The Dallas Cowboys started the trend of beefing up your offensive line and building out from there. Since then, teams like the Oakland Raiders and of course the Tennessee Titans have followed, as seen by their selections of Taylor Lewan, Jack Conklin and others over the last few years. The results showed on the field this year and recognition is starting to flow in.
Pro Football Focus goes in depth on all things NFL. In their recent rankings for 2017 offensive lines, they put Tennessee at fourth in the league. The only teams ahead were the Pittsburgh Steelers at 3, Cleveland Browns at 2 and occupying the top spot was not the Cowboys or Raiders; but the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tennessee Titans Offensive Line Ranked Fourth in NFL
How Tennessee Stacks Up
Regarding the Titans line, here’s what they said: “Tennessee is in the midst of building something special along its offensive line. First-round tackles Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin have lived up to the hype and then some, while former undrafted guard Quinton Spain has turned into a gem of a find.”
It is true. Each of those three have been excellent in their own right. If Ben Jones or Josh Kline are the weakest points on the line, you’d take that any day of the week and twice on Sunday. There’s no doubt the Titans are a top five line, with some debate allowed about the others.
How Tennessee Compares
Philly at one in these rankings makes sense. Lane Johnson is monster and they really struggled without him last season. The only question is whether Jason Peters can keep it up at his age.
Ranking the Browns second is questionable just because they got so many quarterbacks hurt last year. They did add a couple good players but let’s see it first. Dallas, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tennessee certainly belong in the top five, but not necessarily in that order. Dallas is replacing two starters, Oakland still has a hole at right tackle, Alejandro Villanueva has been hit or miss at left tackle in Pittsburgh and the Titans are going to have very high expectations for the first time in a while this season. So all have some questions, and honestly could be defended for any spot between two and five.
Most of these rankings seem fair. However, there are a few of them that are kind of surprising. For instance, they have the Chicago Bears ranked fifth. They write that both of their tackles are below average starters yet they are above both the Raiders and Cowboys? Yes, the interior three are good but it’s hard to justify Chicago as a top five line.
Oakland should be higher no doubt, and even though they are replacing two starters Dallas belongs higher as well. Are they better than Tennessee?
The Vikings at 14 is another confusing move. That line was dismal last year. They picked up Reilly Reiff in free agency to play left tackle, but he alone will not make them one of the top half of lines in the league.
Then, the Denver Broncos are ranked 25th when they are said to have two Pro Bowl caliber players on the line. Yes their left tackle spot is weak and the right side of the line isn’t great, but if Minnesota gets that much of a lift from adding a lesser tackle than that, why are the Broncos not higher?
The Texans are given the worst line in the division at 29th. Duane Brown is slowing down and Xavier Siu-Filo has been bad. They will get Nick Martin, last year’s first round pick, back at center which should help. Their right tackle position was a nightmare with Chris Clark last season and fourth round pick Julie’n Davenport likely to step in.
Pro Football Focus is a good resource to find things that would be hard to quantify in a game. But their word should not be taken as gospel, though they are on point with many things.