The Top 10 Offensive Linemen of 2021

Story posted January 20, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Zach Duncan

Many stars in the NFL are skill position players. You have your wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks and even sometimes tight ends who all bolster jersey sales.

Little forethought is put into the hog mollies moving mountains down in the trenches. They work hard and deservedly need a list to rank their expertise.

Admittedly, the offensive line is one of the trickier positions to evaluate. So, with the Divisional Round upcoming: who were the top-10 big men from the most recent season?

10. Jordan Mailata (Left Tackle, Eagles)

More than simply a feel-good story, Mailata has made his athletic transition appear seamless. The former rugby player had to learn football from square one, even after being drafted by the Eagles in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft. His growth, especially in pass protection, has been nothing short of tremendous in his first three seasons.

9. Corey Linsley (C, Chargers)

Back in March, the Chargers snagged Linsley from the top of the free agency pile on a five-year, $62.5 million deal. He’s been a sound investment, allowing zero sacks and earning second-team All-Pro honors. He’s consistently been one of the most complete centers in football the last few years.

8. Ali Marpet (LG, Buccaneers)

Marpet is one of three Buccaneer offensive linemen to get the nod this season. The Hobart alumnus was a strong pass protector for Tom Brady and Co. to stay humming down the field. Until this point, he loomed largely under the radar.

7. Rashawn Slater (LT, Chargers)

Protecting Justin Herbert’s blindside, the Northwestern product earned an 83.7 Pro Football Focus grade in his All-Pro debut season. He is the first rookie tackle to be a Pro Bowl starter since Matt Kalil back in 2012.

6. Joel Bitonio (LG, Browns)

Bitonio did not miss a snap in 2021 and even showed versatility, sliding over to left tackle for two games when the Browns line was in a pinch. Cleveland was fourth in league rushing totals in large part because of their recently extended guard.

5. Tristan Wirfs (RT, Buccaneers)

Wirfs burst onto the scene for the Bucs, making a Super Bowl debut in his rookie season. The No. 13 overall pick from 2020 only needed two seasons to get both a Pro Bowl nod and a first-team All-Pro selection. The sky’s the limit for him.

4. Creed Humphrey (C, Chiefs)

The No. 63 pick in the 2021 Draft, Humphrey has only shattered Kansas City’s expectations since coming into the league. His 93.8 PFF run-blocking grade ranked second among all offensive linemen. While he may have been snubbed this year, many Pro Bowls await him in the future.

3. Jason Kelce (C, Eagles)

Aging like fine wine at 34 years of age, Kelce played incredibly well, leading the Eagles both as an impactful blocker and leader. Philadelphia had the best rushing offense in the NFL, bolstered by the four-time first-team All-Pro.

2. Zack Martin (RG, Cowboys)

Dallas had the highest-powered offense in 2021, anchored by the run-blocking virtuoso veteran. Here’s a deep dive: since 1970, Martin is one of 12 players to earn Pro Bowler at least seven times and All-Pro at least five times in his first eight seasons.

1. Trent Williams (LT, 49ers)

The Niners have several superstars on the offensive side of the ball: Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, but no doubt Trent Williams is the most overlooked. At 33 years of age and in his 11th season, his 98.3 PFF mark earned him the highest grade ever for any player in history.

Zach Duncan is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at ztd5045@psu.edu