Ranking the top 10 returning college offensive linemen | College Football | PFF (2023)

Last week, we unveiled our top 10 returning college football players at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to the trenches. We're going to take a look at the 10 best offensive linemen — regardless of position — heading back to campus next fall.

The following are PFF’s top 10 offensive linemen returning to college in 2021 based on a bevy of factors, including PFF grade and other advanced metrics available to CFB Premium Stats+ subscribers.


Linderbaum went from defensive tackle to the best offensive lineman in college football in just two years. He played both sides of the ball in high school and was recruited to play on the interior defensive line, where he logged 18 snaps in his first season. He then flipped to center for the 2019 season, where he started and recorded the fifth-best grade in the FBS at the position (81.7). And this past year, Linderbaum claimed the No. 1 spot with an astounding 91.5 PFF grade, featuring just three pressures allowed on 280 pass-blocking snaps.

The Iowa center checks the athleticism box with flying colors. There’s not an interior offensive lineman in the country with similar movement skills. His return to school instead of declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft is a huge win for a Hawkeyes offensive line that has two marquee members — Alaric Jackson and Cole Banwart — departing. The key thing to watch with Linderbaum in 2021 is if he can put on a little bit more mass and sustain that same elite-level athleticism.

(Video) Top 5 Returning Offensive Linemen | ACC Football 2022


Munford is taking advantage of his “super senior” year and returning to school for the 2021 season, which is a very good thing for the Buckeyes. He was a decent starter at left tackle for Ohio State in 2018 and 2019, but he took his play from good to elite in 2020. Munford posted a 91.8 PFF grade this past season, the fourth-best mark in the entire FBS and the highest mark among tackles returning this fall.

Ranking the top 10 returning college offensive linemen | College Football | PFF (1)

His pass protection was nearly flawless in 2020. Munford stood strong against quality pass-rush units, such as Michigan, Clemson and Alabama, and displayed tremendous processing speed against stunts and blitzes all year long. Over the course of 264 pass-blocking snaps, he allowed just three pressures — none of which were sacks or hits on quarterback Justin Fields. In turn, his pressure rate allowed was half a percentage point lower than any other Power Five left tackle. With Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere manning the ends of the line, Ohio State might just have the best tackle tandem in college football next season.


While Kinnard’s pass protection is good, the reason he comes in here at No. 3 is largely because of his impact in the run game. The 6-foot-5, 345-pound right tackle has consistently paved holes for ball-carriers over the past two years, notching run-blocking grades of 89.1 in 2019 and 91.9 in 2020. Both marks ended up being among the 10 highest in college football.

Kentucky employed heavy doses of inside zone in that span, and zone concepts just happen to be Kinnard’s bread and butter. No tackle has managed a higher zone run-blocking grade since 2019 than him. We shall see whether that continues next season with a new offensive play caller in town, but regardless, the Wildcats will have a quality right tackle at their disposal in Kinnard.

(Video) Top 10 Offensive linemen returning to College Football 2020


Neal is an absolute unit at 6-foot-7 and 360 pounds, and he is living every bit up to his recruiting status. In the 2019 class, Neal was a consensus five-star who ranked No. 7 nationally, according to 247Sports. He started from Day 1 in 2019 at left guard and performed fairly well with a 71.2 PFF grade. Then, he moved to right tackle for the 2020 season and really elevated his play to top-tier status.

With the help of his brute strength, length and decent athleticism given his size, Neal recorded an 83.7 PFF grade in 2020, ranking fourth in the Power Five. He laid down a whopping 12 big-time blocks in the run game, which was the second-most in a single-season by a right tackle in the seven years since PFF began grading college football.


Salyer had “breakout” written all over him in 2020 after shining on limited reps all across the line in previous seasons. The 2018 four-star — who ranked 10th nationally, according to 247Sports — excelled in his first full season in a starting role, posting an 81.2 PFF grade. Salyer earned grades above 77.0 as both a pass blocker and a run blocker, something only 10 Power Five tackles accomplished this past season.

Ranking the top 10 returning college offensive linemen | College Football | PFF (2)

He showed growth as the season progressed and closed out his year with an impressive hot streak, ranking No. 2 among all Power Five offensive linemen in pass-blocking grade over his last four games (90.6). Salyer is capable of playing anywhere on the line at an extremely high level. He proved that in 2018 and 2019 before cementing it in Georgia’s bowl game against Cincinnati when he played at left guard and didn’t give up a single pressure on over 40 pass-blocking snaps.

(Video) Top 5 Returning Offensive Linemen | ACC Football 2020


Madden is set to return for his sixth season this fall and is easily the best all-around non-Power Five offensive lineman. He has started at right guard for the Thundering Herd for three years now, providing great pass protection each year with grades in that facet of 84.6, 79.0 and 82.0.

In 2020, he allowed just six total pressures, none of which were sacks or hits, on over 270 pass-blocking snaps. As for his run blocking, it wasn’t until this past year that we saw Madden perform at an extremely high level. He finished the season leading all FBS guards in negatively graded run-block rate, paving the way to a 93.0 run-blocking grade.


Northwestern suffered a crushing blow prior to the 2020 season when star left tackle Rashawn Slater opted out for the year due to COVID-19 and declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. That thrust true freshman Peter Skoronski into his starting job, and the former four-star recruit surpassed expectations.

He recorded an 81.4 PFF grade that led all true freshman offensive linemen by over six grading points. The ferocious Ohio State defensive line did make him look like a first-year starter, though, as he posted a 21.1 pass-blocking grade and allowed eight pressures. But in the rest of his outings, Skoronski looked advanced for his age. Excluding that Big Ten Championship game, he earned an 87.4 PFF grade. He’s a prime “breakout to elite” candidate for 2021.

(Video) Power Ranking The Top 10 Offensive Lines In College Football in 2021


McFadden dazzled as a rotational tackle in 2019 with an 88.3 PFF grade across 335 snaps and maintained that stellar play in 2020 as a full-time starter. Heis 83.5 PFF grade ranked 11th among all Power Five tackles. That led him to the fifth-highest PFF wins above average (WAA) total among returning FBS tackles.

However, McFadden faltered a bit against premier edge rushers — such as Miami's and Pittsburgh's — en route to sub-60.0 pass-blocking grade in both outings. Whether McFadden rises up this list or even holds a spot in the top 10 moving forward hinges on how he fares against physical top-tier competition in 2021.


Snyder has been a mainstay on San Jose State’s offensive line for the past four years and is set to return for his sixth year in 2021 thanks to extra eligibility due to COVID-19. He showed steady growth in his first few seasons, taking his PFF grade from 64.7 in 2017 to 71.2 in 2018 to 77.0 in 2019. Then, he took a massive step forward in every facet in 2020.

Snyder earned a grade above 88.0 as both a pass blocker and a run blocker en route to a 90.9 PFF grade for the season. His play strength markedly improved, which led to far cleaner true pass sets and more impactful run blocking. If he can continue to show signs of growth in 2021, Snyder just might claim that top ranking among Group of Five linemen.

(Video) MIDSEASON Offensive Line Rankings | 2023 NFL Draft


Parham was a decent left guard for Memphis in 2018 and 2019, recording a PFF grade above 70.0 in both seasons. He then kicked over to right tackle for the 2020 campaign and really elevated his play. Parham finished his first season at that position with an astounding 90.6 PFF grade, which ranked fourth among all FBS right tackles.

Ranking the top 10 returning college offensive linemen | College Football | PFF (3)

The level of competition week after week wasn’t all that impressive, but when the time came to face a great pass rush — such as Cincinnati's — Parham still performed at a high level. His consistency was quite impressive; he earned a PFF grade above 70.0 in all 11 of his games played.


Who is the best offensive lineman 2022? ›

With 44 as a unit, the Eagles were tied for the most penalized line in the NFL.
  • Best Player: Lane Johnson.
  • Best Player: Ronnie Stanley.
  • Best Player: David Bakhtiari.
  • Best Player: Creed Humphrey.
Jan 11, 2023

Who is the best offensive lineman coming out of college? ›

  • O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida (Senior)
  • Luke Wypler, Ohio State (RS Sophomore)
  • Andrew Vorhees, USC (6th-Year Senior)
Nov 14, 2022

Who has the best offense in college football in 2022? ›


Who are the best offensive lineman in the 2023 draft? ›

Top 10 OTs in the 2023 NFL Draft
  • 8) Jordan Morgan, Arizona. ...
  • 7) Tyler Steen, Alabama. ...
  • 6) Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse. ...
  • 5) Darnell Wright, Tennessee. ...
  • 4) Peter Skoronski, Northwestern. ...
  • 3) Broderick Jones, Georgia. ...
  • 2) Anton Harrison, Oklahoma. ...
  • 1) Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State.
Dec 12, 2022

What are the top 10 offensive lines in the NFL? ›

2022 NFL Offensive Line Rankings
  1. Philadelphia Eagles. Projected starters (left to right): Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Lane Johnson. ...
  2. Kansas City Chiefs. ...
  3. Detroit Lions. ...
  4. Los Angeles Chargers. ...
  5. Cleveland Browns. ...
  6. Cincinnati Bengals. ...
  7. Dallas Cowboys. ...
  8. New England Patriots.
Aug 25, 2022

Who has the best offensive line in college football? ›

College Football's Top 20 Offensive Lines for 2022
  • Ohio State. It's a close call between Ohio State and Georgia for the top offensive line in college football for 2022. ...
  • Georgia. ...
  • Michigan. ...
  • Oregon.
  • Baylor.
Aug 18, 2022

Who is the best offensive lineman right now? ›

Best Offensive Tackles in the NFL: Trent Williams, Tristan Wirfs, and Lane Johnson at the Top
  • 2) Tristan Wirfs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • 3) Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles.
  • 4) Andrew Thomas, New York Giants.
  • 5) Jordan Mailata, Philadelphia Eagles.
  • 6) Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans Saints.
  • 7) Rashawn Slater, Los Angeles Chargers.
Dec 24, 2022

Who has the biggest offensive line? ›

Things are constantly changing with the size of the big guys up front, but the two heaviest current NFL linemen are Daniel Faalele (6-feet-9, 380 pounds) of the Baltimore Ravens and Trent Brown (6-8, 380) of the New England Patriots.

Who is the best O lineman in the draft? ›

Northwestern's Peter Skoronski is No. 1 on the list, but there is a good chance he (eventually) shifts over to guard in my rankings.
2023 NFL Draft OT class: Peter Skoronski is No. 1, but will this be a down year?
  • *Peter Skoronski, Northwestern (6-foot-4, 310) ...
  • *Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State (6-6, 315)
Jul 28, 2022

Who has the most loyal fans in college football? ›

Which college football team has the biggest fanbase? The biggest fanbase in college football resides in Columbus, Ohio. Altimore estimates that Ohio State has 11.26 million fans in all.

Who is statistically the best college football team? ›


What college football team has the best offense this year? ›

Ohio State

Has a lineman ever been drafted number 1? ›

After Yary's selection at No. 1 overall, it would be another 29 years before another offensive lineman would be selected No. 1 overall (Orlando Pace by the St. Louis Rams in 1997).

What offensive linemen are still available? ›

2022 NFL Free Agents: Offensive Tackles
  • Orlando Brown, OT, Chiefs. Age: 26. ...
  • La'el Collins, OT, Cowboys. Age: 29. ...
  • Terron Armstead, OT, Saints. Age: 31. ...
  • Duane Brown, OT, Seahawks. Age: 37. ...
  • Trent Brown, OT, Patriots. Age: 29. ...
  • Jason Peters, OT, Bears. Age: 40. ...
  • Morgan Moses, OT, Jets. Age: 31. ...
  • Riley Reiff, OT/G, Bengals.

Who is the best offensive tackle of all time? ›

Gil Brandt's greatest NFL tackles of all time
  • 1 / 22. Art Shell. Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1968-1982. ...
  • 2 / 22. Lou Groza. Cleveland Browns, 1946-1967. ...
  • 3 / 22. Jason Peters. Buffalo Bills 2004-2008; Philadelphia Eagles 2009-present. ...
  • 4 / 22. Tyron Smith. ...
  • 5 / 22. Ron Mix. ...
  • 6 / 22. Gary Zimmerman. ...
  • 7 / 22. Tony Boselli. ...
  • 8 / 22. Willie Roaf.

What is the most important offensive lineman? ›

Left Tackle (Offense)

Hits from their blind side can be dangerous for quarterbacks, so left tackles are often the best and most important offensive linemen on their team.

What is the most popular offense in football? ›

Shotgun. The shotgun formation is the most popular offensive formation in the modern game. It allows the quarterback to get right into a passing play and run the increasingly-popular zone read running offense.

Who is the best offensive lineman in the NFL right now? ›

1. Zack Martin (Cowboys) The model of consistency and dominance at his position, Martin has emerged as the best interior lineman in football. Martin continues to dominate as a run-blocker at right guard, blocking at the line of scrimmage better than any guard in the league.

Who has the best offensive line this year? ›

Offensive Line Rankings 2023
  • #1: Philadelphia Eagles. Starting Five: LT Jordan Mailata, LG Landon Dickerson, C Jason Kelce, RG Isaac Seumalo, RT Lane Johnson. ...
  • #2: Kansas City Chiefs. Starting Five: LT Orlando Brown, LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Andrew Wylie.
Jan 26, 2023

Who is the greatest offensive lineman? ›

The Best Offensive Linemen of All‑Time
John HannahLG5.92
Anthony MunozLT5.92
Bruce MatthewsLG3.84
Willie RoafLT5.23
101 more rows
Jan 2, 2023

Who is the meanest offensive lineman NFL? ›

Darian Kinnard - Kentucky. This man was simply the biggest, strongest, and meanest player on the football field in every game he has ever played. While he will face bigger and stronger opponents in the NFL, he will still be a legitimate people mover with the ability to overpower opponents.

Who is the best offensive lineman coach? ›

The award is named after Joe Moore, widely regarded as the best offensive line coach in college football history, and is the only major college football award to honor a unit.

Who is the best run blocking offensive lineman? ›

Jeff Stoutland is arguably the best offensive line coach in the league and specializes in run blocking. His skills are a major reason the Eagles have been the best run-blocking team in the league for the past two years despite having battled many offensive line injuries.

What team has the best offense right now? ›

2022 NFL offensive stats – Passing
  • Kansas City Chiefs – 5,062 yards.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 4,586 yards.
  • Los Angeles Chargers – 4,584 yards.
  • Miami Dolphins – 4,511 yards.
  • Minnesota Vikings – 4,484 yards.
Jan 16, 2023

Who is the best corner in the NFL? ›

Best Cornerbacks in the NFL 2022: Rookie Sauce Gardner Battles Veteran Stephon Gilmore for Top Spot
  • 2) Stephon Gilmore, Indianapolis Colts.
  • 3) Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams.
  • 4) Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos.
  • 5) Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles.
  • 6) Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers.
  • 7) Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys.
Dec 17, 2022

Who has the best defense in the NFL 2022? ›

Dallas Cowboys

Football Outsiders has the Dallas Cowboys rated as the number 1 defense in total DVOA. Dallas also ranks 1st in DVOa against the pass and number 6 against the run.


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