We've had a chance to see all the lines play in an actual game now, so it's easier to move them around a little bit based on performance. Not that they all faced the same level of defensive fronts, but we have more visual evidence to go on. And of course, once the games start, key players start to suffer injuries.
Some of the noteworthy developments:
Cleveland had been trying Joel Bitonio at left tackle, but decided to go with undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison at the spot in Week 1. It did not go well. Tyrod Taylor was sacked 7 times and Steeler pass rusher T.J. Watt (pictured, celebrating one of his 3.5 sacks) was named defensive player of the week. Browns may revisit that for Week 2, but for right now their line plummets with what looks like a massive hole where Joe Thomas used to roam.
So Carolina now has both of its starting tackles on IR. Daryl Williams surprisingly came back from his preseason knee injury, only to suffer a knee injury. He's on IR, and so is the other tackle, Matt Kalil. If that weren't enough, Trai Turner suffered a concussion. Amini Silatolu (knee) wasn't able to return for Week 1, though he should return. But it's a line truly gutted by injuries, with backups starting at potentially four spots this week.
Dallas doesn't have Travis Frederick at center, and there appear to be two other problem spots. Left guard Connor Williams and right tackle La'el Collins. Williams is just a rookie and not surprising he'd take some lumps, but they might have been able to get by better if Frederick were at center. Collins hasn't quite lived up to his talent expectations. There was a noteworthy play early in Dallas-Carolina that could have gone for a big Ezekiel Elliott run, but Collins seemed to miss his assignment. At least until Frederick returns, if he does, this is not a dominant line right now -- two elite players but three question marks.
The Titans lost Taylor Lewan to a concussion in Week 1. This isn't necessarily a long-term issue, but might need to miss at least a game.
Joe Barksdale of the Chargers suffered a knee injury and is being called week-to-week. Downgrade the protection up front for Philip Rivers.
The Texans lost right tackle Seantrel Henderson for the season. We can't really rank Houston's line any lower, but another hit for Deshaun Watson's protection. Houston moved Julie'n Davenport to right tackle and put Martinas Rankin on the left after the injury; we'll see if they stick with that.
Rankings are below; colorful table posted on our Facebook page showing our evaluation of each player.
|OFFENSIVE LINE RANKINGS|