This offseason the Cowboys bolstered what is arguably the league’s best offensive line by selecting Connor Williams in the second round of the draft.
The move gives Dallas five premiere talents all across the offensive line, surely enough to make them the best in most people’s eyes. As it turns out, Pro Football Focus is not most people.
PFF does a lot of great work that people either totally agree with or can’t stand at all (this largely depends on if they agree with the work). On Thursday they released their offensive line rankings entering 2018, and Dallas came in second.
2017 season-end rank: 4th (+2)
The great NFC East debate rages on with the Cowboys once again playing second fiddle. The three All-Pros aren’t enough to fill the two holes at left guard and right tackle – although those could be getting sealed this season. Rookie second-round pick Connor Williams should slate in nicely at left guard as we had a first-round grade for the Texas product even at tackle. At right tackle, La’el Collins rebounded after some early season struggles to at least flash some competent play down the stretch. If he can improve on his 51 total pressures allowed in 2017, they’re well on their way to earning back that No. 1 spot.
There continues to exist this idea that La’el Collins apparently played poorly last season. Was he Tyron Smith (when healthy), Travis Frederick, or Zack Martin? Of course not. La’el certainly played well in 2017, though.
Whatever the case it’s very difficult to be displeased with a silver medal, until you find out who won the gold. PFF has the Philadelphia Eagles ranked as the best offensive line entering the season. For what it’s worth, they had Philly rated number one entering 2017 as well (they had Dallas 9th).
The Eagles finished 2017 ranked as PFF’s top-ranked offensive line, so their own projection worked out according to them. It’s not like the Eagles have a bad line by any means, they’re certainly one of the NFL’s best, but to be fair, PFF is projecting a bit with the Eagles this season (which they admit).
There is a little projection here as we’re assuming nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters will return to form after tearing his ACL and MCL in October of last year. At age 36, Peters is no shoe-in to do so. If he does though, the Eagles bring back the league’s best tackle tandem along with a top-five center in Jason Kelce and top-10 guard in Brandon Brooks.
What do you think, BTB? Is this fair, totally right, or totally wrong?
Consider also that Eagles have the distinction of having the oldest offensive line in the NFL entering the 2018 season, while the Cowboys have the youngest O-line in the league.