While quarterbacks and wide receivers are consistently the headline-stealing players in the NFL, offensive linemen are often the fulcrum to consistent success in the NFL. This article will break down the top offensive lines in the league as we enter the Conference Championship games. Advanced metrics are sourced from Pro Football Focus (PFF) and Football Outsiders.
Offensive Line Rankings 2023
This article was updated ahead of the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games. The metrics you see here are all from the 2022-23 NFL season. With only two games left before the Super Bowl, let’s take a look at the four remaining offensive lines and how they stack up against each other.
#1: Philadelphia Eagles
Starting Five: LT Jordan Mailata, LG Landon Dickerson, C Jason Kelce, RG Isaac Seumalo, RT Lane Johnson
A massive part of the Eagles’ overwhelming success this season has been the elite play of their offensive line. No matter what metric you use, they’re at or near the top of the league, particularly in run-blocking. Miles Sanders ran for a career-high 1,269 yards this season, and much of it came from his 837 yards before contact which led all running backs.
The Eagles ran for 6.1 YPC against the Giants last week and their offensive line produced 150 yards before contact. There have been six instances this season of a team having 150 yards before contact, and three of them have been the Eagles. Overall, the Eagles ranked third in the NFL with 1,817 yards before contact this season.
The seemingly immortal Jason Kelce has paved the way. He ranks second among all centers in PFF’s grading as he didn’t allow a sack all season and was a road-grader in run-blocking all year. Kelce is a future first ballot Hall of Famer regardless of how the rest of this year goes – he has five First-Team All-Pro nods and a Super Bowl championship.
Jason Kelce with one hand. pic.twitter.com/hKVh35k199
— Brenden Deeg (@BrendenDeeg_) January 22, 2023
Fellow veteran Lane Johnson joins him as one of the best players at his position. Johnson, a three-time All-Pro tackle, has been fighting through a groin injury, but it impressively hasn’t affected his on-field performance very much. His matchup with elite 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa is must-watch television this week.
Jordan Mailata and Landon Dickerson are the new generation of elite Philly offensive linemen and they lock down the left side. Meanwhile, Isaac Seumalo is the least discussed of the bunch, but he’s had a great year as well. This team has experienced good fortune in the injury department as all five offensive linemen have logged 1,000+ snaps.
#2: Kansas City Chiefs
Starting Five: LT Orlando Brown, LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Andrew Wylie
I had the Chiefs ranked third in my offensive line rankings heading into the season, and they’ve had a great year. It starts with Creed Humphrey who, despite being just 23 years old, is already PFF’s highest-graded center in the NFL. Humphrey has actually been the highest-graded center for two years running.
With Humphrey leading the charge, Kansas City ranks third in adjusted line yards this season. Humphrey is PFF’s second-highest run blocker among qualified interior offensive linemen. The fact that the rest of the NFL allowed him to fall to the Chiefs in the second round is pretty upsetting, but he’ll likely be paired with Patrick Mahomes for the rest of their careers.
Creed Humphrey with no regard for human life. 😳 pic.twitter.com/NkZSTlHpCp
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) November 15, 2021
The rest of the offensive line isn’t quite as good in run-blocking, but there are some excellent individual pass-blockers. Joe Thuney is chief among them, and he’s PFF’s highest-graded pass blocker among qualified interior linemen. Thuney allowed just one sack on 715 pass-blocking snaps this season.
Trey Smith joins Humphrey and Thuney in rounding out one of the best interior O-lines in the league. A former sixth-round pick, Smith is one of just 12 guards to rank top-25 in pass and run-blocking on PFF. The interior of the line will be big this week for the Chiefs as they’re facing D.J. Reader, one of the best nose tackles in the league.
Orlando Brown’s second season in Kansas City hasn’t really been an improvement over his first, and as a free agent after this season, it will be fascinating to see what the future holds. His matchup with Trey Hendrickson this week will be pivotal to who ultimately represents the AFC in the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs are one of four teams to rank top ten in PFF’s pass and run-blocking grades. They’re also the only team to rank top five in adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate allowed, per Football Outsiders. The Chiefs did well to rebuild their offensive line after their Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers, and they’ll be hoping it can help them get back to the championship game.
#3: San Francisco 49ers
Starting Five: LT Trent Williams, LG Aaron Banks, C Jake Brendel, RG Spencer Burford, RT Mike McGlinchey
In my preseason offensive line rankings, I struggled with where to put the 49ers. This is ultimately a fairly average line in terms of personnel that’s lifted up by the most advanced, effective blocking scheme in the league. However, the entire line is uplifted by the continued elite play by Trent “Silverback” Williams, one of the league’s best players at any position.
Williams might be the best offensive lineman I’ve ever watched. Last week’s effort was just the latest installment for him as he allowed Micah Parsons to generate just one pressure on 15 pass-blocking snaps against him. Williams has been PFF’s top-graded offensive tackle for three years in a row, and watching him steamroll would-be tacklers in the open field is mesmerizing.
Trent Williams 1-on-1 vs Parsons
Clinic Work. Watch those feet! Watch that inside hand! Woooo boyy pic.twitter.com/1Mr5rb0fk5
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) January 23, 2023
The rest of the offensive line doesn’t hold a candle to Williams. Mike McGlinchey is the best of the rest, but he allowed six sacks this season per PFF and has graded out as an average offensive tackle for his entire career. McGlinchey struggled last week as he allowed five pressures against the Cowboys, and his play will be crucial to corralling Philly’s dominant pass rush.
The interior is filled with much more average play in Aaron Banks, Spencer Burford, and Jake Brendel. None of the three are a true liability, but the retirement of Alex Mack and the free agency departure of Laken Tomlinson left the interior a bit barren. Still, it hasn’t mattered much to the overall production of the unit.
The 49ers finished the regular season ranked top ten in PFF’s pass and run-blocking metrics, adjusted line yards, and adjusted sack rate. They also ranked second in pressure rate allowed and eighth in yards before contact. Kyle Shanahan’s blocking scheme is arguably second to none in the NFL, and this offensive line continues to be a strength for the 49ers.
#4: Cincinnati Bengals
Starting Five: LT Jackson Carman, LG Cordell Volson, C Ted Karras, RG Max Scharping, RT Hakeem Adeniji
I’m updating this page on Wednesday night, and we don’t have confirmation on the status of Jonah Williams and Alex Cappa. Neither player was active against the Bills in the Divisional Round and neither player practiced on Wednesday, so for the time being I’m assuming they won’t play. I’m using the starting five that the Bengals utilized on Sunday for the purposes of this page.
In addition to Williams and Cappa, the Bengals are also without right tackle La’el Collins. However, Collins wasn’t particularly good this year anyways as he struggled to acclimate in his first season with the Bengals. He earned just a 57.9 PFF grade, the worst of his career in a season where he played 200+ snaps.
In Collins’s place enters Hakeem Adeniji, who hasn’t fared any better. PFF has panned his work, giving him a grade of 51.9 which is somehow a career-high. He was responsible for allowing three sacks against the Rams in the Super Bowl last year, and teams with legitimate pass rush will expose him.
Jackson Carman fared admirably in his start at left tackle over the weekend, but this is still a second-year player who got benched for a fifth-round rookie this season. I’m still not sold. That fifth-round rookie, Cordell Volson, has a PFF grade of just 52.1. Fellow guard Max Scharping, who is filling in for Cappa, coughed up three pressures last week and two the week prior.
Jackson Carman sends Tremaine Edmunds to the shadow realm pic.twitter.com/cTMTXzy3uJ
— Mike (@bengals_sans) January 23, 2023
Ted Karras is the lone starter in this group that I have confidence in, but you’d ideally want the proven vet to be at one of the tackle spots. He was part of Cincinnati’s efforts to fix their offensive line over the offseason, but it hasn’t come to fruition for them. Cincy ranks 31st in pass blocking and 21st in run-blocking.
The Bengals rank third in pressure allowed rate, but that’s mostly due to Burrow’s ability to get rid of the ball quickly. He averaged 2.46 seconds to throw against the Bills, which would have been the third-fastest among qualified quarterbacks this season, and it will need to be more of the same from him this week.