2014 NFL Player Rankings: Offensive Linemen

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Cleveland's Alex Mack is not only the highest-paid center in the NFL, he's also No. 1 at his position

2014 NFL Player Rankings: Offensive Linemen

In the 2014 edition of Athlon Sports’ Pro Football preview, we called on Ourlads Scouting Services to rank the NFL’s best at every position on the field. When it comes to determining who is the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback, etc., who better to make that determination than a company that’s been in the gridiron talent evaluation business for nearly three decades?

 

They may be the least recognized, but there’s no questioning the value of a solid offensive line. Not only is it the primary line of defense in keeping the quarterback upright and on the field, but the success, or lack thereof, in the running game often comes down to how well this quintet functions as a unit.

 

Take the Philadelphia Eagles for example. In tackle Jason Peters, guard Evan Mathis and center Jason Kelce the defending NFC East champions have the top or second-ranked player at their respective position, according to Ourlads. Which makes sense considering the Eagles led the NFL with 160.4 yards rushing per game, finished second in total offense (417.3 ypg) and fourth in scoring (27.6 ppg). Obviously, Chip Kelly’s offensive system and coaching had a lot to do with the Eagles’ production last season, but don’t overlook the contributions of the five men up front.

 

Rankings courtesy of Ourlads Scouting Services

 

2014 NFL Player Rankings: Tackles

 

1. Trent Williams, Washington

Has matured, and he stayed healthy in 2013, which resulted in a Pro Bowl invitation. He is now a team captain and has become the dominant player he was drafted to be.

 

2. Jason Peters, Philadelphia

Is the most athletic and productive left tackle in the league when healthy. Missed 2012 with a ruptured Achilles.

 

3. Joe Thomas, Cleveland

The road-grading left tackle annually spends a week in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl. Solid, athletic and consistent with a nasty style.

 

4. Tyron Smith, Dallas

The Cowboys’ best offensive lineman is heading into his fourth season after a Pro Bowl year in 2013. The long-armed and big-handed tackle is a zone-blocker supreme.

 

5. Joe Staley, San Francisco

Tremendous downfield blocker with unmatched mobility. Pairs with Anthony Davis as one of the best tackle duos in the league.

 

6. Ryan Clady, Denver

Missed most of 2013 with a Lisfranc injury to his left foot. When healthy, he is one of the top 50 players in the league and one of the best blindside pass-protectors.

 

7. Zach Strief, New Orleans

Has developed as a leader. A mauler in the run game and a consistent mirror-and-slide tackle with a solid punch.

 

8. Jared Veldheer, Arizona

The athletic competitor has made a habit of walling off some of the best NFL pass-rushers.

 

9. Nate Solder, New England

The athletic tackle weekly demonstrates his functional strength and quickness. A patient pass-protector who plays in balance.

 

10. Jake Long, St. Louis

Nicked up in recent years, but when on the field he is a physical player who shows quickness, power and a mauler mentality.

 

11. Eugene Monroe, Baltimore

12. Cordy Glenn, Buffalo

13. Michael Roos, Tennessee

14. Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati

15. Orlando Franklin, Denver

16. Russell Okung, Seattle

17. Phil Loadholt, Minnesota

18. Demar Dotson, Tampa Bay

19. Doug Free, Dallas

20. Andre Smith, Cincinnati

 

2014 NFL Player Rankings: Guards

 

1. Evan Mathis, Philadelphia

Has put together back-to-back Pro Bowl-caliber years and is one of the league’s top interior linemen.

 

2. Josh Sitton, Green Bay

A four-year starter who elevated his play in 2013 among the top guards in the NFL. Versatile, tough and physical.

 

3. Louis Vasquez, Denver

Proved his worth as a pass-protector and a consistent run-blocker who makes few mental errors. Earned a Pro Bowl berth.

 

4. Larry Warford, Detroit

Played exceptionally well and was in consideration for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The burly guard has sudden first-step quickness and an explosive punch.

 

5. Marshal Yanda, Baltimore

A relentless blood-and-guts competitor who is a violent finisher. Had another Pro Bowl year.

 

6. Matt Slauson, Chicago

Was an offseason acquisition after starting for the Jets for three years. He paid dividends his first year with a physical and explosive approach and consistent play.

 

7. Travelle Wharton, Free agent

Is an unrestricted free agent who refuses to retire. A smooth athlete who has quick feet and is effective in space.

 

8. Ben Grubbs, New Orleans

Struggled at left guard in 2012 but had a solid year last season, boosting him into the Pro Bowl in 2013. An athletic competitor who is aggressive in-line or in space.

 

9. Brandon Fusco, Minnesota

Heading into his fourth season with confidence and strength to handle the inside power players. Explosive, with a good pad level and flexibility.

 

10. Geoff Schwartz, NY Giants

Signed with the Giants in the offseason after a strong year in Kansas City, where he beat out incumbent Jon Asamoah. Controls defensive tackles with his huge hands and technique.

 

11. Brandon Brooks, Houston

12. Andy Levitre, Tennessee

13. David DeCastro, Pittsburgh

14. Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh

15. T.J. Lang, Green Bay

16. Jahri Evans, New Orleans

17. Rodger Saffold, St. Louis

18. Logan Mankins, New England

19. Jon Asamoah, Atlanta

20. Mackenzy Bernadeau, Dallas

 

2014 NFL Player Rankings: Centers

 

1. Alex Mack, Cleveland

Is a happy camper, signing a five-year deal worth $42 million. The Pro Bowl pivot is a tenacious run-blocker and a consistent pass-protector.

 

2. Jason Kelce, Philadelphia

Has overcome his lack of ideal size at center with his athletic ability, intelligence and quick-twitch reactions.

 

3. John Sullivan, Minnesota

Is underrated by the casual fan, but is one of the top centers in the league. Had a strong season after recovering from microfracture knee surgery.

 

4. Dominic Raiola, Detroit

The grizzled 13-year veteran keeps holding off the younger talent to help maintain stability in the middle of the offensive line.

 

5. Manny Ramirez, Denver

Stepped in at center when J.D. Walton was unable to play and responded with technique, savvy, instincts and a good use of hands.

 

6. Evan Dietrich-Smith, Tampa Bay

Was signed away from the Packers in free agency after a year in which he demonstrated his ability to play with a good base, knee bend and hand control.

 

7. Chris Myers, Houston

Has been a consistent and solid Pro Bowl-caliber performer who, like fine wine, is getting better with age.

 

8. Travis Frederick, Dallas

Took the heat off Jerry Jones for drafting him in the first round by responding as the anchor of an offensive line that had been substandard in recent years.

 

9. Ryan Kalil, Carolina

Is a rock in the middle for the Panthers and returned to Pro Bowl form in 2013 after missing all but five games in 2012.

 

10. Stefen Wisniewski, Oakland

Moved from guard to center and proved to be  a solid and consistent mainstay for the Raiders to build around.

 

11. Mike Pouncey, Miami

12. Roberto Garza, Chicago

13. Nick Hardwick, San Diego

14. Nick Mangold, NY Jets

15. Jonathan Goodwin, New Orleans

16. Will Montgomery, Denver

17. Brian de la Puente, Chicago

18. Rodney Hudson, Kansas City

19. Max Unger, Seattle

20. Jeremy Zuttah, Baltimore

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