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Eckert: OL Stat Study 1.0 Using PFF Run/Pass Blocking Metrics – 2020

Today I am starting my “Offensive Line Study Series”, similar to my other offensive position studies. I wanted to dive deeper into some questions I usually don’t have time for. One of these questions revolved around offensive lineman with the most snaps, and how they graded with these datapoints from Pro Football Focus (PFF):

  • PFF Run Block Grade (RBLK) = PFF Grade for Run Blocking
  • PFF Pass Block Grade (PBLK) = PFF Grade for Pass Blocking
  • PFF Offensive Snaps = Offensive Snaps

One important thing before the graph, the players in this study are the leaders in PFF Offensive Snaps. I wanted to learn which players had the most usage (availability), and how those players graded (quality). Here’s what 2020 looked like:

Interesting! Villanueva and Okorafor were the Steelers to make the graph, and both land around the expectations I had going into the study. Kelvin Beachum landing right next to Big Al is also interesting (both being former Steelers). Fun question, how will these three players fare in 2021 considering new roles (Okorafor), teams (Villanueva) or consistent situation (Beachum)?

Next, I wanted to see if I could view the stats in a unique way to possibly get even more value out of the numbers. I also wanted to see how many Offensive Lineman qualified per team along with their positions. Here are some illustrations of that:

RUN BLOCKING BY PLAYER RANKS/TEAM/POSITION:

(positions from nflfastR)

TM LT (RBLK Rk) LG (RBLK Rk) C (RBLK Rk) RG (RBLK Rk) RT (RBLK Rk)
SF L.Tomlinson(11) D.Brunskill(36) M.McGlinchey(1)
ARI D.Humphries(2) K.Beachum(50)
DEN G.Bolles(3) L.Cushenberry(59)
WAS C.Roullier(28) M.Moses(4)
IND Q.Nelson(5) R.Kelly(34) M.Glowinski(37)
MIN R.Reiff(48) D.Dozier(54) G.Bradbury(32) B.O’Neill(6)
LAR D.Edwards(33) A.Blythe(22) A.Corbett(21) R.Havenstein(7)
NO E.McCoy(31) R.Ramczyk(8)
SEA D.Brown(9)
CLE J.Bitonio(10) J.Tretter(29)
PHI J.Kelce(12)
TEN B.Jones(13) N.Davis(27) D.Kelly(35)
BUF D.Dawkins(20) D.Williams(14)
ATL J.Matthews(53) C.Lindstrom(15)
CAR M.Paradis(49) T.Moton(16)
TB R.Jensen(17) A.Cappa(38) T.Wirfs(18)
CHI C.Leno(19) G.Ifedi(41)
BAL B.Bozeman(39) O.Brown(23)
DET T.Decker(24) J.Jackson(44)
KC E.Fisher(25)
LV R.Hudson(26) G.Jackson(52)
DAL C.Williams(30)
NYG N.Gates(46) K.Zeitler(40)
GB E.Jenkins(42)
MIA T.Karras(43) J.Davis(51)
JAX J.Taylor(45)
PIT A. Villanueva(47) C. Okorafor(55)
LAC S.Tevi(58) F.Lamp(57) D.Feeney(56)
NE NA
NYJ NA
CIN NA
HOU NA

The teams that had the most players, then by RBLK Grade were: (four players) Vikings and Rams (three players) 49ers, Colts, Titans, Bucs, and Chargers (the only outlier with all low ranks). The Steelers had no interior lineman make the study, highlighting the missed games there. Unfortunately, it’s a wait and see game with how the line will do in 2021. The loss of Decastro has brought my optimism down since I did my Running Back Series, but I would love for this concern to be proven wrong.

PASS BLOCKING BY PLAYER RANKS/TEAM/POSITION:

(positions from nflfastR)

TM LT (PBLK Rk) LG (PBLK Rk) C (PBLK Rk) RG (PBLK Rk) RT (PBLK Rk)
DEN G.Bolles(1) L.Cushenberry(57)
DET T.Decker(2) J.Jackson(54)
CLE J.Bitonio(3) J.Tretter(5)
WAS C.Roullier(4) M.Moses(23)
SEA D.Brown(6)
ATL J.Matthews(7) C.Lindstrom(24)
TB R.Jensen(56) A.Cappa(29) T.Wirfs(8)
IND Q.Nelson(9) R.Kelly(35) M.Glowinski(33)
BUF D.Dawkins(20) D.Williams(10)
ARI D.Humphries(11) K.Beachum(14)
CAR M.Paradis(34) T.Moton(12)
PIT A.Villanueva(13) C.Okorafor(39)
BAL B.Bozeman(40) O.Brown(15)
GB E.Jenkins(16)
KC E.Fisher(17)
NO E.McCoy(44) R.Ramczyk(18)
MIN R.Reiff(19) D.Dozier(59) G.Bradbury(58) B.O’Neill(28)
LAR D.Edwards(37) A.Blythe(51) A.Corbett(47) R.Havenstein(21)
TEN B.Jones(22) N.Davis(50) D.Kelly(46)
LV R.Hudson(25) G.Jackson(26)
CHI C.Leno(27) G.Ifedi(36)
NYG N.Gates(38) K.Zeitler(30)
MIA T.Karras(31) J.Davis(42)
DAL C.Williams(32)
SF L.Tomlinson(41) D.Brunskill(55) M.McGlinchey(49)
PHI J.Kelce (43)
LAC S.Tevi(48) F.Lamp (44) D.Feeney (53)
JAX J.Taylor(52)
HOU NA
CIN NA
NE NA
NYJ NA

Many left tackles moved up and interior lineman moved down this table compared to the run blocking table. That fits the common narrative of the left tackle position pass protecting the blindside, and the other positions run blocking becomes more important. This has me optimistic (along with many on the Steelers Depot team) that Okorafor can improve in 2021 moving to the left side and Banner hopefully providing the run block value on the right side. This was the plan for Banner in 2020, and I’m so excited that training camp is here, and the preseason is near so we can start learning more about the 2021 Steelers offensive line.

Now let’s look at the players individually:

Player Name PFF Offensive Snaps Rk PFF RBLK Rk PFF PBLK Rk
Forrest Lamp 1 57 45
Dan Feeney 1 56 53
Connor Williams 3 30 32
D.J. Humphries 4 2 11
Kelvin Beachum 5 50 14
Jason Kelce 5 12 43
Chris Lindstrom 7 15 24
Austin Corbett 8 21 47
Austin Blythe 8 22 51
Rob Havenstein 10 7 21
Jake Matthews 11 53 7
Alejandro Villanueva 12 47 13
Laken Tomlinson 13 11 41
Mike McGlinchey 14 1 49
Mark Glowinski 15 37 33
Chase Roullier 16 28 4
Daniel Brunskill 17 36 55
Dakota Dozier 18 54 59
Quenton Nelson 19 5 9
Rodney Hudson 19 26 25
Garrett Bradbury 19 32 58
Lloyd Cushenberry 22 59 57
Nate Davis 23 27 50
Tristan Wirfs 24 18 8
Erik McCoy 24 31 44
Brian O’Neill 26 6 28
Alex Cappa 26 38 29
Ted Karras 28 43 31
Charles Leno 29 19 27
Germain Ifedi 29 41 36
Morgan Moses 31 4 23
Gabe Jackson 32 52 26
Joel Bitonio 33 10 3
J.C. Tretter 33 29 5
Ryan Jensen 33 17 56
Jesse Davis 36 51 42
Daryl Williams 37 14 10
Eric Fisher 38 25 17
Dennis Kelly 38 35 46
Taylor Decker 40 24 2
Duane Brown 40 9 6
Ben Jones 42 13 22
Ryan Ramczyk 43 8 18
Elgton Jenkins 44 42 16
Jawaan Taylor 44 45 52
Dion Dawkins 46 20 20
Chukwuma Okorafor 47 55 39
Taylor Moton 48 16 12
Matt Paradis 49 49 34
Orlando Brown 50 23 15
Sam Tevi 51 58 48
Bradley Bozeman 52 39 40
Garett Bolles 53 3 1
Nick Gates 53 46 38
Ryan Kelly 55 34 35
David Edwards 56 33 37
Jonah Jackson 56 44 54
Riley Reiff 58 48 19
Kevin Zeitler 58 40 30

I really enjoyed seeing the rankings from a usage perspective, then layering in the grades. I am hoping the strengths of the new look Steelers o-line to be health, physicality, and improved run blocking. Getting younger there will hopefully help injury-wise (knocks on wood), and I also hope we’ll see the physical style of play we’ve been hearing about this offseason come to fruition.

Similar to my other studies, I wanted to see who ranked the highest in each stat used throughout this study. Taking all the above information, I will rank them for 2020 by: PFF Offensive Snaps, RBLK, and PBLK for a final view for this study:

Study 1.0 Ranks
1.D.J. Humphries
2. Quenton Nelson
3. Rob Havenstein
4. Chris Lindstrom
5. Joel Bitonio
6. Chase Roullier
7. Tristan Wirfs
8. Duane Brown
9. Garett Bolles
10. Morgan Moses
11. Jason Kelce
12. Brian O’Neill
13. Daryl Williams
14. Mike McGlinchey
15. Connor Williams
16. Laken Tomlinson
17. Taylor Decker
18. J.C. Tretter
19. Kelvin Beachum
20. Ryan Ramczyk
21. Rodney Hudson
22. Jake Matthews
23. Alejandro Villanueva
24. Charles Leno
25. Austin Corbett
26. Taylor Moton
27. Ben Jones
28. Eric Fisher
29. Austin Blythe
30. Mark Glowinski
31. Dion Dawkins
32. Orlando Brown
33. Alex Cappa
34. Erik McCoy
35. Nate Davis
36. Ted Karras
37. Elgton Jenkins
38. Forrest Lamp
39. Germain Ifedi
40. Ryan Jensen
41. Daniel Brunskill
42. Garrett Bradbury
43. Dan Feeney
44. Gabe Jackson
45. Dennis Kelly
46. Ryan Kelly
47. Riley Reiff
48. David Edwards
49. Kevin Zeitler
50. Jesse Davis
51. Dakota Dozier
52. Bradley Bozeman
53. Matt Paradis
54. Nick Gates
55. Lloyd Cushenberry
56. Jawaan Taylor
57. Chukwuma Okorafor
58. Jonah Jackson
59. Sam Tevi

How do you think the Steelers offensive line will do in 2021? How about by position? How do you think our lineups play out through the season? Next time I will view multiple seasons, thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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