The Top 10 NFL Offensive Lines For 2021

Stoney Keeley continues his look at the NFL as the 2021 season approaches. Today, we're looking at the top 10 NFL offensive lines.

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It’s summertime offseason content time! As the season approaches, I’m going to be taking a look at the landscape of the NFL, position by position, over the course of the next several weeks. We’ll be talking about the who’s who of the NFL in our own little version of the NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players” bit they do every year. Up next, we’re talking about the top 10 NFL offensive lines for 2021!

Time to talk about the big boys up front on the offensive side of the ball. It’s hard to grade offensive lines – I know everyone wants to act like an expert, but unless you understand the nuance of each position and have the bandwidth to look at every single guy in the league, I think grading tackles, centers, and guards individually is a bit pretentious. There – I said it. It’s such a symbiotic relationship, too – unlike any other position on the field, it’s about how well the unit, as a whole, jells. That’s why I’ve elected to grade offensive lines as a whole, instead of going position by position.

Let’s start with some honorable mentions – the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams. Both are popping up on everyone’s preseason ‘top offensive lines’ lists, but I have some concerns about the Chiefs blowing things up and how they’ll have to start from scratch from a chemistry standpoint. As for the Rams, man…when will Father Time come to collect on Andrew Whitworth?

As for the up and comers, I like what the Los Angeles Chargers have done in signing Corey Linsley and drafting a kid who I thought was the best tackle in this year’s draft class in Rashawn Slater. Plus, they’re getting Bryan Bulaga back. The Arizona Cardinals have quietly assembled a top 10 contender after years of fielding one of the worst units in the league. Finally, I wanted so badly to put the Detroit Lions in my top 10 – it looks like Taylor Decker is getting back on track to becoming one of the better tackles in the game. They drafted Penei Sewell. Frank Ragnow is a stud at center. But, I’ve fallen for this trap before, and won’t fall for it again. Now, let’s get to the top 10.

The Top 10 NFL Offensive Lines For 2021

10. San Francisco 49ers – I am here for the 49ers resurgence train in 2021. Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey are downright studs – Willliams being PFF’s #1 rated tackle in 2020. They add an elite center in Alex Mack, and have a quality left guard in Laken Tomlinson. While the jury’s out on the right tackle position, this should be a talented, worthy group in 2021.

9. Green Bay Packers – 1st Team All-Pro, Pro Bowl, PFF’s #2 ranked tackle in the NFL in 2020 – it’s not unreasonable at all to suggest that the Packers field the best offensive tackle in the game in David Bakhtiari. There is some tinkering to do along the rest of the line, as the Packers lost to Corey Linsley to free agency, or else the Packers would rank higher on this list. But, there’s a ton of offensive line talent to work with.

8. Dallas Cowboys – As bad as things were in 2020, would you believe that the Cowboys still had three Pro Bowlers on their offensive line? Maybe that’s more of an indictment of the Pro Bowl than anything else, but while it might be an aging unit, it speaks to the talent level that the Cowboys still have along their offensive line. Tyron Smith has lost the throne of the best tackle in the game, but Zack Martin and La’el Collins are both still premium options, while Connor Williams continues to improve. They will have a tough time replacing the great Travis Frederick at center, but this is still an accomplished unit that can get the job done. Maybe not like it was several seasons ago, but still quite capable if they can all stay healthy.

7. Baltimore Ravens – Look, I’ll admit – this ranking is more about potential than it is 2020 results. The offensive line took a step back from how dominant it was in 2019, but it’s still pretty damn solid. Even without Orlando Brown, who they traded to the Chiefs, there’s some rocksteady talent along this line. Kevin Zeitler can be good. Alejandro Villanueva can be good. When healthy, Ronnie Stanley is a top tier tackle in the NFL. If those things come together, this offensive line should get back to whipping ass like it did in 2019. That’s what I’m basing this ranking on.

6. New England Patriots – No one really knows how it happens, and at this point, we should just learn to not question it. Death, taxes, and the Pats having a good offensive line. It’s one of the hallmarks of the Bill Belichick Patriots, and it should be a hallmark of this team in 2021 yet again. Between David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Isaiah Wynn, and the surprising sophomore Michael Onwenu, they just seem to grow offensive linemen on trees. Trading for Trent Brown bolsters this unit even further. There should be no secret regarding what this Pats offense is going to be all about in 2021.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Man, what was considered to be a weakness of this team heading into 2020 showed just how quickly things can turn around, and all five starters are back for 2021. Tristan Wirfs came in as a top 10 draft pick and boosted that unit right away. Dude was even getting some Offensive Rookie of the Year love. On the other side of the line, Donovan Smith held it down. This could become the best unit in the league if they can boost their run blocking.

4. Tennessee Titans – Some may see this ranking as way too high, but consider the fact that this team helped produce a 2,000-yard rushing season with their third string left tackle and maybe you’ll see it differently. This unit is slept on. Ben Jones has been phenomenal since joining the Titans, and was PFF’s #5 center in 2020. Rodger Saffold has been as steady as they come at left guard, and right guard Nate Davis is a budding star at the position that even earned a bit of All-Pro love in that conversation. They’ll get Taylor Lewan back and healthy in 2021, leaving only the right tackle spot open for competition between free agent addition Kendall Lamm and 2nd round pick Dillon Radunz. I dare say the offensive line is the deepest position group on the Titans roster.

3. Indianapolis Colts – An awful lot of folks consider guard Quenton Nelson the best offensive lineman in the league, and I’m certainly not going to argue with that. Nelson was a 1st Team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler a season ago. While he gets most of the love for this offensive line, there’s a lot of talent elsewhere on it, as the Colts have invested heavily in that line in recent seasons. Ryan Kelly was voted 2nd team All-Pro at center as well. They lost Anthony Castonzo to retirement, but elected to replace him with the former first overall pick, Eric Fisher. If Fisher is healthy, this offensive line could be even better than it was a year ago.

2. New Orleans Saints – The Saints have had a punishing offensive line for several seasons now, which helped ease Drew Brees into his retirement. We’ll see how well they hold up for whoever’s playing quarterback in 2021, but it still holds true that the Saints have the best bookend tackle combination in the league in left tackle Terron Armstead (a Pro Bowler a season ago) and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, who became the highest paid right tackle in the league this offseason.

1. Cleveland Browns – Across the board, I don’t know that there’s a more talented and complete offensive line in football. That interior, with perennial mauler Joel Bitonio (PFF’s #5 ranked guard in 2020), Wyatt Teller (PFF’s #1 ranked guard in 2020), and JC Tretter (PFF’s #2 ranked center), generates a tremendous push from the inside, while sophomore stud Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin seal off the edges. Conklin may be the best run-blocking right tackle in the game today, and he was voted 1st team All-Pro a season ago because of it. The Browns should remain one of the most punishing offenses in the league because of this unit.

OTHER 2021 NFL TOP 10S

Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network, and a Dogs Playing Poker on velvet connoisseur. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD, #BeBetter, and ‘Minds right, asses tight.’ “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Yankee Candle, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley

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