NFL: Best Offensive Linemen Of All-Time

John LewisSenior Writer IApril 23, 2008

With the first pick in the 2008 NFL Draft the Miami Dolphins selects Jake Long, offensive lineman out of the University of Michigan.  Obviously the men upfront are important and they get left out of most conversations about the best players in NFL history.

So the idea here is to show the O-lineman some love.  With out further adieu here is the list top to bottom in no particular order.

Anthony Muñoz
The number three pick in 1980 by the Cincinnati Bengals out of the University of Southern California, he was considered a risk because of his inability to stay healthy.  Well all his did was play 164 out of a possible 168 games in a 10 year span.  He was  selected to 11 straight pro bowls, was named an all pro 11 straight seasons, was named the NFL offensive lineman of the year in 1981, 1987 and 1988, and the NFL Players Association lineman of the year in 1981, 1985, 1988 and 1989.  

Munoz, at 6-6 and 278 pounds, he was quick and strong enough to block even the best pass rusher and was the anchor of the Bengal offensive line for 13 years.  Hands down the best lineman in NFL history.

Art Shell
Drafted in the third round in 1968 out of Maryland Eastern Shore. Shell didn't become the everyday starter until 1971.  But once inserted into the lineup he became widely recognized as one of the premier offensive linemen in the National Football League.  He was either a first or second team all pro for six straight seasons and was selected to eight straight pro bowls.

Shell played in 23 playoff games, eight AFL/AFC championship games and two super bowls victories.  He was quite durable as well playing in 156 straight games before an injury sidelined him for five games.  He then played another 51 straight before an injury forced his retirement in 1982.

Larry Allen

Allen was drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1994 out of Sonoma State, and is considered to be the strongest player in NFL history.  Allen impressed scouts with his 900-lb squat and deadlift and 700-lb bench press.  He was also the key front man during the Cowboys Super Bowl run in 1995.

Allen played in the pro bowl 11 times, at three different offensive line positions, and was named eight times as an all pro.  He's a member of the 90's all NFL team and has appeared in more pro bowls than any other Dallas Cowboys offensive player.  On a side note, Allen won ESPN's strongest man award at the 2006 and 2007 pro bowl when he was able to bench press 225-lb's 43 times.

Jackie Slater
Slater was drafted out of Jackson State by the Los Angeles Rams in the third round of the 1976 NFL Draft, and is tied for third all-time for the most seasons played in the history of the league. His 259 regular-season games played were the most ever by an offensive lineman when he retired, and he was the first player to play 20 seasons with one team.

Slater was voted to play in seven Pro Bowls, and made it to Super Bowl XIV with the Rams in 1979. Slater and the rest of the line helped the team to finish second in the league with 6,006 total offensive yards and gave up only 29 sacks 

Dan Dierdorf
Dierdorf was drafted out of Michigan as a second round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1971 draft.  He possessed size, speed and quickness and was named to six Pro Bowls and five All-Pro seasons as an offensive lineman during his 13 seasons.  The 6-3, 275-pounder was great as both a pass blocker and run blocker and was the fire starter for an offensive line that permitted the fewest sacks in the NFC for five straight years in the mid-1970s. 

In 1975, the Cardinals set a then-record by allowing only eight sacks in 14 games.

Honorable mentions to this list are John Hannah - New England Patriots, Forest Gregg - Green Bay Packers, Jim Parker - Baltimore Colts, Ron Yary - Minnesota Vikings, Orlando Pace - St. Louis Rams, Walt Jones - Seattle Seahawks and Jonathan Ogden - Baltimore Ravens.