Rotoworld ranks the offensive lines

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by Playoffs, May 8, 2012.

  1. Playoffs

    Playoffs Subscribed Contributor

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    2012 Offensive Line Rankings
    EVAN SILVA/Rotoworld
    Monday, May 07, 2012


    ...I watch 9-12 games each week during the regular season, and for these rankings fell back on my 2011 notes while using the great research of Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus as guidelines. I think it's also important to understand the impact of blocking schemes, rookie expectations, and free agency additions, so I tried to touch on all of that. Please keep in mind that we are attempting to project here, not making grades based strictly on yesteryear performance.

    * = returning starter

    1. Green Bay Packers

    LT: Marshall Newhouse*
    LG: T.J. Lang*
    C: Jeff Saturday
    RG: Josh Sitton*
    RT: Bryan Bulaga*

    Top reserves: OT Derek Sherrod, G/C Evan Dietrich-Smith, OT Chris Campbell, G/T Herbert Taylor, OT Andrew Datko.

    Overview: Gone are longtime starters Scott Wells and Chad Clifton, but there should be little to no performance drop-off among Green Bay's elite front five. Newhouse made 13 starts last season, and natural improvement is expected from a second-year starter who's yet to turn 24. Lang has developed into a rock-solid left guard, while Sitton and Bulaga form an All Pro-caliber right side. Saturday is 37 now, but centers tend to age well and he has. He's also an ideal scheme fit for Green Bay's zone-blocking system. The Packers don't lack depth, either. Sherrod was a 2011 first-round pick. Dietrich-Smith is versatile and benefited from three spot starts last season. Campbell is an athletic swing man. Rookie Datko may have been a top-32 pick if not for injuries.

    2. New England Patriots

    LT: Nate Solder*
    LG: Logan Mankins*
    C: Dan Connolly*
    RG: Brian Waters*
    RT: Sebastian Vollmer

    Top reserves: C Dan Koppen, OG Robert Gallery, T/G Marcus Cannon, G/C Ryan Wendell, C/G Nick McDonald, G/T Donald Thomas.

    Overview: In 2012, the Patriots will combat transition and adversity with sheer talent. Longtime left tackle Matt Light has retired, and Waters may do the same. Mankins tore his ACL in the playoffs, though he's tentatively due back for Week 1. New blindside starter Solder played over 1,000 snaps as a first-round rookie, holding up well. Vollmer, a top-60 pick in the 2009 draft, has flashed Pro Bowl ability when healthy. Cannon is a wildcard with terrific feet for a mammoth, 360-pound man. While New England's line boasts little continuity with plenty of question marks, this remains a top-five group in terms of skill level, and the bench is crawling with capable starters.

    3. Cincinnati Bengals

    LT: Andrew Whitworth*
    LG: Travelle Wharton
    C: Kyle Cook*
    RG: Kevin Zeitler
    RT: Andre Smith*

    Top reserves: OT Anthony Collins, G/T Clint Boling, OT Dennis Roland, OG Jacob Bell, OG Otis Hudson.

    Overview: Parting with longtime guards Bobbie Williams and Nate Livings, the Bengals have stayed true to form by replacing them with interior road graders Wharton and Zeitler. This is a power-blocking unit with impressive depth. Collins, Boling, Roland, and Bell have combined for 149 career starts, and only Bell (31) is over the age of 30. While this was already a top-five group in pass protection, the run blocking should improve in the post-Livings era. Offensive line play is a strength in Cincinnati, and if a starter goes down, the Bengals can replace him with a tested vet.

    4. Kansas City Chiefs

    LT: Branden Albert*
    LG: Ryan Lilja*
    C: Rodney Hudson
    RG: Jon Asamoah*
    RT: Eric Winston

    Top reserves: G/T Jeff Allen, OG Darryl Harris, OT Donald Stephenson, C Rob Bruggeman, OT David Mims.

    Overview: The Chiefs are gearing up to run one of the NFL's most smash-mouth attacks, and they have the trench talent to execute. Tackle play is an immediate strength with Albert emerging as perhaps the league's most underrated blindside blocker, and Winston joining the mix on the strong side. Asamoah is a nasty right guard whose run blocking will only improve as a second-year starter. Groomed behind Casey Wiegmann last season, Hudson is ready for prime time at center. Lilja and rookie Allen will duke it out at left guard. Depth is a concern beyond the top six linemen here, but this unit oozes potential and will likely prove to be a top-five grouping in '12.

    5. Carolina Panthers

    LT: Jordan Gross*
    LG: Amini Silatolu
    C: Ryan Kalil*
    RG: Geoff Hangartner*
    RT: Jeff Otah

    Top reserves: T/G Byron Bell*, OT Lee Ziemba, G/C Mike Pollak, T/G Garry Williams, T/G Bruce Campbell.

    Overview: Cam Newton's record-shattering rookie year might lead to you think otherwise, but Carolina's 2011 line strength was run blocking. The Panthers' 5.41 yards-per-rushing attempt average not only led the league, but was the second highest clip posted by any team in the last five years and third highest since 1997. Newton's running ability helped, but DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both averaged well over five yards per tote. Carolina's front five got nastier with Silatolu's addition, and he could eventually flip positions with Hangartner to give the Panthers the meanest strong side of the line in the league. Carolina can take another step forward as a pass-blocking team if the light flips on in Otah's contract year. A dominant talent, Otah has appeared in just four games over the past two seasons. He says he's 100 percent healthy now.

    6. Tennessee Titans

    LT: Michael Roos*
    LG: Steve Hutchinson
    C: Eugene Amano*
    RG: Leroy Harris*
    RT: David Stewart*

    Top reserves: G/C Fernando Velasco, OT Mike Otto, T/G Troy Kropog, T/G Byron Stingily, C/G Kevin Matthews.

    Overview: While Tennessee's tackle play has been consistently outstanding and at times dominant, the interior line went sour over the past couple of seasons. The Titans shored up left guard with Hutchinson, who proved to have plenty left in the tank during a strong 2011 campaign in Minnesota. Harris has turned the corner on the other side, grading out last season as a top-15 NFL guard, according to Pro Football Focus. Amano will have to hold off Velasco in training camp. This line is elite in pass protection, and could emerge as the league's most well-rounded front five by taking a step forward in run blocking. Part of that will be up to running back Chris Johnson.

    7. Philadelphia Eagles

    LT: Demetress Bell
    LG: Evan Mathis*
    C: Jason Kelce*
    RG: Danny Watkins*
    RT: Todd Herremans*

    Top reserves: OT King Dunlap, C/G Steve Vallos, G/C Julian Vandervelde, G/C Mike Gibson, G/T Brandon Washington, OT Dennis Kelly.

    Overview: The Eagles might have pushed for this list's top five pre-Jason Peters injury, but they'll have to settle for top-seven billing. Replacement Bell is a terrific scheme fit for OL coach Howard Mudd, who emphasizes athleticism up front. Mathis, Watkins, and Kelce form one of the league's most promising interiors, and each is entering his first full offseason in Mudd's system. Mathis is already a premier NFL guard. Herremans, who protects southpaw Michael Vick's blind side, allowed just four sacks last season while playing all but seven snaps. In Dunlap, Vallos, and Gibson, the Eagles have 23 career starts on the bench, and in Washington they have a potential left guard of the future. If Philly flounders again this year, it shouldn't be due to the offensive line.

    8. Houston Texans

    LT: Duane Brown*
    LG: Wade Smith*
    C: Chris Myers*
    RG: Antoine Caldwell
    RT: Rashad Butler

    Top reserves: OT Derek Newton, G/T Andrew Gardner, OG Brandon Brooks, C Ben Jones, OG Shelley Smith.

    Overview: The Texans very arguably fielded the NFL's best offensive line in 2011, but it is undergoing significant transition. With right-side starters Mike Brisiel and Eric Winston moving on, Houston is banking on Butler (four career starts) and Caldwell (13) as in-house replacements. Myers and Smith are on the wrong side of 30, and Brown is entering a contract year. Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison's tried-and-true scheme keeps Houston ranked relatively high on this list, but the zone-blocking system requires continuity, and there is reason to believe the Texans' front-five talent has fallen off. Starved for depth, Houston's reserves have combined for zero career starts.

    9. Baltimore Ravens

    LT: Bryant McKinnie*
    LG: Kelechi Osemele
    C: Matt Birk*
    RG: Marshal Yanda*
    RT: Michael Oher*

    Top reserves: T/G Jah Reid, OT Ramon Harewood, G/C Justin Boren, C/G Gino Gradkowski, OG Howard Barbieri.

    Overview: Baltimore's top reserves have zero combined NFL starts, but the starting five is among the most talented in football. There is also some feeling amongst league evaluators that outgoing LG Ben Grubbs was overrated and ultimately overpaid by New Orleans. At nearly 6-foot-6, 327 with 36-inch arms and 43 starts at Iowa State, Osemele could prove an upgrade on Grubbs sooner rather than later. The wildcards here are McKinnie and Oher. Both played capably enough last year to keep Joe Flacco protected consistently, but possess talent to perform with far more dominance. McKinnie should feel some urgency this season. Going on age 33, he's entering the last year of his deal and playing for what could potentially be his final NFL contract.

    10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    LT: Donald Penn*
    LG: Carl Nicks
    C: Jeremy Zuttah*
    RG: Davin Joseph*
    RT: Jeremy Trueblood*

    Top reserves: G/C Ted Larsen, OT Demar Dotson, G/T Derek Hardman, OT Jamon Meredith, G/T Desmond Wynn.

    Overview: Meet the NFL's most expensive O-Line. Over the past three years, the Bucs have devoted an unprecedented $168 million in combined contracts to their five starters, including this offseason's Nicks ($47.5M) and Zuttah ($16.3M) deals. So far, the group has been overpaid. Nicks is the lone truly elite lineman, and he's yet to play a down for Tampa. There are reasons to believe this unit is destined for a big leap, though. New coach Greg Schiano is installing a run-heavy attack, and that philosophy plays to the strengths of this power-blocking group. Nicks' presence allows Zuttah to kick from left guard to center, turning last year's biggest negative into a positive. The addition of a running back with power and wiggle in first-round pick Doug Martin will naturally make the blocking look better. Though not quite as good as its price tag suggests, Tampa's offensive line was still a top 15 or 18 unit in 2011. It should be top ten in 2012.
    ...
    19. Jacksonville Jaguars

    LT: Eugene Monroe*
    LG: Will Rackley*
    C: Brad Meester*
    RG: Uche Nwaneri*
    RT: Eben Britton

    Top reserves: C/G Jason Spitz, OT Guy Whimper*, OT Cameron Bradfield, C/G John Estes, C Mike Brewster.

    Overview: Whimper was this unit's weak link last season as a 15-game starter. Though Whimper was re-signed in March, the Jaguars will demote him and turn to a hopefully-healthy Britton at right tackle. They'll also plan on major strides in 2011 third-round pick Rackley's second season. Monroe and Meester are the group's rocks at left tackle and center, respectively. While hardly an elite line, the Jags field an above-average group that has potential to improve by leaps and bounds with the reinstallation of Britton. Jacksonville has surrounded Blaine Gabbert with enough pass-catching and protecting talent that it's now up to Gabbert himself to right the ship.
    ...
    31. Indianapolis Colts

    LT: Anthony Castonzo*
    LG: Ben Ijalana
    C: Samson Satele
    RG: Mike McGlynn
    RT: Winston Justice

    Top reserves: T/G Jeff Linkenbach*, G/T Joe Reitz*, T/G Mike Tepper, OG Seth Olsen, OT Steven Baker.

    Overview: Rebuilding the Colts will be a long process, but rookie GM Ryan Grigson used the free agency and trade markets to fortify Andrew Luck's starting line. Right tackle Justice cost Grigson only a sixth-round swap, while McGlynn and Satele were reasonably priced free agent pickups. Castonzo and Ijalana are talented, if inherited prospects drafted by the outgoing Polians in last year's first and second rounds. They're both also coming off offseason surgeries, Ijalana for a left ACL tear and Castonzo for ligament damage in his ankle. While talent is not this group's major downfall, it lacks any hint of continuity and is ultimately a patchwork unit with poor depth.


    read more: http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/40484/179/2012-offensive-line-rankings?pg=1
     
  2. aussie_texan

    aussie_texan Hall of Fame

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    as much as i hate to say it...he has a point.

    however i say lets prove him wrong!!!
     
  3. aussie_texan

    aussie_texan Hall of Fame

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    also the titans ahead of us......just curious how many yards did cj2ypc run for
     
  4. Thorn

    Thorn Dirty Old Man

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    CJ not getting a lot of yards has more to do with CJ than it does their linemen. CJ is a head case like his bubba Vince.
     
  5. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    that's a 2012 projection. We lost the right side of the line and have zero experience backing up the new starters and they add 7 time All-Pro Guard Steve Hutichinson. The only real weak link on that line going forward is C, Eugene Amano and he's servicable.
     
  6. 76Texan

    76Texan Hall of Fame

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    So Myers and Smith are on the wrong side of 30, but they are of the same age as Jake Scott.
    And Steve Hutchinson still has plenty in the tank? :ahhaha:

    What about the Tacks' RG?
    "Harris, 28 in June, is coming off knee and shoulder scopes, but should be 100 percent by training camp. Harris took a step forward last season, but struggled as a run blocker."

    http://www.rotoworld.com/recent/nfl/4311/leroy-harris
     
  7. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    Hutchinson played well last year.
     
  8. 76Texan

    76Texan Hall of Fame

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    I know; I only comment about the "age" part. :specnatz:
     


  9. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    He makes it look so easy it reminds me of when Matthews was playing late in his career. It was like Matthews could play (well) forever at one point.
    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/foot...-02-20/steve-hutchinson-salary-cap/53179166/1
     
  10. run-david-run

    run-david-run Hall of Fame

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    Hutchinson might have an otherworldly resume, but he is by no means the same player who made all those Pro Bowls. There's a reason he was a Free Agent in the first place.

    He might work out for them, but it's by no means a sure thing.


    (let's hope it doesn't)
     
  11. Playoffs

    Playoffs Subscribed Contributor

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    Yes, ProFootballFocus ranked Hutchinson 8th G overall and 4th overall LG in 2011.
     
  12. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    You must not have seen him play last season. Hutchinson is a sure thing, or as sure as anything I can think of in the NFL...he's a Hall of Fame talent and I've seen linemen like him (not many like him) play a long time at very high levels as long as they don't blow out knees.
     
  13. Texan_Bill

    Texan_Bill Subscribed Contributor

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    Meh, schemes have a lot to do with line play as well. It's not even arguable that Winston had a mediocre year or that Briesel was some "world-beater"....

    I have the same feelings that I have about draft predictions. I'll know halfway into the season.
     
  14. redwhiteblue

    redwhiteblue Veteran

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    Amazing that the texans are downgraded because the line is going through transition, but the patriots and eagles are ranked higher and they are both starting new left tackles
     
  15. Quick II Draw

    Quick II Draw Veteran

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    [​IMG]
     
  16. BullBlitz

    BullBlitz Section 331

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    This illustration still has Texas too big. It barely exists from an east coast perspective.
     

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