todd Weiner and C Todd McClure, who opened consistent holes for Vick and RBs Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett.
19. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers don't have one standout lineman on their roster, but the unit does block for the league's best running back in Tomlinson and allowed QB Drew Brees the protection he needed to have a breakout season. With no changes to the line's core, expect it to continue to do its best to create holes for Tomlinson and keep his production at an elite level.The same goes for Brees, who will look to prove that last season's success was not a fluke.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars
The addition of LT Khalif Barnes in the draft is reason for optimism on a line that did little to distinguish itself last season.It does allow QB Byron Leftwich time in the pocket to make his reads and has been part of the reason for the success of RB Fred Taylor, however, so RG Chris Naeole and his linemates do what needs to be done in order for the offense to find a nice level of success both through the air and on the ground.
21. Chicago Bears
The line allowed a league-worst 66 sacks last season, but part of that blame has to be placed on QBs Chad Hutchinson and Craig Krenzel. The Bears have made some positive moves with the additions of LG Steve Edwards and RG Roberto Garza, and the decision to sign RT Fred Miller and move LT John Tait to the left side should bear fruit. Overall the line has improved, so expect RB Cedric Benson to have some holes to dash through this season.
22. New Orleans Saints
The Saints needed some real assistance on the line, so the selection of RT Jammal Brown in the draft was a solid move. The rookie will combine with RG Jermane Mayberry to form a new right side, which will no doubt mean better protection for QB Aaron Brooks and more room to roam for RB Deuce McAllister. The team will look to run more often this season, so expect McAllister to produce some attractive stat lines in the Big Easy.
23. Buffalo Bills
The Bills have several versatile athletes on their line, so coach Jim McNally should be able to mold a solid unit. The addition of LG Bennie Anderson improves the left side, and the right side should be solid with RG Chris Villarrial and a virtual house in 370-pound Mike Williams at tackle. Head coach Mike Mularkey will turn this offense into a run-first machine, so expect the line to provide what is needed for RB Willis McGahee to have an All-Pro season.
24. Dallas Cowboys
The addition of Rivera at right guard improves a line that includes veterans LT Flozel Adams and former All-Pro LG Larry Allen. The unit has depth with versatile LG Tyson Walter and RG Andre Gurode as reserves, and the return of TE Dan Campbell, a noted blocker, is also a plus. Head coach Bill Parcells will run the ball often with RB Julius Jones behind what should be an improved line, and QB Drew Bledsoe should have more time in the pocket than he did in Buffalo.
25. Tennessee Titans
The Titans needed to improve their line to protect brittle QB Steve McNair, so the selection of RT Michael Roos in the draft was a nice move. LT Brad Hopkins is the leader of this unit, which also added depth with rookie LTs David Stewart and Daniel Loper. This unit is youthful but does have a lot of potential for the future, and will look to protect McNair and create holes for RB Chris Brown on a more regular basis than it did last season.
26. New York Jets
The loss of McKenzie is cause for some concern, but the presence of incumbent starter C Kevin Mawae on a restructred line should keep the unit productive overall. The protection of QB Chad Pennington is a must, so added depth at right tackle in the form of Ethan Brooks was a sensible move. This line won't be one of the league's elite, but it should do enough to allow Pennington and RB Curtis Martin to produce in the offense.
27. San Francisco 49ers
The addition of LT Jonas Jennings was one of the better moves of the offseason, and the selection of RG David Baas and RT Adam Snyder in the third round of the draft were positive in terms of the future. The line must become more effecient in its pass protection (it surrendered 52 sacks last season), or else rookie QB Alex Smith will have to run for his life. RB Kevan Barlow is a versatile athlete, but the line needs to be better for him to develop into a stud.
28. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals offense has a chance to emerge into a formidable unit, but the line must improve its pass protection in order for QB Kurt Warner to succeed. RG Jeremy Bridges will come in and be expected to man the right side, and the selection of LG Elton Brown in the draft and additions of LT Alan Reuber adds some depth. The line should be able to run block for RB J.J. Arrington, but the immobile Warner could be on his back a lot this season.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This line has failed to pass protect and block well in short-yardage and goal-line situations over the past few seasons, so it was no shock that the team chose LT Chris Colmer and LG Dan Buenning in the first four rounds of the draft. The Buccaneers allowed 44 sacks last season, which was tied for the sixth-most in the league, so QB Brian Griese might have to scramble at times. However, RB Carnell Williams' value shouldn't be affected much, especially in keeper leagues.
30. Houston Texans
The Texans line has allowed an unreal 161 sacks over the past three seasons, so QB David Carr is used to pass-rush pressure. The addition of LT Victor Riley adds depth and the team is optimistic that Seth Wand will be able to produce at left tackle, but overall this unit is questionable at best. It has been a decent team in terms of run blocking, however, so RB Domanick Davis should continue his development into a premier featured back at the pro level.
31. Cleveland Browns
The addition of Andruzzi and RG Casey Coleman improve the team's interior line, and the presence of LT L.J. Shelton is reason for optimism at the tackle position. However, this unit will need time to become cohesive and still lacks the depth that would move into the top 25 in the league. The line should be a sufficient job at blocking for RBs Lee Suggs and Reuben Droughns, but immobile veteran QB Trent Dilfer could be faced with regular pressure.
32. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins offensive line was plain awful last season, so the team added former Lions RT Stocker McDougle to start and LG Damion Cook and rookie RT Anthony Alabi. Still, this unit has a lot to prove in both the run and pass aspects of the offense and will further diminish the limited value of QBs A.J. Feeley and Gus Frerotte. Rookie RB Ronnie Brown would be more attractive with a better line, but he remains worth a third- or fourth-round choice.
RE: mike fabiano from nfl.com ranks all o lines
The Redskins and Giants lines are ranked ahead of ours? Are you serious? A complete sham, IMO.
RE: mike fabiano from nfl.com ranks all o lines
exactly whodat and then i looked at chicago as a little starnge also
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