It’s said every season “Quarterbacks are the most important position in the game.” But that only tells half the story. Without a strong offensive line, a quarterback is a glorified tackling dummy. A good offensive line makes every offensive player better. Offensive linemen give each player time.
They give the quarterback time to scan the field. They give wide receivers time to beat defensive backs and get open. They give running backs time to search for that tiny sliver of light that turns a 2 yard loss into a 50 yard touchdown. The more time each position has, the easier it is to do their job. These are the 5 best players, in regards to giving their offenses time.
1. Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
Thomas is a 9-year veteran of the Cleveland Browns and without question, the best offensive lineman in the NFL. For the past couple years we’ve been waiting for the veteran to fall off, but he just never does. He is a unique combination of strength and finesse, which allows him to be the best at his position.
2. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
In 2014, Martin and his Cowboys obliterated defense lines and pushed Demarco Murray to being the top rusher in the NFL. Although 2015 wasn’t so pretty, Martin and Company were still among the best lines in the league. At only 25 years of age, Martin is a shoe-in on this list for years to come.
3. Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers
This 2007, second round pick has far outperformed any expectations he had to start his career. This Carolina Panther center has been a key piece in the restructuring of the Panthers offensive line, which in 205, has been one of the best in football. Kalil has been a key factor in the NFL’s best rushing attack on the season and without Kalil the 15-1 season would not have been possible.
4. Jason Peters, Philadelphia Eagles
Jason Peters may have had the hardest job in football for the 2015 season. Left tackle for a Chip Kelly offense is never an easy task. Peters was extremely successful in creating space for the trio of running backs behind him, although they didn’t make the most of it.
5. Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns
Looking solely at this list, you’d think the Cleveland Browns were a top franchise. With 2 lineman in the top-5, success usually follows. Like Thomas, Mack is a strong and crafty lineman who has a higher I.Q. than most. With Mack and Thomas leading the way, the Browns are a running back and quarterbacks dream, although it hasn’t yet translated.