FOX Sports Betting Analyst
Offensive line play is my passion. After playing eight seasons in the NFL, I feel it’s my duty to educate the public on the position. The nuance, the technique and the overall badassness that comes along with playing the position is what I want to showcase to the public. There’s no better group of offensive linemen in the NFL than the 10 on this lis.
1A. Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers
1B. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
3. Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles
All three of these linemen are bound for the Hall of Fame, with Lane Johnson set to become one of the only right tackles in NFL history to don a gold jacket. Trent Williams (left tackle) has a slight edge over Zack Martin (guard) because of his position, but otherwise, it’s hard to argue anyone is better than Martin. Williams is the more flashy player because his athletic gifts and ability to generate power are one of a kind. Plus he plays a position that’s easier to notice on television. Only Hall of Fame players have Williams’ ability. If he had started his career anywhere besides Washington, he’d have more than three All-Pro nominations.
[2023 NFL offensive-line unit rankings: Eagles the clear best group; which other teams stand out?]
Since the day Martin was drafted 16th overall by the Cowboys in 2014, he’s been the best guard in football. The Notre Dame alum has played nine seasons and has been named to the All-Pro team in eight (the only miss was 2020 as he was battling through injuries). In fact, Martin is one of only six offensive linemen in NFL history to be named to the AP All-Pro list six times in his first nine seasons. The other five are in the Hall of Fame.
Despite all of this success it always feels like Martin is undervalued for what he can do on the field by the masses. Martin can do everything well. There’s not a block he struggles to make. His footwork and delivery of power are so efficient it doesn’t appear he’s doing all that much. He does not often make highlight-worthy plays, but watch the Cowboys run game this season. See how many explosive runs begin behind the butt of number 70 … it’s most of them.
4. Laremy Tunsil, Houston Texans
5. Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles
6. Creed Humphrey, Kansas City Chiefs
Laremy Tunsil is entering his eighth NFL season, having made the Pro Bowl in three of the past four campaigns. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed only 17 total pressures in 676 pass protection snaps last season. There was an added element of finish and overall polish to his game last season, and I would expect more of the same moving forward. He will be an All-Pro this season.
It’s hard for me to recall an offensive lineman quite like Jason Kelce, who plays better with age, having not earned an All-Pro nod until Year 6. Since that time, he’s collected four more first-team All-Pro awards. While most of his peers crumble as they get older, Kelce has refined his game. He’s mastered getting the most out of his movements and using his “old man strength” to move defenders against their will. It’s impressive.
When Kelce retires, the next player up with a claim as best at the center position is Creed Humphrey, who has the opposite body type and structure of Kelce. While Kelce is fighting to play at 285 pounds, Humphrey is a mountain of a man in the middle of the offensive line. His ability to be flexible at his size while playing with explosiveness makes Creed truly special.
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7. Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns
8. Tristan Wirfs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9. Joe Thuney, Kansas City Chiefs
10. Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions
Joel Bitonio is as steady as they come at left guard in leading the Browns’ offensive line, a highly regarded group. Bitonio has made the All-Pro team in five straight seasons, with him earning first-team honors in the last two years.
Tristian Wirfs allowed just a single sack in his rookie season while helping the Bucs capture a Super Bowl. In his next two campaigns, he’s been an All-Pro at right tackle. He has a rare blend of size, flexibility and power. It’s rare for a player of his caliber to move, but he’s shifting to left tackle this season. I hope it doesn’t lead to some regression.
All Joe Thuney does is anchor Super Bowl-caliber offensive lines. He’s played seven seasons, his first five in New England and his last two in Kansas City. He’s played in four Super Bowls, winning three of them while often being the best lineman on the team. His play against the Rams’ Aaron Donald during the Patriots’ Super Bowl LIII win was remarkable. Thuney’s balance, understanding of leverage and angles, and ability to technically battle larger lineman is outstanding. Thuney has two second-team All-Pro nominations to his name and he will grab another one this season.
Penei Sewell is fulfilling his potential after being the youngest Outland Trophy winner in the history of the award. Sewell is entering his third NFL season and is only 22 years old. He hasn’t even matured into his body yet and he’s already so explosive and powerful. He has the ability to block in space with the best of them and will continue to hone his craft as he gets more reps.
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Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts: I’d rank Nelson 11th on this list, and while I do think he’s played as a top-10 lineman for most of his career, he didn’t last season. He looks outstanding in the preseason and I expect him to be back in my top 10 next season.
Geoff Schwartz is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.
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