2016 All-Underrated NFL Offensive Line Team And Awards

[dt_divider style=”thick” /]Offensive linemen are often the most overlooked and yet important position group on the football field. The general public typically notices offensive line play only when there is a glaring mistake or a big-time block. But offenses don’t succeed in spite of offensive lines, they succeed because of them. With that in mind and the 2016 season now in the books, Brandon Thorn and Duke Manyweather teamed up to present their 2016 All-Underrated Offensive Line Team and offensive line awards.

In our collaboration for the selection of our starting five, our process emphasized:

  • Players from obscure backgrounds (No day one or two picks)
  • Late-bloomers
  • Least talked about among the general public
  • Not selected to the 2017 Pro Bowl
  • Players who got the job done regardless of style points

Former Pro Bowl OL LeCharles Bentley came on the TFE podcast early in the 2015 season and had an in-depth discussion regarding line play and evaluation. He discussed the key trait he looks at when examining a player’s game tape.  

“At some point, you are going to have to be willing and able to put your hands around another grown man’s throat and choke him to sleep,” Bentley said. “That’s the job requirement. It’s not getting out there on screens, it’s not the backside cutoff, its not if you can get to the second level. What matters is if you are going to work your ass off when it’s time to work and if I can trust you to choke a man to sleep when it matters most.”

With that being said, Duke and I selected the five players across the NFL in 2016 who most embody this philosophy. We used the film as our sole determining factor, and provided a scouting report of each player.

*Height measurements are done in eighths per the standard. Meaning the last number of the four digits is the eighth measurement. 1 = 1/8, 2 = 1/4, 3 = 3/8, 4 = 1/2, 5 = 5/8, 6 = 3/4, 7 = 7/8.

[dt_divider style=”thick” /]Left Tackle – Alejandro Villanueva, Pittsburgh

Honorable Mention: Ty Nsekhe, Washington




[dt_divider style=”thick” /]Left Guard – Quinton Spain, Tennessee


Honorable Mention: Lane Taylor, Green Bay

[dt_divider style=”thick” /]Center – David Andrews, New England


Honorable Mention: Ben Jones, Tennessee




[dt_divider style=”thick” /]Right Guard – Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Kansas City

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Honorable Mention: John Greco, Cleveland

[dt_divider style=”thick” /]Right Tackle – Zach Strief, New Orleans

Honorable Mention: Ryan Schraeder, Atlanta

[dt_divider style=”thick” /]

Awards Section

Best NFL Offensive Line

Left Tackle – Tyron Smith

Left Guard – Ronald Leary

Center – Travis Frederick

Right Guard – Zack Martin

Right Guard – Doug Free


Honorable Mention: Green Bay Packers


Pass Pro Rep of the Year (2-for-1) – Green Bay LT David Bakhtiari vs. New York Giants DE Olivier Vernon & DT Johnathan Hankins in Week 5:

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Pass Pro Rep of the Year (Hand Usage) – Cleveland LT Joe Thomas vs. Dallas DE Jack Crawford in Week 9:

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Pass Pro Rep of the Year (Anchor) Oakland LG Kelechi Osemele vs. Carolina DT Kawann Short in Week 12:

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OT Pull Block of the Year – Washington LT Trent Williams vs. Philadelphia CB Nolan Carroll in Week 14:

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OG Pull Block of the Year – Tennessee LG Quinton Spain vs. Houston LB Benardrick McKinney in Week 4:

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C Pull Block of the Year – San Francisco C Daniel Kilgore vs. New Orleans S Vonn Bell in Week 9:

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Backside Cut-Off of the Year – Oakland C Rodney Hudson vs. Carolina LB Thomas Davis in Week 12:

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OT Look for Work Block of the Year – Oakland LT Donald Penn vs. San Diego LB Melvin Ingram in Week 15

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OG Look for Work Block of the Year – Chicago RG Kyle Long vs. Houston DL J.J. Watt in Week 1

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Screen Block of the Year – Detroit RT Riley Reiff vs. Los Angeles Rams CB Troy Hill in Week 6

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2nd Level Block of the Year – Philadelphia C Jason Kelce vs. Minnesota LB Eric Kendricks in Week 7

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ACE Block of the Year – Carolina RG Trai Turner vs. Tampa Bay DT Akeem Spence in Week 5

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Deuce Block of the Year – Oakland LT Donald Penn and LG Kelechi Osemele vs. Atlanta DT Jonathan Babineaux in Week 2

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Reach Block of the Year – Denver C Matt Paradis vs. Tampa Bay DT Akeem Spence in Week 4

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Angle-Drive Block of the Year – Denver LT Russell Okung vs. Carolina DE Kony Ealy in Week 1

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Inside The Pylon covers the NFL and college football, reviewing the film, breaking down matchups, and looking at the issues, on and off the field.

All video and images courtesy NFL Game Pass.

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