Interior linemen don't receive enough praise around the NFL, unless it's the lowlight where they give up a sack or don't make a block. The guard and center positions are hard to judge already, especially since most blocking situations are between the A- and B-gap and not necessarily limited to 1-on-1 situations.
Thanks to advanced statistics, the league has better ways to evaluate how good interior offensive linemen are -- along with how valuable they are for the offensive system they're in. Of course, other factors are in play.
Like how tackles are graded, does run-blocking matter more than pressure rate? Are great interior offensive linemen the ones who protect the quarterback? Can they make their teammates they line up next to every week better?
The qualification for these interior linemen rankings is how good the player was in 2022. We'll use success over the past few seasons to help weigh the ranking, but 2022 performance is the key equation in the formula. This is a ranking of the best interior offensive linemen right now, not entirely based on past or future success.
Before the 2023 interior offensive linemen rankings are dropped,:
- Zack Martin (Dallas Cowboys)
- Quenton Nelson (Indianapolis Colts)
- Jason Kelce (Philadelphia Eagles)
- Joel Bitonio (Cleveland Browns)
- Corey Linsley (Los Angeles Chargers)
- Shaq Mason (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Creed Humphrey (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Wyatt Teller (Cleveland Browns)
- Joe Thuney (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Brandon Scherff (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Without further adieu, the top 10 interior offensive linemen in the NFL (guards and centers are lumped together). To see our top 10 offensive tackles for 2023, .
There's a case to be made Linsley is the best pass-blocking center in football. In 538 pass-blocking snaps last season, Linsley allowed no sacks to just five pressures with a pressure rate per dropback of 0.9%. He didn't make an All-Pro Team or Pro Bowl last season, thanks to not being as efficient in run blocking as he was in previous seasons.
Linsley still is a top three center in the game and one of the elite pass-blocking centers, allowing just a 0.9% pressure rate per dropback over the last three years.
Already a Pro Bowler in his second season, Dickerson has developed into one of the best pass-blocking guards in the NFL. He allowed just one sack and three quarterback hits in 581 pass-blocking snaps, with 17 pressures and a pressure rate allowed of 2.9%.
Dickerson was also vital toward the Eagles having the No. 1 run offense in the NFL over the last two seasons and was a force in goal line situations. He was one of the most improved pass blockers in the league last seaosn and is only 24.
Expect Dickerson to be on this list for a long time.
Jenkins is one of the most versatile offensive linemen in the league, starting at tackle, guard and center for the Packers. Already a Pro Bowl guard, Jenkins returned to the Pro Bowl this past season because of his versatility on the offensive line. He's started 36 of his 53 games at left guard, including 10 in 2022 (other five starts were at right tackle).
Jenkins is at his best at left guard, allowing two sacks and just four pressures in his 10 starts there -- including just one pressure in his last seven games. His pressure rate per dropback was just at 1.2%.
If the Packers keep Jenkins at guard, he's one of the best in the NFL. He's a pretty good tackle as well, but has a case to be significantly higher up this list if Green Bay kept him on the interior.
Want to know why the Falcons were dominant running the football last year? Look no further than Lindstrom, who was the best run-blocking guard in the league last season. Atlanta paid Lindstrom handsomely for his 2022 season, as he earned a five-year, $105 million contract -- the highest ever for his position.
One of the best tacticians in the league, Lindstrom allowed just two sacks and seven pressures in 490 pass-blocking snaps last season (pressure rate allowed of 1.4%).
A Second Team All-Pro, Lindstrom had his breakout year in his fourth season. A repeat performance in 2023 and Lindstrom will be considered one of the top five interior linemen in the game (and he's only 26).
Somehow Thuney gets better every season, establishing himself as one of the elite guards in football. Thuney had his best pass-blocking year in 2022, allowing just one sack and 12 pressures in 634 pass-blocking snaps. The 1.9% pressure rate allowed matched a career best from the 2021 season.
Thuney isn't the best offensive lineman on his team, but is significantly vital toward the Chiefs offensive line becoming one of the best in the league. He's lived up to his contract in Kansas City.
Humphrey has an argument for the top center in football, especially as a run blocker. He's been dominant for the Chiefs in that department since he entered the league, showcasing his mastery of freeing up the A-gap in Super Bowl LVII.
He's pretty good in pass blocking as well, especially with how much Kansas City throws the ball. Humphrey didn't allow a sack in 723 pass-blocking snaps, giving up just two quarterback hits and 17 pressures for a 2.4% pressure rate allowed.
Humphrey's pass-blocking numbers actually dipped a bit in 2022, but he still was good enough to earn Second Team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl selection in just his second season.
Just 23 years old, Humphrey is already one of the best interior linemen in the game.
The Colts' offensive line took a major freefall in 2022, and Nelson was at the epicenter of it. Nelson, who allowed just four sacks in his first four seasons, allowed five in 686 pass-blocking snaps last season. On top of the sacks, Nelson allowed 30 pressures (allowed just 28 total the previous two seasons) and had a career worst pressure rate allowed per dropback of 4.4%.
Why is Nelson ranked so high after a poor season? Nelson had three First Team All-Pro selections and four All-Pro selections overall in his first four seasons, dominating tackles and edge rushers in pass blocking and run blocking.
The 2022 season may be an outlier for Nelson rather than the norm.
Another season Bitonio backed up he's one of the best guards in football, earning his fifth straight Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection. A First Team All-Pro in each of the last two years, Bitonio has allowed just a 2.7% pressure rate over that stretch -- with just three sacks allowed in 1,221 pass-blocking snaps.
Bitonio allowed only one sack in 2022, even with 19 pressures and six quarterback hits to his name (31.% pressure rate allowed). He's one of the best run-blocking guards in the game, with that all around combination making him deserving of the accolades.
The Browns are dominant in the run game, thanks to Bitonio and Wyatt Teller. Even as Bitonio nears his mid-30s (turns 32 this year), he's getting more complete at his position by the year.
On his way to the Hall of Fame, Kelce had his best season as a pass blocker at the age of 35. Kelce didn't allow a sack or a quarterback hit in 2022, giving up just eight pressures with a pressure rate allowed a career best of 1.3% (third best amongst all NFL players, minimum 500 snaps.)
Kelce was always a dominant run blocker, with last season being no exception -- especially in the second level. That paved the way for another First Team All-Pro selection, his fifth in the last six years.
The elder Kelce brother is one of just eight centers to earn five First-Team All-Pro selections, and the previous seven each have made the Hall of Fame. Kelce is showing no signs of slowing down as he enters his 13th season.
Just another consistent and dominant year for Martin, which is the norm at this point. Martin earned another First Team All-Pro selection, the sixth of his career and eighth All-Pro selection in nine seasons (made All-Pro every season he's played 11-plus games).
Martin didn't allow a sack in 594 pass-blocking snaps in 2022, giving up just two quarterback hits, 16 pressures and a 2.7% pressure rate. Ezekiel Elliott's struggles hurt Martin in run blocking, but he didn't have his typical season in that department creating holes in the A- or B-gap.
Regardless, Martin is still the standard for guard play in the NFL and is on his way to the Hall of Fame. Only John Hannah and Randall McDaniel have more First Team All-Pro selections at guard (seven), which Martin is one away from matching.
Given how good Martin has been, he could go down as the greatest guard to ever play the game if he continues his dominance into his mid-30s.
Other names under consideration (in no order): Wyatt Teller (Cleveland Browns), Shaq Mason (Houston Texans), Isaac Seumalo (Pittsburgh Steelers), Frank Ragnow (Detroit Lions), Kevin Zeitler (Baltimore Ravens), Michael Onwenu (New England Patriots), Teven Jenkins (Chicago Bears), Alijah Vera-Tucker (New York Jets), Brian Allen (Los Angeles Rams), Brandon Scherff (Jacksonville Jaguars).