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2015 Offensive Line Rankings

By Kevin English 8:43am EDT 7/3/15

Note: Designated rankings, unless stated otherwise, are from Pro Football Focus (PFF).

Offensive lines don’t get much love. But they often make or break key fantasy players. If you’re struggling to decide between 2 guys on draft day, consider the blockers in front of them as a tie-breaker.

Here’s how we rank all 32 units …


1. Dallas Cowboys

2014 Run-blocking rank: 2nd
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 3 rd

Projected Starters: LT Tyron Smith, LG La’el Collins, C Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin, RT Doug Free

The rich got richer this offseason after signing LSU G/T La’el Collins. One of the draft’s top O-line prospects, Collins went undrafted because of a possible connection to the murder of his ex-girlfriend. But he’s no longer a person of interest in that case.

A hyper-aggressive athlete at 6’4, 305 pounds, the 22-year-old isn’t even guaranteed a starting gig. Dallas returns all five 2014 starters. Collins is expected to battle LG Ronald Leary -- a below-average pass blocker -- for the starting role in training camp. Win or lose, the rookie will at least add quality depth to an already-elite O-line. Football Outsiders’ metrics certainly don’t dispute that label, as Dallas finished 1 st in adjusted line yards and 1st in adjusted sack rate.


2. Green Bay Packers

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 4th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 1 st

Projected Starters: LT David Bakhtiari, LG Josh Sitton, C Corey Linsley, RG T.J. Lang, RT Bryan Bulaga

Like Dallas, Green Bay brings back all 5 starters from a rock-solid 2014 unit. In fact, the Packers rolled out the same O-line combo in all but 1 game last season. That’s continuity.

The interior packed the most punch, with LG Josh Sitton and RG T.J. Lang both finishing top 5 in pass blocking. Lang even added a #9 finish in run blocking.

RT Bryan Bulaga showed well as a pass blocker -- same for 1 st-year LT David Bakhtiari. They helped fortify a unit that allowed only 30 sacks, the team’s fewest since 2007. PFF’s metrics say that there’s room for both guys to improve as run blockers. Bulaga seems to agree.

"As a group, we started a little slow at the beginning of the year," he said. “So I think we can get better."

Getting another impressive campaign from 2nd-year C Corey Linsley will be key. Arriving as a 5 th-round rookie last year, the Ohio State product ranked 5 th overall at his position. Extremely strong and sturdy, Linsley looks like a long-term anchor.


3. Cincinnati Bengals

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 7th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 4 th

Projected Starters: LT Andrew Whitworth, LG Clint Boling, C Russell Bodine, RG Kevin Zeitler, RT Andre Smith

The Bengals entered the offseason with plenty of firepower up front. Zeitler and Whitworth both rank among the best all-around players at their position. Whitworth enjoyed the best year of his career as a pass blocker, allowing only 1 QB hit and 0 sacks.

Boling is dependable as well, especially in run blocking. The questions here are at center and RT. We can expect some improvement from Bodine, a 2 nd-year 4th-round pick. But Smith has proved inconsistent to date. Now, he’s returning from a torn triceps that cost him the last 5 games of 2014. Fortunately, the Bengals restocked the cupboard on draft day.

They selected O-linemen in the 1st and 2nd round. OT Cedric Ogbuehi came off the board first, an experienced and versatile athlete out of Texas A&M. Rehabbing a torn ACL, he seems likely to begin the year on the PUP list (which would cost him the first 6 games). But he could contribute over the 2 nd half of the season.

Second-round OT Jake Fisher doesn’t have any health concerns. The former TE boasts plenty of athleticism and fits perfectly into Cincy’s zone scheme. He’s also capable of playing along the interior if an injury strikes Boling or Zeitler. If the rookie progresses quickly, it’s not a stretch that he could push Smith for playing time.


4. Pittsburgh Steelers

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 9th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 5 th

Projected Starters: LT Kelvin Beachum, RG Ramon Foster, C Maurkice Pouncey, RG David DeCastro, RT Marcus Gilbert

Beachum’s breakout 2014 helped catapult this unit into elite territory. While undersized at 6’3, he finished 4 th among OTs in pass blocking. He drew positive marks for his work in the run game, too.

In fact, Foster was the only member of this group who didn’t draw a favorable grade. Chalk it up to a down year, as he finished 12 th among guards in 2013. Overall, it’s a stable unit plenty capable of another high-end showing.

Here’s a stat that captures their 2014 success: Per Football Outsiders, Pittsburgh allowed the fewest rushes resulting in a loss or no gain. Sure, Le’Veon Bell’s pure talent played a role. But note that an Adrian Peterson-less Vikings and the Titans finished 2 nd and 4th, respectively.


5. Baltimore Ravens

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 4th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 7 th

Projected Starters:LT Eugene Monroe, LG Kelechi Osemele, C Jeremy Zuttah, RG Marshal Yanda, RT Ricky Wagner

Monroe appeared in only 11 games last year and battled knee and ankle injuries for most of the season. But his pedigree suggests a bounce back is in order. The former 1 st-round pick finished with positive PFF marks from 2010-2013.

Wagner’s the bigger injury concern, as he’s recovering from a tricky Lisfranc (foot) injury. He’s still expected to suit up for training camp, but the 2014 breakout will be worth monitoring. Wagner finished 7 th among all OTs in PFF’s pass-blocking rankings.

The real strength here is on the interior. Yanda finished as PFF’s top-rated guard, while Osemele slotted just 5 spots lower. Zuttah flopped in pass protection but helped plow the way for Justin Forsett’s breakout. The 8 th-year center underwent offseason hip surgery, but it was considered more of a clean-up procedure. He’ll be back to anchor 1 of the NFL’s top all-around O-lines.


6. Philadelphia Eagles

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 1st
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 8 th

Projected Starters: LT Jason Peters, LG Allen Barbre, C Jason Kelce, RG Matt Tobin, RT Lane Johnson

The Eagles released 2 veteran guards this offseason: Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis. Herremans shouldn’t be missed too much. He has declined in pass protection and turns 33 in October. Mathis will turn 34 in season but maintained a high level of play in 2014. PFF placed Mathis 2 nd among all OGs despite injury limiting him to 9 games.

Their replacements aren’t proven NFL talents. Barbre hasn’t even played at guard since 2011 -- and that year brought limited snaps. Tobin’s a late bloomer who went undrafted in 2013. He was the 7 th worst pass-blocking guard in the league last year, although he showed well in the running game.

Even if those spots struggle at times, there’s plenty of stability at the other 3 positions. Peters finished atop PFF’s overall OT grades and received the 2 nd-best grade of any O-linemen. Johnson’s among the game’s most athletic linemen and should still be ascending in year 3. Kelce’s a reliable body who just finished 8 th in PFF’s overall center grades.


7. Cleveland Browns

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 11th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 2 nd

Projected Starters: LT Joe Thomas, LG Joel Bitonio, C Alex Mack, RG Cameron Erving, RT Mitchell Schwartz

Thanks to Cleveland’s crappy group of skill-position players, this unit’s unlikely to receive much credit. But they’re a top-flight bunch led by 1 of the league’s best OTs.

Thomas, now 30, has started all 16 games across each of his 8 NFL seasons. He’s finished top 3 in PFF’s overall grades in each of the past 2 seasons and has shown no signs of decline.

Mack is another standout, although he’s coming off a Week 6 broken leg. Before going down, he drew positive all-around marks from PFF -- especially in run blocking. He’s expected to be fine for training camp.

Bitonio is locked into the LG job after an excellent 2014. But the starting RG and RT likely won’t be cemented until training camp. The Browns spent a 1 st-round pick on Erving, who’s capable of playing all over the line. He’s expected to take over for Mack in 2016, but for now, he could pass 2014 RG John Greco.

Schwartz is on the hot seat after flopping as a run blocker. But his main competition will come from Michael Bowie, a guy who didn’t play a single down last year because of a shoulder injury. Erving could slide over to the perimeter, though he’s considered a better fit on the inside.


8. New Orleans Saints

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 12th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 20 th

Projected Starters: LT Terron Armstead, LG Jahri Evans, C Max Unger, RG Tim Lelito, RT Zach Strief

In a cost-cutting move, the Saints traded 2-time Pro Bowl G Ben Grubbs in March. They’re still left with a talented bunch, especially on the left side.

Last year marked Armstead’s first as a starter. The results weren’t overwhelmingly positive, but he still flashed plenty of upside. With excellent movement skills and youth (he won’t turn 24 until late July), Armstead can still develop into a top LT.

Evans easily ranks among the NFL’s best guards, although he struggled mightily in pass protection last season. A wrist injury that required offseason surgery provides the main reason for his decline. Now healthy, his overall efficiency should improve.

Rookie 1st-round RT Andrus Peat might not get a chance to contribute much in year 1. Strief is unlikely to lose his job after a solid 2014. Lelito’s a small-school product who has started only 4 games across his first 2 seasons. And he’s transitioning to RG after spending most of his career at center.

That spot now belongs to former Seahawk Max Unger. The Saints acquired him in the Jimmy Graham trade, and he’s expected to provide a huge boost in the run game. PFF’s given him top-3 run-blocking grades in 2 of the past 3 seasons.


9. Houston Texans

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 6th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 11 th

Projected Starters: LT Duane Brown, LG Xavier Su’a-Filo, C Ben Jones, RG Brandon Brooks, RT Derek Newton

Houston nearly lost Newton to free agency, but he returned on a 5-year deal. Retaining PFF’s #4 run-blocking RT from last season certainly helps Arian Foster’s outlook. Houston didn’t re-sign long-time C Chris Myers, though, another stalwart run blocker.

Jones spent the first 3 years of his pro career at guard. But he played center exclusively at Georgia and projects better as the anchor. Elsewhere, there’s really not too much cause for concern.

Brooks finished as PFF’s 4 th-best RG. Brown ranked 10 th among all OTs and continued his run as 1 of the game’s premier pass protectors. Su’a-Filo struggled in limited time last year, but the 2014 rookie was highly touted coming out of UCLA.


10. Arizona Cardinals

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 29th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 23 rd

Projected Starters: LT Jared Veldheer, LG Mike Iupati, C A.Q. Shipley, RG Jonathan Cooper, RT Bobby Massie

Don’t pay much attention to the 2014 ranks. This unit should take a noticeable step forward.

They lured #1 free agent G Mike Iupati away from the division-rival 49ers. Then, they spent a 1 st-rounder on OT D.J. Humphries. Long and athletic, the Florida product has drawn D'Brickashaw Ferguson comparisons from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. Massie -- an up-and-down player -- will enter training camp atop the depth chart. But the team would love to see the rookie win the job outright.

Veldheer was the team’s free-agent prize in 2014. He lived up to expectations, starting all 16 games and finishing as PFF’s #9 OT. Cooper has yet to realize his potential, but nagging injuries have played a role over his first 2 seasons. Now healthy, he should start to resemble the caliber of player you’d expect from a 6 th overall pick.


11. Detroit Lions

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 18th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 16th

Projected Starters: LT Riley Reiff, LG Laken Tomlinson, C Travis Swanson, RG Larry Warford, RT LaAdrian Waddle

Waddle’s the name to monitor, as he’s recovering from a Week 15 torn ACL. He’ll be limited at best in training camp, making a Week 1 return date no better than 50/50.

We’re interested to see how Tomlinson -- Detroit’s surprise 1 st-round pick -- performs. The Duke product spent his college career at RG but projects as an NFL-ready asset on either side. He should at least provide an immediate jolt in pass protection.

Reiff and Warford won’t make Pro Bowls, but they’re established as above-average starters. Warford missed 3 games with a knee injury last year, yet he finished as PFF’s 15 th ranked pass blocker.


12. San Diego Chargers

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 32nd
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 24 th

Projected Starters: LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin, C Chris Watt, RG D.J. Fluker, RT Joe Barksdale

The Chargers boast plenty of size here, as each starter checks in at 325+ pounds. This group isn’t short on talent either. Franklin’s arrival via free agency gives the team a major boost on the interior. The former Bronco earned high marks from PFF as both a run and pass blocker.

Fluker is likely to begin the year at RG after spending his first 2 campaigns at OT. He simply lacks the foot speed to contain dynamic edge rushers, but he projects extremely well on the inside. Fluker’s able to kick inside following the signing of Joe Barksdale, a 16-game starter for the Rams last season.

Center Chris Watt carries some question marks after playing only 331 snaps last year. Still, he received solid all-around marks from PFF and was considered a relatively safe prospect coming out of Notre Dame last spring. Overall, this unit figures to perform much more consistently than it did in 2014.


13. New England Patriots

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 16th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 29 th

Projected Starters: LT Nate Solder, LG Josh Kline, C Bryon Stork, RG Ryan Wendell, RT Sebastian Vollmer

The Pats' pass blocking really improved over the 2 nd half of the season and into the playoffs. It took time to find the right combo, but they jelled at the right time.

That doesn’t mean they’re a reliable group entering 2015. Sure, there’s plenty of talent here -- especially at OT. Solder stands 6’8 with impressive athleticism. And he’s a proven commodity having started 60 games over his 4-year career.

But Vollmer’s worth tracking as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. That sidelined him for all of OTAs, and he’s no lock to return for training camp. Wendell underwent a procedure on his shoulder, too, but it wasn’t as severe. Kline’s a 2013 UDFA who saw limited, subpar snaps last year. He should be pushed by rookie Tre’ Jackson, a more powerful run blocker.

Stork at least showed well as a rookie. The Florida State product is considered New England’s long-term answer at the position and should improve on his pedestrian 2014.


14. Seattle Seahawks

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 21st
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 17 th

Projected Starters: LT Russell Okung, LG Alvin Bailey, C Patrick Lewis, RG J.R. Sweezy, RT Justin Britt

Injuries played a role in this unit’s pedestrian finish. Okung missed 2 games, and C Max Unger missed 10. Okung returns for 2015, but the Seahawks shipped Unger away in the Jimmy Graham trade.

Seattle will first turn to Lewis at center. The 2013 UDFA handled only 279 snaps last year and garnered harsh marks from PFF. He’s certainly not locked into a starting role.

The same goes for Bailey, who tanked as a run blocker last year. Seattle spent 2 draft picks on guards -- first grabbing San Diego State’s Terry Poole before landing WVU’s Mark Glowinski. We’ll see healthy competition at the position in training camp.

Sweezy looks to be locked into the RG spot, but he wasn’t anything special in 2014. PFF gave him especially poor marks in pass protection. Britt wasn’t effective either, finishing 74 th out of 84 qualifying OTs. The good news is that both players are young -- Britt enters his 2 nd season and Sweezy enters year 4.

The Seahawks have been able to overcome some ho-hum O-lines because of Russell Wilson’s ability to evade defenders -- and Marshawn Lynch’s tendency to run through them. We’re not particularly concerned about the ground entering Week 1.


15. Oakland Raiders

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 12 th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 30 th

Projected Starters: LT Donald Penn, LG Gabe Jackson, C Rodney Hudson, RG Khalif Barnes, RT Austin Howard

Here’s your surprise unit of 2015.

New O-line coach Mike Tice called this group “the biggest and most athletic” one he’s ever worked with. It’s quite the compliment from a guy who’s been in the NFL for 33 seasons.

And really, he isn’t blowing smoke. Penn is a massive road grader who finished 7 th among OTs in PFF's grades. Howard tanked last year, but that’s because he played out of position at RG. Back at his natural RT spot, he should improve significantly.

Hudson commanded big bucks from the Raiders in free agency. But it’s money well spent for a young, budding offense, as he earned PFF’s #3 finish at center last season. Barnes is the only real weakness here, but the team has alternatives in rookie Jon Feliciano and veteran J’Marcus Webb.


16. New York Giants

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 26 th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 9 th

Projected Starters: LT Ereck Flowers, LG John Jerry, C Weston Richburg, RG Geoff Schwartz, RT Justin Pugh

LT Will Beatty was expected to open the year on Eli Manning’s blindside. Instead, he’ll be out until around midseason after suffering a torn pectoral muscle. The Giants took Flowers with the 9 th pick in May’s draft, and he projects as Beatty’s replacement. Flowers played LT for the bulk of his collegiate career, but he carries questions about his pass blocking.

Richburg proved disastrous at LG last season. He’ll move back to his natural position at center, though. Look for much-improved play out of the 2 nd-year man.

Expectations are high for Pugh, who’s capable of playing everywhere but center. It’s possible he kicks inside if Jerry -- a career-long underachiever -- doesn’t prove worthy of starting.


17. Kansas City Chiefs

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 19 th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 22 nd

Projected Starters: LT Eric Fisher, LG Ben Grubbs, C Eric Kush, RG Jeff Allen, RT Donald Stephenson

The Chiefs lost 1 of the NFL’s top centers (Rodney Hudson) in free agency. Kush is a major question mark after spending all of 2014 on the bench. He doesn’t carry much of a pedigree either, as he was a 6 th-round pick in 2013. Kansas City spent a 2nd-round pick on versatile lineman Mitch Morse, so they do have a talented body to push the holdover.

Fisher, of course, arrived in Kansas City with enormous expectations. The 2013 top draft pick hasn’t lived up to the hype, though. PFF pegged him 72 nd out of 84 qualifying OTs last season. He reportedly dropped as much as 30 pounds of “body fat” over the offseason, and we’ll see if his transformed frame equates to better on-field play.


18. Denver Broncos

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 13th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 6 th

Projected Starters: LT Ty Sambrailo, LG Ben Garland, C Gino Gradkowski, RG Louis Vasquez, RT Chris Clark

This group doesn’t look pretty on paper. Denver lost LT Ryan Clady (torn ACL) for the season early in OTAs. They also watched standout LG Orlando Franklin sign with San Diego in free agency.

Sure, the Broncos should see diminished play from Sambrailo, a rookie 2 nd-round pick. But he’s extremely agile and comes NFL-ready after starting 42 games at Colorado State. Denver managed to cover up Clady’s loss in 2013 when he missed all but 2 games. That year, PFF ranked them 2 nd in pass blocking and 6 th in run blocking.

We’ll keep an eye on the LG and C spots. Garland projects as a solid scheme fit for new HC Gary Kubiak, but he’s yet to make an NFL start. Gradkowski’s familiar with Kubiak from their shared time in Baltimore last year. While he was benched in 2014, Kubiak’s obviously a fan of the former 3 rd-round pick, as the Broncos traded for him in April.


19. Atlanta Falcons

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 28th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 15 th

Projected Starters: LT Jake Matthews, LG Chris Chester, C Joe Hawley, RG Jon Asamoah, RT Ryan Schraeder

Matthews’ health will be under the microscope. Atlanta’s 2014 first-round pick underwent Lisfranc surgery in February and missed a chunk of OTAs. Fortunately, he’s expected to be a full go for training camp.

Chester arrived in free agency due in large part to his connection with new OC Kyle Shanahan. He’s not flashy, but he has started all 64 games for Washington over the past 4 seasons.

Schraeder’s perhaps the most intriguing piece, as he burst on the scene last season. PFF handed him strong pass-blocking marks, although his run blocking wasn’t up to snuff. Still, he was Atlanta’s top-rated O-linemen. He’s considered a strong fit for Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, so the late-blooming 27-year-old could be even better in 2015.


20. Minnesota Vikings

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 10th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 25 th

Projected Starters: LT Matt Kalil, LG Brandon Fusco, C John Sullivan, RG T.J. Clemmings, RT Phil Loadholt

Kalil’s play fell off a cliff last season. The former 1 st-rounder allowed an NFL-high 12 sacks. He’s packed on weight this offseason, but he’s far from a lock to rebound to his solid form of 2012-2013. Dual offseason knee surgeries only further cloud his outlook.

Fusco and Loadholt are recovering from torn pectorals. Loadholt has been limited in OTAs with the injury, while Fusco is back to 100%. It’s imperative that both guys remain healthy -- especially with a converted OT in line to start at RG. Clemmings is highly athletic -- he was a potential D-1 hoops player coming out of high school -- but he didn’t start a single game at guard at Pittsburgh.


21. New York Jets

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 20th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 13 th

Projected Starters: LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, LG James Carpenter, C Nick Mangold, RG Willie Colon, RT Breno Giacomini

The Jets have 2 reliable mainstays along the line in Ferguson and Mangold. Ferguson’s yet to miss a game through 9 NFL seasons. Mangold’s missed just 3 over the same span, while he’s also fresh off a finish as PFF’s top-rated center. There’s some decline risk with Ferguson, though. He finished a lowly 42 nd in 2013 and rebounded only slightly to 35th in 2014.

There’s not a ton to love elsewhere. Carpenter proved to be a solid signing for the Jets, but he’s mostly an asset in pass protection. PFF’s placed him squarely in the red as a run blocker in each of his 4 NFL seasons. Colon’s past his prime and will be pushed by younger competition in training camp. Giacomini lacks the athleticism to be a true neutralizer, especially against speed rushers.


22. Indianapolis Colts

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 15th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 26 th

Projected Starters: LT Anthony Castonzo, LG Hugh Thornton, C Khaled Holmes, RG Todd Herremans, RT Jack Mewhort

Andrew Luck has yet to play behind a dependable O-line. Don’t expect that to change in 2015.

Gosder Cherilus can be a key pass-blocking asset when healthy, but he’s recovering from a knee scope. While he could slide back into his RT spot if healthy, that scenario isn’t a given.

Herremans carries name value, but his play dropped sharply last season. He also landed on IR in November with a torn biceps. Going on 33, he might provide the Colts 1 more solid season. Ultimately, the unit will continue to be carried by top performer Anthony Castonzo.


23. Miami Dolphins

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 27th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 31 st

Projected Starters: LT Branden Albert, LG Dallas Thomas, C Mike Pouncey, RG Billy Turner, RT Ja’Wuan James

Miami’s a tough bunch to project, as so much rests on the shoulders of Albert. The high-end blindside protector is returning from a torn ACL and MCL. He’s considered likely to start Week 1, but he’ll certainly play limited team snaps across training camp and the preseason.

There are questions at both guard spots, too. Thomas played limited snaps last year and tanked in both run and pass blocking. Miami has given rookie 4 th-rounder Jamil Douglas 1 st-team snaps ahead of Thomas in OTAs, so the veteran isn’t guaranteed the starting nod.

Turner has all the physical tools necessary to succeed, but he drew only 17 snaps as a 2014 rookie. And all of them came at RT.

Pouncey spent 2014 at RG, where he failed to impress. Moved back to his natural position of center, he should deliver much better results. PFF’s ranks found him 8 th overall at the position in 2012 and 14th in 2013.

Miami selected James in Round 1 of the 2014 draft. While he showed some glimpses of reliable play, he ultimately finished bottom 10 among OTs. He should benefit from sticking on the right side this year, though. He was forced to the left as a rookie following Albert’s season-ending injury.


24. St. Louis Rams

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 23rd
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 27 th

Projected Starters: LT Greg Robinson, LG Rodger Saffold, C Tim Barnes, RG Jamon Brown, and RT Rob Havenstein

The Rams’ O-line won’t make it any easier to like their skill-position guys. There are simply too many questions beyond potential All-Pro Greg Robinson, who’s coming off toe surgery. Brown and Havenstein are rookies. We’ll see how Brown performs on the inside after spending his entire collegiate career at OT.

Saffold should be fine for training camp, but he underwent offseason shoulder surgery. And there’s nothing in Barnes’ history to suggest that he’ll provide above-average play. The 5 th-year UDFA has started just 4 games and will have to earn the center job in camp.


25. San Francisco 49ers

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 3rd
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 14 th

Projected Starters: LT Joe Staley, LG Brandon Thomas, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Marcus Martin, RT Alex Boone

This group took a hit with the unexpected (and supposedly short-term) retirement of RT Anthony Davis. Mix in the loss of LG Mike Iupati in free agency and you have an extremely suspect unit.

Staley’s really the only reliable starter. Thomas played LT in college and didn’t handle a single down as a 2014 rookie. Kilgore suffered a season-ending broken leg last October. Martin looked out of place at center last year, but there’s at least some upside in the former 3 rd-round pick. While Boone received decent marks from PFF last year, he took all of his snaps at RG.

A lot could change with this group, but entering training camp, they have a lot to prove.


26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 8th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 32 nd

Projected Starters: LT Donovan Smith, LG Logan Mankins, C Evan Smith, RG Ali Marpet, RT Demar Dotson

Smith and Marpet -- two 2nd-round rookies -- aren’t locked into starting gigs. But they’re the favorites entering training camp. Marpet might encounter a larger learning curve as he played his college ball at Division III Hobart. Smith emerges from Penn State with plus size (6’6, 338), although his mobility on the left side will be worth monitoring.

There aren’t any pressing issues elsewhere, but none of Mankins, Smith and Dotson can be considered upper-echelon options. Mankins finished as PFF’s 9 th overall guard last year, but he’s getting up there in age at 33.


27. Buffalo Bills

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 31 st
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 21 st

Projected Starters: LT Cordy Glenn, LG John Miller, C Eric Wood, RG Richie Incognito, RT Cyrus Kouandjio

Incognito immediately sticks out from the starting 5. He didn’t play at all last year but has drawn praise from HC Rex Ryan in OTAs. He also drew positive marks from PFF across the board back in 2013. Despite a hothead reputation, his career path says that he’ll be a decent starter.

Miller -- a rookie 3 rd-rounder -- looks poised to start after dominating in OTAs. Ryan went so far as to say that the power blocker “looks like a 10-year veteran.” We’ll see if the momentum continues deep into the summer.

Glenn and Wood are solid, multi-year starters. But RT could be a problem spot, as Kouandjio didn’t play a single snap last year. Buffalo could turn to Seantrel Henderson, but he finished 3 rd worst in PFF’s ranks among qualifying OTs last season.


28. Jacksonville Jaguars

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 25 th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 18 th

Projected Starters: LT Luke Joeckel, LG Zane Beadles, C Stefan Wisniewski, RG Brandon Linder, RT Jeremy Parnell

The Jags certainly have the talent to exceed this ranking. But can this group jell immediately?

Joeckel’s been the most dissipating, due in part to the expectations he carried as the #2 overall pick. A fractured ankle robbed him of most of his rookie season. When healthy last year, he ranked 67 th in PFF’s OT grades. He’s bulked up this offseason and has drawn some praise from the coaching staff. It’s obviously not too late for the 23-year-old to turn his career around.

New RT Jermey Parnell performed well in limited snaps with Dallas last year. The Jags showed faith in him by inking the 29-year-old to a lucrative long-term deal. He should stabilize a position that was marred with inconsistency last season.

If healthy, Wisniewski would be a virtual lock for the center job. But the free agent addition will need to show well in camp coming off of shoulder surgery.


29. Tennessee Titans

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 14 th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 28 th

Projected Starters: LT Taylor Lewan, LG Andy Levitre, C Brian Schwenke, RG Chance Warmack, RT Jeremiah Poutasi

An O-line with excellent pure talents like Lewan and Warmack should rank higher.

But they’ve yet to live up to their potential. Lewan received average marks from PFF and missed 5 games with a high ankle sprain. Warmack hasn’t registered difference-making numbers, either.

Beyond the headliners, none of their linemates project favorably. Levitre declined sharply last year -- especially in pass protection -- and never boasted overpowering physical tools. Schwenke placed bottom 10 in PFF’s center grades, while RT likely won’t be decided until the conclusion of training camp.

Poutasi, a rookie 3rd-round pick, looks like the highest-upside option. But he turns just 21 in August and certainly isn’t a lock for solid day-1 production. We’ve already seen what RT contenders Byron Bell and Byron Stingily offer -- and it’s not pretty.


30. Chicago Bears

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 5 th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 19 th

Projected Starters: LT Jermon Bushrod, LG Matt Slauson, C Will Montgomery, RG Kyle Long, RT Jordan Mills

Outside of Long, there’s not a ton of dependability here.

Mills and Bushrod provided 1 of the league’s worst tackle duos last season. Both guys finished top 5 in QB hits allowed. Slauson was limited to 5 games due to a torn pectoral.

Montgomery is the newcomer, as he followed new HC John Fox from Denver. He’ll compete with rookie Hroniss Grasu for the starting gig. He comes NFL ready after starting 52 games at Oregon. The competition will only help Chicago trout out their best 5 linemen.


31. Washington Redskins

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 24 th
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 10 th

Projected Starters: LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Kory Lichtensteiger, RG Spencer Long, RT Brandon Scherff

Washington’s set on the perimeter. Williams is coming off a minor surgery on his ankle, but it’s not expected to hamper him in training camp. Scherff arrived via the 5 th overall pick in May’s draft. He’s pro ready, although we might witness some growing pains early on.

The interior isn’t nearly as flashy. Last year, Lauvao received pedestrian marks across the board from PFF. Long boats excellent size, but he’s an unproven 3 rd-year pro. The former Cornhusker handled only 6 snaps last season and isn’t guaranteed the starting job.


32. Carolina Panthers

2014 Run-Blocking rank: 22 nd
2014 Pass-blocking rank: 30 th

Projected Starters: LT Michael Oher, LG Amini Silatolu, C Ryan Kalil, RG Trai Turner, RT Nate Chandler

When you’re counting on Oher as your blindside protector, bad things are bound to happen. He finished bottom 10 in PFF’s rankings in each of the past 2 seasons. NFL evaluators obviously see something in him, but he simply hasn’t performed at a passable level.

Chandler’s far from a lock to stick in the starting RT role. Carolina has a host of potential alternatives, including Mike Remmers and former Dolphin Jonathan Martin. The problem is that neither option packs much promise. Still, there’s a good chance at least 1 of them sees the field in 2015. Chandler’s coming off knee and toe surgeries and assembled little positive film last season.

Kalil at least provides some stability. Last year, he finished top 12 in PFF’s overall center grades for the 2 nd straight season. He’ll be needed more than ever with the rest of this group so unproven.

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