Is the Washington Football Team offensive line being "middle of the pack'' in the NFL good enough? If you believe PFF grades, it's going to have to be.
Unless you believe the PFF rankings from a few months ago, which had Washington as a top-six NFL O-line.
So ... did Washington's offseason moves make the O-line worse than it was?
The WFT moves included releasing Morgan Moses, releasing Geron Christian, trading for guard Ereck Flowers, signing Charles Leno via free agency, and drafting tackle Samuel Cosmi in the second round. That's a lot of action in coach Ron Rivera's attempts to get better, and as a result, in PFF’s offensive line rankings before the 2021 season, Washington is plunked right in the middle of the league at No. 16.
Fine. But ... after the season, Pro Football Focus ranked every offensive line in the NFL, and the WFT ranked No. 6.
How did the WFT slide 10 spots? Is Leno considered so inferior to Moses (not in the opinion of the WFT, obviously) that Washington is suddenly 10 slots poorer?
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Here's part of what PFF had to say about Washington’s offensive line:
"Washington signed former Bears tackle Charles Leno, who has graded out at 70.0 or better in four of the past five years. He’s a consistent, mid-level tackle, which is a valuable commodity in the NFL. ... Cosmi earned a 90.8 overall grade at Texas last year, but he could also use some time to clean up his pass sets. Cornelius Lucas returns as one of the better swing tackles in the NFL. ... Right guard Brandon Scherff returns on the franchise tag after his 86.3 overall grade ranked fourth among guards in 2020. ... Center Chase Roullier has improved in each of his four NFL seasons, and his 76.4 overall grade ranked sixth among centers. ... At left guard, Wes Schweitzer returns after a career-high 69.0 grade last season, though Washington also traded for Ereck Flowers ...''
Something does not add up. Leno is viewed as "consistent,'' Cosmi (who might actually play behind Cornelius Lucas) is praised as a prospect, Scherff is a stud, Roullier is "sixth'' among centers and Schweitzer is playing at a career-high level.
All of that considered - how is Washington not higher than No. 16? And more, how did Washington slide from "high'' to "mediocre''?
We're not ripping PFF here, but rather speaking to the challenge of truly "grading'' a group against itself, in addition to grading it against 31 other units. For now, WFT fans will have to trust that Rivera and company have made judgments that will propel this O-line forward in its overall play ... and not backward.