Offseason Extra: Grading offensive lines for 2013

They're the protectors of quarterbacks and gatekeepers for the running backs. They're the unsung heroes on teams that put up a ton of wins and the scapegoats of teams that have bruised and battered quarterbacks (that's after the quarterback himself is a scapegoat).

They're five oversized guys most Fantasy Football players don't care about. But, for the ones that do -- or those who want to know more about them -- we're here for you.

Rating offensive linemen and offensive lines is something we've done for four years now. The methodology is simple: A grade is given out much like a student would get in school for each lineman. The five grades for the starting line is averaged and a final grade is given to each team. Film study, statistical review and even consultation with ProFootballFocus.com's 2012 offensive lineman grades are the basis of our findings.

What we've learned over the years is that there might be a difference between the best and worst offensive lines in the league, but it's not by much. Last year 15 offensive lines, nearly half of the league's squads, graded out as either a B- or C+ unit. This year that number swelled to 19, which is to say there are a lot of above average offensive lines out there, but not as many great or deplorable ones.

Team GPA '13 Grade '12 Grade Team GPA '13 Grade '12 Grade
1 Patriots 3.396 B+ B 17 Seahawks 2.528 C+ C-
1 Titans 3.396 B+ B- 18 Panthers 2.464 C+ B
3 49ers 3.33 B+ B- 18 Packers 2.464 C+ C+
4 Eagles 3.198 B B- 18 Redskins 2.464 C+ C-
5 Bengals 2.928 B- B- 21 Jaguars 2.332 C+ C
6 Browns 2.862 B- C+ 21 Rams 2.332 C+ C
7 Broncos 2.798 B- C 23 Ravens 2.33 C+ B-
7 Texans 2.798 B- C+ 24 Chargers 2.264 C C
7 Saints 2.798 B- B 25 Cowboys 2.262 C C
7 Jets 2.798 B- B 26 Falcons 2.198 C C+
11 Vikings 2.796 B- C+ 27 Bills 2.196 C C
12 Dolphins 2.794 B- C+ 27 Raiders 2.196 C C
13 Buccaneers 2.664 B- B- 29 Cardinals 2.13 C C-
13 Giants 2.662 B- C- 30 Bears 2.064 C D+
15 Steelers 2.66 B- B- 31 Lions 2.062 C C+
16 Chiefs 2.598 C+ C+ 32 Colts 2.0 C C-

If a team has a camp battle for a starting spot then both players are listed with a combined grade. If a team has four or five returning starters that's also taken into consideration. In the past, the highest grade a rookie could get was a B, but after seeing several rookie linemen up close and coming away impressed the new max-grade on a rookie lineman is a B+.

Use these grades the same way NFL talent evaluators use scouting combine results: as tiebreakers. For instance, if you're debating between Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew before Draft Day, maybe this will be your tiebreaker. Same thing if you are debating between Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck . These grades are not end-all, be-all ... more like just part of the process in preparing for Daft Day 2013.

Arizona Cardinals
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 1.8 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Levi Brown Jonathan Cooper Lyle Sendlein Earl Watford Bobby Massie
C B+ C- C C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.13 (C)
Atlanta Falcons
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Sam Baker Justin Blalock Peter Konz Garrett Reynolds Lamar Holmes
B C+ C- C C
Cumulative GPA: 2.198 (C)
Baltimore Ravens
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.6 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Bryant McKinnie Kelechi Osemele Gino Gradkowski Marshal Yanda Michael Oher
C C+ C- A- C
Cumulative GPA: 2.33 (C+)
Buffalo Bills
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.134 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Cordy Glenn S. Young/C. Brown Eric Wood Kraig Urbik Erik Pears
B+ D C+ B- C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.196 (C)
Carolina Panthers
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.868 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Jordan Gross Amini Silatolu Ryan Kalil Geoff Hangartner Byron Bell
B+ C B+ C+ D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)
Chicago Bears
Returning Starters: 2 Last year's grade: 1.4 (D+)
LT LG C RG RT
Jermon Bushrod Matt Slauson Roberto Garza Kyle Long J'Marcus Webb
B B- C- C D
Cumulative GPA: 2.064 (C)
Cincinnati Bengals
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Andrew Whitworth Travelle Wharton Trevor Robinson Kevin Zeitler Andre Smith
A+ C- C- A- B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.928 (B-)
Cleveland Browns
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Joe Thomas Jason Pinkston Alex Mack S. Lauvao/J. Greco Mitchell Schwartz
A+ C- A C- B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.862 (B-)
Dallas Cowboys
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.134 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Tyron Smith Nate Livings Travis Frederick P. Costa/M. Bernadeau Doug Free
A- C+ B- D C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.262 (C)
Denver Broncos
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Ryan Clady Zane Beadles J.D. Walton Louis Vasquez Orlando Franklin
A B- C B B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
Detroit Lions
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Riley Reiff Rob Sims Dominic Raiola Larry Warford C. Hillard/J. Fox
C B- B- C+ D-
Cumulative GPA: 2.062 (C)
Green Bay Packers
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Bryan Bulaga Josh Sitton E. Dietrich-Smith T.J. Lang M. Newhouse/ D. Sherrod
B+ B+ C C C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)
Houston Texans
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.532 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Duane Brown Wade Smith Chris Myers Ben Jones B. Williams/D. Newton
A+ C+ A C D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
Indianapolis Colts
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 1.6 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Anthony Castonzo Donald Thomas S. Satele/K. Holmes M. McGlynn/H. Thornton Gosder Cherilus
C+ C C- C- C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.0 (C)
Jacksonville Jaguars
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.2 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Eugene Monroe Will Rackley Brad Meester Uche Nwaneri Luke Joekel
B+ D C C B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.332 (C+)
Kansas City Chiefs
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.53 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Branden Albert J. Allen/G. Schwartz Rodney Hudson Jon Asamoah Eric Fisher
B C+ C C+ B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.598 (C+)
Miami Dolphins
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.33 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Jonathan Martin Richie Incognito Mike Pouncey John Jerry Tyson Clabo
C- B- A- C+ A-
Cumulative GPA: 2.794 (B-)
Minnesota Vikings
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Matt Kalil Charlie Johnson John Sullivan Brandon Fusco Phil Loadholt
A C- A D B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.796 (B-)
New England Patriots
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.73 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Nate Solder Logan Mankins Ryan Wendell Dan Connolly Sebastian Vollmer
A A- B+ C+ A-
Cumulative GPA: 3.396 (B+)
New Orleans Saints
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.86 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Charles Brown Ben Grubbs Brian De La Puente Jahri Evans Zach Strief
C B+ B A C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
New York Giants
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 1.6 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Will Beatty Kevin Boothe David Baas Chris Snee Justin Pugh
B+ B- C B- B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.662 (B-)
New York Jets
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.8 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Willie Colon Nick Mangold Stephen Peterman Austin Howard
B+ B- A C C
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
Oakland Raiders
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Jared Veldheer Tony Bergstrom Stefen Wisniewski Mike Brisiel M. Watson/K. Barnes
B+ C- B- D C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.196 (C)
Philadelphia Eagles
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.66 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Jason Peters Evan Mathis Jason Kelce Todd Herremans Lane Johnson
B+ A+ C B B+
Cumulative GPA: 3.198 (B)
Pittsburgh Steelers
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Mike Adams Ramon Foster Maurkice Pouncey David DeCastro Marcus Gilbert
C C+ B+ B B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.66 (B-)
San Diego Chargers
Returning Starters: 2 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Max Starks Chad Rinehart Nick Hardwick Jeromey Clary D.J. Fluker
C+ C+ C C- B
Cumulative GPA: 2.264 (C)
Seattle Seahawks
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 1.93 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Russell Okung James Carpenter Max Unger Paul McQuistan Breno Giacomini
A- C- A C- C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.528 (C+)
San Francisco 49ers
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.66 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Joe Staley Mike Iupati Jonathan Goodwin Alex Boone Anthony Davis
A A- B- B B+
Cumulative GPA: 3.33 (B+)
St. Louis Rams
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Jake Long Shelley Smith Scott Wells Harvey Dahl Rodger Saffold
B+ D C B C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.332 (C+)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Donald Penn Carl Nicks Jeremy Zuttah Davin Joseph Demar Dotson
B A- C+ C C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.664 (B-)
Tennessee Titans
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Michael Roos Andy Levitre Fernando Velasco Chance Warmack David Stewart
A- A- B+ B+ B
Cumulative GPA: 3.396 (B+)
Washington Redskins
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 1.93 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Trent Williams Kory Lichtensteiger Will Montgomery Chris Chester J. Trueblood/T. Polumbus
A- C B C+ D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)

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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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