Despite all of the injured quarterbacks and injuries on the offensive line this past season, Pro Football Focus did not grade the Cleveland Browns’ unit as the worst in the NFL. In fact, PFF put the Browns’ offensive line right in the middle as the 16th-best group in the NFL.
“Impossible!” you say? This is something I saw coming, as PFF had been giving the Browns’ offensive line some respectable grades throughout the season. And, the superior play of LT Joe Thomas no doubt helps to elevate Cleveland’s ranking. It would be interesting to see where the Browns ranked if every team had their best lineman taken out of the equation.
Anyway, here is what PFF said about the Browns’ offensive line:
No offensive line had to deal with as much in terms of the QBs they were blocking for than the Browns, who had rolled through six different passers in seven weeks to begin the season—none of whom demonstrated the kind of playing style that actually makes things easier on his linemen. Despite that, Joe Thomas had another excellent season at LT, and the guard pairing of Joel Bitonio and John Greco also played well. The issue on this line was Cameron Erving, the former first-round pick, playing center in his second season, having struggled massively at guard and tackle as a rookie. He was little, if any, better in the middle, surrendering 30 total QB pressures and being routinely abused as a run blocker. It’s difficult to see much of a future for Erving at this point, and his position is one in need of upgrade.
Thomas received the team’s best overall grade (89.1, which was 4th in the NFL) and the team’s top pass-blocking grade (89.9), which was 5th in the NFL. Both Thomas and RG John Greco (80.8, which was 19th in the NFL) received recognition for their run blocking. As you can see in their write-up, though, C Cameron Erving was heavily panned.