NFL Offensive Line Rankings for 2013
12. Tennessee Titans (Best Player: David Stewart) (X-Factor: Chance Warmack): The Titans really went out and boosted the talent on their O-line this offseason, particularly on the interior. Warmack was considered by some to be the best player in the 2013 draft. The Titans also added top free agent guard Andy Levitre. Center is a weak spot, but the other four positions are strong enough to make up for it. Running back Chris Johnson could easily put up his best numbers since 2009.
13. Houston Texans (Best Player: Duane Brown) (X-Factor: Wade Smith): The Texans are very strong on the left side (Brown, Smith, Chris Myers), but particularly weak on the right. Right guard Ben Jones has battled weight issues - not good for a player in a strict zone-blocking scheme. Defenders had their way with right tackle Derek Newton in both the running and passing game last year. Smith recently had his knee scoped, and is his status is uncertain for Week 1. The Texans need him on the field for their run-first offense.
14. Washington Redskins (Best Player: Trent Williams) (X-Factor: Tyler Polumbus): Head coach Mike Shanahan is like a miracle worker with his zone-blocking scheme, seemingly turning every O-line he touches into a productive unit. Outside of Williams, the Redskins have no true standout linemen, but most were effective last year. Polumbus graded out as Pro Football Focus' 77th best tackle among 80 qualifiers. This is his first offseason in which he has worked strictly at right tackle, so hopefully he will be improved in 2013.
15. Green Bay Packers (Best Player: Josh Sitton) (X-Factor: David Bakhtiari): Despite their prowess in the passing game, the Packers' strength on the O-line is actually in the middle, where they have Sitton and T.J. Lang as their guards. That bodes well for rookie running back Eddie Lacy. Tackles are a concern, as likely starting tackle Derek Sherrod is recovering from a broken leg, while 2013 fourth-round pick Bakhtiari will stand in at left tackle for Bryan Bulaga (torn ACL) all season.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (Best Player: Evan Mathis) (X-Factor: Jason Peters): The Eagles' line was a mess in 2012, but they have since gotten healthy and added fourth overall pick Lane Johnson to the mix. Peters missed all of 2012 with an Achilles injury, but displayed sheer dominance in 2011 - he graded out as Pro Football Focus' best tackle by a mile and was first-team All-Pro. If he can get close to his 2011 form, and if Johnson can pan out as a rookie, this line could be dominant - but keep in mind that there are a few "ifs."
17. New York Jets (Best Player: Nick Mangold) (X-Factor: D'Brickashaw Ferguson): They may have one of the worst collections of skill position players we've seen in a while, but the Jets' O-line actually isn't too shabby. Mangold is a stud, and Ferguson was closing in on top-5 left tackle status last year. The only significant question mark on the line is at right guard, where 2013 third-round pick Brian Winters is penciled in. Ferguson is the X-factor because if the Jets start rookie Geno Smith at quarterback, he's going to need some serious protection to get acclimated to the NFL game with no one to throw to.
18. New Orleans Saints (Best Player: Jahri Evans) (X-Factor: Charles Brown): Their strong interior bodes well for the running game, but the Saints - as I'm sure you know - are a pass-first team. After losing Jermon Bushrod to the Bears in free agency this offseason, the Saints have Charles Brown locked in as the blindside protector for quarterback Drew Brees. He's only made eight career starts, but Brown needs to be effective for the Saints' offense to roll the way they like.
19. Carolina Panthers (Best Player: Ryan Kalil) (X-Factor: Byron Bell): The Panthers have two Pro Bowl-caliber players in center Kalil and left tackle Jordan Gross, but it's the right side of the line that drags this unit down. Bell has been one of the worst right tackles in the game since entering the league two years ago. His third season needs to be a "breakout" of sorts for this unit to click and reach its potential.
20. St. Louis Rams (Best Player: Jake Long) (X-Factor: Rodger Saffold): The Rams did well in the offseason to bring on a former first overall pick in Jake Long to protect Sam Bradford's blindside. As a result, Saffold kicks over to right tackle, where he should be effective when healthy. The problem, however, is that Saffold has missed 6+ games in each of the past two seasons. The only standout weakness is at left guard, where Shelley Smith looks like the probable starter.
21. Chicago Bears (Best Player: Jermon Bushrod) (X-Factor: Kyle Long): With new head coach Marc Trestman coming in with an offensive mentality, he knew he had to quickly address the Bears' O-line woes. He did so by making Bushrod his biggest free agent signing and Long his first-round draft pick. The two players fill two big holes from last season. Bushrod has proven he's a solid player, but Long will be the X-factor. He has rated extremely high in the preseason according to Pro Football Focus, so if he can keep it up, he should help this unit really improve in 2013.