Patriots Crack Top 10 in PFF's Offensive Line Rankings
The New England Patriots' offensive line dealt with their fair share of injuries during the 2019 season, and the unit still managed to be one of the better units in the entire league. In 2020, they look to return to their 2018 form as one of the best offensive lines in the entire league, and PFF believes so too.
PFF rolled out their offensive line rankings for the 2020 season on Monday, which had the Patriots' at No. 7. Here is what they had to say about New England's unit:
The Patriots finished 10th in our 2019 rankings, and they should have a unit capable of cracking the top 10 once again. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn has played just 563 snaps after being drafted in the first round in 2018 and graded out at 70.7 overall last year, good for 34th among 89 tackles. Wynn got off to a good start in what was essentially his rookie season and showed he was capable in pass protection with a 75.0 grade. Right tackle Marcus Cannon has graded at 70.0-plus over the past four years, though last season’s 70.1 mark is his lowest during that span. He has developed into one of the more dependable right tackles in the league after turning his career around in 2016 with an 86.6 grade that tied for sixth among all tackles.
On the inside, left guard Joe Thuney has improved his grade in every season since entering the league in 2016. He finished with a 79.2 overall mark in 2019, good for fifth among guards. Thuney graded out at 88.0 as a pass protector, allowing just 17 pressures on 732 attempts after improving his ability to handle power players. Right guard Shaq Mason is one of the better run blockers in the league, capable of collapsing defenders at the line of scrimmage or locating them on the move. Mason’s 86.9 overall grade since 2016 ranks fifth among guards.
At center, David Andrews returns after missing all of 2019 due to injury. Andrews has graded at 67.0 or better in each year as a starter from 2015 to 2018, including a career-high 82.1 mark in 2017. While the starting five has plenty of experience, New England has an intriguing group of first- and second-year players — including tackles Yodny Cajuste and Justin Herron and guards Hjalte Froholdt and Michael Onwenu. That group gives the Patriots excellent depth and flexibility when building for the future.
With Tom Brady no longer under center, it is pivotal for that unit for to be dominant moving forward if the Patriots want to continue their streak of success into the post-Brady era. The running game will be relied upon whether it's Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, or Brian Hoyer at quarterback, and to have an effective running game you must win in the trenches.
Now that the starters on the offensive line look to be fully healthy, and the front office drafted some depth across the unit, New England's big men may not just be a top 10 unit in the NFL next season, but they have the potential to be a top 5 unit that compares to the offensive lines in Dallas, New Orleans and Indianapolis.