Where does the Falcons offensive line rank in the NFL?

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The Falcons offensive line was not as strong in 2017 as it was in 2016. That played a considerable part in the offense’s overall regression towards the middle of the pack. Wes Schweitzer performed at a below average rate in his first season as a starter, and the rest of the offensive line was not as crisp as they were the year before. Those problems were only amplified when the unit lost Andy Levitre for the playoffs. Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox, albeit the two best defensive tackles in football, feasted on Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer.

With that being said, this was still a group near the top of the league in terms of quality. Alex Mack is a rock in the middle at center. He’s the brains of the operation, and as long as he is there, Matt Ryan is in good hands. The guard positions should be much improved come week one, as Andy Levitre returns healthy and Brandon Fusco joins the team from San Francisco. Jake Mathews just inked a fat long-term extension. He has been as steady as they come at the left tackle spot, but can he become elite at the position, because the Falcons paid him as such.

The God Awful

Seattle Seahawks

Houston Texans

Carolina Panthers

New York Jets

Arizona Cardinals

Minnesota Vikings

Buffalo Bills

Seattle’s offensive line has been a major reason for their demise, and they have yet to come close to figuring it out. The Texans were ridiculously terrible up front a season ago and made no significant adjustments. It is hard to see why they would be any better this year. Good luck Deshaun! The Panthers are just lucky they have a QB that could also play linebacker because he will be hit a lot this season. And the poor Bills, not only did they lose their starting QB, they also lost a host of starters across the offensive line.

Offensive Lines with Hope

Baltimore Ravens

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

Miami Dolphins

Kansas City Chiefs

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

You can’t put all the blame on Joe Flacco when the Baltimore line has been rather suspect for years. Will New York be able to protect Eli Manning and open holes for Saquon Barkley? That all depends on how their new additions, Nate Solder and Will Hernandez, hold up. They have hope. The Bengals also made some moves by signing Cordy Glenn and drafting Billy Price out of Ohio State. Like the Giants, they were a miserable unit a year ago and desperately need their new additions to pan out.

The Middle of the Road

Indianapolis Colts

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Redskins

San Francisco 49ers

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Rams

Cleveland Browns

New England Patriots

The Colts offensive line has been terrible at protecting Andrew Luck, or whoever is playing QB, for years. They receive a huge bump after drafting Quenton Nelson, who may turn into one of the few offensive linemen worth focusing on during the 2018 season. Cam Robinson, admittedly one of my favorite prospects in the 2017 draft, was miserable at left tackle for the Jaguars. The Jags’ offensive line has the opportunity to be a top ten offensive line but will be reliant on Robinson being a better protector of Blake Bortles’s blind side. The Patriots lost Nate Solder to the Giants in free agency, but what might prove to be an even bigger blow is the loss of Isaiah Wynn to an Achilles injury. New England drafted Wynn in the first-round of this year’s draft.

The Good but not Great

9) Chicago Bears

8) Green Bay Packers

7) Pittsburgh Steelers

6) Oakland Raiders

Once again, this is where the rankings kick in. The Bears offensive line was one of their lone strong points in a disappointing 2017 campaign. That should continue, with the rest of the team beginning to catch up in 2018. The Packers have two of the best tackles in football. They just have an issue with staying healthy for an entire season. The Raiders have invested gobs of money into their offensive line and still spent a first-round draft pick on an offensive tackle. They should once again be a top offensive line in the league.

The Cream of the Crop

5) New Orleans Saints

4) Tennessee Titans

3) Dallas Cowboys

2) Atlanta Falcons

1) Philadelphia Eagles

The Saints have rebuilt their offensive line through trades and the draft. Their success in the trenches is one of the key reasons they have returned to relevance in the NFC South. Taylor Lewan is one of my personal favorites to watch on the line. He is one of the nastiest players in the NFL but is just part of the reason the Titans crack the top-five. The Cowboys have been regarded publicly as the best offensive line for years. The reality is that having the most All-Pros does not always make you the best. Dallas has some weak links that will need to prove their worth before claiming the top spot.

The Falcons may not feature a Zach Martin or Tyron Smith, but there are no question marks. Alex Mack leads the group from the center position and there are not many better in the game. Atlanta locked up Jake Mathews to a long-term extension in the offseason. Andy Levitre returns healthy for what could be his final season with Atlanta. And perhaps most importantly, Brandon Fusco signed in the offseason to sure up the guard position. Providing they stay healthy, this is going to be a bone-crushing line in front of Matt Ryan and company.

The top spot belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles. Notice a trend? The Eagles wind up at the #1 spot on both the offensive and defensive lines. As they say, the game is won in the trenches, and nobody is doing that better than the Eagles right now. Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson: That’s really all you have to say when discussing why they are the best offensive line in the league. This group is freakish, and a prime reason as to why they were able to capture Super Bowl 52 with a backup quarterback.

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