OL expert weighs in on Washington football team’s offensive line
By Ian Cummings
There’s a general feeling of uncertainty surrounding the Washington football team’s offensive line, but varying degrees of optimism accompany that uncertainty.
The Washington football team‘s offensive line will presumably have three returning starters in center Chase Roullier, right guard Brandon Scherff, and right tackle Morgan Moses. Meanwhile, on the left side, young players and veterans alike will battle for the right to man the left tackle and left guard spots.
Some are excited to see fourth-round Saahdiq Charles take on the job of the blindside blocker, and are encouraged by the flashes Wes Martin showed in his rookie season. Others, however, see the left side as a serious hinderance, and question whether the rest of the line is stable enough to compensate.
The Washington football team’s offensive line is a polarizing entity among both fans and outside experts, and recently, one prominent offensive line expert, Brandon Thorn of Establish the Run, weighed in on Washington’s line, by ranking all of the NFL’s starting linemen by tiers. In this way, he contextualized the performance of Washington linemen, relative to other starters in the league.
The results were not all too surprising, although Thorn did choose not to include rookies, and listed Geron Christian as the starting left tackle. That is unlikely to happen, as Christian has not impressed in years past, but Thorn’s choice to name Wes Schweitzer as the starting left guard could very well come to fruition. Thus, his evaluation of Schweitzer holds weight.
Thorn’s tier system consisted of six tiers, which he labeled as follows:
- Tier 1 – Elite
- Tier 2 – Very Good
- Tier 3 – Good / Above-Average
- Tier 4 – Solid / Average
- Tier 5 – Adequate
- Tier 6 – Marginal
Thorn also noted that players could generally be moved around within their tiers, to some extent.
The offensive line of the Washington football team came out of Thorn’s tier evaluation far short of a ringing endorsement. Christian was placed in Tier 6 on the left tackle list, and was predictably ranked as the No. 32 left tackle in the league by Thorn. Thorn additionally commented that Cornelius Lucas would be in the same tier, if he were the starter. Schweitzer was also placed in Tier 6 of his respective list, and was ranked as the No. 31 left guard.
The other three linemen ranked better than the aforementioned two. Chase Roullier was listed in Tier 4 of the center group, and ranked by Thorn as the No. 17 center in the NFL, just behind Bears’ starter Cody Whitehair. Morgan Moses also ranked similarly, falling into Tier 4 of the right tackle group, ranked in the middle at No. 16.
Brandon Scherff was expectedly the highest-ranked Washington football offensive lineman, and by a very safe margin. Thorn ranked Scherff in Tier 2 of the right guard group, as the No. 3 overall right guard in the league. Scherff was ranked below only Zack Martin of the Cowboys and David DeCastro of the Steelers, and above other standouts like Trai Turner, Jason Peters, Kevin Zeitler, and Shaq Mason.
The Washington football team’s five separate rankings add up to an average ranking of 19.8, and the tier breakdown per starter is as follows: Tier 6, Tier 6, Tier 4, Tier 2, Tier 4. These numbers seem to deem Washington’s line as an average to below-average unit, but there is room for growth in 2020.
Saahdiq Charles’ audition at left tackle will be of great interest, as the LSU rookie has the most upside at the position, and put on quality tape with the Tigers in 2019. Additionally, Martin and Schweitzer battling for the left guard job could coax better play from both of them as they elevate each others’ game. There is room for Washington to exceed its projection, but for now, the prevailing uncertainty casts a shadow on the blocking unit, for fans and analysts alike.