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Examining teams with the best offensive lines for potential final roster cuts

Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

This season, Washington has surprising depth at some positions (wide receiver and defensive back), and pretty mediocre-to-poor depth at a couple of others, including offensive line. This article will take a quick glance at several teams with offensive line strength going into the 2023 season, to see if there might be diamonds in the rough that those teams could cut, and Washington could pounce on over the next several days.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have arguably the best starting OL group going into the season, so they’re an interesting place to look first for talented cuts. Their starters are as follows:

  • LT Jordan Mailata
  • LG Landon Dickerson
  • C Jason Kelce
  • RG Cam Jurgens
  • RT Lane Johnson

According to the folks at Bleeding Green Nation, one of the team’s best OL cuts is likely to be C/G Julian Good-Jones.

Julian started his career quickly at center. In a time where Iowa State was struggling to put together quality offensive line play. He then would move to left tackle to play his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He was able to hold down the fort and give Matt Campbell options while he recruited and retooled the offensive line. He was a guy that never made a horrific mistake and was just solid. He did find his way on to a couple of All Big 12 honorable mention lists in 2017 and 2018. He was also named first team All Big 12 in 2019.

Does Washington need another player with C/G flexibility? Probably not, but would Good-Jones be an upgrade over, say, a Tyler Larsen? It’s probably worth taking a look to find out.

Cleveland Browns

Having played Cleveland in their first pre-season game this year, Washington got a pretty good look at the Browns’ roster, who starting OL line-up is among the best in the league:

  • LT Jedrick Wills
  • LG Joel Bitonio
  • C Ethan Pocic
  • RG Wyatt Teller
  • RT Jack Conklin

According to Dawgs by Nature, tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr was the best OL likely not to make the 53-man roster. As I was writing this article, he was traded to the Patriots.

Next up on the DBN list is Drew Forbes, who - interestingly - is a player I wrote up just before the 2019 draft:

The Redskins’ issues at left guard are the topic of endless conversations and consternation here at Hogs Haven, so it’s no secret that drafting at least one guard, and preferably a couple, is at the top of many fans’ lists this year. Drew Forbes came onto the radar screen of a number of scouts late in the offseason, primarily as a product of his impressive Pro Day results. Had he posted those numbers at the NFL Combine, it’s possible that he would be in the Day 2 conversation. As it sits currently, it sounds like he’s a potential 4th or 5th round selection. Forbes is a bright guy, with multiple academic honors, he’s already married, and he helped put the Southeast Missouri State football program on the map during his tenure with the team.

Forbes suffered a back injury in camp in early August, which may signal his time in Cleveland is over. His future this season likely has a practice squad ceiling.

Detroit Lions

The Lions have invested significant amounts of draft capital in their offensive line over the past several years, and it’s begun to seriously pay off. Their starting five project as among the best in the NFL:

  • LT Taylor Decker
  • LG Jonah Jackson
  • C Frank Ragnow
  • RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai
  • RT Penei Sewell

According to Pride of Detroit, the last offensive lineman off the roster is likely interior offensive lineman Kayode Awosika. The Lions signed Awosika off the Eagles practice squad last season:

A three-year starter at the University of Buffalo—one at left tackle (senior) and two at right tackle—Awosika went undrafted in 2021 and signed with the Eagles. Amongst that UDFA class, he received the second most guaranteed money from Philadelphia ($112,500) and was highly sought by the organization. He failed to make their 53-man roster in 2021 but signed onto their practice squad and was elevated for the final game of the season. He played 43 snaps at right guard, earning an 86.1 run blocking grade in that game.

With the Eagles, Awosika lined up at both guard positions and right tackle. He could be an intriguing addition, and it’s possible his college teammate, running back Jarrett Patterson, may have some additional insights about his capabilities.

Dallas Cowboys

The reality is that our NFC East competitors are stacked at offensive line, and the Cowboys are no exception. Their projected 2023 starters are below:

  • LT Tyron Smith
  • LG Tyler Smith
  • C Tyler Biadasz
  • RG Zack Martin
  • RT Terence Steele

According to Blogging the Boys, guard TJ Bass is a potential cut who the team would likely be looking to re-sign to their practice squad. Bass was an UDFA picked up by the Cowboys this offseason, with the following evaluation:

He has a fantastic solid punch which he unleashes in the run game to help him win and compensate for the lack of length. He knows exactly what angle to take in order to get on blocks effectively. Shows a good anchor and good core strength in the passing game to keep defenders from getting the win. His lack of lateral mobility and general athleticism however will look to see him be more of a guard than a tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. Too many times he failed to get across fast enough to block defenders as they turned the edge. A high I.Q player that can get to the second level while showing enough strength and blocking skills should help him in his rookie year to reach his ceiling of becoming a backup guard.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have struggled over the past few years, but one unit that they have continued to improve is their offensive line. Their projected starters for this season are below:

  • LT Jake Matthews
  • LG Matthew Bergeron
  • C Drew Dalman
  • RG Chris Lindstrom
  • RT Kaleb McGary

According to early depth charts, tackle Tyler Vrabel - son of Titans’ coach Mike Vrabel - may be on the chopping block this week.

In 2020, Vrabel was an All-ACC honorable mention, as he played all 785 offensive snaps across 11 games at left tackle for an offense that rushed for 1,119 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.

Vrabel apparently played pretty well for much of this preseason - although he was abused by TJ Watt this week. Against the Bengals in pre-season Week 2, he received the following review:

Atlanta’s offensive line depth wasn’t great coming into the year, and it’s taken a hit due to Matt Hennessy landing on the season-ending injured reserve list. One bright spot during Friday’s game was the play of right tackle Tyler Vrabel. As Jalen Mayfield struggled, Vrabel shined in his 41 snaps.

Conclusion

There will be a massive number of NFL cuts coming over the next several days, and this is where pro scouts earn much of their keep. A closer examination of some of the better offensive line groups could provide insight into areas where Washington could improve the back end of its roster.

I’m curious to hear what you think about these options.

Poll

Which of these players would you prioritize pursuing?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Julian-Good Jones (C/G)
    (144 votes)
  • 5%
    Drew Forbes (G)
    (59 votes)
  • 8%
    Kayoke Awosika (IOL)
    (84 votes)
  • 6%
    TJ Bass (G)
    (67 votes)
  • 40%
    Tyler Vrabel (T)
    (415 votes)
  • 24%
    None of these
    (249 votes)
1018 votes total Vote Now