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The NFL's top 12 offensive tackles – Touchdown Wire

Things have changed a lot in the NFL’s offensive tackle hierarchy of late, and sadly, for all the wrong reasons. On last year’s list of the league’s best tackles, David Bakhtiari of the Packers ranked first overall, and Baltimore’s Ronnie Stanley ranked third. Then, Bakhtiari missed all but one game last season due to an awful knee injury he suffered late in the 2020 season, and word is that he might be ready for training camp this season.
As for Stanley, he missed all but six games in 2020, and all but one game in 2021 with an ankle injury that required multiple surgeries. As is the case with Bakhtiari, the hope is that Stanley will be ready for training camp.
We do not like this. We would prefer to see the best tackles in the business dealing with the best pass-rushers on a regular basis, but this is where it is.
The… well, not “good news,” but the thing this allows, is new names to discover and analyze. In many cases, the new guys on our list this year are players who needed time, patience, and coaching to reach their full potential. You’ll see a few players who came into the NFL, looked like open gates early on, and then figured it out. We always like to see that, at any position.
We have also seen an increasing blurring of the lines in the importance of left tackle and right tackle. As the NFL becomes more of a quick-game league, the front-side protector had best be on point. Five of our tackles this year ply their trade on the right side, including our second- and third-best.
As for the best offensive tackle, outside of Aaron Donald’s place atop our list of interior defensive linemen, no choice was easier than this. If you’re a 49ers fan, you can skip right ahead and start gloating.
Here are Touchdown Wire’s 12 best offensive tackles heading into the 2022 NFL season — along with links to our position lists to date, which lead to our list of the 101 best players overall.
The NFL’s top 13 safeties
The NFL’s top 12 slot defenders
The NFL’s top 12 outside cornerbacks
The NFL’s top 11 linebackers
The NFL’s top 11 edge defenders
The NFL’s top 12 interior defensive linemen
The NFL’s top 12 centers
The NFL’s top 12 offensive guards
(All advanced metrics courtesy of Sports Info SolutionsPro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders unless otherwise indicated).
(Syndication: The Enquirer)
The Cowboys signed Collins as an undrafted free agent in 2015 despite Collins’ first-round talent due to off-field concerns that proved meritless, and the insistence of Collins’ representation that he would sign with no team that selected him in the third round or lower. He worked his way up from reserve guard to starting right tackle, taking a few lumps along the way — but he was a rock at right tackle in 2019. Then, Collins missed the 2020 season due to injury, and was suspended five games last September for a violation of the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse after he missed several drug tests, and reportedly tried to bribe an NFL drug-test collector.
When Collins got back on the field. he was just fine. Last season at right tackle for the Cowboys, he allowed two sacks, four quarterback hits, and 20 quarterback hurries on 601 pass-blocking snaps, and was strong in the run game, as well. Dallas tried to trade Collins this offseason due to salary cap concerns, and released him in March. A few days later, the Bengals, desperately seeking to upgrade an offensive line with needs everywhere, signed Collins to a three-year, $30 million contract.
Collins isn’t technique-perfect, but he’s able to envelop edge-rushers off the snap, and he can deflect pressure very well when he gets his hands out and active. Here, against Cardinals pass-rusher Chandler Jones in Week 17, Collins (No. 71) gives Jones no shot at getting anywhere near Dak Prescott on this 26-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb.
Collins can also get things done on multiple levels, as he shows on this rep against the Buccaneers. He starts out by handling Ndamukong Suh at the line, and then heads upfield to block Shaq Barrett on a TE screen to Dalton Schultz.
If Collins is able to play the way he did in 2021 without any of the attendant drama, he’ll be a major upgrade on the right side for Joe Burrow, and a Bengals team that’s trying to get back to the Super Bowl in 2022.
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Another example of how sometimes, you have to be patient with players. When the Raiders selected Miller with the 15th overall pick in the 2018 draft, the combination of his own unfinished technique and the fact that offensive line coach Tom Cable encouraged the selection (Cable’s history with personnel is not exactly stellar) left a lot of people scratching their heads. This uncertainty was validated by the league-high 16 sacks Miller allowed in his rookie season.
But then, the light started to go on, and in 2020, Miller gave up just two sacks, five quarterback hurries, and 24 quarterback hurries on 589 pass-blocking snaps. It appeared that his acumen had caught up to his athleticism, and this was the case in 2021, as well. Miller allowed four sacks, five quarterback hits, and 26 quarterback hurries on 792 pass-blocking reps. This in one of the NFL’s more aggressive passing games — Derek Carr ranked fourth in the league with 81 attempts of 20 or more air yards.
Here, against the Bengals in the wild-card round, Miller does a great job of getting into his set to the side to counter Cameron Sample’s wide rush. Miller lets Sample get into his chest, pushes him out, and rides him through the arc. It’s not letter-perfect, but Miller understands how to protect his quarterback on this 26-yard pass from Carr to DeSean Jackson.
On this rep against Chargers edge-rusher Uchenna Nwosu (an underrated player now with the Seahawks), Miller works through his kick-slide, and makes it tough for Nwosu to get anywhere near Carr on this 30-yard pass to Bryan Edwards.
Miller signed a three year, $54.015 million contract extension in March, which is a nice blend of talent and value for an offensive line that still has a lot to get right around him. In this case, patience paid off.
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Patience appears to be the dominant topic of this list — at least, for the first three tackles mentioned. The Giants selected Thomas out of Georgia with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft, and that seemed yet another example of former GM Dave Gettleman overvaluing the players he liked as opposed to those players’ potential. Thomas allowed 10 sacks, eight quarterback hits, and 39 quarterback hurries on 615 pass-blocking reps in his rookie season, appearing overwhelmed more often than not.
But before the “bust” label could be affixed, Thomas figured it out. Last season, he allowed two sacks, three quarterback hits, and 13 quarterback hurries on 517 pass-blocking snaps, looking like a completely different player in an offense that was dysfunctional at best.
On this 17-yard Devontae Booker run against the Dolphins in Week 13, linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel is trying to get to the back, and Thomas (No. 78) is having none of it, riding Van Ginkel right out of the picture.
This screen pass from Jake Fromm to Kyle Rudolph against Washington in Week 18 wasn’t exactly how you’d draw it up (few Giants offensive plays last season were), but Thomas taking out linebacker Cole Holcomb at the second level is pretty nice.
And lest we forget — the man can catch the ball!
WHAT A CATCH BY THE BIG MAN. #TogetherBlue @allforgod_55
📺: #NYGvsTB on ESPN
— NFL (@NFL) November 23, 2021

The Giants’ offense and offensive line should be better this season for all kinds of reasons — new head coach Brian Daboll (formerly the Bills’ offensive coordinator), free-agent additions Mark Glowinski (an honorable mention on our offensive guard list) and Jon Feliciano, and first-round right tackle Evan Neal. Fortunately, Daboll and the new crew have their answer at left tackle already as they look to improve just about everything else.
(Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)
Ramczyk has been one of the NFL’s better right tackles ever since the Saints selected him with the 32nd overall pick in the first round of the 2018 draft out of Wisconsin. Consistency? Well, he ranked ninth on our tackle list season, and he’s here again despite a knee injury that caused him to miss seven games.
When he was in there, Ramczyk was his usual self, allowing two sacks, two quarterback hits, and 15 quarterback hurries on 361 pass-blocking snaps. This is why the Saints gave him a five-year, $96 million contract extension with $60 million guaranteed in June, 2021. They don’t regret it even after the injury, and Ramczyk will be even more important to New Orleans’ offense now that left tackle Terron Armstead (more about him soon) is with the Miami Dolphins.
Ramczyk’s awareness is a big part of his game, and you see it all the time when he’s dealing with stunts, games, and defenders to hand off. The refocus is tough for some, but not for him. Against the Titans in Week 10, Ramczyk started out with Harold Landry, and then worked to block Denico Autry. Because of that, Trevor Siemian had a clean front side to complete this 21-yard pass to receiver Deonte Harris.
How does Ramczyk work as a power-blocker in the run game? Ask Buccaneers defensive end Pat O’Connor, who got in the way of the train on this 15-yard Alvin Kamara run. Ramczyk sealed the edge to the inside across O’Connor’s body, and then took him to the ground.
The Saints are planning to replace Armstead with rookie Trevor Penning at left tackle, which will be… a project. Which means that a healthy Ramczyk will be required if New Orleans’ offense is to work its way to playoff level.
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
When discussing Moton, the Panthers’ right tackle, we always have to start with this block of Falcons end John Cominsky from 2020. Because it is one of the most disrespectful blocks you will ever see.
Yo @Panthers … Y'all got any camera angle of this finish by Moton? Might be an epic pancake
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) October 13, 2020

We’ve got you covered, Geoff. Here’s the end zone view.

Moton may have been a Secret Superstar in 2020. Now, the secret is out. The Panthers signed Moton to a four-year, $72 million contract extension in July, 2021, and Moton responded with his best season to date. On an offensive line in which he was the only above-average player, Moton allowed one sack, four quarterback hits, and 22 quarterback hurries on 719 pass-blocking reps — and that was with Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, and the pretty-much-cooked version of Cam Newton at quarterback.
In case you were wondering, Moton (No. 72) can still make things unpleasant for opposing defenders in the run game. Cardinals defensive tackle Jordan Phillips could attest to that on this 15-yard Ameer Abdullah run to the right, in which Moton literally takes Phillips all the way out of the picture to the other side. If you want an earthmover, there are few better in the NFL.
And hey — the Panthers didn’t have a lot of big plays in the passing game last season, but Moton’s work on Saints edge-rusher Jalyn Holmes gave Darnold the time to work from deep pass to checkdown. So, there’s that.
The Panthers now have Baker Mayfield in the fold, and an offensive line that has been upgraded at several positions. Right tackle was one of the few positions on this offense that didn’t need an overhaul, and Moton may have been this team’s best offensive player in 2021.
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
How good was Slater as the Chargers’ left tackle in his rookie season? We can start with this rep against Micah Parsons, the NFL’s best defensive rookie in 2021.
Rashawn Slater is the NFL's best rookie so far this season.
— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) September 26, 2021

Of course, if you saw Slater handle Ohio State’s Chase Young back in his Northwestern days, you wouldn’t be surprised. Slater seems to have a knack for erasing Defensive Rookies of the Year. And in his own rookie season, Slater allowed four sacks, six quarterback hits, and 16 quarterback hurries on 752 pass-blocking reps.
Two of those sacks came against the Browns in Week 5, and there are times when you just have to deal with Myles Garrett the best you can, and move on.
Slater was more successful against Raiders end Yannick Ngakoue in Week 18, putting up several reps of teach tape. Foot quickness, hand technique, movement around the arc — by the end of his rookie season, Slater (No. 70) was showing every attribute you want in a Pro Bowl-level pass protector.
If you want to know how Slater fared as a run-blocker in 2021, ask Patriots end Deatrich Wise Jr., who got himself relocated to a different county by No. 70 on this 75-yard Justin Jackson run.
The Chargers are very fortunate that Slater dropped into their laps with the 13th overall pick, and we should expect to see him in at least the top five of next year’s tackle list at this rate.
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
In an effort to solve their left tackle problems, the Dolphins signed Armstead, the former Saints star, to a five-year, $75 million contract in March. It’s a contract that could reach $87.5 million with incentives, and given Armstead’s excellence through his NFL career, we wouldn’t be surprised if he reaches those lofty goals. Elbow, knee, and shoulder injuries limited Armstead to just eight games in his final season with the Saints, but even with all that going on, he gave up just one sack, two quarterback hits, and nine quarterback hurries on 263 pass-blocking snaps. Armstead, selected in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Arkansas Pine-Bluff (HBCU!) has never allowed more than five sacks in a season, and has given up seven total sacks since 2018.
Armstead also had to deal with New Orleans’ crazy quilt of quarterbacks in 2021, but his pass pro didn’t slip at all. For better or worse, Trevor Siemian doesn’t get this 25-yard cemetery ball to tight end Adam Trautman without Armstead burying Falcons linebacker James Vaughters off the edge.
And on this 55-yard throw from Jameis Winston to Deonte Harris in Week 1 against the Packers, Armstead counters Rashan Gary’s rush off the edge. Gary is one of the NFL’s best disruptors, but he had no answer for Armstead’s ability to adjust through the rep.
“Come on now, the most dynamic player in the league,” Armstead said in his opening Dolphins press conference, when asked about his new team acquiring Tyreek Hill one day after he signed his contract. “I’ve always been a fan of his game, just watching him. Now having him be a part of this offense, I think we’re building something. We’re building something special. Him paired with [Jaylen] Waddle, [Raheem] Mostert and that speed, and then the speed of us up front on the offensive line, we’re going to try to turn these Sundays into a track meet. A physical track meet. Let’s not try to overshadow that at all. Up front, we’re going to implement that physicality, that mentality. Speed kills when you try to catch these guys on the outside.”
Armstead has everything it takes to implement that physicality and that mentality.
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
Mailata was a work in progress when the Eagles got hold of him. Born in Bankstown, New South Wales, Australia, he was a rugby player whose athleticism caught the eye of the NFL, and he was scouted by Eagles line coach and run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland as he entered the International Player Pathway Program. Philadelphia selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 draft, and as he developed through some injury obstacles, Mailata became a presence as the Eagles’ starting left tackle over the last two seasons. He allowed just three sacks (down from seven in 2020), two quarterback hits, and 20 quarterback hurries in 511 pass-blocking reps in 2021, and he proved to be a rolling ball of butcher knives in the run game. He signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension last September that could prove to be a massive bargain if his development curve continues.
Mailata (No. 71) has an obvious knack for getting rolling in space, and just running over any unfortunate defenders who happens to be in his way. This rep against the Falcons in Week 1 ended very badly for Atlanta safety Richie Grant. Receiver Jalen Reagor doesn’t gain 25 yards after the catch on a 23-yard touchdown on a desperation heave from Jalen Hurts without Mailata’s splatter-shot blocking.
And if you want to be as run-centric as the Eagles would prefer to be, you’d better have a left tackle who can redistribute opponents with force. The 6-foot-8, 346-pound Mailata has absolutely no issues with this particular concept. Ask Commanders linebacker Cole Holcomb how he felt about this rep.
A lot of players with Mailata’s raw athleticism and lack of NFL experience have flamed out in the pros when it became apparent that the rigors of the game at the highest level was just too much. Kudos to Mailata and the Eagles’ coaching staff (led by highly-respected run game coordinator and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland) for bucking the trend, and creating a top-tier left tackle out of raw clay.
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
From 2012 through 2019, you could argue every season — pretty convincingly — that Tyron Smith was the NFL’s best left tackle. That’s how you get eight Pro Bowls, two First-Team All-Pro nods, and your name in the Hall of Fame’s All-2010s Team. 2020 was an unfortunate fallback, as Smith missed all but all but two games due to injury. He had not played a full 16-game season since 2015, so it was reasonable to wonder if that was the beginning of the end.
Smith missed six games in 2021 due to ankle and back injuries, as well as a turn on the Cowboys’ COVID list, but he had a bounce-back season nonetheless. Smith allowed three sacks, five quarterback hits, and nine quarterback hurries on 515 pass-blocking reps, and even the sacks weren’t always specifically problematic, or indicative of larger issues. On this sack in the wild-card round given to 49ers edge-rusher Charles Omenihu, Smith (No. 77) takes Omenihu all the way around the arc, Dak Prescott holds onto the ball for a good long time, and that’s how Prescott wound up on the ground.
This 24-yard Prescott pass to Cedrick Wilson Jr. in that same game shows more of the Smith we’ve come to expect. Edge-rusher Jordan Willis can’t even get near Prescott, because Smith just ties him up from the first attack.
And if you have any questions about how Smith still operates as a run-blocker, you could ask Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson about how well the veteran seals the edge at the second level on this 47-yard Ezekiel Elliott scamper.
There will come a day when Tyron Smith loses his superhuman ability to make defenders do things they’d really rather not, but that day did not come in 2021, and odds are, it won’t happen in 2022, either.
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Between the Buccaneers’ pass-heavy offense and their predilection for postseason appearances with Tom Brady, the tackles are going to get all kinds of opportunities to pass-protect. Last season, Wirfs led all right tackles with 801 pass-blocking snaps, allowing three sacks, two quarterback hits, and 10 quarterback hurries. Cameron Jordan of the Saints proved to be the biggest thorn in Wirfs’ side, getting to Brady once on his watch in Week 8, and once in Week 15. One of Wirfs’ few weaknesses at this point is a vulnerability to getting snatched off his base with bull-rushes, and as one of the best edge defenders in the NFL, Jordan can certainly exploit that.
But when Wirfs gets his hands out to attack and repel defenders, he’s as good a pass-protector as there is in the league. It takes a second to get things set up to throw the ball downfield, and on this 20-yard pass from Brady to Mike Evans against Washington in Week 7 that turned into a 40-yard touchdown, Wirfs took the full rush from underrated lineman Matthew Ioannidis (now with the Panthers), protecting Brady as he looked to his left for his favorite target.
A few technical fixes could have Wirfs as the best right tackle on our list next year. He’s close at No. 3 overall, but there is one right-side protector who tops everyone else at his specific position right now.
(Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
The Eagles selected Johnson with the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft out of Oklahoma, and after a rough rookie season in which he allowed 11 sacks and 60 total pressures, Johnson has been a bastion of consistency for Philly’s line when healthy. He missed four games in 2019 and nine in 2020 due to injury, and he took a three-game hiatus last season to deal with depression. When on the field, Johnson was as good a right tackle as you’ll find in the NFL, allowing no sacks, one quarterback hit, and 10 quarterback hurries on 448 pass-blocking snaps. This is par for the course these days — over the last three seasons, he’s allowed a total of two sacks, seven quarterback hits, and 30 quarterback hurries on 1,153 pass-blocking snaps.
Johnson might be the NFL’s best screen blocker, which is good when you’re a right tackle playing with a right-handed quarterback in Jalen Hurts. On this 16-yard screen pass to tight end Dallas Goedert against the Jets, Johnson (No. 65)  stayed patient, and then took off to displace linebacker Quincy Williams from stopping the play early.
Johnson also has everything you want in a pass-protector, which really shows up when the Eagles throw deep. On this 35-yard Hurts completion to Quez Watkins against the Buccaneers in the wild-card round, Johnson takes edge-rusher Shaquil Barrett all the way around the arc, setting his quarterback up for success.
And because we at Touchdown Wire are charter members of the THICC SIX Club, it should also be pointed out that Johnson can catch the ball for touchdowns!
📺: #NYGvsPHI on FOX
📱: NFL app
— NFL (@NFL) December 26, 2021

“He just deserves so much more credit than he’s getting,” head coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. “This guy is just — I’ve never been around an offensive tackle as talented as this guy. Like he could play tight end if he wanted. You should see him throw the football. This guy is so immensely talented, and I just got so much respect for him. It’s always great when you can reward guys that don’t get in the end zone with a touchdown like that. I think it was his first touchdown since high school. I’m sure he scored a lot of them in high school because the guy is just a stud. Just so happy that he’s anchoring our offensive line and look forward to the accolades that he’s going to get because he deserves them.”
All true in Johnson’s case, and this provides us an opportunity to encourage coaches to call plays in which the big fellas get more touches.
Now, onto the NFL’s best offensive tackle, and this was a VERY easy pick.
(Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)
It speaks to Williams’ competitive temperament that perhaps his most dominant play of the 2021 season was born out of frustration. With seven seconds left in the first half in the 49ers’ 30-28 Week 3 loss to the Packers, Williams (No. 71) pulled to the left and absolutely trucked cornerback Eric Stokes as quarterback Trey Lance easily sauntered into the end zone.
“Not going to lie, as an offensive lineman I think that is our (version) of scoring a touchdown,” Williams told Bay Area radio station 95.7 a few days after the game. “To get out in space and make a touchdown block. I’m not even going to say anything is better than that.
“Obviously, I just wanted to be consistent. That play was great, but honestly, I was just mad from the play before, and I didn’t even notice that I did all that. I was just kind of taking my anger out on the corner and then Trey was handing me the ball to spike it, so that kind of lifted my spirits at that point.”
The play before was one in which Williams was beaten as a pass-blocker, which you don’t see often. Edge-rusher Preston Smith gave Williams a double-move, and accelerated to Jimmy Garoppolo for the pressure, and an incomplete pass.
“I was still just kicking myself on the play before where I used terrible technique and got the quarterback hit,” Williams said. “I know the [Lance touchdown run] ended the half and was a scoring play, but the play before is the play that overshadowed that.”
Such plays didn’t happen often for Williams in 2021. On 591 pass-blocking snaps last season, he allowed one sack, six quarterback hits, and 16 quarterback hurries. Williams has allowed a grand total of six sacks over his last four seasons, both with the then-Washington Redskins, and the 49ers, who have benefited from Williams’ expertise since 2020.
But so much of Williams’ play is about that physical dominance. On this three-yard Jeff Wilson run against the Falcons in Week 15, Williams pulled right to seal linebacker Deion Jones to the edge, and then threw Jones right out of the club. Had Williams not signed a well-deserved six-year, $138 million contract extension in March, he’d have a bright future as a bouncer.
Williams is just as much a technician as he is an aggressor. Against Von Miller of the Rams in the NFC Championship game, Williams kicks to Miller and then just evaporates him from providing pressure. Miller gave Williams a decent ride because he’s so good, but he really never stood a chance. Garoppolo’s 31-yard pass to Brandon Aiyuk wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Competitive temperament, physical dominance, technical excellence — Williams has more of everything that makes a great offensive tackle than anyone else in the NFL, and that’s why he’s the best player at his position, full stop.
It’s Trent Williams’ world, and everybody else is paying rent.
(William Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports)
Jake Matthews, Atlanta Falcons
Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore Ravens
Dion Dawkins, Buffalo Bills
Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions
Garett Bolles, Denver Broncos
David Bakhtiari, Green Bay Packers
Elgton Jenkins, Green Bay Packers
Braden Smith, Indianapolis Colts
Orlando Brown Jr., Kansas City Chiefs
Brian O’Neill, Minnesota Vikings
George Fant, New York Jets
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Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar continues our position lists with his compilation of the NFL’s 11 best offensive guards.
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