Who has the best offensive line in the NFC East?
At the conclusion of the 2020 NFL season, Pro Football Focus ranked every offensive line, from 1-32, and the Cleveland Browns came in at the top.
How did the four NFC East teams rank?
Surprisingly, the Washington Football Team was tops in PFF’s rankings, coming in at No. 6. Washington received surprisingly strong play from the left side in 2020 with Cornelius Lucas at tackle and Wes Schweitzer at guard.
The Philadelphia Eagles were next at No. 19. Considering all of the injuries Philadelphia endured last season, the No. 19 ranking was an accomplishment.
The Dallas Cowboys came in at No. 27. Much like the Eagles, you can blame injuries. The Cowboys were without left tackle Tyron Smith, right guard Zack Martin and right tackle La’el Collins for large portions of the season. Travis Frederick, Dallas’s outstanding center, also retired before the 2020 season.
Finally, the New York Giants came in at No. 31 despite several high-profile additions to the offensive line in recent years.
So, how do the NFC East’s offensive lines stack up ahead of the 2021 season?
Washington Wire ranks the division’s offensive lines from last to best.
4. New York Giants
Dec 13, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas (top) recovers a fumble by quarterback Daniel Jones (8) against Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (right) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants continue to struggle along the offensive line. This, despite spending the No. 4 overall pick on offensive tackle Andrew Thomas in the 2020 NFL draft, two years after signing Nate Solder to a lucrative contract in free agency. Solder opted out of the 2020 season, but he wasn’t very good in 2019. The Giants need Solder and Thomas to play to their potential for the offense to operate at a high level. Will Hernandez is solid at left guard, but his play has slipped since his rookie season and he was benched in November of last season for rookie Shane Lemieux. Lemieux didn’t exactly thrive there so Hernandez should be back in the lineup this fall. Matt Peart, a third-round pick in 2020, will compete at right tackle. The Giants have some options but remain a question mark until they can provide consistent play on the field.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 29: Jason Kelce #62 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his team’s win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 29, 2019, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Center Jason Kelce remains the leader of this group. One of the top centers in the NFL, Kelce returns for his 11th season with the Eagles. Another stud veteran is right tackle Lane Johnson. Those two are among the best in the league at their respective positions. Right guard Brandon Brooks is outstanding, too. However, he missed all of the 2020 season, and the Eagles hope he returns to form after recovering from an Achilles’ injury. He will be 32 years old when the 2021 season begins. This is a big year for 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard. He played in all 16 games as a rookie, starting four games. He was a work in progress. Unfortunately, he, too, missed the 2020 season due to injury. Philly needs Dillard to deliver in 2021. Isaac Seumalo returns at left guard, where he is sold. He is a better pass-blocker than he is a run-blocker. Rookie Landon Dickerson could start somewhere on the interior as a rookie. He was an All-American at center for Alabama, but he could slot in at guard, too. Expect him to make his presence felt as a rookie.
2. Washington Football Team
Jun 9, 2021; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Football Team guard Brandon Scherff (75) blocks Washington Football Team tackle Samuel Cosmi (76) during drills as part of minicamp at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Washington had one of the top units in 2020. And this, despite not having a top offensive tackle. The Football Team’s top performer is right guard Brandon Scherff, named first-team All-Pro for the first time last season. This season’s version will look different. Right tackle Morgan Moses was released in May after the team signed Charles Leno and drafted Samuel Cosmi in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft. Leno is expected to start at left tackle this season, while Lucas (last year’s left tackle) and Cosmi will battle to start at right tackle. Second-year pro Saahdiq Charles can offer depth at offensive tackle and guard. While he is not expected to start in 2021, he could slide into the lineup somewhere in 2022. Washington acquired veteran Ereck Flowers in a trade just before the draft. Flowers will compete with Schweitzer at left guard. Flowers spent the 2019 season with Washington. Center Chase Roullier is one of the most underrated centers in the NFL and just signed an extension with Washington late last season.
1. Dallas Cowboys
HONOLULU, HAWAII – AUGUST 17: La’el Collins #71 of the Dallas Cowboys’ pass blocks during the first half of a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Aloha Stadium on August 17, 2019, in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Based on purely potential and past success, this unit is the best in the NFC East. Smith, Collins and Martin all return this season. Martin is right behind Quenton Nelson as the top guard in the league. Smith, too, is a former All-Pro. Collins is a solid starter at right tackle. For years, this was arguably the top offensive line in the NFL, before center Travis Frederick’s retirement. Dallas struggled to replace him in 2020 and that position remains the biggest question mark on the team in 2021. Left guard Connor Williams continues to improve and is a solid starter. Tyler Biadasz is expected to be the starting center heading into training camp. The second-year pro struggled there as a rookie but is a former All-American at Wisconsin — just like Frederick. If Dallas can stay healthy, this group should return to being one of the NFL’s top offensive lines in 2021.