So, if you had the opportunity to build a prototype offensive lineman by combining the greatest attributes of the best linemen in the NFL, whose skills would you use? Here are my picks:
1. Strength: Larry Allen
Without much doubt, Larry Allen is the single strongest player in the NFL. While weight room strength does not always translate onto the gridiron, Larry’s bench press max of 700 pounds certainly does correlate to his on-field success.
Simply stated, Larry is a giant among men, and there is no player whose strength I would rather incorporate into my prototype lineman than that of Larry Allen.
2. Mobility: Joe Staley
When it comes to mobility on the offensive line, absolutely nobody beats Joe Staley. As a 310-pound rookie, Joe Staley ran a 4.7 40-yard dash. That’s right, that was not a typo.
This speed can be attributed to the fact that Joe was a tight end early in his college career. Or, maybe his speed was inherited through his time as a track star in the collegiate ranks.
Either way, Joe Staley is about the fastest big man you will ever see, and therefore, his speed is perfect for building my prototype lineman.
3. Technique: Joe Thomas
When it comes to using proper technique on the line, Joe Thomas is the master. Coming out of college, many questioned Thomas’ ability to succeed in the NFL due to his lack of a raw mean streak.
However, who needs to be mean when your mechanics are as solid as Joe’s? Joe moves his feet, places his hands, and creates body leverage in a manner that is absolutely textbook perfection. With Joe Thomas’ technique, my prototype lineman would be bound for success.
4. Intelligence: Matt Birk
Matt Birk may be the most intelligent lineman in the NFL. While attending Harvard certainly contributed to overall intelligence, his on-field knowledge is something that simply can’t be matched.
Matt makes the right calls at the right times, and leads his offensive line the way a center should. With his intelligence, my prototype lineman may never miss a blocking assignment.
5. Pass Blocking: Walter Jones
When it comes to success as a pass blocker, you simply can’t top Walter Jones. Walter has been one of the most dominant pass blockers in the NFL for years, as he rarely ever allows a sack.
6. Run Blocking: Steve Hutchinson
There may be no one better in the game at run blocking than Steve Hutchinson. Simply put, he has everything it takes to move the pile and create holes that running backs would pray for at night.
7. Heart: Kris Dielman
There is no doubt at all that Kris Dielman plays with tremendous heart. In fact, when Kris became a free agent, he was offered several contracts by other teams that San Diego simply couldn’t come close to matching.
However, Kris turned these offers down, citing the bonds he had formed with his fellow lineman, and going on to say that you can’t leave your family for money.
On the gridiron, Kris plays with this same passion. His mean streak is off the charts, and you will never catch him giving less than 110 percent.
8. Body: Jared Gaither
At 6’9", 330 pounds, Gaither may have the most ideal body for an offensive lineman in the NFL. Jared has the long reach needed to keep opposing lineman at bay, the massive size needed to defend against bull rushers, and the athletic frame needed to maximize mobility without compromising in bulk.
This rare physical specimen has the ideal body for my prototype.