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Ranking the NFC East: Offensive Lines

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It’s early July, and aside from the league announcing suspensions, there’s not much to do except to make lists and rank players... so let’s get to it!

Happy 4th of July!

Training camp starts in about three weeks, and we’re about 5 weeks from the preseason opener against the Patriots.

But for now, there’s just not a lot of NFL buzz. The Top 100 list has been announced and discussed. The early announcement of player suspensions has already happened. Minicamps have all run their course.

With the Nationals falling to about .500 on the season, and entrenched in 3rd place, basically, we have three weeks with nothing to do but wait for Redskins Training camp.

So, I thought we could do what we did last year at this time: let’s rank the NFC East, one or two position groups at a time. Today, I thought it would fun to take a look at the division’s offensive lines.

The NFC East has been steadily building teams that can run the ball; partly by drafting or trading for talented running backs, but also by focusing on drafting or signing quality Offensive Linemen. The Redskins have two 1st-rounders and two 3rd-rounders in their starting OL group. The Cowboys are well-known for the amount of draft capital they have invested in the O-line. The Giants joined the party this off-season by signing Nate Solder to a 5-year, $62m contract, then drafting Will Hernandez with the 34th overall draft pick. The Eagles have so many quality tackles, that Lane Johnson plays the right side, and either Peters or Vaitai will be sitting on the bench.

I’m not sure if there’s a division in football that can boast four better offensive lines in 2018 than the NFC East.

The Redskins unit may have the most continuity in the division from 2017 to 2018. Last year at this time, Spencer Long was the starting center, and it is now Chase Roullier, but that change took place in the middle of the ‘17 season, so the Redskins already have a good idea about what to expect from Roullier. The LG guard position may be up for grabs, but at the moment, Shawn Lauvao looks like the presumed Week 1 starter, though I guess the job could be taken by a different player during Training Camp.

The team that has changed the most from last season is the Giants, who have replaced at least 3 of the starting offensive lineman since last season. Nate Solder was one of the biggest free agent deals of 2018, moving from the Patriots to the Giants, and becoming the highest paid O-lineman in the league. The Giants drafted Will Hernandez to take over at Left Guard, and, after losing Weston Richburg in free agency, it looks like Brett Jones will be the new starting Center for the G-men. Last year, it looked like Ereck Flowers’ short career in NY might be drawing to a premature close, but he now looks to be locked in as the starting right tackle. Many fans are assuming that the Giants will be fielding a pathetic offensive line in 2018, and may be shocked to find out that this is not the same unit that looked so bad so often last season. Until they take the field, it’ll be hard to know, but the new & improved Giants front line could demonstrate a huge turnaround in 2018.

The Cowboys bring back 4/5ths of their very talented line, with Connor Williams, the Cowboys’ 2nd round pick, expected to supplant Chaz Green (who is still on the team) at left guard.

The Eagles also seem to have made a change at Left Guard (I sense a pattern here), and may or may not have a big change in the works at Left Tackle. Jason Peters, their long-time all-everything left tackle was severely injured early in the ‘17 season, and will be trying to come back from that injury. At age 36, he may not make it all the way back. The good news for the Eagles is that Halapoulivaati Vaitai played well at Left Tackle last season. The not-so-good news for the Eagles is that Peters has a $10m cap hit, but due to contract structure, there is no 2018 cap savings if the Eagles cut him, and with his age & contract, he will be difficult to trade.

Here’s a summary of the expected starting offensive line groups for the 4 NFC East teams:

Poll

Which NFC East team will have the most talented and effective offensive line in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Eagles
    (1412 votes)
  • 3%
    Giants
    (117 votes)
  • 32%
    Cowboys
    (1216 votes)
  • 25%
    Redskins
    (944 votes)
3689 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which NFC East team will have the LEAST talented and effective offensive line in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Eagles
    (95 votes)
  • 77%
    Giants
    (2413 votes)
  • 4%
    Cowboys
    (153 votes)
  • 14%
    Redskins
    (458 votes)
3119 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who is the best Left Tackle in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Jason Peters
    (855 votes)
  • 0%
    Andre Dillard
    (28 votes)
  • 4%
    Nate Solder
    (157 votes)
  • 19%
    Tyron Smith
    (654 votes)
  • 48%
    Trent Williams
    (1604 votes)
3298 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who is the best Left Guard in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Isaac Seumalo
    (1460 votes)
  • 26%
    Will Hernandez
    (708 votes)
  • 19%
    Connor Williams
    (521 votes)
2689 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who is the best Center in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Jason Kelce
    (1470 votes)
  • 3%
    John Halapio
    (105 votes)
  • 39%
    Travis Frederick
    (1224 votes)
  • 9%
    Chase Roullier
    (293 votes)
3092 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who is the best Right Guard in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Brandon Brooks
    (850 votes)
  • 1%
    Kevin Zeitler
    (38 votes)
  • 31%
    Zack Martin
    (971 votes)
  • 40%
    Brandon Scherff
    (1272 votes)
3131 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who is the best Right Tackle in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Lane Johnson
    (1679 votes)
  • 4%
    Mike Remmers
    (144 votes)
  • 12%
    La’el Collins
    (381 votes)
  • 29%
    Morgan Moses
    (925 votes)
3129 votes total Vote Now