The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.
Commanders.com is continuing its look at the top players that the Washington Commanders will see at each position in the 2022 season. Here's a look at what we've covered so far:
Next up are the offensive linemen, and we'll be ranking them as one unit.
There's a reason why the Eagles set the tone for the rest of the NFL when it comes to running the football.
The Eagle, who averaged 159.7 yards per game on the ground in 2021, had only one player on its starting offensive line finish with an overall grade below 70 from Pro Football Focus. Jason Kelce continues to perform like a Pro Bowler and first team All-Pro, as he only allowed one sack in 2021, while 2013 first-round pick Lane Johnson recorded a pass-blocking grade of 81.2.
Perhaps the player who made the biggest stride was left tackle Jordan Mailata, a former 2018 seventh-round pick who made his NFL debut in 2020. He received the highest overall grade from PFF in the group, and he was one of the most consistent options last season with 914 snaps.
If the Eagles' offensive line looks anything like the expectations that have been placed on the offense as a whole, they'll be one of the Commanders' toughest challenges.
The Lions are considered to be bounce back candidates in 2022, and the offensive line should play a heavy role in that.
Detroit has invested heavily in its offensive line since 2016, starting with former Buckeye and first-round pick Taylor Decker. He, Frank Ragnow and Penei Sewell make up a trio of first-rounders up front that helped the Lions finish with the 12th-best adjusted sack rate, according to Football Outsiders.
There wasn't much to like about the Lions' offense, but its pass protection was one of the bright spots. They were around the middle of the league in sacks allowed (37), which helped the Lions finish the season with the 10th-best total completion percentage.
There's still some uncertainty surrounding Detroit, but at least the pieces are in place.
Yes, there are plenty of weapons on the Browns' offense, but the skill positions aren't the only ones that are brimming with talent.
Like the rest of the team, the Browns' offensive line flashed but was inconsistent in 2021. They showed they were capable of paving the way for some dominant rushing performances (the Browns had at least 150 rushing yards in five straight game); they also had moments where they struggled, like when the Browns rushed for just 40 yards in a 16-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Much of that had to do with health. Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin were in and out of the lineup, although Conklin still finished with the 20th-best overall grade from PFF for tackles (78.8).
Conklin only played in two games after Week 5, so if he can come back fully healthy, the Browns should have one of the better fronts heading into 2022.
Keeping Matt Ryan upright was an issue for the Atlanta Falcons last season, as the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback was sacked 40 times.
He shouldn't have those same problems with the Colts.
There are some major concerns at left tackle and right guard -- there will be a competition at both positions -- but the main reason the Colts are still considered a formidable group is the trio of Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith. All three are near the top of their positions with Nelson and Kelly earning a combined seven Pro Bowl selections.
On top of posting the seventh best run block win rate, the Colts also allowed the ninth fewest sacks in 2021. So, their offensive line is set to keep Ryan clean as he enters his 15th season.
The Cowboys have had one of the best fronts in football for years, and a lot of that comes from having two of the best offensive linemen in recent memory on the same team.
Zack Martin, a first-round pick in 2014, has been among the best at his position since he entered the league with his seven Pro Bowls and five first team All-Pro selections. It seems like he's entering the prime of his career, though, as he recorded two of his best PFF overall records in 2020 and 2021.
The same could be said for Tyron Smith, who added his eighth Pro Bowl in nine seasons. What's more, Smith only allowed two sacks in 460 pass plays.
The Cowboys' offense will look a little different with Amari Cooper, but as long as Martin and Smith are leading the front, their offense will continue to be formidable.