Last year, St. Louis Rams starting LT Rodger Saffold ranked among the league's best in pass protection according to the numbers from Pro Football Focus. They continued their look at offensive linemen turning inside to the centers and guards. How did the Rams blockers rate?
Pretty well actually. At guard, Jacob Bell ranked among the 20 best, 17th to be exact, with a pass blocking efficiency (a formula calculating sacks and pressures allowed on the number of snaps in pass pro) rating of 2.61. On the flip side, Adam Goldberg had a 5.13 PBE, one of the five worst in the league.
Speaking of run blocking, it's worth noting that these stats are for pass blocking only. I suspect the people at PFF will open up their legendary data cache and reveal run blocking numbers for offensive linemen in the near future.
There are some free agent implications among the guards on this list that need to be factored into the Rams offseason plans, should they opt to seek a guard in free agency.
- Falcons G Harvey Dahl rebounded nicely from his 2009 injuries and was among the 10 best in pass protection. I can't imagine a Falcons team in win-now mode would let him get away. He was extended an RFA tender, but it might not apply depending on how the CBA shakes out.
- Atlanta's other guard, Justin Blalock, was on neither the top or the bottom 20 list. A first-round pick in 2007, he would be eligible for unrestricted free agency under the league's old rules. As far as I can tell, he was not tendered an offer by the Falcons as teams scrambled to extend RFA offers just in case the no-cap year rules applied. He'll command serious money if he does hit the market.
- Tampa Bay's Davin Joseph ranked worse than Goldberg. He's scheduled for free agency and was recently touted by former Rams personnel man Tony Softli. Joseph is dramatically overrated, and stats show that Tampa's run game actually improved when he was out with an injury.
- Cowboys G Kyle Kosier is 33, but he did rank among the top 20 in pass protection.
- Chris Chester of the Ravens did not make either list. Douglas talked a little about Chester in this post.