Over the past couple of days, I have seen a lot of unsolicited praise for the Cleveland Browns offensive line in the media. Rather than highlighting each individual tidbit of praise, I decided to lump them all into one post. First, let's begin with Pro Football Focus, which has continued to judge the pass blocking for players over the past three years. Left tackle Joe Thomas finished with the best Pass Blocking Efficiency rating, just ahead of the Dolphins' Jake Long.
Let’s start by telling you all who the most efficient pass blocker (by the numbers) has been over the past three years, and that means joy for Cleveland Browns fans. Their big-money first-round pick, Joe Thomas is the top dog after giving up just 60 combined sacks, hits, and hurries on 1,655 snaps in pass protection.
When it came to centers, Alex Mack was rated the tenth best in the NFL, but at least that is better than being the fourth worst (*ahem* Maurkice Pouncey).
On Wednesday, Matt Miller of NFL Draft Scout praised Browns rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz on his Twitter account:
#Browns fans should be very happy with M. Schwartz. More than held his own against super-athletic Jackson Jeffcoat in Holiday Bowl.
#Browns had this Holiday Bowl game on repeat when watching M. Schwartz. He's going to be a handful for LDEs. Day 1 starter.
Adam Caplan of Scout.com listed his top five offensive lines on Twitter, and one of the teams he mentioned was the Browns. It sounds like he caught some flak over picking Cleveland, but he defended his choice:
#Browns OL has a ton of upside. All young guys with a ton of talent. Looking forward to seeing them playing together.
For those who think I'm crazy ranking the #Browns OL that high, show me a better group of five young linemen. Depth is an issue should any of them suffer an injury, but that group is really going to be good for years to come. I like the direction that Heckert is going.
Lastly, over at SB Nation, Ryan Van Bibber ranked all 32 teams in the league based on their offensive lines. Cleveland was ranked 13th overall:
For all the eye rolling Cleveland's front office can induce, they do have the makings for a very good offensive line. Let tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack are elite players. Rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz should upgrade that spot. The biggest question with this team is at guard, but Jason Pinkston and Shaun Lauvao are both young enough to still put things together. Depth is an issue when Rams' castoff John Greco is next in line at guard.