One position that teams can never get enough of is offensive lineman and there’s a few interesting players on the market this offseason.
Players like the quarterback, receivers and running backs get all the glory in the NFL but they can’t do their job without a competent offensive line. These big men are coveted by smart NFL front offices and there’s a decent batch on the free agent market this season. The offensive line position can be difficult to grade and prove a case with stats.
This isn’t a spot that someone can point to touchdown production or how many yards the player rushed for or turnovers they created. We’ll attempt to grade the players on a few criteria for this list. We’ll be looking at sacks given up, rush yards per game, and the Pro Football Focus rating. All of these three things aren’t the be all, end all for any lineman. It’s just trying to add context to the past season and what teams should expect when they sign a player.
5. Matt Slauson
Sacks given up – 18, 1st in the NFL
Rush yards per game – 99.7 yards, 24th in the NFL
Pro Football Focus grade – 45.0, Poor rating
Despite Pro Football Focus not giving Matt Slauson a high grade, the grizzled veteran can still help an NFL team in 2018. He is starting to get a little long in the tooth as he will be 32 years old at the start of the season. One of the key factors is how well Slauson can heal from his torn biceps he suffered in October of this past season.
Through his career, Slauson has only missed 20 of a possible 128 games and has been a starter in every single one. Experience and reliability is vastly important for lineman. Some teams could be a little scared of all the mileage on Slauson but there’s no reason to think he’ll suddenly fall off the cliff.
Another element that Slauson can bring to the table is flexibility along the line. Not only can he play guard but he’s logged some time at center as well. Given how important depth is along an offensive line, being able to play multiple spots is a huge calling card. Even if Slauson isn’t playing as well as he used to, knowing he can be plugged in at different spots will be very appealing in the market. Slauson may not be a star but he can be counted upon to contribute to a solid offensive line next season.