The 10 Most Promising Young Offensive Linemen in the NFL Today
Matt Miller's NFL1000 continues with the release of the offensive line rankings here on Bleacher Report.
Often overlooked as vital cogs in the machine that is a team, the offensive line does all the dirty work on offense. Just ask the Baltimore Ravens, who rode a wave of excellent offensive line play all the way to a championship.
Good offensive linemen don't grow on trees, and they aren't easy to find in the draft.
Which young offensive linemen have a bright future in the NFL? Here are the 10 most promising linemen under 25 years of age currently in the NFL.
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Cordy Glenn was a bit of an enigmatic prospect heading into the 2012 draft. He was viewed as versatile for playing multiple positions, but seemed to have no natural position as a result.
Through attrition, Glenn was inserted at left tackle for the Bills. He wasn't great, but he wasn't bad. The rookie gave up six sacks in 13 games amid some injury issues.
Matt Miller ranked him 20th in the league at left tackle, but the athletic big man certainly has upside. Perhaps he will get moved to a more suitable position in 2013.
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Clint Boling had a forgettable rookie season.
The former fourth-round pick appeared in a handful of games, and he was not very good. His sophomore season, however, was a big improvement.
Boling was tabbed as the starter at left guard, and he did not let his team down. Matt Miller puts him all the way up to 15th in the NFL1000 after a solid 2012.
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The Kansas City Chiefs have been a laughing stock in recent years, but Jon Asamoah has been quietly solid along that offensive line.
Asamoah is the only lineman on this list with three years of experience, but he is still just 24 years old.
Matt Miller has the big guard ranked seventh overall, and he figures to be a fixture in the middle of that Kansas City line if they can keep him under contract.
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The Ravens are coming off an epic Super Bowl XLVII victory, and Kelechi Osemele was very much a reason why.
Joe Flacco credits his offensive line for the amazing playoff run he had, and Osemele may have been the best of the bunch. His run came when the Ravens shuffled their line around, putting Osemele at guard after having him at right tackle during the regular season.
Osemele will be a better guard than tackle, but he can play both positions well.
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The Cowboys badly needed to shore up their offensive line, so they took Tyron Smith with the ninth overall pick in 2011. He has been solid ever since.
Smith gave up eight sacks as a rookie compared to just three this past season, solidifying Tony Romo's blind side.
Having just turned 22 years of age, Smith is also one of the youngest offensive linemen in the league despite being a two-year veteran.
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It's a great sign when you are considered one of the league's best players at your position as a rookie. Mitchell Schwartz landed in Matt Miller's top 10 at right tackle last season.
The second-round pick was panned by some big names—most notably Mel Kiper Jr.—but he has most certainly panned out for the Browns across from All-Pro Joe Thomas, giving them one of the best tackle duos in the NFL.
Schwartz was rated the seventh-best right tackle and 21st among all offensive tackles by Pro Football Focus. Not bad for a guy who was taken a few rounds "too early."
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Ryan Clady gets all the publicity on the Denver offensive line, but he is book-ended by a great, young right tackle.
Orlando Franklin was drafted out of Miami in 2011, and the return on investment has well exceeded expectations. The big lineman gave up just six sacks as a rookie and four last year.
Matt Miller ranks Franklin as the fifth-best right tackle in the league. Considering he ranks Ryan Clady as the fifth-best left tackle, Peyton Manning seems to be well-protected.
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The top offensive lineman taken in the 2012 NFL Draft had a fine rookie season, showing why he was the best among the consensus at the left tackle position.
Matt Kalil allowed just two sacks of Christian Ponder last season, among the fewest in the league. His main issue came in run-blocking, which was highlighted by the fact the Vikings ran to the right far more often than the left, where Kalil stood.
Still, Matt Miller ranks Kalil 12th among left tackles—not bad for a rookie.
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The Pouncey name has been in the NFL for some time now, so it doesn't seem like Mike Pouncey has been in the league for just two seasons.
His older brother Maurkice established a reputation as one of the league's best that he has somehow maintained, despite the fact Mike has far surpassed him.
Indeed, the elder Pouncey is ranked just 22nd in the league at center in the NFL1000, while younger Mike is already the second-best center in the league. He is just 23 years old, and he is a stalwart in the middle of Miami's line.
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Perhaps the most underrated 2012 rookie played guard for the Bengals.
Kevin Zeitler fell into Cincinnnati's lap at the end of the first round. He was the second guard taken after David DeCastro, who some thought would land in the top 15.
DeCastro was unfortunately lost for the season with a knee injury, leaving Zeitler to shine at the position. Matt Miller ranked him eighth among all guards this year.
As a rookie.