Draft prep: Ranking the offensive lines

Would you believe that players who don't get drafted in 100 percent of CBSSports.com leagues have just as big of an impact on NFL games as household Fantasy names like Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning ?

Rank Team GPA Grade
1 San Diego Chargers 3.33 B+
1 Washington Redskins 3.33 B+
3 Minnesota Vikings 3.264 B
3 Philadelphia Eagles 3.264 B
5 Dallas Cowboys 3.26 B
6 New York Giants 3.198 B
7 New England Patriots 3.196 B
8 Cleveland Browns 3.064 B
8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3.064 B
10 Indianapolis Colts 2.996 B
11 New York Jets 2.93 B
12 New Orleans Saints 2.928 B
13 Jacksonville Jaguars 2.864 B-
13 Pittsburgh Steelers 2.864 B-
13 Tennessee Titans 2.864 B-
16 Carolina Panthers 2.862 B-
17 Seattle Seahawks 2.798 B-
18 Green Bay Packers 2.796 B-
19 Buffalo Bills 2.728 B-
20 Miami Dolphins 2.664 B-
21 San Francisco 49ers 2.662 B-
22 Oakland Raiders 2.598 C+
23 Denver Broncos 2.53 C+
23 St. Louis Rams 2.53 C+
25 Detroit Lions 2.464 C+
25 Houston Texans 2.464 C+
27 Cincinnati Bengals 2.462 C+
28 Arizona Cardinals 2.396 C+
29 Baltimore Ravens 2.33 C+
29 Chicago Bears 2.33 C+
31 Kansas City Chiefs 2.33 C+
32 Atlanta Falcons 2.266 C

Ask any long-time NFL analyst, and they'll tell you that games are won and lost "in the trenches." It's the big guys up front -- the offensive linemen and the defensive linemen -- that dictate the ebb and flow of every football game.

Need proof? Watch Super Bowl XLII. The Giants' defensive ends and tackles were in Tom Brady's face constantly, and that combined with his ankle injury altered Brady's rhythm and timing to the point that he seemed mortal, which he hadn't been for much of the '07 season. We all know the end result of that game, but had the Patriots' offensive linemen played their best game against the Giants, we would have seen 19-0.

There's a reason why LaDainian Tomlinson has been a Fantasy stud for years. There's a reason why Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has seemingly pulled productive running backs from his rear end season after season. The skill and ability of a team's offensive line usually correlates directly to the success and failure an offense experiences.

With that being the case, we thought it would be beneficial for you to check out our offensive line grades heading into the 2008 season.

How we grade

We thought about doing a complex system involving certain skill sets based on each position along the offensive line, but we figured it's easier to go with something we can all relate to: Your basic school-style report card.

When we ranked O-lines, we graded each individual on overall ability but gave weighted value to players that have played with their current team and teammates for several seasons. Familiarity with individual schemes also played a role, and no rookie earned a grade higher than a 'B.'

We then took each individual grade and computed the cumulative average without any bell curve or weighing grades for left tackles. Like any offensive line coach will tell you, a line is only as strong as its weakest link, so all linemen were graded and scored the same.

Be sure to consider these rankings when reviewing for your draft this summer. After all, these players are the keys to the Fantasy studs doing what they do.

Arizona Cardinals
LT LG C RG RT
Mike Gandy Reggie Wells Al Johnson Deuce Lutui Levi Brown
C- C- C+ B+ B
Cumulative GPA: 2.396 (C+)
Atlanta Falcons
LT LG C RG RT
Sam Baker Justin Blalock Todd McClure Kynan Forney Todd Weiner
C B C C C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.266 (C)
Baltimore Ravens
LT LG C RG RT
Jared Gaither Ben Grubbs Jason Brown Marshal Yanda Adam Terry
C B+ B C- C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.33 (C+)
Buffalo Bills
LT LG C RG RT
Jason Peters Derrick Dockery Melvin Fowler Brad Butler Langston Walker
A- A- C+ C+ C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.728 (B-)
Carolina Panthers
LT LG C RG RT
Jordan Gross Travelle Wharton Ryan Kalil Keydrick Vincent Jeff Otah
A A- C+ C- B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.862 (B-)
Chicago Bears
LT LG C RG RT
Chris Williams Terrence Metcalf Olin Kreutz Roberto Garza John Tait
C+ D+ B+ C B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.33 (C+)
Cincinnati Bengals
LT LG C RG RT
Levi Jones Andrew Whitworth Eric Ghiaciuc Bobbie Williams Stacy Andrews
B- C+ C B- B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.462 (C+)
Cleveland Browns
LT LG C RG RT
Joe Thomas Eric Steinbach Hank Fraley Rex Hadnot Kevin Shaffer
A A B- C+ C+
Cumulative GPA: 3.064 (B)
Dallas Cowboys
LT LG C RG RT
Flozell Adams Kyle Kosier Andre Gurode Leonard Davis Marc Colombo
A- B- A- A- B-
Cumulative GPA: 3.26 (B)
Denver Broncos
LT LG C RG RT
Ryan Clady Ben Hamilton Casey Wiegmann Montrae Holland Erik Pears
B- B+ C+ C+ C
Cumulative GPA: 2.53 (C+)
Detroit Lions
LT LG C RG RT
Jeff Backus Edwin Mulitalo Dominic Raiola Stephen Peterman Gosder Cherilus
B+ C- B C C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)
Green Bay Packers
LT LG C RG RT
Chad Clifton Junius Coston Scott Wells Jason Spitz Mark Tauscher
A- B- B- C B
Cumulative GPA: 2.796 (B-)
Houston Texans
LT LG C RG RT
Ephraim Salaam Chester Pitts Chris Myers Fred Weary Eric Winston
C C+ B- C B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)
Indianapolis Colts
LT LG C RG RT
Tony Ugoh Ryan Lilja Jeff Saturday Charlie Johnson Ryan Diem
B- A- B+ C B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.996 (B)
Jacksonville Jaguars
LT LG C RG RT
Khalif Barnes Maurice Williams Brad Meester Vince Manuwai Tony Pashos
B- C+ B B+ B
Cumulative GPA: 2.864 (B-)
Kansas City Chiefs
LT LG C RG RT
Branden Albert Brian Waters Rudy Niswanger Adrian Jones Damion McIntosh
C+ A D+ C- C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.33 (C+)
Miami Dolphins
LT LG C RG RT
Jake Long Justin Smiley Samson Satele Shawn Murphy Vernon Carey
B B+ B- C C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.664 (B-)
Minnesota Vikings
LT LG C RG RT
Bryant McKinnie Steve Hutchinson Matt Birk Anthony Herrera Ryan Cook
A- A+ A C C+
Cumulative GPA: 3.264 (B)
New England Patriots
LT LG C RG RT
Matt Light Logan Mankins Dan Koppen Stephen Neal Nick Kaczur
B+ A B+ B- B-
Cumulative GPA: 3.196 (B)
New Orleans Saints
LT LG C RG RT
Jammal Brown Jamar Nesbit Jonathan Goodwin Jahri Evans Jon Stinchcomb
A- C+ B- B- B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.928 (B)
New York Giants
LT LG C RG RT
David Diehl Rich Seubert Shaun O'Hara Chris Snee Kareem McKenzie
B+ B B+ B+ B
Cumulative GPA: 3.198 (B)
New York Jets
LT LG C RG RT
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Alan Faneca Nick Mangold Brandon Moore Damien Woody
B A+ A- C- C
Cumulative GPA: 2.93 (B)
Oakland Raiders
LT LG C RG RT
Kwame Harris Robert Gallery John Wade Cooper Carlisle Cornell Green
C B- B+ B C
Cumulative GPA: 2.598 (C+)
Philadelphia Eagles
LT LG C RG RT
Tra Thomas Todd Herremans Jamaal Jackson Shawn Andrews Jon Runyan
B+ B B+ A- B
Cumulative GPA: 3.264 (B)
Pittsburgh Steelers
LT LG C RG RT
Marvel Smith Chris Kemoeatu Justin Hartwig Kendall Simmons Max Starks
B+ C+ C A- B
Cumulative GPA: 2.864 (B-)
San Diego Chargers
LT LG C RG RT
Marcus McNeill Kris Dielman Nick Hardwick Mike Goff Jeromey Clary
A- B+ B+ B+ B
Cumulative GPA: 3.33 (B+)
Seattle Seahawks
LT LG C RG RT
Walter Jones Mike Wahle Chris Spencer Rob Sims Sean Locklear
A B B- C C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
San Francisco 49ers
LT LG C RG RT
Joe Staley Adam Snyder Eric Heitmann David Baas Jonas Jennings
B+ C+ B- C+ B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.662 (B-)
St. Louis Rams
LT LG C RG RT
Orlando Pace Jacob Bell Brett Romberg Richie Incognito Alex Barron
B+ B B- C+ D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.53 (C+)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
LT LG C RG RT
Luke Petitgout Arron Sears Jeff Faine Davin Joseph Jeremy Trueblood
B B+ B B+ B-
Cumulative GPA: 3.064 (B)
Tennessee Titans
LT LG C RG RT
Michael Roos Eugene Amano Kevin Mawae Jake Scott David Stewart
B C B+ B+ B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.864 (B-)
Washington Redskins
LT LG C RG RT
Chris Samuels Pete Kendall Casey Rabach Randy Thomas Jon Jansen
A- B+ B B+ B+
Cumulative GPA: 3.33 (B+)

Do you have a Draft Prep question? Send your thoughts to DMFantasyFootball@cbs.com and we'll get to as many as we can. Be sure to put Attn: Draft Prep in the subject field. Include your full name, hometown and state.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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