NFL1000: Ranking the Top Offensive Guards of 2017 Season

NFL1000 ScoutsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2018

NFL1000: Ranking the Top Offensive Guards of 2017 Season

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    Offensive guards are not exempt from the truism that the NFL requires more versatility than ever. While guards have been challenged to do everything from power/counter/trap schemes to Lombardi power sweeps to zone slides through the years, defensive fronts that present more intellectual and schematic challenges than ever require the modern guard to play at a different level.

    Defensive ends who kick inside on passing downs present different speed challenges than most defensive tackles. Hybrid fronts that put two pass-rushers on the same side require guards to pass-block like tackles at times—something few guards can do. And more complicated fronts and stunts put an equal challenge of brawn and brains on every guard in the league.

    The best guards of any era have an ideal combination of the visceral and the intellectual—on the Lombardi Packers, the guards were power-sweep rock stars. In Pittsburgh's trap schemes of the 1970s, Chuck Noll's guards had to play at a different level for everything to work. And don't tell any coach who runs zone blocking that his guards can be hidden in those slides. Sometimes, those guards will be tasked to wrestle a 320-pound tackle on one play and head 20 yards up the seam on the next play to take out a safety.

    NFL1000 offensive line scout Ethan Young has been watching every NFL guard all season, and here are his positional rankings and scouting reports, based on the following criteria:

    Pass Protection: 25 points. How well does this guard deal with speed-rushers inside? Can he transition from one defensive lineman to another in line stunts? Is he susceptible to bull rushes and inside counters, or does he have the upper-body strength and footwork to adjust?

    Run Blocking: 25 points. How well does this guard drive-block? Can he chip and hit the second level to accurately block linebackers out of the play? When a back or receiver takes the ball on a screen—effectively making that player a runner at that point—how well does this guard rumble outside to screen-block several yards downfield?

    Power: 20 points. How well does this player come off the line of scrimmage with low pad level and lower-body burst? Can he use his upper-body strength to make up for his own technique mistakes at times? Can he recover after he gets beaten?

    Agility: 20 points. When this player is asked to block anywhere in space, how well does he convert speed to power? Does he have a plan, or is he just running in space looking for something to hit? How well does he diagnose and execute complex blocking assignments? Can he work in multiple schemes, or is he more attuned to power over agility?

    Position Value: 7 points. A score that takes positional importance into account when comparing grades across other spots on the defense. Guards are given 7/10 points, making their top possible grade 97. 

    Make sure to check out all of the NFL1000 rankings from the 2017 season.



Notable Omissions

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    Al Pereira/Getty Images

    When ranking offensive guards, we wanted to see enough snaps and attempts to get a true picture of a player's development in, and effect on, his offense. Guards with fewer than 15 percent of their team's total defensive snaps were exempted from the rankings, including these players:

    • Joshua Garnett, San Francisco 49ers
    • Forrest Lamp, Los Angeles Chargers
    • Nico Siragusa, Baltimore Ravens
    • David Quessenberry, Houston Texans
    • Mike Iupati, Arizona Cardinals
    • Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens

Nos. 83-81

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    83. Jeremy Vujnovich, Indianapolis Colts

    Pass Protection: 12/25
    Run Block: 
    9/25
    Power: 
    15/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    57/100

    Jeremy Vujnovich isn't close to being ready to be relied on as an NFL offensive lineman. His hand technique is all over the place, and his approach as well as his ability to establish leverage in the run game need to be addressed before he sees the field again.

              

    82. Earl Watford, Arizona Cardinals

    Pass Protection: 10/25
    Run Block: 
    11/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    58/100

    It's easy to see why Earl Watford keeps getting chances, as he has intriguing flashes with his length, play strength and ability to fire out of a stance and hit a landmark out in space. But he is way too inconsistent from a technical standpoint, especially from the hip down with his footwork, to be relied on. And after three years of not seeing growth there, it's hard to believe it will ever come.

                

    81. Jeff Allen, Houston Texans

    Pass Protection: 11/25
    Run Block: 
    13/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    11/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    58/100

    Signing Jeff Allen to replace Brandon Brooks has to be one of the worst free-agency moves over the last few years, especially because their contracts ended up being so close in value. Allen has been a disaster for the Texans the last two years, and the main issues stem from the hip down. His footwork is sloppy and opens him up to get beat a lot. As his foot quickness has continued to decline, the issues have only gotten worse.

Nos. 80-76

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    80. Brian Winters, New York Jets

    Pass Protection: 11/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    13/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    58/100

    The Jets invested in Brian Winters pretty heavily following last year, and there wasn't a lot of compelling tape evidence as to why they did that at the time. This season, his play dipped even more. The problem with Winters is simple, he offers nothing from a play strength perspective and can't drive defenders off the ball. And given that problem is pretty hard to fix, it's hard to imagine Winters being a guy that justifies his contract over the next two seasons.

             

    79. Xavier Su'a-Filo, Houston Texans

    Pass Protection: 10/25
    Run Block: 
    11/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    58/100

    Xavier Su'a-Filo will always be known as the guy the Texans passed over Derek Carr for, but the bottom line is he's struggled the last two seasons on tape and needs to be upgraded if the Texans offense wants to take the next step. Su'a-Filo has the raw tools you look for, but his technique is a mess, and he never seems to bring it all together.

               

    78. Kenny Wiggins, Los Angeles Chargers

    Pass Protection: 14/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    12/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    59/100

    From a pure tools standpoint, Kenny Wiggins is probably working with less ammunition than any other interior offensive lineman that sees the light of day on a football field, but he manages to hang on for dear life with effort and mental processing skills. The Chargers need to replace him to upgrade their front, and they likely will with Forrest Lamp getting healthy, but his intangibles are admirable, and I'm sure he will continue to hang on somewhere as a result.

                  

    77. Jesse Davis, Miami Dolphins

    Pass Protection: 12/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    61/100

    Jesse Davis has more growth potential than most players this far down the list, but whether he will get the chance to develop his technique and get comfortable inside is the question. He needs a lot of work, but the tackle conversion is at least smooth enough to give the Dolphins some hope going forward.

                   

    76. Justin McCray, Green Bay Packers

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    61/100

    Another tackle conversion who looked uncomfortable inside, McCray is at best a placeholder for a Packers team that needs an infusion of talent on its interior. He is at best a deep reserve going forward, and if Green Bay opens up with McCray on the two-deep coming into camp, Packers fans should be worried.

Nos. 75-71

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    Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

    75. Matt Skura, Baltimore Ravens

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    11/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    61/100

    Matt Skura had some impressive tape at Duke, especially from a play strength perspective, but he struggles when he doesn't get hat-on-hat reps. Extending sets and reading opposing fronts are not easy traits to pick up in an offseason, so it's hard to imagine Skura making an impact next year, but he's strong and fluid enough to be a depth piece name down the line.

              

    74. Kevin Pamphile, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    61/100

    Upgrading Kevin Pamphile should be the Buccaneers' top priority heading into this offseason. A space filler who lacks the hand technique to deliver strikes against defenders and establish leverage when moving guys off the ball, Pamphile is a free agent who could have trouble finding a starting opportunity. 

                  

    73. Jermaine Eluemunor, Baltimore Ravens

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    62/100

    Jermaine Eluemunor was a pretty clear project coming out of college, but he showcased some encouraging traits in his limited reps this season. He's obviously not close to ready from a technical standpoint.

                 

    72. Max Garcia, Denver Broncos

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    62/100

    Max Garcia is what he is at this point, and that is a guy who has above-baseline levels of play strength but also struggles to get in position to deal out any sort of punishment consistently. His lack of lateral movement skills don't suit him well in the outside-zone-heavy Broncos run game, but with the way the NFL is going, there isn't a ton of value in guys like Garcia who fit such narrow usage.

                     

    71. Cameron Erving, Kansas City Chiefs

    Pass Protection: 12/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    63/100

    One of the biggest interior offensive line busts in recent years, Erving still has a blend of foot quickness and power that will get him shots with NFL teams. But with his footwork being so bad, he just loses too many reps from the get-go to have his physical tools make an impact.

Nos. 70-66

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    70. Ethan Pocic, Seattle Seahawks

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    63/100

    Ethan Pocic did not play all that well this year, but he needs some consistency to what his role is before he can be judged fairly. A college center, Pocic was announced as a tackle when he was selected by the Seahawks, took reps there early on, and then was kicked to guard when the coaching staff realized he needed to be inside. He has the potential to display top-level traits on the interior, but all the transition clearly had him playing hesitant rather than attacking like he did at LSU.

                    

    69. A.J. Cann, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Pass Protection: 14/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    12/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    63/100

    A.J. Cann is punch-and-pop guy, but the problem is his punches don't hit at a high rate. His lack of ability to play in space and extend his sets are his biggest deficiencies, but those things are going to be hard to fix. That said, effective punch-and-pop guys have a place in the league, but Cann's hand placement needs to improve so he can land more of his punches if he wants to keep a starting role.

                  

    68. Ben Garland, Atlanta Falcons

    Pass Protection: 11/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    15/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    63/100

    The fact that Ben Garland made it so far up this list is impressive in itself, given he has played both ways in the past and has some physical limitations from a frame standpoint. He got beat a lot in pass protection, but considering the context of his situation, the job he did replacing Andy Levitre is nothing to scoff at.

                

    67. James Carpenter, New York Jets

    Pass Protection: 14/25
    Run Block: 
    13/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    12/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    63/100

    James Carpenter had the best year of his career in 2016, but he fell way down the rankings this season as he appeared to get bogged down with all the injuries he has fought throughout the years. Carpenter's biggest issue was his ability to drive off the ball and establish much push at the point of attack. He was a lot more stationary this year, which was a constant issue across the board with this Jets front.

               

    66. Alex Boone, Arizona Cardinals

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    11/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    63/100

    After surprisingly getting cut by the Vikings before the season started, Alex Boone had a big dip in his performance after getting picked up the Cardinals. At only age 30, it was surprising to see him decline so quickly, but clearly Minnesota saw this coming. It's tough to rule out a return to improved play given his history and relative youth at this point, but the tape he put up this year was not starter-quality.

Nos. 65-61

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    65. T.J. Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals

    Pass Protection: 15/25
    Run Block: 
    13/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    64/100

    T.J. Johnson filled in at times for the Bengals and did a decent job in pass protection. He is not a great mover in space and struggles to hit landmarks, but Johnson is what he is as a solid depth option, and that has relative value to a team like the Bengals.

            

    64. Luke Joeckel, Seattle Seahawks

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    64/100

    After looking uncomfortable on the interior last year, Luke Joeckel cleaned up a lot of the basic issues he had this year but still struggled to be a starter-level player. He at least steps back far enough when pulling and doesn't tangle up his feet with teammates as much now, but he lacks play strength inside and struggles to hold off more physical interior players, which is not a fixable issue.

                  

    63. Bryan Witzmann, Kansas City Chiefs

    Pass Protection: 14/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    15/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    64/100

    Bryan Witzmann is a pretty simple eval in that he's a close-to-replacement-level performer who doesn't shine in one area. He's risen through Kansas City's ranks through his first three years, but as a guy who opens next season at 28 years old, it's time for him to take a step forward and clean up his inconsistent hand technique if he wants to be part of the Chiefs plan going forward.

                  

    62. Oday Aboushi, Seattle Seahawks

    Pass Protection: 15/25
    Run Block: 
    13/25
    Power: 
    15/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    64/100

    Oday Aboushi was brought in to give the Seahawks interior some stability, but he struggled to provide any sort of value in the run game for a team that wanted to make that a big part of its offense this year. He's an OK seventh or eighth guy in an offensive line group, but you don't want to go into the season relying on him as a key piece like Seattle did.

                 

    61. Jermon Bushrod, Miami Dolphins

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    12/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    64/100

    Jermon Bushrod is a perennial underachiever who just can't figure out how to win reps despite his impressive length, play strength and athletic ability. His hand technique is poor, as he's often swinging his arms all over the place, and his inability to have his hands up and ready at the point of attack causes him to lose way more reps than he should.

Nos. 60-56

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    60. Nick Easton, Minnesota Vikings

    Pass Protection: 14/25
    Run Block: 
    13/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    64/100

    Nick Easton is athletic, but he is just not strong enough in his upper half to hold interior defenders up at the point. Easton can get out in space and diagnose a front with the best of them, but the Vikings are a hat-on-hat blocking team, and that is not where he shines.

               

    59. Shawn Lauvao, Washington Redskins

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    17/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    12/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    65/100

    Shawn Lauvao is a strong, aggressive and technically sound run-blocker, but he just can't pick up his feet and hit a landmark or mirror quicker one-gap shooters inside. When Lauvao is healthy he can help set the tone, but he is consistently banged up, which limits his mobility even more.

         

    58. Allen Barbre, Denver Broncos

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    15/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    65/100

    Allen Barbre had a fantastic year for the Eagles in 2016, but he was not the same player in Denver this season. He got pushed around a bit, and his dip in play strength made a visceral impact on his tape. He can latch on and hold blocks in the running game, but too many guys just go straight through his frame hat on hat.

                

    57. D.J. Fluker, New York Giants

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    17/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    12/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    65/100

    D.J. Fluker is as physical as they come inside, but his footwork is a mess, and he rarely gets in position to showcase his strength as a result. He struggles against quicker gap shooters, and with how many there are in the NFL these days, that's not a great problem to have.

                

    56. Jon Feliciano, Oakland Raiders

    Pass Protection: 15/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    65/100

    Jon Feliciano did an admirable job filling in for Oakland this year, and he's a guy who wins with play strength in both the pass and run game, which the Raiders seem to prioritize when evaluating offensive linemen. His reps were limited, but he can drive guys off the ball, which is rare to see with depth types like him.

Nos. 55-51

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    55. Jamon Brown, Los Angeles Rams

    Pass Protection: 14/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    12/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    65/100

    Jamon Brown is an ox, but his hand technique is just not an acceptable level yet. He shoulder-tilt blocks way too often on tape, and anyone with a pass-rushing plan eats him up in that regard. But he cleared holes for Gurley in his reps, and with his physicality he will likely stick around.

               

    54. Wes Schweitzer, Atlanta Falcons

    Pass Protection: 14/25
    Run Block: 
    15/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    Wes Schweitzer is fluid from the hip down and can match quicker defenders, but it's hard to imagine him rising to the top of this list with his mental processing and physical strength limitations. While you can get away with being quick and efficient in the Falcons blocking scheme, if he doesn't figure out how to process opposing fronts, he will likely need to be replaced going forward.

                 

    53. Evan Boehm, Arizona Cardinals

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    Evan Boehm is a short and stocky player who wins with play strength off the ball, but he lacks prototypical length or foot quickness in space. He struggles to extend his sets, and against quicker one-gap penetrators, he can't keep up.

                

    52. Arie Kouandjio, Washington Redskins

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    13/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    The Redskins were desperate for any sort of help inside, and Kouandjio was one of the guys they called upon early and often. He improved a good bit this season, as his leverage ability in pass protection won him a good number of reps, but his lack of foot quickness will always hold him back from being a top-end guy.

                 

    51. Connor McGovern, Denver Broncos

    Pass Protection: 12/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    Connor McGovern has impressive physical tools, but he just hasn't put it together yet from a technical standpoint. His play strength and foot quickness are impressive, and he can blow guys off the ball when he gets his hands on them, but he has problems doing that consistently.

Nos. 50-46

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    50. John Miller, Buffalo Bills

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    John Miller looked like an ascending talent in 2016, but he seemed to fall out of favor with the new coaching staff in Buffalo, as they elected to sign Vladimir Ducasse and give him a shot instead. Miller's play seemed to reflect that as well, as his ability to clear lanes for LeSean McCoy in the run game when he was on the field dropped off. It seems like he needs a fresh start, and hopefully he gets one soon.

               

    49. James Hurst, Baltimore Ravens

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    13/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    James Hurst is a vanilla player from a traits perspective, but he's a solid fill-in depth option because of his versatility and length. That said, he lacks play strength when deployed inside, but he can mirror in pass protection and match up with one-gap penetrators when he needs too.

                 

    48. Ted Larsen, Miami Dolphins

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    15/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    Ted Larsen is about the closest thing you can find to the definition of serviceable when looking at interior offensive lineman. He doesn't stand out in one area, and he wins just enough reps to not be perceived as a weakness. That said, the Dolphins have way too many guys like that on their line, and they need someone that can drive open some holes and help make life easier on their skill guys.

        

    47. Joe Haeg, Indianapolis Colts

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    Joe Haeg could be well-rounded down the line, but he hasn't developed one skill he is adept in to this point. His best trait is his versatility, as he has experience swinging from tackle to guard and vice versa, but that's about it. His hand technique isn't where it needs to be yet, his play strength is just under what you want inside, and his footwork isn't polished enough to defend his outside hip against edge-defenders either. He's a tweener, and his best bet from a tools standpoint is to drill down his footwork and swing out to tackle.

                  

    46. Trey Hopkins, Cincinnati Bengals

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    13/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    While many outside Cincinnati may not know Hopkins' name, he displayed some growth this year and put up some starter-level reps on tape. That said, offensive line coach Paul Alexander and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor made life easy on their offensive line with all the help and chips they schemed up them. When those start to go away and Hopkins is asked to extend his set against premier interior rushers without center help, I'm not sure he will be able to handle it.

Nos. 45-41

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    45. Evan Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    15/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    66/100

    After being a big free-agent pickup for the Bucs in 2014, Evan Smith has transitioned into more of a interior swing depth option for the Buccaneers. Smith is a free agent this year, and while his market won't be as hot as it was in 2014, interior depth is always needed with the attrition an NFL season creates. He should find a home with his ability to open holes in the run game off the bench.

                           

    44. Patrick Omameh, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Pass Protection: 15/25
    Run Block: 
    15/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    It may surprise some, but Patrick Omameh was a big part of what the Jaguars did this year. After struggling to get out of his stance and get his hands up in 2016, Omameh showed a lot of growth in those areas this year. Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty did a great job bringing this unit together in his first year with the Jaguars, and the schematic changes they had from a blocking standpoint really fit their personnel, including Omameh, much better than before.

                 

    43. Dan Feeney, Los Angeles Chargers

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    15/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    After displaying and impressive blend of power and foot quickness at Indiana, Feeney battled injuries through the first part of the year and missed out on some key reps he needed to hit the ground running. When he came back, there was a transition period that leaked over to in-game reps as a result, but he displayed the impressive traits showcased in college down the stretch. As he starts to get healthier and more comfortable with what offensive line coach Pat Meyer is asking his guys to do, expect Feeney to rise up this list.

                  

    42. Justin Pugh, New York Giants

    Pass Protection: 14/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    Justin Pugh just cannot stay healthy, and his durability will be suitors' biggest concern as he heads into free agency. Pugh is a good player when healthy—he's strong, fluid and versatile—but given his issues with his back, it may be smart for him to go for a one-year, prove-it deal this offseason before trying to cash in a year from now.

                  

    41. Matt Slauson, Los Angeles Chargers

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    Matt Slauson is one of those gritty interior players who lacks impressive physical traits but makes up for his deficiencies with tenacity and effort. The one trait Slauson does have is play strength, which he carries in his top half well when fighting off defenders in pass protection. He's a liability at times in getting off the ball and hitting a landmark in space, but he's a serviceable option for a Chargers unit that has craved stability with all their injuries up front the last few seasons.

Nos. 40-36

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    40. Andrus Peat, New Orleans Saints

    Pass Protection: 15/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    Andrus Peat is a long and gifted player who has shown flashes of high-level play the last two seasons but has been forced to move back and forth from guard and tackle repeatedly. While his versatility has been valuable for the Saints, it's been hard for him to sink his teeth into a position and get comfortable there.

              

    39. Laken Tomlinson, San Francisco 49ers

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    Laken Tomlinson is physically gifted, but he can't seem to put it together on a consistent basis. The Lions decided to trade him in August, and his issues moving his feet and resetting his base when extending his sets continued in a 49ers uniform.

                

    38. Jonathan Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    After a roller coaster of a 2016 season, when he was traded once and released twice, Jonathan Cooper landed in a dream situation lining up between Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick in Dallas. The results have been mixed, but at his best Cooper is a physically imposing run-blocker who can create big holes in the B gap. The pass protection has been more hit or miss, but Cooper proved he is at least a capable starter over the course of a whole season for the first time in his career.

               

    37. Josh Kline, Tennessee Titans

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    Josh Kline isn't a household name, but he provides a level of stability inside the Titans need in their smashmouth attack. He's tough, fights through reps and plays through the whistle. He saw a dip in his ability to drive defenders off the ball in the run game this year, but overall he's exactly the type of guy the Titans need to on their OL.

                

    36. Lane Taylor, Green Bay Packers

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    After putting up some serviceable performances after taking the place of Josh Sitton in 2016, Lane Taylor didn't build upon his game in his second year as a full-time starter. His lack of play strength showed this year, as he was consistently beaten hat on hat and lacked any kind of ability to play as a drive blocker. With Taylor's ceiling looking low and Jahri Evans' contract expiring, it may be time to overhaul this guard group.

Nos. 35-31

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    35. John Jerry, New York Giants

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    67/100

    John Jerry had a bounce-back year for the Giants and held his own in pass protection. He will not get out in space and hit his landmarks in the run game, but he has a strong anchor and can sink into the ground to hold the line against more physical opponents.

               

    34. Senio Kelemete, New Orleans Saints

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    68/100

    Senio Kelemete is the perfect swing depth offensive lineman. He's long enough to play tackle, powerful enough to play guard, and just technically proficient enough to hold up against quicker guys outside. And with the attrition the New Orleans offensive line has seen the last two seasons, he's ended up playing a key role for this team.

                 

    33. Vladimir Ducasse, Buffalo Bills

    Pass Protection: 15/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    68/100

    People mocked the Bills when they signed Vladimir Ducasse in March, but they shouldn't have. Although he had some rough reps early on in his career, Ducasse was a solid fill-in for the Ravens down the stretch in 2016. He had another serviceable performance again this year, and while the dominant flashes aren't as prevalent as you would expect with someone his size, he has cleaned up a lot of the footwork issues that plagued his tape early on in his career.

                 

    32. Stefen Wisniewski, Philadelphia Eagles

    Pass Protection: 13/25
    Run Block: 
    17/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    68/100

    Stefen Wisniewski has gotten a rough deal the last few years. After putting up several seasons of solid tape in Oakland, he battled through injuries his last year there and in Jacksonville as well. He was never given a chance to reclaim a starting job when healthy after that, as he joined a loaded Eagles front. He finally got a chance to play extended reps again this year and was a serviceable option inside for Philadelphia. He isn't a guy who can quickly set to match one-gap shooters, but he's physical and can move defenders without having a set base on slides.

                

    31. J.R. Sweezy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Pass Protection: 15/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    68/100

    After some questioned whether he would play football again because of medical complications, J.R. Sweezy made it back and put up some solid tape this season. His hand technique is what has improved the most since he had last seen the field, and although he doesn't have elite physical traits anymore with his injuries, he has continued to take strides after converting from the defensive side of the ball.

Nos. 30-26

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    30. Quinton Spain, Tennessee Titans

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    15/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    68/100

    Quinton Spain is another player who was knocking on the door of being a great player coming into the year and took a sizable step back. Maybe the book is out on him now, but his hand fighting success rate dropped significantly. He's as strong as an ox, but he needs to focus on limiting defenders' attempts at establishing leverage on him so he can go back to doing what he does best: dictating reps.

              

    29. Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    68/100

    Ramon Foster fell off a bit this season. The sack he allowed to Hassan Ridgeway in Week 10 was a great example of his struggles to keep his feet active and mirror opponents' movements. His issues from the hips down have hurt him in the ground game too, as he's struggled to climb and get in position when engaging in non-hat-on-hat reps. That said, he has impressive play strength and can win a lot in the phone booth when attacked that way.

                 

    28. Gabe Jackson, Oakland Raiders

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    18/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    69/100

    When the term "high-variance player" gets thrown around, Gabe Jackson is one of the first names that should come to mind for those who watch offensive line play. His flashes out of short sets are impressive, but there are games in which he cannot get out of his stance quickly enough. In Jon Gruden's West Coast-style offense next season, Jackson should focus on dropping a little weight and being able to slide and hit landmarks—or else he won't be a good fit.

                

    27. Jack Mewhort, Indianapolis Colts

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    69/100

    Jack Mewhort needs a fresh start. One of the most promising young interior lineman in the league two years back, Mewhort has had back-to-back injury-plagued seasons. When he tried to fight through his injuries this season, his supporting cast was of no help, and he was not equipped to handle the onslaught being thrown at him in terms of having repeated extended pass sets. He's a strong player, but asking him to cover a lot of ground when he was banged up did not work out well, and opposing gap-shooters figured that out quickly.

                

    26. Jahri Evans, Green Bay Packers

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    69/100

    Jahri Evans is an ageless wonder at this point. After getting cut by the Seahawks last year for the likes of Mark Glowinski and Germain Ifedi, Evans rejoined the Saints right before the season started and was their Week 1 starter at right guard with almost no reps. He moved on to Green Bay this season and once again displayed impressive play strength and bench press ability in pass protection, helping hold together a banged-up Packers offensive line.

Nos. 25-21

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    25. Zach Fulton, Kansas City Chiefs

    Pass Protection: 18/25
    Run Block: 
    14/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    69/100

    Zach Fulton has done an admirable job for the Chiefs with all the injuries to their interior over the last couple of years. This was by far his best year in pass protection from a foot technique and body positioning standpoint. The days of Fulton getting off balance and opening up the doorway for an easy two-way go appear to be in the past, and his consistency really helped his unit. He will never have the most active or dynamic feet, but he's learned to play around those issues better and better each season.

              

    24. Graham Glasgow, Detroit Lions

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    70/100

    What Graham Glasgow lacks in fluidity and processing speed he makes up for with bench press ability in his upper body and hand positioning at initial contact. Glasgow's radar for picking up opposing players whom he should engage could use work, and he's top-heavy still as well, but he's becoming a reliable short-set pass protector for the Lions and their quick game-heavy attack.

                 

    23. Brandon Fusco, San Francisco 49ers

    Pass Protection: 15/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    70/100

    Brandon Fusco had a pretty nice season after bouncing onto the 49ers roster and winning a starting job following Joshua Garnett's injury. He's never been a detailed pass protector or had top-end physical traits just waiting to be tapped, but a year with Kyle Shanahan and line coach John Benton seemed to do wonders for Fusco's ability to move his feet and keep a half-man relationship snap in and snap out.

                

    22. Richie Incognito, Buffalo Bills

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    13/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    70/100

    After putting up a Pro Bowl-caliber season last year, Richie Incognito showed some signs of decline in 2017 without Greg Roman and his innovative run schemes, which put Incognito in positions to flourish. He still has something left in the tank, and his power out of short sets is as good as anyone's when he is right, but with a dip in performance and another question about his character, Incognito's time may be running out.

               

    21. Larry Warford, New Orleans Saints

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    15/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    70/100

    Larry Warford was the Saints' biggest free-agent pickup this year, and though he didn't blow up the grading scale by any means, his addition helped propel New Orleans to having the best blocking unit in the league. His addition and that of Ryan Ramczyk to the right side of the line changed the makeup of the group and allowed Saints backs to attack their side more in the running game. Durability remains a question for Warford, as he hasn't played a complete season since he was a rookie in 2013, but he's a physical presence the Saints needed to help reset their identity.

Nos. 20-16

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    20. Kyle Long, Chicago Bears

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    17/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    71/100

    The fact that Kyle Long started nine games this season and played at a decently high level is incredible. Long played through a torn labrum last season but ended up going on injured reserve with an ankle injury. The surgery on his ankle was the scariest part of it all, as he lost 45 pounds following a reaction to medication. He elected not to repair his labrum given he needed to focus on regaining his strength. After this season, he had to have neck surgery, while his labrum still remains torn. It's a testament to his toughness and desire to be out there, and the fact he can still open holes for Jordan Howard like nothing happened is amazing.

               

    19. Trai Turner, Carolina Panthers

    Pass Protection: 15/25
    Run Block: 
    17/25
    Power: 
    18/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    71/100

    Each year, scouts hope to see Trai Turner take a step forward and jump into the league's elite company at guard, but he hasn't strung together consistent enough play to do so. His flashes are as good as anybody's, but false footwork is prevalent on his tape. Until he gets more consistent from the hips down, he will continue to be a high-variance player and stay out of the top tier of this list.

               

    18. Clint Boling, Cincinnati Bengals

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    15/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    71/100

    The Bengals offensive line fell apart this year, but Clint Boling was solid as usual. Boling did a great job not letting the struggles of his neighbors affect his play, and though there were some communication issues and flooded gaps at times, he did what he could to win his matchups, which is admirable considering how many of these lineman can't hold up under such circumstances. That said, he could take more charge in the running game, as someone needs to set the tone and open holes for Joe Mixon, and as the most experienced player in his unit (Eric Winston will be a free agent), Boling is the most likely to pull it off.

                

    17. Joe Berger, Minnesota Vikings

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    71/100

    Joe Berger can play center or guard, and he will get the job done as a consistent sealer and be a guy who can get a little push off the ball in the running game. He doesn't have the most fluid feet, but he knows his limitations when setting and does a good job playing to his strengths. He also makes guys come to him instead of trying to worry about defending the edge of his gap. You have to utilize a detailed pass-rush plan when matching up with Berger, which is why he is such a solid player—these days, not many interior rushers have much nuance in their attack.

              

    16. Andy Levitre, Atlanta Falcons

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    71/100

    Andy Levitre has been quite the wily vet since arriving in Atlanta. He has really turned around his career after not living up to his big contract in Tennessee and getting shipped to Flowery Branch. The Falcons' read-heavy blocking assignments and propensity for deuce blocks, both areas in which he thrives, are big reasons for his turnaround. Levitre has a knack for anticipating the run flows of opposing fronts and attacking the vacancies those flows create. He can also process things quickly post-snap and adjust his approach in real time.

Nos. 15-11

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    15. Joe Thuney, New England Patriots

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    14/20
    Agility: 
    18/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    71/100

    Joe Thuney is uber fluid and has the foot quickness to match anybody in his mirror. He also has active hands, which do a great job keeping defenders away from his lighter frame (305 lbs). Thuney had a promising start to his rookie season before some inconsistent games in which he got taken for a ride from a play-strength perspective, but he showed nice improvement in that area this season. His continued growth in filling out his frame and getting stronger will be vital to his development, and if he wants to step into the next tier of guards, that should be his focus.

              

    14. T.J. Lang, Detroit Lions

    Pass Protection: 19/25
    Run Block: 
    15/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    72/100

    T.J. Lang has long been a stellar pass protector in the NFC North, but this year, he appeared to be a step slower hitting his landmarks in the running game, which is why he was graded a little lower. Lang has always been more top-heavy in terms of his strength, with most of his power coming from his upper body rather than from drive-blocking off the ball. But with his issues getting out in space this season, he didn't have many tools to win in the running game. That said, between his detailed hand placement and strong upper half, Lang is one of the best interior pass protectors in the league.

                

    13. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Kansas City Chiefs

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    15/20
    Agility: 
    17/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    72/100

    Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is one of the most fluid guards in the league, and you won't find many who are cleaner from the hips down. After getting a big contract before he had proved he was worth top-tier money, Duvernay-Tardif made huge strides from a diagnostic standpoint this season. His improved anticipation allowed him to meet defenders with a set base more of the time, which for a guy with a lighter frame (321 lbs) is a big deal. If he continues to put on weight and improve his play strength, Duvernay-Tardif could step into the top tier of guards.

                

    12. Kevin Zeitler, Cleveland Browns

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    72/100

    The Browns had high hopes that Zeitler could be the piece to tie their offensive line together in 2017, but with his slow start and Joe Thomas' injury, we never got to see the front that many in Cleveland had hoped to. Thomas' future is not certain for next year, but for Zeitler, the way he played down the stretch should ease the concerns of fans who thought he looked like a free-agent flop with his play the first few weeks. His play strength is a much-needed element on the lighter Browns offensive line, and his performance in year two in Cleveland will be important in the franchise's quest to take a few steps forward next season.

                

    11. Shaq Mason, New England Patriots

    Pass Protection: 14/25
    Run Block: 
    18/25
    Power: 
    18/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    72/100

    Shaq Mason can be summed up like this: bowling ball. He has a round, stocky build and incredible power to knock down even the heaviest opponents when driving off the ball. He's fluid from the hips down too, but at times he can lean and get off balance in pass protection, which opens up the gates for quicker penetrators. Mason doesn't handle the processing aspect of protection all that well either, often failing to recognize stunts and late blitzers, which is why he is not higher on this list.

10. Brandon Scherff, Washington Redskins

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    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    Pass Protection: 16/25

    Run Block: 17/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    15/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    72/100

    Brandon Scherff is a solid player, and not to scout the helmet too much, but he's the prototypical Iowa offensive lineman in terms of playing style and level of detail in his technique. He has active hands and well-placed punches and processes what opposing defenses are doing from a flow perspective really well. His balance and foot speed will never be top-tier, but he rarely takes a misstep, and when paired with his footwork, his base movement tools are just good enough to match quicker gap-shooters.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

9. Rodger Saffold, Los Angeles Rams

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    Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    Pass Protection: 16/25
    Run Block: 
    18/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    73/100

    Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer deserves a lot of credit for the improvement of this Rams offensive line, but the player that had the starkest improvement under Kromer after a couple of inconsistent seasons was Rodger Saffold. Perhaps he was healthier this season, or just more engaged, but Saffold looked like a different player from the jump, from coming out of his stance faster to having much more active footwork when mirroring. Saffold's feel for arriving to the second level in the run game and effectiveness when he got there were clear upgrades from last season as well and big reasons Todd Gurley saw so many more holes this year.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

         

    Very quick to engage in both two- and three-point stances, Saffold has made the complete turn from former failed offensive tackle to outstanding left guard. Saffold still has the quickness and agility the Rams saw when they selected him 33rd overall in the 2010 draft, but now that he's playing inside, he doesn't have to worry about edge-rushers beating him to the edge of the pocket. Instead, Saffold can focus on using his lower-body strength to drive-block and sealing the edge well on run plays. 

    —NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar

8. Kelechi Osemele, Oakland Raiders

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    19/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    73/100

    There is not a more physically imposing lineman in the league than Kelechi Osemele. Between his pure size (6'5", 330 lbs.), length and play strength, Osemele is the guy you'd want in a rock-pushing competition. The book on Osemele is simple: Don't come at him hat on hat because you can't go through him and he will establish leverage to throw you in a lock you can't escape from fast.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

         

    Oakland's offense line regressed a bit in 2017, but Osemele and Gabe Jackson maintained their status as one of the NFL's best guard duos. At left guard, Osemele presents an intimidating sense of strength and surprising agility for his frame. He bases his success on technique, from the ways he gets his hands out to engage and keep defenders away to his aggression in taking defenders down. Even the quickest defensive linemen find it tough to get around Osemele with his wide frame and side-to-side agility.

    —NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar

7. Ronald Leary, Denver Broncos

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Pass Protection: 18/25
    Run Block: 
    17/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    73/100

    Ronald Leary was the jewel of the Broncos offseason haul last year, and he immediately changed the makeup of this unit. There is a reason the Dallas front had struggles at times this year even when it was healthy, and it was because Leary was a bigger part of what the Cowboys did last year than many people realized. Leary didn't play the whole season this year, but he had consistent tape in his 11 starts, flashing play strength and an improved ability to fit his landmarks in the more slowly developing Broncos scheme while flipping sides of the line without batting an eye. Durability is a question mark, but when he is on the field and right, Leary is one of the best in the league.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

         

    When healthy, Leary was a rare standout on a Denver offensive line in need of transition. Not only is he a strong, persistent and ornery blocker in a phone booth, but he also has the quick feet and agility to pick up line stunts and pull to the edge and into space. 

    —NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar

6. Josh Sitton, Chicago Bears

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    18/25
    Power: 
    18/20
    Agility: 
    14/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    74/100

    Josh Sitton is an interesting case study on how injuries to dominant players up front can derail an offense. This Bears unit has looked completely different in the six games he's been out of the lineup the last two seasons. Sitton's ability to set the tone in the run game is one of his biggest differentiators inside, as he's one of the most physical players in the league and provides the hit-you-in-the-mouth attitude that fuels this Bears ground game.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

         

    The 10-year veteran is still one of the best in the business when he's healthy, and even playing through injuries over the last two seasons, Sitton has exhibited a high level of play. He's an outstanding technician who has built up his play strength over the last few seasons—back in his Green Bay days, he'd get pushed back once in a while, but he's turned into a leverage monster with a ton of lower-body strength. 

    —NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar

5. Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Pass Protection: 19/25
    Run Block: 
    16/25
    Power: 
    16/20
    Agility: 
    17/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    75/100

    After only making it through about a third of the season last year, Bitonio had a bounce-back campaign despite the Browns' overall struggles in 2017. A tackle at Nevada in college, Bitonio has been a fluid pass protector since kicking inside in the NFL, and his hand technique has steadily improved each year and is now one of the league's best. With the appearance of no ill-effects from his foot injury last year, Bitonio should be a top-tier guard for a long time.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

         

    Between the triceps injury that robbed future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas of the final nine games of the 2017 season and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer's inability to throw himself out of pressure situations, Cleveland's passing offense resembled a train wreck far more often than it didn't. Bitonio was a rare bright spot as a consistent highlight player with his power in man-blocking concepts and his overall agility. 

    —NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar

4. Brandon Brooks, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    19/25
    Power: 
    18/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    77/100

    Brandon Brooks has thrived since coming to Philly in 2016, and he continues to be one of the most underrated guards in the league. Brooks has a bowling-ball frame and bulldozer-level power that he often uses to drive even the most stout opponents off the ball. He isn't a pure power player, though, as he has efficient footwork that he uses to extend his pass sets and hit his landmarks in the run game.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

         

    In Doug Pederson's offense, linemen are asked to do everything from man-on-man power stuff to choreographed zone concepts at a high level of timing and coordination. Blocking for a mobile quarterback like Carson Wentz (when healthy) adds an element of randomness that some blockers would find tough to deal with. But Brooks fits this paradigm well because he matches in-line power with accuracy to the second level and the agility to rear back and re-block a defender who thinks he has a chance to get to Wentz once he starts running.

    —NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar

3. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Pass Protection: 17/25
    Run Block: 
    20/25
    Power: 
    17/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    77/100

    Zack Martin had another fantastic season, and his biggest improvement this year was consistency. The occasional lulls we have seen from him in the past were not present this year, but his dominant and physical play in the run game and anchor in the pass protection were as evident as always.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

              

    Martin is a plus-level pass-blocker, but where he shines at the right guard position is as a nasty, old-school run-blocker who can drive his opponent right out of the picture. When he engages, Martin latches onto his defender like an octopus and starts pushing back right away. He's able to match aggression with technique, making him one of the best power-blockers of his generation.

    —NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar

2. Andrew Norwell, Carolina Panthers

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Pass Protection: 19/25
    Run Block: 
    17/25
    Power: 
    18/20
    Agility: 
    16/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    77/100

    It's a shame for the Panthers that they didn't lock up Andrew Norwell before this point because he is going to get paid this offseason. Norwell's blend of length, play strength and fluidity is unique. His ability to create leverage with his long frame and maintain his grapple on the move is a testament to his high-level traits and the intensity he plays with, and a big reason his services will be in high demand.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

         

    Norwell can power-block just fine, but it's his technique that shows up on tape from snap to snap. Watch how he uses body control to recover even when he gets beaten back. Watch how he effortlessly hands off one defender and takes on another against advanced line games. Watch his careful footwork when he's pulling to the other side of the line. That he's worked so well in Carolina's power offense is a testament to his physical strength, but in a more pass-heavy offense requiring better function in space, he would be a perfect fit. 

    —NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar

1. David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

    Pass Protection: 20/25
    Run Block: 
    19/25
    Power: 
    18/20
    Agility: 
    17/20
    Position Value: 
    7/10
    Overall Grade: 
    81/100

    David DeCastro has been a consistently good player since entering the league, but he played at a whole different level this year, especially in pass protection. He allowed only a half-sack this season. Between DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers pass-protect the RAM A-gap better than anyone in the league, giving Ben Roethlisberger clear lines of sight and clean pockets to operate from.

    —NFL1000 OL Scout, Ethan Young

         

    I remember when I first noticed DeCastro's play—during Andrew Luck's last year at Stanford, when my eye kept wandering from the quarterback to the right guard who seemed to demolish every defender he faced. Though injuries limited his playing time early on, DeCastro has proved to be just as dominant at the NFL level. He's as quick out of his stance as any guard in the league, he can stand up against bull rushes, and he's tremendously agile when asked to pull or hit the second level with accuracy. 

    —NFL1000 Lead Scout Doug Farrar