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Offseason Extra: Grading offensive lines for 2013

Senior Fantasy Writer
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They're the protectors of quarterbacks and gatekeepers for the running backs. They're the unsung heroes on teams that put up a ton of wins and the scapegoats of teams that have bruised and battered quarterbacks (that's after the quarterback himself is a scapegoat).

They're five oversized guys most Fantasy Football players don't care about. But, for the ones that do -- or those who want to know more about them -- we're here for you.

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Rating offensive linemen and offensive lines is something we've done for four years now. The methodology is simple: A grade is given out much like a student would get in school for each lineman. The five grades for the starting line is averaged and a final grade is given to each team. Film study, statistical review and even consultation with ProFootballFocus.com's 2012 offensive lineman grades are the basis of our findings.

What we've learned over the years is that there might be a difference between the best and worst offensive lines in the league, but it's not by much. Last year 15 offensive lines, nearly half of the league's squads, graded out as either a B- or C+ unit. This year that number swelled to 19, which is to say there are a lot of above average offensive lines out there, but not as many great or deplorable ones.

Team GPA '13 Grade '12 Grade Team GPA '13 Grade '12 Grade
1 Patriots 3.396 B+ B 17 Seahawks 2.528 C+ C-
1 Titans 3.396 B+ B- 18 Panthers 2.464 C+ B
3 49ers 3.33 B+ B- 18 Packers 2.464 C+ C+
4 Eagles 3.198 B B- 18 Redskins 2.464 C+ C-
5 Bengals 2.928 B- B- 21 Jaguars 2.332 C+ C
6 Browns 2.862 B- C+ 21 Rams 2.332 C+ C
7 Broncos 2.798 B- C 23 Ravens 2.33 C+ B-
7 Texans 2.798 B- C+ 24 Chargers 2.264 C C
7 Saints 2.798 B- B 25 Cowboys 2.262 C C
7 Jets 2.798 B- B 26 Falcons 2.198 C C+
11 Vikings 2.796 B- C+ 27 Bills 2.196 C C
12 Dolphins 2.794 B- C+ 27 Raiders 2.196 C C
13 Buccaneers 2.664 B- B- 29 Cardinals 2.13 C C-
13 Giants 2.662 B- C- 30 Bears 2.064 C D+
15 Steelers 2.66 B- B- 31 Lions 2.062 C C+
16 Chiefs 2.598 C+ C+ 32 Colts 2.0 C C-

If a team has a camp battle for a starting spot then both players are listed with a combined grade. If a team has four or five returning starters that's also taken into consideration. In the past, the highest grade a rookie could get was a B, but after seeing several rookie linemen up close and coming away impressed the new max-grade on a rookie lineman is a B+.

Use these grades the same way NFL talent evaluators use scouting combine results: as tiebreakers. For instance, if you're debating between Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew before Draft Day, maybe this will be your tiebreaker. Same thing if you are debating between Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck. These grades are not end-all, be-all ... more like just part of the process in preparing for Daft Day 2013.

Arizona Cardinals
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 1.8 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Levi Brown Jonathan Cooper Lyle Sendlein Earl Watford Bobby Massie
C B+ C- C C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.13 (C)
Atlanta Falcons
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Sam Baker Justin Blalock Peter Konz Garrett Reynolds Lamar Holmes
B C+ C- C C
Cumulative GPA: 2.198 (C)
Baltimore Ravens
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.6 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Bryant McKinnie Kelechi Osemele Gino Gradkowski Marshal Yanda Michael Oher
C C+ C- A- C
Cumulative GPA: 2.33 (C+)
Buffalo Bills
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.134 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Cordy Glenn S. Young/C. Brown Eric Wood Kraig Urbik Erik Pears
B+ D C+ B- C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.196 (C)
Carolina Panthers
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.868 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Jordan Gross Amini Silatolu Ryan Kalil Geoff Hangartner Byron Bell
B+ C B+ C+ D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)
Chicago Bears
Returning Starters: 2 Last year's grade: 1.4 (D+)
LT LG C RG RT
Jermon Bushrod Matt Slauson Roberto Garza Kyle Long J'Marcus Webb
B B- C- C D
Cumulative GPA: 2.064 (C)
Cincinnati Bengals
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Andrew Whitworth Travelle Wharton Trevor Robinson Kevin Zeitler Andre Smith
A+ C- C- A- B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.928 (B-)
Cleveland Browns
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Joe Thomas Jason Pinkston Alex Mack S. Lauvao/J. Greco Mitchell Schwartz
A+ C- A C- B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.862 (B-)
Dallas Cowboys
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.134 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Tyron Smith Nate Livings Travis Frederick P. Costa/M. Bernadeau Doug Free
A- C+ B- D C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.262 (C)
Denver Broncos
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Ryan Clady Zane Beadles J.D. Walton Louis Vasquez Orlando Franklin
A B- C B B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
Detroit Lions
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Riley Reiff Rob Sims Dominic Raiola Larry Warford C. Hillard/J. Fox
C B- B- C+ D-
Cumulative GPA: 2.062 (C)
Green Bay Packers
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Bryan Bulaga Josh Sitton E. Dietrich-Smith T.J. Lang M. Newhouse/ D. Sherrod
B+ B+ C C C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)
Houston Texans
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.532 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Duane Brown Wade Smith Chris Myers Ben Jones B. Williams/D. Newton
A+ C+ A C D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
Indianapolis Colts
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 1.6 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Anthony Castonzo Donald Thomas S. Satele/K. Holmes M. McGlynn/H. Thornton Gosder Cherilus
C+ C C- C- C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.0 (C)
Jacksonville Jaguars
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.2 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Eugene Monroe Will Rackley Brad Meester Uche Nwaneri Luke Joekel
B+ D C C B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.332 (C+)
Kansas City Chiefs
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.53 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Branden Albert J. Allen/G. Schwartz Rodney Hudson Jon Asamoah Eric Fisher
B C+ C C+ B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.598 (C+)
Miami Dolphins
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.33 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Jonathan Martin Richie Incognito Mike Pouncey John Jerry Tyson Clabo
C- B- A- C+ A-
Cumulative GPA: 2.794 (B-)
Minnesota Vikings
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Matt Kalil Charlie Johnson John Sullivan Brandon Fusco Phil Loadholt
A C- A D B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.796 (B-)
New England Patriots
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.73 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Nate Solder Logan Mankins Ryan Wendell Dan Connolly Sebastian Vollmer
A A- B+ C+ A-
Cumulative GPA: 3.396 (B+)
New Orleans Saints
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.86 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Charles Brown Ben Grubbs Brian De La Puente Jahri Evans Zach Strief
C B+ B A C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
New York Giants
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 1.6 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Will Beatty Kevin Boothe David Baas Chris Snee Justin Pugh
B+ B- C B- B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.662 (B-)
New York Jets
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.8 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Willie Colon Nick Mangold Stephen Peterman Austin Howard
B+ B- A C C
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
Oakland Raiders
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Jared Veldheer Tony Bergstrom Stefen Wisniewski Mike Brisiel M. Watson/K. Barnes
B+ C- B- D C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.196 (C)
Philadelphia Eagles
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.66 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Jason Peters Evan Mathis Jason Kelce Todd Herremans Lane Johnson
B+ A+ C B B+
Cumulative GPA: 3.198 (B)
Pittsburgh Steelers
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Mike Adams Ramon Foster Maurkice Pouncey David DeCastro Marcus Gilbert
C C+ B+ B B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.66 (B-)
San Diego Chargers
Returning Starters: 2 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Max Starks Chad Rinehart Nick Hardwick Jeromey Clary D.J. Fluker
C+ C+ C C- B
Cumulative GPA: 2.264 (C)
Seattle Seahawks
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 1.93 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Russell Okung James Carpenter Max Unger Paul McQuistan Breno Giacomini
A- C- A C- C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.528 (C+)
San Francisco 49ers
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.66 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Joe Staley Mike Iupati Jonathan Goodwin Alex Boone Anthony Davis
A A- B- B B+
Cumulative GPA: 3.33 (B+)
St. Louis Rams
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Jake Long Shelley Smith Scott Wells Harvey Dahl Rodger Saffold
B+ D C B C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.332 (C+)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Donald Penn Carl Nicks Jeremy Zuttah Davin Joseph Demar Dotson
B A- C+ C C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.664 (B-)
Tennessee Titans
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Michael Roos Andy Levitre Fernando Velasco Chance Warmack David Stewart
A- A- B+ B+ B
Cumulative GPA: 3.396 (B+)
Washington Redskins
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 1.93 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Trent Williams Kory Lichtensteiger Will Montgomery Chris Chester J. Trueblood/T. Polumbus
A- C B C+ D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
49ers' Bruce Ellington, Ben Gottschalk dealing with injuries
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:55 pm ET) 49ers wide receiver Bruce Ellington will be held out of the next few practices because of a strained left leg, reports the Bay Area News Group. Ellington sustained the injury during Monday's practice.

"I'm holding him [out]," coach Jim Tomsula said. "I want to make sure we're good there."

Meanwhile, offensive lineman Ben Gottschalk underwent a foot procedure and is out indefinitely.


Rams DE Chris Long returns to practice
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:42 pm ET) Rams defensive end Chris Long was able to practice on Tuesday after missing the first three days with a back issue, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The veteran is expected to anchor a strong defensive line this year after playing just six games last season because of an injury. Long 51 1/2 career sacks in seven seasons in St. Louis.


49ers' Alex Boone shifting from right guard to left
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:37 pm ET) 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone is expected to switch from right guard to left guard for the upcoming season, the veteran said per ESPN.com. He will replace three-time Pro Bowler Mike Iupati at the position.

"It's great," Boone said. "It's different, obviously, [after] playing next to Anthony [Davis] all those years, now you move over play next to Joe [Staley]. Both great tackles. Footwork's a little diferent, handwork is a little different, but at the end of the day it’s come along real well."


Report: RB Pierre Thomas to visit Texans
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(6:51 pm ET) The Texans could be in the market for a running back now that Arian Foster could be dealing with an injury. Veteran free agent Pierre Thomas is reportedly going to visit with Houston, according to NFL Network. 

He is expected to workout for the team on Wednesday. Thomas spent his entire career in New Orleans where he ran for 3,745 yards and 28 touchdowns in eight seasons. 


Cowboys 'like the fight' in cornerback Tyler Patmon
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:43 pm ET) Cowboys cornerback Tyler Patmon made news over the weekend when he got into a skirmish with star wide receiver Dez Bryant running the down the field. For the second-year player, it showed his tenacity and desire to play the game, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"Well, Patmon is a great story for our team," coach Jason Garrett said. "He came to the rookie mimicamp as an undrafted, unsigned tryout guy. For him to do what he did over the course of those three days his first year to show us that, 'hey, he's one of the better guys. I don't care who we drafted or who we signed we need to make sure that he's one of the guys that has a chance to make our football team.'

"So what he is all about was demonstrated right from the start. He's a guy that's all about what he does. It doesn't really matter where he comes from and what has happened to him and other people in the past. He wants to show you what he's all about by what he does each and every day. And I think he’s done that since he's been here. He's a competitor. He's a fighter. He's an instinctive player. He loves to play the game. I think he’s gotten better and better."

Patmon is fighting for a roster spot and the fourth cornerback position on the team. 


Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson misses practice on Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:14 pm ET) Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was unable to practice on Tuesday while dealing with a sore hamstring, according to ESPN.com.

Wilkerson left Sunday's practice while dealing with the injury and is being held out as a precaution. 

"He’s feeling OK, [the hamstring is] tight," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "It’s day to day -- we’re gonna err on the side of caution."


Lions negotiating to re-sign Haloti Ngata, DeAndre Levy
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:12 pm ET) The Lions are making a big push to re-sign defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and linebacker DeAndre Levy, according to The Detroit News. General manager Martin Mayhew said the team is in discussions with both player's agents on new deals. 

"[Levy's] a heck of a football player, just a playmaker on our defense," Mayhew said before training camp Tuesday. "Versus the run and the pass, the guy's an impact player, so we definitely want to keep him on our defense — very important to our football team. His leadership is also excellent, professional in every sense of the word, so he has a lot of value to us. And he's one of our own guys, so we want to definitely keep him around."

Ngata is entering his first season with the Lions after being traded from Baltimore in March.

"He's a phenomenal player," Mayhew said. "He can be an impact player for us as well along the defensive line. I don't really need to see a whole lot more. … I've seen enough to know that I want to have him around."


Eagles release WR Devante Davis, sign Josh Reese
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:08 pm ET) The Eagles have released wide receiver Devante Davis and signed free agent rookie Josh Reese, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Davis a rookie pickup and yet to play in the league.


Report: Eagles waive OLB Travis Long
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:56 pm ET) The Eagles have waived outside linebacker Travis Long, according to ESPN.com. Long suffered a torn ACL on Monday and if he goes unclaimed, he will be placed on the team's injured reserve list.

Long has been with Philadelphia since 2013, but is yet to play a game after suffering multiple injuries.


Chargers sign CB Jordan Mabin
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:54 pm ET) The Chargers have signed cornerback Jordan Mabin, according to U-T San Diego. Mabin spent the last three seasons on three different practice squads.

To make room, San Diego waived wide receiver Demetrius Wilson.


 
 
 
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