Buccaneers NFC South offensive line rankings

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Wide receiver Mike Evans
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Wide receiver Mike Evans /
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Atlanta Falcons

I learn a lot doing research for these rankings and one thing that straight flabbergasted me was how well the Falcon offensive line performed last season. This group led by veteran All-Pro Alex Mack appeared to be nothing more than mediocre in both match-ups with the Buccaneers last season and I don’t recall feeling any different in their other contests I watched. And yet by the word of Falcon media members and other outlets, they were actually pretty damn good.

The Falcon line was carried by three key players: left tackle Jake Matthews, right tackle Ryan Schraeder, and that All-Pro center Alex Mack who I mentioned earlier. Mack was the third ranked center in all of football last season according to Pro Football Focus; he allowed one sack and committed one holding penalty.

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Matthews is the most interesting of the bunch, given how close he flirted with bust status. The Falcons selected Matthews sixth overall in the 2014 draft and it took a few years for the lineman to find his footing. His 80 grade from Pro Football Focus (14th among left tackles), four sacks given up, and three holding penalties shake out to form a quality blind-side protector. Right tackle Ryan Schraeder is rock solid like his fellow tackle Matthews. He allowed the same number of sacks, but had zero sacks and was praised for his run-blocking.

While Schraeder, Matthews and Mack carry the load and elevate this unit on their own, the team would like to get a bit more out of both guard spots. Players like Wes Schweitzer, Ben Garland and Andy Levitre don’t inspire a ton of confidence, and the team opted not to select a guard in the draft. Regardless of these deficiencies PFF ranked the Falcons offensive line the second ranked line in the entire line.