Ranking NFL offensive lines isn’t easy, but Jets and Eagles don’t belong at top of lists


We have reached July which means before we turn the calendar again legitimate and actual NFL activities will have officially commenced.

Still though a month is a long time which means we are going to have to survive until then. The NFL, aware of this, has thrown us a bone by way of the new-look Hard Knocks covering the New York Giants that premieres this Tuesday.

But the universe is also aware that we need football meat to champ on for the next month-ish so as usual they have also complied and given us a few things to assess and analyze.

That is exactly why we are here. In case you were unaware which would offend us greatly… this is The Skinny Post where we (Michael Peterson and RJ Ochoa) discuss random musings across the Football League of National.

Let’s get into what the FLN offered us this week.


Thoughts on PFF’s ranking of offensive lines across the league

RJ:

Like many outlets the folks over at PFF have found an offseason rhythm that is carrying them to football starting up and lately they have been churning out positional rankings which are always fun to offer opinions on.

The esteemed Michael Peterson put the offensive line rankings on my digital desk on Monday morning and to no surprise the Detroit Lions came in as the top dog. Makes sense.

My first pause came in right after that as the Philadelphia Eagles landed at number two. Cards on the table I am the Dallas Cowboys guy here at SB Nation (forever shout out to Blogging The Boys), but it feels like the loss of Jason Kelce is way too significant for Philly to only have one group ranked ahead of them.

Lane Johnson is great, but is there anyone else on that line that you feel incredible about? Jordan Mailata is also a fine player, but again, do we really feel like the loss of Kelce is this level of nbd to keep them at number two?

Michael:

I’ll piggyback off of you here as I also agree that the Eagles probably shouldn’t be as high as No. 2 following the loss of Jason Kelce to retirement. At the same time, league circles love what Jordan Mailata has become paired opposite of Lane Johnson and they did just signed guard Landon Dickerson to a massive contract earlier this offseason.

However, the other two spots on the line (center and right guard) are being filled by Cam Jurgens and Tyler Steen, respectively. Jurgens was the team’s right guard a season ago and Steen has only played 71 snaps in his career thus far. Those two positions are far from what you’d consider “established” and I don’t see how an offensive line unit gets to be No. 2 in the entire league with only three of their five positions locked down.

Of course I have to comment on the Chargers here and I’m pretty flummoxed to see them so high (No. 12). This unit has been one of the worst of the past decade and they were allergic to running the ball a season ago. Yes, they drafted the top offensive tackle in this year’s draft but he hasn’t played a snap yet. You’ve also got Trey Pipkins moving from right tackle to right guard. Lots of question marks remain for a team nearly in the top 10.

All of a sudden the Jets apparently have a top-five offensive line thanks to adding Morgan Moses and former Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith (sad face for you). This unit was abysmal in 2023 but Pro Football Focus believes these additions are enough to vault them up this high.

I don’t know about that one, chief!


New Patriots (not a typo) head coach Jerod Mayo is a football villain

Michael:

So I did a double-take when I first read the headline of this story. Basically, first-year head coach Jerod Mayo is starting their training camp practices 90 minutes later than they’ve been in recent years under Bill Belichick because it’s going to be hotter.

Yeah, like, we’re back in the ‘80s apparently when it comes to toughening up your team.

I feel like in the year of our Lord 2024 that concepts like this wouldn’t really exist too often, but here we are. Now I believe in doing anything you can to give your team an edge, but if Bill Belichick was scheduling practices at 9:30 a.m. to get things done before the heat set in, and they had all that success under him, why are we changing them to 11 a.m. and attempting to fix something that isn’t broken? These guys are all professional athletes so I know they can handle a few extra degrees, but it just seems a but out of left field.

Am I just being an old man yelling at a cloud? You tell me.

RJ:

This is the kind of thing that I am fine with if you don’t tell anybody.

Is it possible that Jerod Mayo has a bit of a point here? Obviously. He laid it out.

But think about what has to happen for him to be proven right. The Patriots would have to go on a tear of a season and have all sorts of success, an admittedly difficult thing for any NFL team outside of Kansas City these days. If and when this happened then for this to work there would still have to be someone who said “AND THAT’S WHY JEROD MAYO STARTED PRACTICES 90 MINUTES LATER LAST SUMMER!”.

It all feels cheesy and lame and very old-school which is not necessarily a bad thing. My thing is, Jerod, if you are going to do this… keep the reasoning why to yourself.


Which NFL personalities would excel at Wimbledon and why?

RJ:

Wimbledon officially began on Monday and I must confess that stuff like this makes my sports heart soar.

I love epic things and events that captivate us and our attention. The history, tradition and all that jazz of big-time moments and tournaments will forever enthrall me so I insisted (and Michael so kindly obliged) that we shoehorn this in somehow.

In terms of figuring out what NFL personality would excel here… it would have to be somebody of insane athleticism. This is a two-week gauntlet that features 7 rounds of victory necessary for the ultimate champion so we need someone who is pretty peak physical form.

Someone too heavy may not withstand the toll that the tournament requires, but we also need somebody who is strong in their own right. Speed is a necessity but so is power which means we need the perfect blend of overall athleticism.

Give me Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua. He is youthful enough to have the energy needed to make it through all of this and has the exuberant personality to match it all.

Consider though that Nacua is listed at 205 lbs. and that reigning Wimbledon Champion Carlos Alcaraz (who won his opening match as I wrote this) is listed at 163.

This is a difficult thing for an NFL player to do!

Michael:

I just want to thank RJ for the shoehorning. I am not a big tennis guy (played a single season in 7th grade) but I respect the game and the plethora of tradition that comes with it.

I like your pick of Puka Nacua. That guy did everything as a rookie and I’m sure he’s got a heck of a backhand to go with his record-breaking football skills.

For me, I’m going with another player who was a rookie in 2023 and that’s Falcons running back Bijan Robinson. Speaking of doing everything, Robinson can ALSO do that for the Falcons…if they actually feed him the rock the way he deserves and unlike what now-FORMER coach Arthur Smith did last season.

Robinson has the feet and elite lateral quickness to at least get into position for a chance to return every volley and he’s a bonafide workhorse-in-waiting, so I can easily see him lasting through the seven-day gauntlet.


Predicting people who will pop during the Giants’ version of Hard Knocks

Michael:

What I love about Hard Knocks is that just about everyone has a chance to shine. But if you have a personality that simply catches people’s attention when you enter a room, the producers will find you and put a camera in your face. When I think to past Hard Knocks seasons, they don’t care if you’re a star player or an undrafted rookie. All that matters is that you can entertain and boost those ratings.

Now this isn’t to be a cop-out answer, but I think starting quarterback Daniel Jones has a chance to win some hearts. He seems like a pretty even-keel dude who isn’t too much of a spotlight person, but I have a feeling his good ol’ boy demeanor will have the casuals in the audience laughing and rooting for him. Similar to when Justin Herbert was one Hard Knocks as a rookie, people fell in love with how excited he was to eat a brisket he cooked for him and some teammates. It also led to a viral “Mmmmm….now I can finally eat” quote that has since been meme’d profusely.

A lesser-known name I’ll throw out there is undrafted free agent Casey Rogers. He played defensive line for Oregon and in the few times I saw him play last season, you could tell he has tons of energy and the way his teammates celebrated his big plays tells me he’s also very well-liked.

RJ:

This is a new type of Hard Knocks given that it follows a team during the offseason so I am fully expecting general manager Joe Schoen to have his share of moments.

Weirdly though my answer for episode 1 is going to be Philadelphia Eagles running back Saquon Barkley. We have already seen in the teaser that part of the conversation with him that ultimately led to his departure is covered and I think people are probably going to empathize with him given the success (in terms of none) that the Giants had while he was on their team.

That is the way these things can go. Players who you never expect can pop. In this new frontier I am going off the deep end and going with someone from another team.

Prove me right, NFL Films.



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