2023 NFL offensive line rankings: Eagles clear best group; What other teams stand out?

Playing up front is not glamorous. It’s painful, nasty, technical, and exhausting. But the next quality is key: playing on the offensive line necessary. Teams that don’t have them pay a heavy price, as punishment for quarterbacks and run-heavy losses. The teams that own them stock them, never letting their best eyebrows go away.

Left tackles have been recognized as starting players for more than a decade. But they no longer stand alone, as the importance of the complete line has become more apparent over time. If there is any external reason for the loss of running back value, it is that teams have realized the degree to which the running game is a product of the offensive line play.

With that in mind, our writers have listed the top 10 offensive lines in the NFL based on their confidence in each unit. A first place vote was worth 10 points in our methodology and it dropped from there to one point for 10th place. We then combined the results to determine our rankings.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Ralph Faciano: They have dominated the run and pass rush in recent years and show no signs of slowing down, even with a 35-year-old center in Jason Kelce and a 33-year-old right tackle in Lane Johnson. They have notable depth as well, giving them a knack for replacing anyone they lose. So guard Isaac Simalo signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they just landed Cam Jurgens, a former second-round pick. This talent assembly line gives them better and stronger than any team in the league.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

Jeff Schwartz: The Chiefs enter 2023 with the best offensive line they’ve played in during this dynasty. There is no other example in modern NFL history of what the Chiefs did to fix their offensive line during a Super Bowl run. Kansas City enters 2023 with no offensive linemen on the roster who were part of two Super Bowl wins. In fact, they don’t have any offensive players who’ve even played in two Super Bowls for the Chiefs.

The Chiefs have two experienced linemen in center Creed Humprehy and left guard Joe Thuney. Right guard Trey Smith was a steal in the 2021 draft. If Donovan Smith can play a full season with his abilities at left tackle, the Chiefs will have the best pair of tackles since Mahomes became the starter in 2018. Adding pass protection machine Jawaan Taylor at right tackle Make Mahomes more comfortable in a pocket. It’s an impressive group.

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3. Detroit Lions

Carmen Vitale: The Lions have prided themselves on their offensive line for some time now (get it?) and no one benefited more than Jared Goff last season. Goff had the third-best season of his career last year and Detroit had a top-five offense. He is the dynamic midfielder you need when he is protected and the five in front of him have taken that personally.

Frank Ragnow is the anchor and is one of the best centers in the league, perhaps behind only the Eagles’ Jason Kelce, as Bucs center Ryan Jensen may unfortunately be out of the league entirely. Taylor Decker is one of the most underrated left tackles in the NFL, and Jonah Jackson may be one of the most underrated players this offseason. They’re taking back Halapolivati ​​Vaitay this season from injury and have one of the best right tackles in Benny Sewell, the team’s first-round pick in 2021.

The Lions’ O-line ranked third in sacks average in 2022, allowing Goff to be sacked after just 4.08% of pass attempts, meaning they have pass protection all the way to the flag. They also helped running back Jamal Williams to over 1,000 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. It’s as round a unit as you can get, so it deserves high marks for this exercise.

4. Cleveland Browns

Vaciano: For a team with so many other flaws, they sure have perfected their attacking line, which has resulted in one of the most dangerous running attacks in the league. Jedrick Wills performed at left tackle a little less compared to other tackles drafted in his stellar class (2020). Center Ethan Bosic and left guard Joel Petonio have had great seasons, and there’s a reason Jack Conklin is one of the highest paid right tackles in the game. The depth isn’t there, but the top five are one of the strongest combinations in the NFL.

5. Baltimore Crows

Ben Arthur: Some teams are dominant at blocking passes. Others, turn on the ban. The Ravens are elite in both categories — they finished second in both categories last season, according to Pro Football Focus — and are returning four of their five starting offensive linemen from a year ago (left tackle Ronnie Stanley, quarterback Tyler Linderbaum, right guard Kevin Zettler and the Right Handling of Morgan Moses). Star quarterback Lamar Jackson should reap the rewards of that continuity in the passing game, targeting his rejuvenated team of receivers, and in the running game, where Baltimore hopeful quarterback JK Dobbins can put together a full season.

6. Dallas Cowboys

Schwartz: The Cowboys offensive line goes from great to elite if Tyron Smith can stay healthy at left tackle. Second year guard Tyler Smith is explosive and powerful at left guard, a position that suits him better than left tackle. Quarterback Tyler Biadache continues to improve and has become the central midfield anchor this attack needed after Frederick retired in 2020. Right tackle Zach Martin may be the best linebacker in football and right tackle Terrence Steele is on his way. Hopefully he will be healthy to start this season. They will need it. If these starting five can start the majority of games, this Cowboys offensive line will fall back into the top five unit.

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7. Atlanta Falcons

Greg Ohman: It all starts with guard Chris Lindstrom and tackle Caleb McGary, both of whom were drafted in the first round in 2019 and signed to long-term extensions this spring. The veteran mainstay is tackle Jake Matthews, the nine-year starter who hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year, missing one game in that time. There is youth up the middle, as Drew Dallman enters his second year as a starter, and rookie Matthew Bergeron jumps in at left guard.

The line helped the Falcons finish third in the NFL in rushing last year, and this looks to be the floor in 2023 after adding first-round pick Bijan Robinson at running back. With a mobile if unproven starting quarterback in new Desmond Ridder, the Falcons could surprise by taking a step forward as an offense in 2023, and for all their high picks at the skill positions, the true center of this push is their offensive line.

8. Green Bay Packers

Vitaly: Packers’ left tackle: David Bakhtiari has had injury issues the last few years, hasn’t played a full season since 2019 and missed almost the entire 2021 season, but he’s still an elite left tackle. That’s why Green Bay has stuck with it now that they’ve moved on to the era of love for Jordan. But even more so than Bakhtiari — and it’s strange to say that for an offensive line — the Packers’ unit is versatile.

They have not one but two key players in Elgton Jenkins and Zach Tom who can play literally anywhere along the line. We still don’t know what the final mix will be coming in the first week and that’s a strangely good thing. Tom has spent this season reshaping his body and showing that strength in camp. It is probably the right intervention. Jenkins returns to the guard and will be at Bakhtiari’s side. The biggest question mark is probably Josh Myers at center, but after a full preseason of working with their new quarterback, I think everyone in Green Bay is optimistic.

9. Los Angeles Chargers

Eric D. Williams: Left tackle Rashawn Slater is looking to return to Pro Bowl form after a season-ending bicep injury in 2022. Jamari Salyer has played solid at left tackle in Slater’s absence and now moves inside to right guard. Veteran center Corey Linsley is this group’s announcer and most consistent man. Last year’s first-round picks Zion Johnson, at left guard and Trey Pepkins at right tackle, are in this group and should play better than they did last season in order for the Bullets to protect Justin Herbert and run the football more effectively.

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10. Denver Broncos

Henry McKenna: Every elite offensive line needs a great left tackle. That’s where we’ll start with the Broncos, who have Garrett Bowles to protect Russell Wilson’s blindside. Paul broke his leg last year and has only played five games. But he seems to be recovering well and should have a good season despite rehabbing the injury.

Center Lloyd Cushenberry is just 25 years old and may be the weakest link in the unit, but he’s getting help from guards Quinn Meinerz and Ben Powers. Meinerz, in particular, should get Pro Bowl approval soon. Finally, you have the right to deal Mike McGlinchey, who signed a five-year, $87.5 million contract this offseason. These dollar numbers tell you what you need to know: He’s one of the best right tackles in the NFL. It’s enough for coach Sean Payton to have confidence that his team will rebound after a poor offensive season under previous coach Nathaniel Hackett.

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Williams: Head coach Sean Payton has added two high-dollar players to upgrade his offensive line in free agency this season: right tackle Mike McGlinchey and left guard Ben Powers. McGlinchey finished with 10 penalties and allowed six sacks last season with the San Francisco 49ers, so there is room for improvement for the Notre Dame product. Left tackle Jarrett Boles is returning from a season-ending leg injury and should serve as an anchor for this group once he regains confidence. Denver allowed the league’s worst 63 sacks last season, so the only way forward is to get into that group. Look for Payton to run the football and use more passing play, which should help keep Russell Wilson more upright in 2023.

Honorable Mention: Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills

These ratings are compiled by:

AFC Correspondent Ben Arthur (@bannerther)
NFC South reporter Greg Aumann (@gregoman)
Dallas Cowboys Correspondent David Hillman (@davidhelman_)
East Asia correspondent Henry McKenna (@ McCain Analysis)
NFL and betting analyst Jeff Schwartz (@ Jeff Schwartz)
NFC West reporter Eric D. williams (@eric_d_williams)
NFC East reporter Ralph Faciano (@Ralph Faciano)
NFC North reporter Carmen Vitali (@carmyv)

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