Pro Football Focus Ranks the Browns as Having the 5th Best Offensive Line

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In a season recap article by Pro Football Focus, they rated the Cleveland Browns as having the 5th best offensive line in all of football during the 2012-2013 NFL season (hat tip to hautedawg). The four teams who finished ahead of Cleveland included the Broncos, Jets, Patriots, and 49ers. The Browns were ranked as 11th in the previous season and improved with the addition of right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, a second-round draft pick, to the lineup.

The Browns really excelled in pass protection, and were ranked 3rd in the NFL. Surprisingly, they were also ranked pretty well in run blocking at 11th in the NFL. Penalties were a bit too high, as the Browns ranked 25th in the NFL. Here are the stud, dud, and summary write-ups that PFF put together for Cleveland:

Stud: In the upcoming weeks or so we’re going to do a piece on how often (per second) Joe Thomas (+25.6) gives up pressure compared to the rest of the league. It’s stunning how shutdown he is. Now, if only his run blocking matched up to his work in the pass game.

Dud: You can get by with players like Shawn Lauvao (-7.3) when the rest of your line is so good.

Summary: It’s not the done thing to give praise to Cleveland. That said, their line is extremely talented and when they were forced to introduce John Greco into the lineup they got even better. The stars are Thomas and Alex Mack, but the play of rookie Mitchell Schwartz bodes well for this line for a long time to come.

The Browns shouldn't be seeking too many upgrades on the offensive line next season. Both tackle positions and the center position are firmly set. With George Warhop returning and the offensive line being universally praised by all of the new staff members and interviewing coaches, the guards would seem relatively safe to stay on the roster, but they may have to compete. The play of John Greco could put him in position to challenge a returning Jason Pinkston or underperforming Shawn Lauvao for an opening day starting role.

The Panthers and Chargers (relevant because of Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner), were ranked 26th and 27th, respectively. The Panthers don't seem to have anyone intriguing on their roster, but both of the Chargers' starting guards, LG Tyronne Green and RG Louis Vasquez, are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents. Vasquez was given some pretty high praise by PFF:

Stud: He wasn’t perfect, but next to the rest of the guys on the line Louis Vasquez (+12.7) looked like a million bucks. That said, you’d still like to see him doing a better job in the run game.

If the Chargers don't retain him, Vasquez might be one to watch. He was originally a third-round pick in 2009 and has started 54 games in his career.

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