Evan Silva

Offseason Low Down

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Offensive Line Rankings

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

15. Broncos
2006: 3
2007: 6

Denver's zone-blocking system is a plus, but uncertainty at center (Tom Nalen, 36, is recovering from knee surgery) and competition at right tackle leaves room for concern. While first-round LT Ryan Clady should succeed immediately, we can't reasonably put the Broncos higher than this.

16. Packers
2006: 27

The Packers haven't found great depth behind technically sound OTs Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton, but they impressively blend power and zone blocking and have a promising interior line with at least four starting-capable guards. Aaron Rodgers wouldn't have an obvious excuse if he failed as a starter.

17. Bengals
2006: 4
2007: 4

It's easy to like the nucleus of LG Andrew Whitworth, G/T Stacy Andrews, and rookie Anthony Collins, but left tackle Levi Jones' health has become a serious question mark. There are also issues at center, and RG Bobbie Williams and RT Willie Anderson are aging. This line is great in pass pro and can power block with anyone if it jells, but Rudi Johnson's performance has sagged badly the past two seasons.

18. Redskins
2006: 5
2007: 7

The Redskins have quality starters, but their depth is questionable and knocks Washington down in our rankings. Two members (RT Jon Jansen and RG Randy Thomas) are coming off serious injuries. But if they're healthy, this can be a potent run-blocking wall for Clinton Portis.

19. Steelers
2006: 6
2007: 13

Pittsburgh's line gets somewhat unfairly criticized for yielding sacks because no QB hangs in the pocket (often with success) like Ben Roethlisberger. Rashard Mendenhall's addition should make the group look better because he'll likely be a better inside runner than Willie Parker and will pick up the blitz.

20. Bills
2006: 18
2007: 22

LT Jason Peters is quietly threatening a holdout, but when he's on Buffalo opens holes and is above average in protection. RT Langston Walker and LG Derrick Dockery are monster maulers.

21. Saints
2006: 28
2007: 11

This finesse line showed its true colors last season, particularly on the ground. It's really a middle-of-the-pack group, but still talented (LT Jammal Brown, G Jahri Evans) with developmental depth (T Jermon Bushrod, G Andy Alleman). Sean Payton throws more than anyone, even Mike Martz, which helps Drew Brees' numbers but can leave the linemen out to dry. Though Brees keeps defenders off him with a quick release, he's hurried as much as any QB.

22. Cardinals
2006: 26
2007: 27

Arizona threw a ton in 2007 and this group protected well. But the Cardinals ranked 30th in yards-per-carry average.

23. Texans
2006: 31
2007: 31

This group couldn't keep Matt Schaub healthy in 2007. Position coach Alex Gibbs' addition will help the ground attack, but Houston will likely start a rookie left tackle this year and the protection could be up and down again.

24. Bears
2006: 15
2007: 12

The Bears' line got old all at once in 2007, but should rebound some with John Tait moving to his natural right tackle position and first-rounder Chris Williams installed on the blind side. Still, Chicago's run blocking could remain inconsistent.

25. 49ers
2006: 32
2007: 17

San Francisco's line has potential, but C Eric Heitmann, G David Baas, and RT Jonas Jennings are coming off injuries. Martz's offense is pass heavy, so they need to get healthy and keep their heads on a swivel.

26. Rams
2006: 20
2007: 18

This unit was decimated by injuries last season. Though they possess plenty of talent, there are too many "ifs" for the Rams' line to be considered average.

27. Ravens
2006: 28
2007: 30

The middle of Baltimore's line is a strength, but replacing Jonathan Ogden with raw second-year man Jared Gaither may not bode well for the Ravens' quarterback.

28. Dolphins
2006: 30
2007: 21

Miami's line has major power potential, but there are concerns about LT Jake Long's athleticism and the interior play.

29. Raiders
2006: 23
2007: 32

Oakland has an excellent position coach in Tom Cable, but LT Kwame Harris was a turnstile in San Francisco and JaMarcus Russell could be on his back quite a bit in his first year starting.

30. Lions
2006: 25
2007: 24

Perhaps the Lions have been unfairly downgraded here due to outrageous sack totals under Martz, but this group isn't any good until proven otherwise.

31. Chiefs
2006: 4
2007: 25

Athletic first-round pick Branden Albert helps, but this is unlikely to be a successful line this season with multiple unproven starters.

32. Falcons
2006: 7
2007: 23

New LT Sam Baker has T-Rex arms and RT Tyson Clabo isn't a power player. Atlanta's quarterback could be a sitting duck in 2008 and Michael Turner threatens to disappoint.

Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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