You only need to look at last season’s Super Bowl to understand how important the offensive line is in football. One of the most dynamic offenses in recent memory was completely shut down in that game because the offensive line was a mess. That game alone is enough of a reason to take a close look at the best offensive linemen in 2021.
Best Offensive Linemen in 2021
To be fair, the offensive line is a team effort. All five players need to be working together and doing their job in unison to make an offense function.
However, there are undoubtedly individual battles within the game and individual linemen who stand out more than others. While it’s a team effort, one elite offensive lineman can make a huge impact on a game.
With that being said, let’s check out our projections of the best offensive linemen this season.
10. Garett Bolles, Broncos
It wasn’t always easy for Garett Bolles early in his career. He’s been a starter since Week 1 of his rookie season but wasn’t quite up to speed for the first few years, even being publicly criticized by Denver’s President of Football Operations John Elway for his holding penalties.
However, Bolles turned the corner and then some in 2020. He was borderline dominant, earning Second-Team All-Pro honors and a big contract extension, setting the stage for Bolles to be one of the best left tackles in the NFL for many years to come.
9. Taylor Moton, Panthers
As a unit, the Carolina offensive line hasn’t received a lot of attention or acclaim, but Taylor Moton has surely distinguished himself as one of the best in the NFL.
Taylor Moton and Ian Thomas working a combo block. pic.twitter.com/bBmCFWzq61
— Joe Person (@josephperson) August 23, 2021
The contract he signed with the Panthers this past summer says a lot about what he means to the team and how much he’s blossomed into a top-flight offensive guard.
8. Ryan Ramczyk, Saints
The Saints gave Ryan Ramczyk a big contract extension this past summer, doing so for good reason. He’s good enough to play left tackle but starts at right tackle in New Orleans with Terron Armstead at left tackle.
It didn’t take him much time to become one of the best in the NFL at his position, earning All-Rookie Team honors and being an All-Pro in every season since then.
7. Jack Conklin, Browns
The Titans are probably going to end up kicking themselves at giving up on Jack Conklin and letting him go in free agency.
Obviously, he suffered a setback when he tore his ACL. But Conklin was also a key part of the offensive line that helped to fuel Derrick Henry and Tennessee’s outstanding running game. After signing with the Browns in 2020, all Conklin did was be named a First-Team All-Pro, reasserting his standing as one of the best offensive tackles in the league.
6. Zack Martin, Cowboys
From the day the Cowboys drafted him, Zack Martin has been one of the best and most consistent offensive linemen in the NFL.
More than two hours before a game he will not play Zack Martin running sprints in the end zone. pic.twitter.com/ntX0Rms99R
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 29, 2021
He’s helped pave the way for much of the success that Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have had. To be fair, 2020 wasn’t his year because of the injuries to the Dallas offensive line, including his own. But he’s been a Pro Bowler every other year of his career and a four-time First-Team All-Pro selection.
5. Terron Armstead, Saints
Terron Armstead came out of nowhere (Arkansas-Pine Bluff, to be specific) but has blossomed into one of the best tackles in the league.
He became a starter by the end of his rookie season and quickly solidified that job. It took him a little time to gain the recognition he deserves, but Armstead has been a Pro Bowler for three straight years.
4. Quenton Nelson, Colts
In just three seasons, Quenton Nelson has left his mark on the league as one of the elite offensive linemen.
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 23, 2021
He’s helped to anchor the Indy offensive line and has been named a First-Team All-Pro in each of his first three seasons. Nelson has started all 16 games in his first three seasons in the league and allowed a total of one sack over the last two years.
3. Ronnie Stanley, Ravens
Starting with his rookie season, Ronnie Stanley has been one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL, helping the Ravens develop one of the best running games in the league.
Of course, he’s also become one of the best pass-blocking tackles in the NFL, becoming a First-Team All-Pro in 2019 and earning a nine-figure contract. While his 2020 season was cut short by injury, there’s little question he’ll get back to being one of the elite linemen in the league once he’s healthy.
2. Trent Williams, 49ers
Trent Williams has the kind of longevity that few of the other linemen on our list have.
He’s been in the league for over a decade and has been selected to eight Pro Bowls. He became the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL earlier this year because he’s managed to sustain such a high level of consistency over an extended period of time.
1. David Bakhtiari, Packers
You don’t allow just anyone to protect the blind side of Aaron Rodgers.
The best left tackle in the business. 💪
David Bakhtiari was a solid contributor on the Green Bay offensive line from the start despite only being a fourth-round pick in 2013. But he’s worked hard and continued to improve, turning himself into the best left tackle in the game. Bakhtiari has been an All-Pro selection in five straight seasons, leaving little question that he’s the most reliable left tackle in the NFL right now.
Find the rest of our 2021 NFL position rankings here.