Pro Football Focus has been doing their rounds on ranking each position around the NFL. A few days ago, they did their ranking of all 32 offensive line units in the league. Despite returning most of their starters and getting a few starters back from injury last season, the Eagles’ offensive line ranked out at 17th-best in the league according to PFF.
PFF uses their own metrics and grading system for their rankings, so sometimes their idea of who’s the best at a certain position goes against public perception. Like any big sports outlet, sometimes I agree with what they have to say, but more often than not I question it. This ranking is the latest one that should come into question, because when healthy, the Eagles have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL.
Their main reasoning for ranking the Eagles offensive line — which typically lands in the top-10 of PFF’s rankings — was the decline of some aging veterans last season (Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson) and the handful of injuries to starters (Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard).
Last season, the Eagles offensive line finished the season as the 19th-best offensive line in the league, per PFF’s grading system. In a vacuum, ranking the Eagles at 17th heading into this year makes sense then. But once you take a look at who’s ranked 11 spots higher than the Eagles, and PFF’s logic starts to fall apart.
The Dallas Cowboys come in at 6th on this offensive lines ranking, despite ranking out as the 27th-best offensive line in football on PFF last season. So why does PFF feel so confident in Dallas’ offensive line having a bounce back season? Because a handful of their starters are returning from injury.
Here’s the first paragraph for the Cowboy’s snippet:
The Cowboys finished just 27th in our final 2020 offensive line rankings, but that was due in large part to injuries. This unit looks much better on paper heading into 2021.”
And here’s the first paragraph from the snippet on the Eagles offensive line:
The Eagles have generally fielded a top offensive line in recent years, but they dropped to 19th in 2020 as injuries took their toll.“
On paper, both of these offensive lines look much better heading into 2021. I’m not sure why the big fellas for the Eagles aren’t getting the same kind of love as Dallas’, but I digress. Every part of the Cowboys tends to be overrated heading into any given season, so I shouldn’t be surprised by this.
Personally, I think the offensive line looks like one of the strongest units on the entire Eagles roster heading into 2021. Especially if they all stay healthy. By season’s end, PFF will more than likely be revising this ranking and moving the Eagles up towards the top-10.