Our countdown of the top NFL players at each position for 2018 continues with the offensive line. We’re combining every position across the line, so there are many, many players that could be on the list. Being left off certainly doesn’t indicate someone is not a great player; in fact, there are All-Pros that have been left off. This is projecting the top ten linemen entering 2018.
10. Marshal Yanda, Ravens
Taylor Lewan, Jack Conklin, Brandon Scherff, Andrew Whitworth, and Andrew Norwell were among the many players that could have taken this final spot on our 2018 offensive line ranking. Marshal Yanda, who is coming off a season-ending ankle injury and offseason shoulder surgery, has been a model of consistency for the Ravens the past several seasons, making First Team (two times) or Second Team (three times) All-Pro in five of the last six seasons before last year. Yanda is arguably the best pass-blocking guard in football, and he can do some damage in the running game while paving the way for runners behind him.
9. Alex Mack, Falcons
The center position currently has a lot of great talents, but Alex Mack is in the discussion with the best of them. Mack’s arrival in Atlanta in 2016 helped spark the Falcons as they became one of the NFL’s best offenses in league history. The longtime Cleveland Brown has appeared in all 16 games in every season but one, and he showed his extreme toughness when he played Super Bowl LI on a broken leg. Mack’s presence ensures the Falcons are one of the league’s strongest teams up the middle on offense with him, Matt Ryan, and stud running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
8. David DeCastro, Steelers
It’s easy to go unnoticed when you’re an interior offensive lineman on a team that has Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, but David DeCastro has been a big part of their success as an All-Pro right guard in each of the past three seasons. DeCastro is one of the biggest guards in the NFL at six-foot-five, but he has uncommon feet and quickness for someone at his size, allowing him to keep talented defensive tackles off of his quarterback.
7. Travis Frederick, Cowboys
The Cowboys have one of the best offensive line’s in the league, and center Travis Frederick is the anchor of the group. Entering his sixth NFL season, Frederick remains in his prime at just 27 years old, and he hasn’t missed a game in his first five seasons. Many people laughed at the selection of Frederick in the first round in 2013 because of his position, but he’s been a big part of Dallas’ success and is an All-Pro.
6. Lane Johnson, Eagles
As a former quarterback and tight end before he switched to offensive tackle at Oklahoma, Lane Johnson has rare athleticism for someone at his size (six-foot-six). Johnson has arms over 35 inches, 4.7 speed, a 34-inch vertical, and great strength (though his 2016 PED suspension should be noted)—and it all shows up on the field. The 2017 All-Pro right tackle shut down the likes of Von Miller and Khalil last season, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t keep it up in 2018.
5. Tyron Smith, Cowboys
Injuries have plagued Tyron Smith the last two seasons, but he still made First Team All-Pro in 2016 (his second time receiving the honor) and played in 13 games in each of those seasons. When Smith is on the field, he’s basically a brick wall as a pass blocker, using his strikingly long arms to keep pass rushers at a distance. Smith is still only 27, so hopefully he can put the injuries behind him in 2018 and beyond.
4. Jason Kelce, Eagles
It’s been Cowboys and Eagles alternating on the list of the top ten offensive linemen for 2018, which indicates the two NFC East rivals should have elite units this season. This time last year, some people were saying Jason Kelce’s days as a top-tier center were over, but he proved the doubters wrong with another great season that ended with him being named First Team All-Pro—and then a Super Bowl win and a roaring speech at the victory parade. Kelce holds up as a pass blocker, but he really excels at getting into space and using his speed to escort runners in the open field.
3. Zack Martin, Cowboys
The alternating of Eagles and Cowboys ends with Dallas guard Zack Martin coming in at No. 3 on the best offensive lineman for 2018 ranking. Martin has alternated First Team and Second Team All-Pro appearances in each of the past four seasons—which are each of his four seasons in the NFL. Martin is well on his way to becoming a Hall of Famer, as he’s already led the way for two league-leading rushers (DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott) and is regarded as one of the best players in football.
2. David Bakhtiari, Packers
After back-to-back Second Team All-Pro nods, David Bakhtiari has gone from underrated to known by most as one of the best linemen in the NFL. As a pass blocker, there might not be anyone in the league better than Bakhtiari at left tackle, but he’s also made continuous progress as a run blocker. Also, remember that Aaron Rodgers often holds the ball for long periods of time, forcing Bakhtiari to hold his block longer than most offensive lineman.
1. Trent Williams, Redskins
Trent Williams hasn’t been named First Team All-Pro yet in his career (he was named Second Team All-Pro in 2015), but he’s our pick for the best offensive lineman in the league entering 2018. Williams is one of the NFL’s toughest players, and he doesn’t back down from anyone; in fact, he can get testy—and more (like when he punched Richard Sherman in the face after a game)—with defenders. Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller is on the record calling Williams the toughest offensive tackle he’s ever faced.