Offensive tackle is a highly scrutinized position in the NFL, one that has been noticeable through the sacks and pressures a player has given up rather than the elite pass rushers those same players are containing. While it's hard to judge how good an offensive tackle is, it's even harder to evaluate the position.
The advanced statistics have given a better evaluation how good an offensive lineman is, and how valuable they are for the offensive system they're in. Ranking the best of the best offensive tackles is still difficult, based on a valuation of a left tackle versus a right tackle (a position that doesn't get enough respect).
There are other factors in play. Does run-blocking matter more than pressure rate? Are great offensive tackles the ones who protect the quarterback? Can they make their teammates they line up next to every week better?
The qualification for these tackle 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 offensive tackles right now, not entirely based on past or future success.
Before the 2023 offensive tackle rankings are dropped, these were the rankings from last year:
- Trent Williams (San Francisco 49ers)
- Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys)
- Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Lane Johnson (Philadelphia Eagles)
- Rashawn Slater (Los Angeles Chargers)
- David Bakhtiari (Green Bay Packers)
- Ronnie Stanley (Baltimore Ravens)
- Ryan Ramczyk (New Orleans Saints)
- Kolton Miller (Las Vegas Raiders)
- Jordan Mailata (Philadelphia Eagles)
Without further adieu, the top 10 offensive tackles in the NFL:
10. Penei Sewell (Lions)
Not only is Sewell becoming one of the best tackles in the NFL, he's also one of the most athletic players in the league (see his nine-yard catch for a first down against the Vikings in Week 14). Sewell was a very good right tackle in his second season, making his first Pro Bowl appearance as a result.
Already one of the top run-blocking tackles in the league, Sewell also improved in pass protection in his sophomore season. He allowed just two sacks and 26 pressures (4.2% pressure rate) in 626 pass-blocking snaps last year.
Already an anchor on the Lions' offensive line, Sewell can evolve into one of the best right tackles in the game in 2023.
9. David Bakhtiari (Packers)
When healthy, Bakhtiari is one of the top left tackles in the game. Problem is he's missed 26 games over the last three seasons (out of 50).
Bakhtiari is still very good when he's on the field. He allowed just one sack and 10 pressures in 323 pass-blocking snaps last season, with no quarterback hits and a 3.1% pressure rate.
Regardless of injury, Bakhtiari is still one of the top pass-blocking tackles in the game. He's still capable of being the player who made five consecutive All-Pro teams from 2016 to 2020.
8. Rashawn Slater (Chargers)
One of the best young left tackles in football, a torn biceps injury limited Slater to just three games last season. Slater suffered the injury in Week 3 and never returned, allowing just one sack and three pressures in 110 pass-blocking snaps (2.7% pressure rate).
Slater allowed just a 3.6% pressure rate per dropback in his rookie campaign, allowing just five sacks and 25 pressures in 699 pass-blocking snaps. He earned a Second Team All-Pro selection in 2021.
The Chargers' offensive line took a massive hit when Slater was out. Los Angeles gets him back for 2023, a welcome sign for Justin Herbert and that talented offense.
7. Jordan Mailata (Eagles)
The pass-blocking numbers don't tell the full story for Mailata, who is one of the best run-blocking tackles in football. The Eagles had the No. 1 run offense over the last two seasons because of Mailata, a force at left tackle who started 30 of a possible 34 games.
As for the pass-blocking numbers? They were down a bit in 2022, as Mailata allowed six sacks and 33 pressures with a 5.9% pressure rate in 557 pass-blocking snaps (allowed three sacks, 18 pressures, 4.1% pressure rate in 2021).
Mailata is still one of the best left tackles in football, and was still very good in a "down" year.
6. Terron Armstead (Dolphins)
Armstead was a home run signing for the Dolphins in free agency, having an impressive first season in Miami. A Pro Bowl selection in 2022, Armstead allowed just one sack and 14 pressures in 412 pass-blocking snaps last season (3.4% pressure rate).
Injuries still remain an issue for Armstead (he missed 13 games over the last two seasons), but the Dolphins' offensive line was significantly better in pass protection in 2022 thanks to Armstead. He's part of the reason Miami finished with a top 10 offense in yards per game for the first time since 1995.
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The most improved tackle in the league was Thomas, who gives hope to a Giants offensive line that couldn't get out of its own way at times in 2022. A Second Team All-Pro selection, Thomas allowed four sacks and 20 pressures in 578 pass-blocking snaps last season (3.5% pressure rate).
Not only is Thomas a good pass protector, but he's also one of the top run-blocking tackles in the game. Since the second half of the 2021 season, Thomas has been one of the best tackles in football.
The Giants have a stalwart at left tackle.
4. Tristan Wirfs
Still one of the elite tackles in the game, Wirfs had one of his best seasons in 2022. He allowed just two sacks and five pressures in 587 pass-blocking snaps, having a career-best pressure rate per dropback of 0.9%. Wirfs earned a Second Team All-Pro selection as a result, the second consecutive All-Pro selection in his three seasons.
Tom Brady getting rid of the ball quick certainly helped Wirfs, but his career pressure rate allowed per dropback of 1.9% is excellent. he's allowed just 19 pressures over the last two seasons.
Wirfs will be moving to left tackle in 2023, which will be interesting to see if he can keep those pass-blocking numbers as good as he was at right tackle.
3. Laremy Tunsil (Texans)
Tunsil returned from a thumb injury in a major way last season, becoming one of the best left tackles in football. Earning his third Pro Bowl selection in four years, Tunsil should have been an All-Pro last season.
Playing all 17 games, Tunsil allowed just one sack and 16 pressures in 640 pass-blocking snaps (2.5% pressure rate while playing a career high 1,014 snaps). He allowed just four quarterbacks hits in a dominant season.
The Texans are fortunate to have Tunsil protecting a young C.J. Stroud. At 28, Tunsil's best football is ahead of him.
2. Lane Johnson (Eagles)
There's a case to be made Johnson is the best tackle in football (he's certainly the best right tackle). Johnson hasn't allowed a sack since Week 11 of the 2020 season (including playoffs) and he's coming off a year which he allowed no sacks, just eight pressures and a career-best 1.5% pressure rate allowed per dropback in 519 pass-blocking snaps.
Johnson has allowed just one sack and 20 pressures over the last three seasons, allowing just four quarterback hits over that span. He didn't allow a single quarterback hit last season in the regular season or playoffs.
A First Team All-Pro in 2022, Johnson is the best offensive lineman on the best offensive line in football. He's allowed just one sack since turning 30.
1. Trent Williams (49ers)
Another year Williams claims the throne as the best tackle in football -- and can make the case he's the best player on the 49ers talented roster. Williams allowed just one sack and 15 pressures in 439 pass-blocking snaps last season (3.4% pressure rate), earning his second consecutive First Team All-Pro selection.
Williams allowed just one sack and two quarterback hits in the regular season and playoffs, while also dominating in run blocking in the 49ers' outside zone scheme (which isn't easy to master).
Another player getting better in his mid-30s, Williams has allowed just a 3.2% pressure rate per dropback over the last two seasons. He's still the best tackle in the game -- and one of the best players in football.
Other names under consideration (in no order): Ryan Ramczyk (New Orleans Saints), Ronnie Stanley (Baltimore Ravens), Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys), Jake Matthews (Atlanta Falcons), Orlando Brown (Cincinnati Bengals), Jack Conklin (Cleveland Browns), Christian Darrisaw (Minnesota Vikings), Kolton Miller (Las Vegas Raiders). Braden Smith (Indianapolis Colts), Taylor Dekker (Detroit Lions)