Top 10 Interior O-Linemen heading into the 2019 season

Ranking the top 10 interior offensive linemen heading into the 2019 NFL season.

I going through position by position and ranking the Top 10 of each heading into the 2019 season. Below are the position groups I've already graded.
Top 10 QBs
Top 10 RBs
Top 10 WRs
Top 10 TEs
Top 10 OTs

Top 10 iOLs:

1. Zach Martin, OG, Dallas Cowboys 

Zach Martin has made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team every year since entering the league in 2012. Martin had a "down" year in 2018 dealing with a knee injuries that hindered his play, but he still gutted his way through 82 percent of the Cowboys' offensive snaps and committed only one penalty, a false start. Despite not playing at full health or strength, Martin was graded PFF's #2 overall guard. He should return to his elite #1 interior o-lineman if he can remain healthy.

2. Queton Nelson, OG, Indianapolis Colts  

There are those who believe it’s unwise to select a guard in the first 10 picks of a draft, but Nelson was considered a generational-caliber guard talent.  Nelson earn first-team All-Pro honors as a rookie, first to do this since Cowboys Zach Martin. Nelson immediately took a skill set that had me thinking he was the most talented player in his draft class regardless of position right to the NFL. In his rookie season, Nelson gave up two sacks early in the season and none thereafter, with 24 total pressures.  It doesn’t matter how aggressive the defender is Nelson’s facing; he can match that aggression and force a draw with a solid base and aggressive hand movement. He’s also great at the second level, and when he engages a defender and starts bulling an opponent back.

3. Jason Kelce, C, Philadelphia Eagles 

Jason Kelce is a well known lineman for many years now. He's always been considered one of the best at the position. PFF had this to say, "Kelce’s four-year overall grade (91.1) ranks fourth among the 94 interior offensive linemen with at least 2,000 offensive snaps played since 2015, and his 93.4 run-block grade ranks first among the same group of qualifiers. Most recently, Kelce earned a career-high 88.0 pass-blocking grade in addition to his 80.7 run-blocking grade in 2018. He also earned a 94.6 run-blocking grade throughout the Eagles’ Super Bowl run in 2017, a single-season mark that ranks first in the PFF era (2006-18) among qualifying centers and one that landed him PFF’s top run-blocker award in 2017."

4. Marshal Yanda, OG, Baltimore Ravens

Yanda has been a staple for the Ravens offense for nearly a decade. Known for his toughness and technique, Yanda was a key member of the Ravens' run-heavy offense with quarterback Lamar Jackson. Last season, he led an offensive line that has helped the Ravens produce the NFL's No. 2 rushing attack (141.9 yards per game).

5. Travis Frederick, C, Dallas Cowboys

The NFL's top center the previous few seasons is expected to recover from Guillain-Barre syndrome to anchor the Cowboys' vaunted offensive line in 2019. Center Travis Frederick is the anchor that keeps Dallas’ unit in place. According to PFF, it’s been 2,008 pass-blocking snaps since Frederick last allowed a sack, which is the longest streak that they have ever seen from a player in the PFF era (2006 – present). Frederick is a master communicator with almost unparalleled physical strength at the point of attack. He has been one of the league’s best at fending off even the trickiest defensive schemes.

Travis Frederick

6. David DeCastro, OG, Pittsburgh Steelers

David DeCastro has established a reputation as one of the best interior offensive linemen in the league.  The 2012 1st round pick has had 2 All-Pro seasons and made it to 4 consecutive Pro Bowls. Sporting News recently gave him an 80 percent chance to make the Hall of Fame one day. DeCastro is one of the league's best run -blocking guards with his specialist coming when blocking out in space. DeCastro always finds his name near the top of the list when discussing the best guards in the NFL.

7. Brandon Scherff, OG, Washington Redskins

Scherff was one of the NFL’s best again last year. But as Mike Johnson of Pro Football Focus pointed out, Scherff topped the NFL among guards in pure passing sets. Pure pass sets allows for better evaluation on how a lineman holds up for an extended amount of time by eliminating quick plays like screens that take less than 2.5 seconds.  Scherff's 82.2 pass-blocking grade in pure passing sets was the best among all offensive guards last season. 

8. Shaq Mason, OG, New England Patriots

The Patriots, who are notoriously shy about paying offensive linemen, knew Mason's value when signing him to a five-year, $50 million extension during the 2018 preseason. Looks like New England made the right decision giving Mason a "team-friendly" contract as he was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded guard of the 2018 campaign.

9. Rodney Hudson, OC, Oakland Raiders

Rodney Hudson is an outstanding pass blocker who was named a Pro Bowl alternate while playing every snap at center in 2018 despite dealing with knee and ankle problems. Derek Carr had this to say about his center. “He’s probably the best player I’ve ever played with,” Carr said. “I know that’s hard to say for a center. When the (NFL Network) Top 100 comes out, he won’t be a top-10 guy. But he should be. What he has to deal with on a weekly basis and me changing the call sometimes … he’s awesome. He’s a Pro Bowler. Should be every year. Should be an All-Pro."

10. Kevin Zeitler, OG, New York Giants

Browns traded Kevin Zeitler for Giants defense end Olivier Vernon back in March. Zeitler is an outstanding pass protector, which is critical with a quarterback of limited mobility like Eli Manning under center. Zeitler allowed just three sacks, one hit and seven hurries from 642 pass-blocking snaps in 2018, and his 91.7 pass-blocking grade not only led the league’s guards last season. 

Just missed the cut: 
Joe Thuney, OG, New England
Alex Mack, OC, Atlanta Falcons
Joel Bitonio, OG, Cleveland Browns
Maurkice Pouncey, OC, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ali Marpet, OG, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

What do you think of my Top 10 Interior O-Linemen? Am I missing anyone you would've included? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and make sure to follow me on Twitter @TylerJaggi

Comments (4)
No. 1-3
jecarz22
jecarz22

Cowboys have a special group of O-lineman if they can all stay healthy

TylerJaggi
TylerJaggi

Editor

Maybe only because of him recovering from the Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Tommy Jaggi
Tommy Jaggi

These guys are close. I would slot DeCastro ahead of Frederick for now.