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NFL Offensive Line Projections for 2021: AFC and NFC West

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Every season, NFL teams are made and broken by the backbone of every team, the offensive line. It’s important to know how changes will affect your team.


In this article, I will be cataloging NFL offensive line signings and cuts (starters lost to free agency will also be noted), and how these moves affected the line overall. Any teams not listed did not have any Free Agent additions to their offensive line. (Grades thanks to PFF. Grades from 60-65 are average, 65.1-69.9 grades are above average, and anything over 70 is great).

 

AFC

Denver Broncos

Bobby Massie, T: 470 snaps, 1 penalty, 3 sacks; pass blocking 70.8, run blocking: 64.7

Overall feeling: After letting Demar Dotson walk in free agency, the Broncos were able to find a statistically comparable tackle in Massie. After playing in front of Mitchell Trubisky, I expect to see Massie’s sacks allowed number go down, Lock has better footwork than Trubisky. This line should be what it was last year.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Joe Thuney, G: 980 snaps, 3 penalties, 2 sacks; pass blocking 73.1, run blocking 70.2

Orlando Brown, T: 1,027 snaps, 5 penalties, 3 sacks; pass blocking 76.7, run blocking 73

Austin Blythe, C: 1,120 snaps, 1 penalty, 4 sacks; pass blocking 52.5, run blocking 73.2

Cut: Eric Fisher, T; Mitchell Schwartz, T; Kyle Long, G — retired before 2020 season

Overall Feeling: After one of the worst offensive line performances in NFL history, the Chiefs gutted the entire line, and brought back only one starter from last year — Mike Remmers. They also added six new linemen for the 2021 season and will get back starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. Duvernay-Tardif opted out to continue working at a Long term care facility during the pandemic.

There is a lot of debate as to what scheme the Chiefs will run up front. This line should be better than it was last year, though their overall ability will depend on Chris long and Duvernay-Tardif returning to their previous form. It will also depend on Patrick Mahomes, who, last year, was charged with 53 pressures against himself — the highest number at QB.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Corey Linsley, C: 734 snaps, 0 penalties, 1 sack; pass blocking 82.8, run blocking 87.8

Matt Feiler, G: 848 snaps, 2 penalties, 2 sacks; pass blocking 69.6, run blocking 59.6

Oday Aboushi, G: 622 snaps, 4 penalties, 1 sack; pass blocking 65.3, run blocking 68.0

Overall Feeling: This was a terrible line. The Chargers took notice of the gruesome injury of Bengals QB Joe Burrow and said “we better fix this line,” and fix it they did.  They already had Bryan Bulaga, one of the best tackles in the game. The Chargers added one of the best centers in the game in Linsley, and two above-average guards in Feiler and Aboushi.

Those additions alone would make Russell Wilson salivate, but the Bolts weren’t done yet.  They used the #13 overall pick in the draft to select one of the best linemen in the draft, Rashawn Slater. It will likely take a few weeks for this line to gel properly, but when it does, this line should be “cheek clapping” good this season.

 

Las Vegas Raiders

Nick Martin, C: 980 snaps, 4 penalties, 1 sack

Overall Feeling:  The loss of Trent Brown should be bigger than it is. However, he only played in five games last season and wasn’t that good. There is nothing in this line that I look at and think “if this hits, we have a really good line here.” At best, this line will be less than average.

 

NFC

Arizona Cardinals

Kelvin Beachum, OT: 1,126 snaps last year, 5 penalties, 3 sacks; pass blocking 76.8, run blocking 59.0

Rodney Hudson, C: 1,082 snaps, 1 penalty, 1 sack; pass blocking 70.0, run blocking 72.7

Overall feeling: This team made two strong additions to it, and I believe we will see Kyler Murray take fewer hits this season, reducing the chance he has nagging injuries that affect his play.

 

San Fransisco 49ers

Alex Mack, C: 972 snaps, 3 penalties, 1 sack; pass blocking 56.4, run blocking 70.2

Trent Williams, T: 957 snaps, 10 penalties, 4 sacks; pass blocking 84.8, run blocking 91.8

Overall Feeling: Hot damn this line is going to be fun to watch — the 49ers added two of the best linemen in the NFL this year. This team wants to be able to run the ball, and they built the perfect line to do it with. The biggest concern is Daniel Brunskill, who has played three different positions over the last two years.

Drafted as a tackle, Brunskill has primarily played center and guard. The addition of Mack will allow Brunskill to settle in as right guard, which should allow him to focus on the one position, and hopefully be better.

 

Seattle Seahawks

Gabe Jackson, G: 1,062 snaps, 3 penalties, 0 sacks; pass blocking 69.9, run blocking 58.5

Mike Iupati, G – Retired

Overall Feeling: There is a lot of optimism for this offensive line. The retirement of Iupati is actually a blessing. He missed a lot of playing time last year, which caused the line to shuffle around regularly during the season. Damien Lewis showed well last year and should take a step forward this season — he finished as the 13th best Guard in his rookie season.

The hope is that newcomer Gabe Jackson can return to his 2019 form and be what the Seahawks are paying him to be. If the new offensive scheme gets the ball out of Wilson’s hand faster this line could be “better” without it actually being better.

 

Los Angeles Rams

No Additions

Overall Feeling:  This offseason, the Rams lost starting Center Austin Blythe to the Chiefs. Replacing him at center will be Brian Allen, who did not log a snap in 2020. Allen has been in and out of the lineup, due to ongoing knee issues. Behind him is UDFA Coleman Shelton, who has logged 22 snaps since joining the NFL in 2018.

New OL coach Kevin Carberry is looking to change the scheme to help protect QB Matthew Stafford longer and allow plays to develop downfield. If that plan works, Andrew Whitworth stays healthy, and David Edwards and Austin Corbett are the big bodies this team thinks they are, the Rams will still need whoever starts at center to be at least decent, for this line to be slightly above average.

 

Those are my offensive line projections for the AFC/NFC West. 

You can find my AFC/NFC North offensive line projections here, and check back for my AFC/NFC East and AFC/NFC South projections!


Thank you for investing some time in my articles. If you’d like to read more, you can visit my IDP Guys author page or follow me on Twitter at @FF_Skinnychef. If there is something you would like to see written, DM me. May the waivers be forever in your favor.

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