One of the most fundamentally important things need to achieve success in the NFL is a good offensive line. Without proper blocking and discipline, drives can stall with either allowing sacks or failing to open up lanes for the running back. One of the hardest things to measure, however, is how good an offensive line is based on statistics available in the NFL. Sacks allowed doesn’t truly show all the pressures allowed and a running back may gain a ton of yards, but a lot of that could come from him being great at shedding tackles. Plus, nobody quantifies the impact penalties committed by the offensive line. Our rankings hope to tackle this with three key statistics in focus: points per pass rush against, which measures how much pressure an offensive line allows per snap, rushing yards before contact per carry, which show how far a runner gets due to good blocking before a defender makes contact and the total number of penalties the offensive line was flagged for during the season.

1. Baltimore Ravens

Points per pass rush against: 0.216

Yards per carry before contact: 2.70

Penalties: 23

The most well-rounded group on this list, Baltimore’s point per pass rush against is the best in the league, they rank behind only Arizona for yards per carry before contact and they’re third in penalties called. They’re the only team in the league to rank in the top three of all categories Ronnie Stanley has been stellar this year, allowing just six pressures all season, nearly half as many as the second-best tackle (Taylor Lewan). He did not allow a single sack, and his points per pass rush (0.015) and pressure score allowed of seven are both the lowest totals among offensive tackles (minimum 200 pass block snaps) recorded (our stats go back to the 2006 season). Baltimore broke the NFL record for rushing yards in a single season and were able to do so due to the offensive line’s strong running lanes. Ravens runners amassed 1,496 yards before contact, easily the best mark in the NFL and one of just two teams who had 1,000 rushing yards before contact.

2. Arizona Cardinals

Points per pass rush against: 0.261

Yards per carry before contact: 2.73

Penalties: 30

It’s especially surprising to see Arizona ranked so high after having the worst pass protection unit in the league last season. Arizona and Baltimore are the only two teams to rank in the top three of both categories as Arizona ended the season with the best yards per carry before contact and the third-best points per pass rush against. Consistency played a key role here as injuries forced the Cardinals to have nine different players on the offensive line for at least 200 snaps in 2018, compared to just six in 2019. Four offensive lineman were on the field for 1,000-plus snaps this season for the Cardinals, something only three other teams in the league would also do.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

Points per pass rush against: 0.252

Yards per carry before contact: 1.77

Penalties: 29

Mitchell Schwartz was stellar this season at right tackle. He is one of five tackles to not allow a single sack this season and his points per pass rush allowed of 0.036 was second among tackles behind Stanley. Schwartz was also a key cog in the success of the running game. Runners averaged 6.1 yards per carry when running off right tackle and 4.62 yards before contact, both team highs.

4. San Francisco 49ers

Points per pass rush against: 0.380

Yards per carry before contact: 1.81

Penalties: 27

While San Francisco ranks sixth in both penalties and yards before contact per carry, they were just 20th in points per pass rush against. They were especially gritty between the guards, averaging more than five yards per carry when rushing behind either guard. Even at age 35, Joe Staley has been one of the better tackles in the game, allowing just two sacks and a points per pass rush against of 0.051, but numerous injuries limited him to just 257 pass block snaps in 2019.

5. New York Giants

Points per pass rush against: 0.407

Yards per carry before contact: 2.06

Penalties: 22

This is the ranking that will have everyone scratch their head (I was equally shocked). By all accounts, the Giants pass block was horrific in 2019, ranking 25th overall with 0.407 points per pass rush against, but they were surprisingly good in the run game. They were just one of five teams to average more than two yards per carry before contact and only New England committed fewer penalties. The obvious weak link is left tackle Nate Solder, who was one of just four tackles to allow double-digit sacks (he allowed 11) and his pressure score against of 88 was tied with Kaleb McGary in Atlanta for the most in the NFL.

6. Dallas Cowboys

Points per pass rush against: 0.300

Yards per carry before contact: 1.4

Penalties: 28

While Dallas’  run blocking was slightly below average, they continued to be one of the best pass blocking units in 2019, due much in part to tackles Tyron Smith and La’El Collins allowing just three sacks and combining for a total pressure score of 72. Three other tackles in the league had a higher pressure score by themselves than Smith and Collins did combined.

7. Chicago Bears

Points per pass rush against: 0.329

Yards per carry before contact: 1.55

Penalties: 30

Chicago graded out in the top half of all three categories, highlighted by their No. 8 ranking in points per pass rush against. One position they will need to address is right guard following the retirement of Kyle Long. Before the season, the Bears tinkered with the offensive line, swapping center and left guard Cody Whitehair and James Daniels, but ultimately swapped the two back midseason and should enter 2020 with Whitehair at center and Daniels at left guard.

8. Carolina Panthers

Points per pass rush against: 0.446

Yards per carry before contact: 2.23

Penalties: 26

Much like the Giants, Carolina was disciplined and great at run blocking, but truly bad in pass protection. Only three teams had a worse point per pass rush allowed than Carolina with guard Daryl Williams allowing a pressure score of 61, tied for the third most among guards.

9. New England Patriots

Points per pass rush against: 0.332

Yards per carry before contact: 1.24

Penalties: 18

No team was more disciplined than the Patriots, finishing the season as the only team to commit less than 20 penalties on the offensive line. Only one player, Shaq Mason, committed more than three penalties all season. Surprisingly, New England was better at running the football between the tackles than on the outside, averaging less than four yards per carry when running off tackle.

10. Indianapolis Colts

Points per pass rush against: 0.405

Yards per carry before contact: 1.67

Penalties: 26

One major factor in the Colts success was their ability to stay healthy. They were the only team in the league to have five players on the offensive line on the field for 1,000 or more snaps. They were also very disciplined, ranking fourth in penalties committed. The run game was strong due to high caliber blocking, but perhaps it’s best on the left side, where Colts running backs averaged 4.6 yards per carry.

11. Oakland Raiaders

Points per pass rush against: 0.312

Yards per carry before contact: 1.38

Penalties: 33

The run blocking wasn’t great and much of Josh Jacobs’ success was due to him being one of the best at breaking tackles in the league, but their pass protection shone, ranking sixth in the league in points per pass rush against. Richie Incognito was one of only two guards to allow less than 10 pressures all season and center Rodney Hudson continues to be the best pass protector in the league at his position. For the third straight season, Hudson is not only the league leader among all positions in points per pass rush against, but he is the only player in each of those seasons with a mark of less than 0.010. He has allowed a total pressure score against of 16 over the past three seasons, including a microscopic four in 2019.

12. Green Bay Packers

Points per pass rush against: 0.345

Yards per carry before contact: 1.66

Penalties: 31

Left tackle David Bakhtiari was not his usual stellar self in 2019, committing 11 penalties (he committed seven total between 2017-18) and had a total pressure score of 46, the first time he has been north of 40 since 2015. Regardless, the Packers were a consistent unit as a whole, ranking 15th in points per pass rush against and 13th in penalties and yards per carry before contact.

13. Denver Broncos

Points per pass rush against: 0.336

Yards per carry before contact: 1.68

Penalties: 40

By far the biggest black eye in Denver is former first round pick Garrett Bolles, who committed 17 penalties, second in the league behind Laremy Tunsil. He also wasn’t particularly strong as a run blocker. Denver gained only one first down when running off the left tackle and only two runs of 10-plus yards. Also hurting Denver was Elijah Wilkinson, who allowed 10 sacks and a pressure score against of 55.

14. Houston Texans

Points per pass rush against: 0.334

Yards per carry before contact: 2.09

Penalties: 51

A true Jekyll and Hyde offensive line, the Texans were one of five teams to amass more than two years per carry before contact, and they were 10th in points per pass rush against, but they are dragged down by their lack of discipline, led by Laremy Tunsil who committed a league-high 18 penalties in 2019. Only the Jaguars committed more penalties on the offensive line.

15. New Orleans Saints

Points per pass rush against: 0.284

Yards per carry before contact: 1.33

Penalties: 38

Like last season, the Saints carry forward elite pass protection, ranking fourth in points per pass rush against, but their run blocking regressed in 2019, which contributed to an underwhelming season by Alvin Kamara. Tackles Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead did not allow a single sack in 2019, the only pair of tackles on the same team to do so.

16. Detroit Lions

Points per pass rush against: 0.353

Yards per carry before contact: 1.49

Penalties: 34

The Lions rank middle-of-the-pack in all three categories, ending the year 17th in yards before contact per carry and 16th in penalties and points per pass rush against. Taylor Decker continues to be a below average tackle, surrendering a pressure score against of 53 in 2019. He will be someone to watch as he enters his contract year in 2020, but Detroit has seemingly been synonymous with below average play at the position.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Points per pass rush against: 0.328

Yards per carry before contact: 1.26

Penalties: 37

Despite employing Donovan Smith, who is routinely one of the worst left tackles in football, Tampa Bay ranked seventh in points per pass rush per snap, due much in part fo Demar Dotson, who has functioned as the equalizer to Smith at right tackle. Running the football continues to plague this team and it’s ineptitude is exacerbated by the offensive line, where runners were only able to average 4.0 yards per carry when running off left tackle (Smith).

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

Points per pass rush against: 0.337

Yards per carry before contact: 1.04

Penalties: 27

Murphy’s Law hit the Steelers hard in 2019, including the offensive line, who failed to open up lanes for what became a carousel at the running back position due to injuries. The first season post-Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown was one to forget offensively, but given the team’s recent sustained success, and the weapons they have on paper, it’s fair to chalk this season up to an anomaly, especially if Ben Roethlisberger returns.

19. Philadelphia Eagles

Points per pass rush against: 0.381

Yards per carry before contact: 1.56

Penalties: 33

By all accounts, Andre Dillard was a disaster as a rookie for the Eagles. Philadelphia limited him to 183 pass block snaps, but in that span, he had the worst points per pass rush against, but a wide margin (0.202, J’Marcus Webb was the next worse with a mark of 0.159). This is a big cause for concern for Philadelphia, especially is Jason Peters, who turns 38 this month, retires. Dillard must improve this offseason.

20. Buffalo Bills

Points per pass rush against: 0.336

Yards per carry before contact: 1.68

Penalties: 48

Buffalo put together a fine unit in run blocking and pass protection, but what kills them is their 48 penalties committed. Center Mitch Morse committed nine penalties, the second most among centers. 2019 was a step in the right direction for Buffalo as a whole, but the team needs to be more disciplined.

21. Cleveland Browns

Points per pass rush against: 0.343

Yards per carry before contact: 1.45

Penalties: 37

Nick Chubb ended 2019 second in the NFL in rushing yards due much in part to the fact that he was the best in the league at breaking tackles. The run blocking unit was below average in 2019 as John Dorsey sought to improve the team at practically every other position but the offensive line. Greg Robinson was predictably bad at left tackle, committing 11 penalties and owning a pressure score against of 39, but right tackle Chris Hubbard was worse, owning a pressure score against of 53 and allowing eight penalties.

22. Seattle Seahawks

Points per pass rush against: 0.405

Yards per carry before contact: 1.69

Penalties: 39

Seattle has built this team to be a run-heavy offense and it shows with an offensive line who ranks eighth in yards per carry before contact. Their poor pass protection, however, continues to leave Russell Wilson running for his life. Germain Ifedi was the sixth-worst offensive lineman in football, allowing a pressure score against of 68 while also committing 13 penalties while guards Mike Iupati and D.J. Fluker combined for a pressure score against of 73.

23. Tennessee Titans

Points per pass rush against: 0.367

Yards per carry before contact: 1.26

Penalties: 37

One of the most surprising teams to gauge was Tennessee, they allowed a ton of sacks, but a lot of that had to do with the timid Marcus Mariota holding onto the ball too long, while Derrick Henry led the league in rushing, but not due to the offensive line, which ranked 24th in yards per carry before contact. Taylor Lewan, who missed the first four contests due to a suspension, emerged at the fourth-best tackle in the NFL this season, allowing just two sacks and a points per pass rush of 0.044. As always, penalties continue to plague Lewan, who was flagged 10 times. Rookie Nate Davis was called for seven penalties in 2019, but he also cleared up rushing lanes on offense. Running backs averaged 5.3 yards per carry when running behind Davis.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars

Points per pass rush against: 0.364

Yards per carry before contact: 1.67

Penalties: 53

A massively uncharacteristic trait of a Tom Coughlin-created team was their absolute lack of discipline. No team’s ofeensive line was flagged more than Jacksonville and they are the only team with three players to committ 10 or more penalties. Tackels Jawaan Taylor and Cam Robinson allowed 16 total sacks, the second most among tackles on the same team in the league.

25. Minnesota Vikings

Points per pass rush against: 0.407

Yards per carry before contact: 1.58

Penalties: 40

The pass protection issues that plagued this team last season are still there, but Kirk Cousins was better at getting rid of the ball in 2019. Penalties also hurt this team as right guard Josh Kline was the only starter not flagged at least seven times (he was penalized just three times). Pat Eflein allowed six sacks in 2019, tied for the third most among guards.

26. Miami Dolphins

Points per pass rush against: 0.494

Yards per carry before contact: 1.10

Penalties: 27

Miami’s saving grace was their ability to avoid penalties. They had the worst pass protection unit in the league after trading Laremy Tunsil and the run block unit wasn’t much better. Kenyan Drake’s season was night and day once he was traded to Arizona.

27. Washington Redskins

Points per pass rush against: 0.378

Yards per carry before contact: 1.28

Penalties: 43

Trent Williams was sorely missed in 2019 and despite swearing he would never play for Washington again, one has to wonder if he has changed his mind now that the Redskins have fired Bruce Allen. Both Donald Penn and Morgan Moses were flagged 10-plus times, but runners were able to tote the ball 5.0 yards per carry when running off right tackle (Moses).

28. Atlanta Falcons

Points per pass rush against: 0.409

Yards per carry before contact: 1.37

Penalties: 40

No pair of tackles surrendered more sacks than the combined 21 by Jake Matthews and rookie Kaleb McGary. McGary tied with Nate Solder for a league-worst 88 pressure score against while Matthews was significanlty better in that department, owning a pressure score against of 47. There was no spot on the offensive line where Falcons runners averaged 4.0 yards per carry or better.

29. Cincinnati Bengals

Points per pass rush against: 0.440

Yards per carry before contact: 1.08

Penalties: 34

Ineffective all-around, Cincinnati’s offensive line led to the regression of Joe Mixon in 2019. It also doesn’t help when the team spends a first round draft pick on an offensive tackle only for him to miss the season, so hopefully this is just rock bottom for a team who is in the middle of a rebuild.

30. Los Angeles Chargers

Points per pass rush against: 0.489

Yards per carry before contact: 1.25

Penalties: 37

Another team who will be hitting the reset button this offseason, the Chargers were particularly held back by Trent Scott, who allowed a pressure score against of 77, the third worst in the league, and was penalized 10 times. Scott was not the only inept player on the left side of the line as runners were only able to carry the ball at a clip of 2.7 yards behind guard Dan Feeney.

31. Los Angeles Rams

Points per pass rush against: 0.398

Yards per carry before contact: 1.10

Penalties: 45

This will be a crucial offseason for head coach Sean McVay – has the league figured him out or did the team just endure an awful Super Bowl hangover? Andew Whitworth allowed only one sack, but was also hit with 14 penalties and running backs only averaged 3.0 yards per carry behind him. Austin Corbett took a step forward in 2019 as runners averaged 6.0 yards per carry behind him.

32. New York Jets

Points per pass rush against: 0.457

Yards per carry before contact: 0.82

Penalties: 39

If you owned Le’Veon Bell in fantasy, point your blame towards the offensive line that was the only unit in the entire NFL to average less than 1.0 yard per carry before contact. Brandon Shell was a human turnstile, allowing a pressure score against of 62 and the Jets spent much of the season publicly fighting with Kelechi Osemele over his shoulder injury, expecting him to play through a torn labrum and refusing to approve the surgery before ultimately releasing him.

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