This will be my 4th year doing this study, and for the 4th straight year I've found a number of interesting results.
For this study I used Ourlads' depth charts, which are the most up to date depth charts that I’m aware of. I was in contact with the people at Ourlads, and more specifically, the person in charge of their depth charts, and he explained that his methodology of publishing accurate depth charts was similar to mine, in that he enlisted the help of people who cover all 32 teams. This time of year, he noted that there are sure to be errors deep into the 3rd strings, but he felt very good about the OL starters. Obviously, training camp performances and injuries could change the landscape of various offensive lines around the league between now and the start of the season, and there may be some differences of opinion in some cases, but for the most part this is what it should look like on Week 1.
Let’s just get right to the results by team, and I'll have some random analyses for each team afterwards. Ages as of September 9, 2012 (Monday of Week 1):
|Rank||Team||Avg days on Earth||Avg age|
|Oldest||Jets||10,808||29 years, 7 months, 3 days|
|2||Giants||10,622||29 years, 30 days|
|3||Rams||10,576||28 years, 11 months, 16 days|
|4||Patriots||10,562||28 years, 11 months|
|5||Chargers||10,547||28 years, 10 months, 16 days|
|6||Saints||10,538||28 years, 10 months, 7 days|
|7||Texans||10,527||28 years, 9 months, 27 days|
|8||Eagles||10,488||28 years, 8 months, 18 days|
|9||Redskins||10,459||28 years, 7 months, 20 days|
|10||Panthers||10,417||28 years, 6 months, 6 days|
|11||Bears||10,294||28 years, 5 months, 5 days|
|12||49ers||10,256||28 years, 29 days|
|13||Bucs||10,228||28 years, 1 day|
|14||Broncos||10,223||27 years, 11 months, 27 days|
|15||Titans||10,214||27 years, 11 months, 18 days|
|16||Lions||10,214||27 years, 11 months, 18 days|
|17||Raiders||10,203||27 years, 11 months, 6 days|
|18||Colts||10,192||27 years, 10 months, 26 days|
|19||Ravens||10,175||27 years, 10 months, 9 days|
|20||Bills||10,141||27 years, 9 months, 5 days|
|21||Jaguars||10,086||27 years, 7 months, 12 days|
|22||Dolphins||10,045||27 years, 5 months, 30 days|
|23||Bengals||10,044||27 years, 5 months, 29 days|
|24||Seahawks||9,943||27 years, 2 months, 20 days|
|25||Browns||9,873||27 years, 11 days|
|26||Vikings||9,857||26 years, 11 months, 26 days|
|27||Cowboys||9,808||26 years, 10 months, 7 days|
|28||Falcons||9,688||26 years, 6 months, 7 days|
|29||Cardinals||9,491||25 years, 11 months, 25 days|
|30||Packers||9,481||25 years, 11 months, 15 days|
|31||Chiefs||9,349||25 years, 7 months, 5 days|
|Youngest||Steelers||9,097||24 years, 10 months, 27 days|
Random analysis, from the oldest team to the youngest:
The Jets hold the distinction of having the oldest projected starting offensive line in the NFL, although to be fair, if you compare this unit to the 2012 projected starting O lines last July, they would have been 7th. For example, last year the Ravens projected starting OL in July averaged almost 32 years of age. The Jets average a full 2+ years younger, and there are 9 other teams this year whose average age is within a year of the Jets.
The Giants had the oldest projected OL in July 2011. They won the Super Bowl that year. Last season, the Ravens had the oldest projected starting OL in July, aaaaaand... they won the Super Bowl. If the two New Jersey teams play in the Super Bowl this year... in New Jersey... um, yeah, nevermind. That's not happening.
The Rams have 2 of the 11 oldest projected starting OL in the league, and while Jake Long is only entering his 6th year, he's been banged up the last two seasons. The Rams have done an excellent job building their DL, and more recently, their secondary and offensive skill positions. The OL should be next.
The Patriots’ front office has a reputation for being great at building their roster, and for the most part I agree. However, they have not done a good job finding offensive line talent. In the 5-year span from 2006 to 2010, the Patriots drafted a whopping 11 offensive linemen. Only one (Sebastian Vollmer) remains with the team. To be fair, most of the picks were in the mid-late rounds, but that is still a pretty atrocious hit rate.
Even with the Patriots getting 10 years younger at LT by going from Matt Light to Nate Solder, the Pats are still the 4th oldest OL in the NFL.
Heading into last season, the Chargers had the oldest roster in the NFL. The OL is no exception. By the end of the season, the Chargers will have 3 projected starters over the age of 30.
The Saints seem to always be strong along their interior OL, and even with losing Carl Nicks to the Bucs last year, they got solid play from Ben Grubbs, Brian De La Puenta, and Jahri Evans in 2012. Questions remain on the outside, but the interior guys should all still be reasonably close to their primes. The Saints will need to continue adding youth, which they began doing in this draft by adding Terron Armstead.
In the 2013 NFL draft, 9 offensive linemen were taken in the first round. They went early and often, causing teams later in the 1st round to reach for players that otherwise might have been 2nd rounders:
In 2008, a similar thing happened, when offensive linemen started flying off the board in the middle of the first round.
At the time, Duane Brown was considered somewhat of a reach, but 5 years later, the Texans look pretty smart with that pick. There's a legitimate argument that he's one of the two best players from that group above.
After selecting Lane Johnson with the 4th overall pick, the Eagles’ OL now looks like this:
It is an extremely athletic group. I'll explain:
Todd Herremans: Herremans is athletic enough to play 4 of the 5 positions along the offensive line, and he’ll be asked to play the position requiring the least amount of athleticism, at RG. That’s impressive, and Herremans is no slouch, athletically. But sorry Todd, you are the least athletic of the Eagles’ offensive linemen, by far.
Jason Kelce: Since 1999, 132 centers have competed at the Combine. Here is how Kelce compares:
Lane Johnson: Since 1999, 343 offensive tackles have competed at the Combine. Here is how Johnson compares:
Evan Mathis: Since 1999, 295 guards have competed at the Combine. Here is how Mathis compares:
Jason Peters: Peters is listed at 6’4, 340, and worked out at the 2004 Combine as a TE. A sampling of what Jason Peters can do in space:
If Chip Kelly does indeed like athletic offensive lines, he’s got one. Injury concerns remain a major factor, but if this group is healthy, it might be the most athletic offensive line… ever.
Then again, the Eagles are one of two teams (the Giants being the other) who have 3 starters over the age of 30.
In 2011, the Redskins’ Week 1 OL starters missed 1593 snaps. That OL was a disaster. In 2012, with basically the same personnel to begin the season, swapping out an ineffective/injured Jammal Brown for a similarly ineffective Tyler Polumbus, they only missed 239:
That 2012 version of the OL paved the way for the Redskins to become the #1 rushing offense in the NFL (with a major hat tip to type of offense the Skins ran). They ran for 169.3 yards per game, and the OL was monumentally better than the 2011 version. Here are the ridiculous rushing numbers the Skins put up against NFC East opponents last year:
That would be 195.8 rushing yards per game, as they steamrolled the Giants to the tune of 455 rushing yards, and the Cowboys to the tune of 423.
The Skins have nice depth in Josh LeRibeus, a 3rd round pick last year. I had a chance to watch LeRibeus play against the Seahawks in the playoffs last year, and I came away very impressed. For the better part of the day, he won his battles against a really good player in Brandon Mebane. However, their RT remains a major issue as it has over the last half decade, and their depth at tackle is weak. The Redskins need their good fortune of a healthy OL to continue.
Jordan Gross is the 2nd oldest starting LT in the NFL. He is still a very good player, but there's a good chance his decline is right around the corner.
Here's the Bears' OL continuity from 2012 to 2013:
Yeesh. Then again, when your OL sucks as badly as the Bears' OL did last year, drastic changes happen. Expect more of the same.
For a team that is going to contend for a Super Bowl for a while, this is close to a perfect OL. Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis are continuing to get better, and Joe Staley is in his prime. Jonathan Goodwin is old, but centers age better than any other position along the OL. (The top 5 oldest projected OL starters are all centers).
In the last 4 drafts (30 picks), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not drafted a single offensive lineman. In Mark Dominik's tenure as a GM (36 draft picks), he has drafted one. And there's a reason for that: Dominik doesn't think he can evaluate college OL talent. Here's Dominik talking about his OL strategy last November (h/t to JoeBucsFan.com). Skip to around the 13 minute mark:
In case you're not an audio fan, here are Dominik's words, transcribed:
In my 30 draft picks I’ve had since being GM, I’ve only drafted one offensive lineman, but I've always tried to go find one off the waiver wire. We claimed (Cody) Wallace, we claimed (Ted) Larson. You try to work with some of the young guys. We’ve worked with (Demar) Dotson, who was a college free agent, and (Jamon) Meredith was a guy we were watching who we signed last year.
We always have our eye on the offensive line, but personally I like them to develop a little bit sometimes in this game, and then get a little more information, because college games are a lot more spread offense, and it’s a little bit harder to evaluate offensive linemen.
As currently constructed, the Bucs' OL is good. Donald Penn is a stud, and with Carl Nicks next to him, Tampa has one of the more impressive LT-LG combos in the league. However, Penn, Jeremy Zuttah, and Davin Joseph were all players that Dominik inherited.
Dominik is building his OL through waiver wire pickups, UDFA signings, trades, and overpriced free agents. Meanwhile, Penn, Nicks, and Joseph will all be 30 years old by the end of the season. It may take a few years, but if the Bucs' strategy is to completely ignore offensive line talent in the draft, it's only a matter of time before the Bucs' OL is terrible.
This is simply a very good OL, with one of the best LTs in the game. Dan Koppen messes up the average age, but for the most part this line is also very young. That's a great combo.
Before drafting Chance Warmack with the 10th overall pick and Brian Schwenke in the 4th round in 2013, the Titans largely ignored their OL in the draft. In the 5 previous drafts, they were one of just two teams in the NFL not to have drafted any offensive linemen in the first 3 rounds, and they picked just 3 offensive linemen overall.
|Team||Total picks||OL drafted 1st 3 rounds||Total OL drafted||% of picks on OL|
Only 7% of their draft picks were offensive linemen over that span, second fewest only to the Buccaneers, who employ a GM who basically admitted he can’t evaluate college offensive linemen.
The Titans’ willingness to ignore their OL in the draft was somewhat justifiable, since they found both of their bookends in the 2005 draft (Michael Roos and David Stewart), and both are good players. However, Roos and Stewart are both 30, and G Steve Hutchinson retired. The Titans signed Andy Levitre away from Buffalo to a big contract (6 years, $46.8 million) to replace Hutchinson, and Warmack should be an immediate starter, with Schwenke competing for a starting job as well. Depending on whether or not Warmack and Schwenke pan out, there could be a window within the next 2-3 years in which this is a dominant group, but the Titans are still going to need to fill in youth behind the aging Roos and Stewart.
In 2012, the Lions opened the season with the 2nd oldest starting offensive line in the NFL. Despite that, the Lions OL has stayed remarkably healthy. For two straight years, all five of their aging starters logged at least 1000 snaps, which is remarkable, and perhaps a little lucky.
In March, the Lions lost both of their starting offensive tackles. LT Jeff Backus retired and RT Gosder Cherilus signed with the Colts as a free agent. Riley Reiff was drafted in the first round last year (23rd overall), and he will be taking over as the starting LT. There is a gaping hole at RT, and a slow-footed rookie in Larry Warford at RG.
I've seen a number of articles saying the Lions are the most likely team to go from worst to first. I'm far less bullish on the Lions, and a huge reason why is because this offensive line is going through a major change in continuity, and probably isn't going to be very good.
Hmm... What can I say about the Raiders' OL? It's not as bad as the rest of their team?
This is an odd group. The Colts only drafted 1 of the above, Anthony Castonzo. The rest are a mix of castoffs and free agent acquisitions. Being an Eagles writer for the last 3 years, I've watched Mike McGlynn. I've talked to Mike McGlynn. I like Mike McGlynn. But if I'm the Texans, I'm parking J.J. Watt over Mike McGlynn all day. Otherwise, despite its patchwork nature, I kinda like this OL.
Last July, the Ravens had the oldest projected starting OL in the NFL. When the season began, they wound up being younger than their projection, as Bryant McKinnie was not a starter Week 1. That projection also included Bobbie Williams, who only played 366 snaps on the season. This year, the Ravens are considerably younger. Williams is gone, and Matt Birk retired. They went from the oldest team in the league to the 19th oldest. But will they be as good?
The Bills lost their best offensive lineman in Andy Levitre, but this is still a nice group, and Cordy Glenn is only going to get better.
Luke Joeckel was drafted by the Jags #2 overall. On paper, it was far from a perfect fit. The Jaguars’ best player in 2012 was probably Eugene Monroe, who plays LT, the position you would have slated for Joeckel over the long term. In 1996, the Ravens had a good LT in place in Tony Jones. The Ravens were on the clock at pick number 4, and the best player on their board at that pick was Jonathan Ogden. They stayed true to their board and took the best player despite having a good LT in place. Ogden went on to 11 Pro Bowls, 9 All-Pro teams, a Super Bowl victory, and he’ll be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this year.
That situation, however, was a little different. Jones was 30 years old, so it made sense to draft Ogden and put him at a different position (he played LG his rookie season), before moving him out to LT. After just one year, the Ravens traded Jones to the Broncos for a 2nd round pick, and Ogden became the Ravens LT for next decade+. In Jacksonville, Monroe just turned 26, and is entering his prime years. Monroe’s rookie contract expires at the end of the 2013 season, and he’ll be looking to cash in at "premium LT money," which he’ll get if his career trajectory stays on pace.
Still, the lesson to take away from the Ravens is, "Do you just take the best available player, even if it’s not the greatest fit?" After all, if the Jags are also trying to keep Monroe in the fold, they would essentially be drafting "just a right tackle" with the 2nd overall pick.
Former Ravens scout turned TV analyst Daniel Jeremiah recapped how the latest Ravens Super Bowl team was built. Within that piece, he noted the most important things to GM Ozzie Newsome:
1) "How will he fit in our locker room?"
2) "Does he help us beat the Pittsburgh Steelers?"
I can’t answer #1 about Joeckel. However, the 2nd question is very relevant. The Jaguars play in the NFC South with the Houston Texans, who employ the best defensive player in the game, JJ Watt. The Texans move him all over the line in their 3-4 defense, trying to get the best possible matchups for him that they can. If you have a significant weakness on your OL, the Texans will find it and let Watt exploit it. But it goes beyond Watt. Here is a list of AFC pass rushers who primarily line up on the left side, or are projected to next year, per Ourlads’ depth charts:
- JJ Watt (as noted already)
- Von Miller
- Mario Williams
- Terrell Suggs
- Justin Houston
- Lamarr Woodley
- Paul Kruger
- Jason Babin (although in fairness, Joeckel would only face Jason in practice)
- Carlos Dunlap
- Rob Ninkovich
Those guys can get after the QB, right? Gotta protect both sides.
One more quick note: The Jags have the oldest (Brad Meester) and youngest (Luke Joeckel) projected starting offensive linemen in the NFL.
The Dolphins' selection of Dion Jordan was one of the more entertaining moments of this year's draft. Here's video of the pick, complete with the "OHHHHHHH!" after Jordan was announced.
When the Dolphins traded up, I think most people assumed the pick would be Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson. After all, at the time, the Dolphins were looking at Jonathan Martin as their LT, and a gaping hole at RT. The thought of Martin at LT has people terrified for Ryan Tannehill, because of moments like this...
Since the draft, the Dolphins added RT Tyson Clabo, so they should temporarily be OK on that side, but Martin will remain the LT. I absolutely loved the Dion Jordan pick for the Dolphins. He makes sense in their defense, and can be a chess piece they can move around. I'm certainly not disparaging the decision to move up and get him. However, it will be interesting to see if the Dolphins are playing with fire by hitching their wagon to Martin at LT.
First, a quick note: For this exercise, I used Ourlads' depth charts. They have Travelle Wharton projected as a starter, but they may have missed there, as Clint Boling can play, and a switch to Wharton seems like an unnecessary change in continuity. Still, to keep it uniform, I used Ourlads' charts.
OK, back on track...
Last season, Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 1094 yards and 6 TDs on 278 carries, for an average of 3.9 yards per carry. Without any context, those numbers look "OK." However, the Law Firm produced far less than he should have behind the Bengals’ stellar run blocking offensive line.
I happened to watch a lot of Bengals games last season since they played all the NFC East teams. I watched their games against non-NFC East opponents to prepare for the NFCE games, and obviously, I watched them when they played the NFC East. In doing so, while they weren't stellar in pass protection, I came away thoroughly impressed with the right side of the Bengals’ OL, who opened up gaping holes with regularity. Here are some still shots I compiled throughout the course of the season:
Those kinds of gaping holes were common. Green-Ellis is a nice role player. He’s a tough runner, and more often than not he’ll fall forward. However, he doesn’t break many tackles, and his speed/elusiveness is non-existent. Here’s a funny tweet from NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling about Green-Ellis that I remember from last season:
It was actually 48, just in case you were wondering.
Marvin Lewis has been the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals since 2003. In his first 5 years on the job, the Bengals selected two running backs, both within the first two rounds, and both with disastrous results:
Those are career numbers, by the way. Perry was a bust, while Irons tore his ACL in the preseason of his rookie season and never received a single carry in the NFL. And then of course there was 1995 #1 overall pick Ki-Jana Carter, one of the biggest busts in NFL history. Perhaps that made the Bengals a little gun-shy about drafting a RB high. How gun-shy? Since 2007, the Bengals had not selected a running back higher than the 6th round until the 2013 draft, when they bucked that trend an selected Giovani Bernard in the 2nd round.
I'm eager to see what Bernard can do behind this line.
The Seahawks' OL reminds me a little bit of the Jets OL, when the Jets were good. In 2006, the Jets drafted LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson (4th overall) and Nick Mangold (29th overall) in the 1st round. While those Jets teams won largely because of their defense, Ferguson and Mangold were a huge part of the Jets' success in the run game. In the two seasons the Jets went to the AFC Championship Game, they finished 1st and 4th in rushing, respectively. 2009 was Ferguson's and Mangold's 4th season in the NFL.
In 2009, the Seahawks drafted Max Unger 49th overall to be their center. The following year, they drafted Russell Okung 6th overall to be their LT. In Unger's 4th season in the pros, the Seahawks finished 3rd in the league in rushing, with a hat tip to Russell Wilson adding almost 500 yards from the QB position.
However the big difference between those Jets and Seahawks offensive lines...
Brandon Moore, Damien Woody, and Alan Faneca / Matt Slauson >>>>> James Carpenter, Paul McQuistan, and Breno Giacomini. And it's not even close.
The Seahawks have Okung and Unger to build around on their OL, but there's still work to be done. On an otherwise loaded roster, I'd be very worried about the right side of that line if I were a Seahawks fan.
I am a huge fan of this OL. Obviously, Joe Thomas is one of the best LTs in the game, and Mitchell Schwartz turned in a really nice rookie season, while Alex Mack is a very good center. They could stand to be better at guard, but that's nitpicking. This OL young, and very good. Perhaps Top 5 in the league.
The Vikings' OL reminds me a little bit of the Browns' OL, in that it's young, and strong at LT-C-RT, although I do like the Browns' OGs more. I'm not going to pretend that I studied the Vikings' OL thoroughly last season, as it's easy to be distracted by Adrian Peterson doing what he does. But whenever a guy runs for 2100 yards and 6 yards per carry, the OL is doing something right.
If you were a regular reader of my old website, you probably know what’s coming here. But since most of you aren't, let's just post it again... The Cowboys OL timeline!
With an aging OL in place, the Cowboys had a total of 18 draft picks in 2008 and 2009. With those 18 picks, they selected one offensive lineman, Robert Brewster. Brewster is no longer with the team.
In 2010, the Cowboys drafted one offensive lineman, Sam Young, in the 6th round. Young, like Brewster, is no longer with the team. They headed into the 2010 season with the oldest offensive line in the NFL. Leonard Davis celebrated his 32nd birthday just before the start of the season, with Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier celebrating their 32nd birthdays shortly thereafter. Andre Gurode was 31. The one player that was still relatively young was the 26 year old Doug Free, who was taking over at LT for the departed Flozell Adams, who was 35.
The Cowboys were the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC East that season, but in what should have been a fairly predictable outcome, the offensive line went into a sharp decline and the the offense sputtered. It didn’t help that the defense was surprisingly bad. They finished that season 6-10.
The following offseason, Jerry Jones made the obvious decision to cut bait with Colombo, Davis and Gurode, three players that were playing poorly and making far too much money. The Cowboys were, in a way, forced into "going young" along their OL. For the first time in 20+ years as the Cowboys’ GM, Jones spent a first round pick on an offensive lineman, scoring the extremely talented Tyron Smith out of USC. They would take a couple more offensive linemen in the 4th and 7th rounds, grabbing David Arkin and Bill Nagy, respectively. They also locked up Free to a long term deal, paying him $32 million over 4 years. It appeared that after years of ignoring the OL, it was finally becoming a priority, albeit way too late.
To begin the season, the Cowboys started two rookies: Nagy at LG, and Tyron Smith at RT. They also plugged in 2nd year player Phil Costa at center. Kosier was moved from LG over to the right side to be sort of an "offensive tackle whisperer" for Smith. In one offseason, they went from the oldest offensive line in the league to one of the youngest.
With so many new and unproven players inserted into the lineup, the Cowboys’ offensive line once again sputtered all season, this time even more predictably than in 2010. Smith had a great rookie year, but the two other new pieces, Costa and Nagy, both had brutal seasons. Costa’s poor play lasted 16 games, while Nagy’s bad season was cut short in Week 6, when he was lost for the season with a broken ankle. Kosier’s decline and health issues continued. Free, meanwhile, was a major disappointment, having a surprisingly bad season. The Cowboys were learning that turning over a full offensive line in a short amount of time isn’t exactly easy. They hit with one player, missed with two, and were heading into 2012 once again needing to scramble to find answers.
The Cowboys’ plan of attack for the OL in 2012, as usual, puzzled me. First, they signed OG Mackenzy Bernadeau, a player that had a couple bad seasons in 2009 and 2010 in Carolina, who then lost his job in 2011. The Cowboys then went out and signed 30 year old Nate Livings, a player that Bengals fans by and large were more than happy to see leave. With Livings and Bernadeau in place, the team felt comfortable cutting Kosier. On the outside, the Cowboys flip-flopped Smith and Free, with Smith moving from RT to LT, and vice versa. No offensive linemen were drafted.
Heading into 2012, the Cowboys had an almost complete lack of continuity along their OL:
Costa was lost for the season early on, Livings played better than expected, Mackenzy Bernadeau did not play well, and Doug Free’s contract now looks like a horrible mistake, as he was bad for the second straight year.
The team still has next to no depth along the OL, and one of the worst C-RG-RT combos in all of football.
And so... at the 2013, the Cowboys reached for C Travis Frederick. For the last 3 years, I have railed on the Cowboys for not drafting offensive line help. And yet, I hate the pick. Worse, I hate the strategy. The value the Cowboys received in landing an extra 3rd round pick by trading back from 18 to 31 was awful, but we won't get into that right now. For now let’s focus on the pick itself:
1. Travis Frederick’s physical measurables are terrible.
At the 2013 Combine, he ran a 5.58 40 time. Only one player was slower. And not only is he slow, but he only did 21 reps on the bench press. That was worst among centers in this draft. To be fair, just because a player tests well at the Combine doesn’t mean he’s going to be a good football player. Conversely, players who test poorly aren’t automatically destined for failure.
However, there is something to be said for the Combine, and players with measuarables as bad as Frederick’s aren’t going to have much upside. What you see is what you’re going to get, and not much more.
2. Centers can be found late in the draft.
Of course, that statement can be made for almost any position and I think it sounds foolish when people apply it to Tom Brady, but I think it applies heavily to RBs and centers. For example, who are the 5 best centers in the NFL, and the 5 worst? I can’t answer that since I haven’t evaluated them all, and while I hate to do this, I’ll use ProFootballFocus’ 2012 rankings as a crutch. Note the draft positions of each grouping of the Top 5:
And the Bottom 5:
Only 1 of the top 5 was drafted before the 6th round. Three of the bottom 5 went in the 2nd round or higher. I can understand using a high pick on one of the Pouncey brothers, who had outstanding game tape, but for a big-bodied anchor guy with a lot of tenacity, but extremely minimal room for growth? Those players are a dime a dozen.
3. Is it really a "safe pick?"
I’ve seen the argument made that this is a "safe pick," in that while Frederick’s ceiling may be low, his floor is high. What that means is that Frederick may not ever be a physical athletic marvel, but he is almost guaranteed to be at least a serviceable starter. Why? Is there any reason to come to the conclusion that there’s no chance he’ll be a complete and total bust? Why is it a "safe pick?"
4. His game film is OK, but nothing special.
Here are two games that DraftBreakdown.com cut up of Frederick. Minus good measurables, you would expect to see a dominant player on game tape. In fairness, these two games are I have to work with (I’d prefer to see more), but with what is provided here, this was not anything remotely close to a dominant player at the collegiate level:
Travis Frederick will upgrade the Cowboys’ offensive line. From Day 1, he’ll be better than Phil Costa, who simply couldn’t hold his ground against stronger DTs. Frederick will anchor well in pass pro, and he’ll be better in the run game. He also could potentially play some guard. He may even go on to have a good NFL career.
But being better than Phil Costa or Mackenzy Bernadeau isn’t good enough for a 1st round pick.
Frederick’s limited upside, the value of the center position, the player’s underwhelming game tape, and the fact that there isn’t even some kind of magical guarantee that it’s a "safe pick" makes this a terrible use of resources, especially when the Cowboys could have gotten the 5th rated player on their board at 18.
For a team that is very close to playing in a Super Bowl, it was a curious move letting Tyson Clabo walk, and trusting Lamar Holmes to take over at RT. The Falcons know a lot better than I do if Holmes is ready. We'll find out soon.
Well, they drafted Jonathan Cooper, which is a start. Still, I think I can sum up the Cardinals' OL succinctly...
Carson Palmer came out of retirement to play for the Raiders, and now behind this mess of an OL.
The Packers are doing something very interesting this season. In 2012, their starting OL looked like this:
In 2013, they'll replace Jeff Saturday with Evan Dietrich-Smith. But look at the rest of the line in 2013 compared to 2012. The left side is moving to the right, and the right side is moving to the left:
I guess training camp will be heavily dedicated to footwork.
The Chiefs were tied for the league lead in turnovers last season, with 37. They threw the 2nd most INTs, with 20. Only the Cardinals threw more, with 21. When Andy Reid took over in Philadelphia way back in 1999, LT Tra Thomas was entering his 2nd year in the NFL. In the Eagles’ heyday under Reid, they didn’t throw many interceptions:
The 3 bad years of note above are 1999, 2005, and 2008.
- In 1999, Donovan McNabb was a rookie, and he split time with Doug Pederson.
- In 2005, McNabb got hurt, and guys like Mike McMahon had to play QB.
- In 2008, Tra Thomas was clearly a declining player, and it would turn out to be his last year in Philly. He would spend one bad season in Jacksonville before retiring.
In other words, when the Eagles had McNabb and Thomas in place, they averaged just 14 INTs per season, or less than 1 per game, and only 12.3 if you exclude 1999, 2005, and 2008.
The Chiefs traded for Alex Smith, and while some people think the compensation for Smith’s services may have been too high, at the very least Reid is getting a QB who will protect the football. Smith threw 10 INTs, total, the last two seasons combined (26 games). That is outstanding. Of course, he had Pro Bowl LT Joe Staley and easily one of the best offensive lines in the NFL protecting him.
Branden Albert will be playing this season under the franchise tag, at about $9.8 million. If they tag him again next season, his pay will jump to around $12 million.
Additionally, should the Chiefs decide to let Albert walk next offseason and if Jeff Allen can live up to the potential the Chiefs envisioned when they drafted him in the 2nd round, here’s a snapshot of the Chiefs projected starting OL heading into 2014, with the ages (by the end of the 2013 season) and draft position of each player:
That would be an average age of 23.8 and an average overall draft position of 48.4. This OL can grow together and form a long-standing continuity that is rare.
The Chiefs had 6 Pro Bowlers last season. They have some nice pieces in place on defense. If they can stop turning the ball over, they could be legitimate contenders in the AFC West. Additionally, the Chiefs only have 3 players who are over 30 years old.
With the Raiders in the process of turning over their entire roster, the Chargers having the oldest team in the NFL as of September 2012, and the Broncos eventually losing Peyton Manning, the Chiefs are in a prime position to rule the AFC West within the next 2-3 years. Fisher and that young ascending OL can be a major piece to that puzzle.
If you scroll up to the Titans' write-up, you'll see that from 2008-2012, the Steelers drafted the most offensive linemen in the NFL, so it should be no surprise that the Steelers have the youngest OL in the league, with 4 projected starters under the age of 26.
And finally, here is every projected starter in the league, in age order:
|Rank||Player||Pos||Team||Birthday||Days on Earth||Age|
|1||Brad Meester||C||Jaguars||3/23/1977||13319||36 years, 5 months, 17 days|
|2||Jonathan Goodwin||C||49ers||12/2/1978||12700||34 years, 9 months, 7 days|
|3||Dominic Raiola||C||Lions||12/30/1978||12672||34 years, 8 months, 10 days|
|4||Roberto Garza||C||Bears||3/26/1979||12586||34 years, 5 months, 14 days|
|5||Dan Koppen||C||Broncos||9/12/1979||12416||33 years, 11 months, 28 days|
|6||Bryant McKinnie||LT||Ravens||9/23/1979||12405||33 years, 11 months, 17 days|
|7||Jordan Gross||LT||Panthers||7/20/1980||12104||33 years, 1 month, 20 days|
|8||Scott Wells||C||Rams||1/7/1981||11933||32 years, 8 months, 2 days|
|9||Wade Smith||LG||Texans||4/26/1981||11824||32 years, 4 months, 14 days|
|10||Travelle Wharton||LG||Bengals||5/19/1981||11801||32 years, 3 months, 21 days|
|11||Harvey Dahl||RG||Rams||6/24/1981||11765||32 years, 2 months, 16 days|
|12||Nick Hardwick||C||Chargers||9/2/1981||11695||32 years, 7 days|
|13||Chris Myers||C||Texans||9/15/1981||11682||31 years, 11 months, 25 days|
|14||David Baas||C||Giants||9/28/1981||11669||31 years, 11 months, 12 days|
|15||Tyson Clabo||RT||Dolphins||10/17/1981||11650||31 years, 10 months, 23 days|
|16||Evan Mathis||LG||Eagles||11/1/1981||11635||31 years, 10 months, 8 days|
|17||Andrew Whitworth||LT||Bengals||12/12/1981||11594||31 years, 8 months, 28 days|
|18||Max Starks||LT||Chargers||1/10/1982||11565||31 years, 7 months, 30 days|
|19||Stephen Peterman||RG||Jets||1/11/1982||11564||31 years, 7 months, 29 days|
|20||Chris Snee||RG||Giants||1/18/1982||11557||31 years, 7 months, 22 days|
|21||Jason Peters||LT||Eagles||1/22/1982||11553||31 years, 7 months, 18 days|
|22||Logan Mankins||LG||Patriots||3/10/1982||11506||31 years, 5 months, 30 days|
|23||Nate Livings||LG||Cowboys||3/16/1982||11500||31 years, 5 months, 24 days|
|24||Erik Pears||RT||Bills||4/21/1982||11464||31 years, 4 months, 19 days|
|25||Khalif Barnes||RT||Raiders||4/21/1982||11464||31 years, 4 months, 19 days|
|26||Geoff Hangartner||RG||Panthers||4/22/1982||11463||31 years, 4 months, 18 days|
|27||David Stewart||RT||Titans||8/28/1982||11335||31 years, 12 days|
|28||Dan Connolly||RG||Patriots||9/2/1982||11321||31 years, 7 days|
|29||Michael Roos||LT||Titans||10/5/1982||11297||30 years, 11 months, 4 days|
|30||Todd Herremans||RG||Eagles||10/13/1982||11289||30 years, 10 months, 27 days|
|31||Chris Chester||RG||Redskins||1/12/1983||11169||30 years, 7 months, 28 days|
|32||Charlie Johnson||LG||Vikings||5/2/1984||11169||30 years, 6 months, 30 days|
|33||Will Montgomery||C||Redskins||2/13/1983||11166||30 years, 6 months, 27 days|
|34||Mike Breisel||RG||Raiders||3/14/1983||11137||30 years, 5 months, 26 days|
|35||Willie Colon||LG||Jets||4/9/1983||11111||30 years, 5 months|
|36||Donald Penn||LT||Bucs||4/27/1983||11093||30 years, 4 months, 13 days|
|37||Paul McQuistan||RG||Seahawks||4/30/1983||11090||30 years, 4 months, 10 days|
|38||Richie Incognito||LG||Dolphins||7/5/1983||11024||30 years, 2 months, 4 days|
|39||Kevin Boothe||LG||Giants||7/5/1983||11024||30 years, 2 months, 4 days|
|40||Jahri Evans||RG||Saints||8/22/1983||10976||30 years, 18 days|
|41||Zach Strief||RT||Saints||9/22/1983||10945||29 years, 11 months, 18 days|
|42||Jeromey Clary||RG||Chargers||11/5/1983||10901||29 years, 10 months, 4 days|
|43||Davin Joseph||RG||Bucs||11/22/1983||10884||29 years, 9 months, 18 days|
|44||Rob Sims||LG||Lions||12/6/1983||10870||29 years, 9 months, 3 days|
|45||D'Brickashaw Ferguson||LT||Jets||12/10/1983||10866||29 years, 8 months, 30 days|
|46||Justin Blalock||LG||Falcons||12/20/1983||10856||29 years, 8 months, 20 days|
|47||Doug Free||RT||Cowboys||1/6/1984||10839||29 years, 8 months, 3 days|
|48||Nick Mangold||C||Jets||1/13/1984||10832||29 years, 7 months, 27 days|
|49||Ben Grubbs||LG||Saints||3/10/1984||10775||29 years, 5 months, 30 days|
|50||Levi Brown||LT||Cardinals||3/16/1984||10769||29 years, 5 months, 24 days|
|51||Lyle Sendlein||C||Cardinals||3/16/1984||10769||29 years, 5 months, 24 days|
|52||Uche Nwaneri||RG||Jaguars||3/20/1984||10765||29 years, 5 months, 20 days|
|53||Alex Boone||RG||49ers||5/4/1984||10720||29 years, 4 months, 5 days|
|54||Gosder Cherilus||RT||Colts||6/28/1984||10665||29 years, 2 months, 12 days|
|55||Sebastian Vollmer||RT||Patriots||7/10/1984||10653||29 years, 1 month, 30 days|
|56||Jermon Bushrod||LT||Bears||8/19/1984||10613||29 years, 21 days|
|57||Joe Staley||LT||49ers||8/30/1984||10602||29 years, 10 days|
|58||Marshal Yanda||RG||Ravens||9/15/1984||10586||28 years, 11 months, 26 days|
|59||Brandon Albert||LT||Chiefs||11/4/1984||10536||28 years, 10 months, 5 days|
|60||Samson Satele||C||Colts||11/29/1984||10511||28 years, 9 months, 11 days|
|61||Joe Thomas||LT||Browns||12/4/1984||10506||28 years, 9 months, 5 days|
|62||Fernando Velasco||C||Titans||2/22/1985||10426||28 years, 6 months, 18 days|
|63||Will Beatty||LT||Giants||3/2/1985||10418||28 years, 6 months, 7 days|
|64||Mike McGlynn||RG||Colts||3/8/1985||10412||28 years, 6 months, 1 day|
|65||Kory Lichtensteiger||LG||Redskins||3/22/1985||10398||28 years, 5 months, 18 days|
|66||John Greco||RG||Browns||3/24/1985||10396||28 years, 5 months, 16 days|
|67||Ryan Kalil||C||Panthers||3/29/1985||10391||28 years, 5 months, 11 days|
|68||Tyler Polumbus||RT||Redskins||4/10/1985||10379||28 years, 4 months, 30 days|
|69||Corey Hilliard||RT||Lions||4/26/1985||10363||28 years, 4 months, 14 days|
|70||Chad Rinehart||LG||Chargers||5/4/1985||10355||28 years, 4 months, 5 days|
|71||Jake Long||LT||Rams||5/9/1985||10350||28 years, 4 months|
|72||Brian De La Puente||C||Saints||5/13/1985||10346||28 years, 3 months, 27 days|
|73||Carl Nicks||LG||Bucs||5/14/1985||10345||28 years, 3 months, 26 days|
|74||Sam Baker||LT||Falcons||5/30/1985||10329||28 years, 3 months, 10 days|
|75||John Sullivan||C||Vikings||8/8/1985||10259||28 years, 1 month, 1 days|
|76||Colin Brown||LG||Bills||8/29/1985||10238||28 years, 11 days|
|77||Duane Brown||LT||Texans||8/30/1985||10237||28 years, 10 days|
|78||Kraig Urbik||RG||Bills||9/23/1985||10213||27 years, 11 months, 17 days|
|79||Donald Thomas||LG||Colts||9/25/1985||10211||27 years, 11 months, 15 days|
|80||Breno Giacomini||RT||Seahawks||9/27/1985||10209||27 years, 11 months, 13 days|
|81||Alex Mack||C||Browns||11/19/1985||10156||27 years, 9 months, 21 days|
|82||Mackenzy Bernadeau||RG||Cowboys||1/3/1986||10111||27 years, 8 months, 6 days|
|83||Ramon Foster||LG||Steelers||1/7/1986||10107||27 years, 8 months, 2 days|
|84||Derek Newton||RT||Texans||10/29/1987||10107||27 years, 8 months, 2 days|
|85||Matt Slauson||LG||Bears||2/18/1986||10065||27 years, 6 months, 22 days|
|86||Ryan Wendell||C||Patriots||3/4/1986||10051||27 years, 6 months, 5 days|
|87||Eric Wood||C||Bills||3/18/1986||10037||27 years, 5 months, 22 days|
|88||Max Unger||C||Seahawks||4/14/1986||10010||27 years, 4 months, 26 days|
|89||Andy Levitre||LG||Titans||5/15/1986||9979||27 years, 3 months, 25 days|
|90||Michael Oher||RT||Ravens||5/28/1986||9966||27 years, 3 months, 12 days|
|91||Jeremy Zuttah||C||Bucs||6/1/1986||9962||27 years, 3 months, 8 days|
|92||Josh Sitton||LG||Packers||6/6/1986||9957||27 years, 3 months, 3 days|
|93||John Jerry||RG||Dolphins||6/14/1986||9949||27 years, 2 months, 26 days|
|94||Geoff Schwartz||LG||Chiefs||7/11/1986||9922||27 years, 1 month, 29 days|
|95||Evan Dietrich-Smith||C||Packers||7/19/1986||9914||27 years, 1 month, 21 days|
|96||Tony Berstrom||LG||Raiders||8/8/1986||9894||27 years, 1 month, 1 day|
|97||Ryan Clady||LT||Broncos||9/6/1986||9865||27 years, 3 days|
|98||Phil Loadholt||RT||Vikings||9/21/1986||9851||26 years, 11 months, 20 days|
|99||Zane Beadles||LG||Broncos||11/19/1986||9791||26 years, 9 months, 21 days|
|100||Andre Smith||RT||Bengals||1/25/1987||9724||26 years, 7 months, 15 days|
|101||Austin Howard||RT||Jets||3/22/1987||9668||26 years, 5 months, 18 days|
|102||Charles Brown||LT||Saints||4/10/1987||9649||26 years, 4 months, 30 days|
|103||Louis Vasquez||RG||Broncos||4/11/1987||9648||26 years, 4 months, 29 days|
|104||Eugene Monroe||LT||Jaguars||4/18/1987||9641||26 years, 4 months, 22 days|
|105||Mike Iupati||LG||49ers||5/12/1987||9617||26 years, 3 months, 28 days|
|106||Shelley Smith||LG||Rams||5/21/1987||9608||26 years, 3 months, 19 days|
|107||Jared Veldheer||LT||Raiders||6/14/1987||9584||26 years, 2 months, 26 days|
|108||Garrett Reynolds||RG||Falcons||7/1/1987||9567||26 years, 2 months, 8 days|
|109||T.J. Lang||RG||Packers||9/20/1987||9486||25 years, 11 months, 20 days|
|110||Russell Okung||LT||Seahawks||10/7/1987||9469||25 years, 11 months, 2 days|
|111||Shawn Lauvao||LG||Browns||10/26/1987||9450||25 years, 10 months, 14 days|
|112||Jason Kelce||C||Eagles||11/5/1987||9440||25 years, 10 months, 4 days|
|113||Orlando Franklin||RT||Broncos||12/16/1987||9399||25 years, 8 months, 24 days|
|114||Marcus Gilbert||RT||Steelers||2/15/1988||9338||25 years, 6 months, 25 days|
|115||Nate Solder||LT||Patriots||4/12/1988||9281||25 years, 4 months, 28 days|
|116||Rodger Saffold||RT||Rams||6/6/1988||9226||25 years, 3 months, 3 days|
|117||Trent Williams||LT||Redskins||7/19/1988||9183||25 years, 1 month, 21 days|
|118||Jon Asomoah||RG||Chiefs||7/21/1988||9181||25 years, 1 month, 19 days|
|119||Brandon Fusco||RG||Vikings||7/26/1988||9176||25 years, 1 month, 14 days|
|120||J'Marcus Webb||RT||Bears||8/8/1988||9163||25 years, 1 month, 1 days|
|121||Anthony Castonzo||LT||Colts||8/9/1988||9162||25 years, 1 month|
|122||Amini Silatolu||LG||Panthers||9/16/1988||9124||24 years, 11 months, 24 days|
|123||Marshall Newhouse||RT||Packers||9/29/1988||9111||24 years, 11 months, 11 days|
|124||Gino Gradkowski||C||Ravens||11/5/1988||9074||24 years, 10 months, 4 days|
|125||Riley Reiff||LT||Lions||12/1/1988||9048||24 years, 9 months, 8 days|
|126||Kyle Long||RG||Bears||12/5/1988||9044||24 years, 9 months, 4 days|
|127||Byron Bell||RT||Panthers||1/17/1989||9001||24 years, 7 months, 23 days|
|128||Brian Bulaga||LT||Packers||3/21/1989||8938||24 years, 5 months, 19 days|
|129||Stefen Wisniewski||C||Raiders||3/22/1989||8937||24 years, 5 months, 18 days|
|130||James Carpenter||LG||Seahawks||3/22/1989||8937||24 years, 5 months, 18 days|
|131||Mitchell Schwartz||RT||Browns||6/8/1989||8859||24 years, 3 months, 1 day|
|132||Peter Konz||C||Falcons||6/9/1989||8858||24 years, 3 months|
|133||Gabe Carimi||RT||Bucs||6/13/1988||8854||25 years, 2 months, 27 days|
|134||Kelechi Osemele||LG||Ravens||6/24/1989||8843||24 years, 2 months, 16 days|
|135||Matt Kalil||LT||Vikings||7/6/1989||8831||24 years, 2 months, 3 days|
|136||Lamar Holmes||RT||Falcons||7/8/1989||8829||24 years, 2 months, 1 day|
|137||Rodney Hudson||C||Chiefs||7/12/1989||8825||24 years, 1 month, 28 days|
|138||Mike Pouncey||C||Dolphins||7/24/1989||8813||24 years, 1 month, 16 days|
|139||Maurkice Pouncey||C||Steelers||7/24/1989||8813||24 years, 1 month, 16 days|
|140||Bobby Massie||RT||Cardinals||8/1/1989||8805||24 years, 1 month, 8 days|
|141||Jonathan Martin||LT||Dolphins||8/19/1989||8787||24 years, 21 days|
|142||Brandon Brooks||RG||Texans||8/19/1989||8787||24 years, 21 days|
|143||Cordy Glenn||LT||Bills||9/18/1989||8757||23 years, 11 months, 22 days|
|144||Anthony Davis||RT||49ers||10/11/1989||8734||23 years, 10 months, 29 days|
|145||Will Rackley||LG||Jaguars||10/18/1989||8727||23 years, 10 months, 22 days|
|146||David DeCastro||RG||Steelers||1/11/1990||8642||23 years, 7 months, 29 days|
|147||Jonathan Cooper||LG||Cardinals||1/19/1990||8634||23 years, 7 months, 21 days|
|148||Kevin Zeitler||RG||Bengals||3/8/1990||8586||23 years, 6 months, 1 day|
|149||Mike Adams||LT||Steelers||3/10/1990||8584||23 years, 5 months, 30 days|
|150||Lane Johnson||RT||Eagles||5/8/1990||8525||23 years, 4 months, 1 day|
|151||Trevor Robinson||C||Bengals||5/16/1990||8517||23 years, 3 months, 24 days|
|152||Earl Watford||RG||Cardinals||6/24/1990||8478||23 years, 2 months, 16 days|
|153||Justin Pugh||RT||Giants||8/1/1990||8440||23 years, 1 month, 8 days|
|154||Tyron Smith||LT||Cowboys||12/12/1990||8307||22 years, 8 months, 28 days|
|155||Travis Frederick||C||Cowboys||1/1/1991||8287||22 years, 8 months, 8 days|
|156||Eric Fisher||RT||Chiefs||1/5/1991||8283||22 years, 8 months, 4 days|
|157||D.J. Fluker||RT||Chargers||3/13/1991||8216||22 years, 5 months, 27 days|
|158||Larry Warford||RG||Lions||6/18/1991||8119||22 years, 2 months, 22 days|
|159||Chance Warmack||LG||Titans||9/14/1991||8031||21 years, 11 months, 26 days|
|160||Luke Joeckel||RT||Jaguars||11/6/1991||7978||21 years, 10 months, 3 days|