NFL Top 10 guards 2011
After reviewing the film from this past season and taking recent history into account, here are the top 10 guards in pro football.
(Last year’s ranking in parenthesis.)
10. Brandon Moore, Jets (NR)
Year in and year out he’s the steadiest player on a perennial top-five offensive line.
9. Brian Waters, Chiefs (NR)
Venerable veteran who can still get to the edge in the run game. One of the savviest all-around blockers in football.
8. Chris Kemoeatu, Steelers (8)
Has unparalleled power and ferocity when it comes to landing blocks in space. And plays with the ferocity you’d expect from a Steeler with long curly black hair.
7. Eric Steinbach, Browns (5)
Was Cleveland’s most impressive lineman in ’10. Can get to virtually any spot on the field.
6. Chris Snee, Giants (7)
Most gritty fist-fighting veterans are that way because they’re compensating for iffy athleticism. This gritty (maybe even nasty) fist-fighting veteran is that way because, well, he just is.
5. Jahri Evans, Saints (1)
Had some uncharacteristic penalty problems last season, but that casts just a sliver of shadow over his uncanny ability to land multiple blocks on a single play.
4. Kris Dielman, Chargers (2)
Tremendous mobility and use of hands make him the game’s preeminent pull-blocker.
3. Carl Nicks, Saints (3)
The best hole-creating run-blocker in football. Moves extremely well, even through messy trenches. Improvements in lateral agility have made him a fine pass-blocker.
2. Logan Mankins, Patriots (NR)
Dominant enough to squabble with the Patriots brass and still earn the admiration of Bill Belichick. Only flaw – and it’s very minor – is consistency in pass protection.
1. Josh Sitton, Packers (NR)
Shows off rare strength in the way he absorbs contact in pass protection. Moves supremely well in the run game and dictates once he locks into a target.
On the cusp:
Steve Hutchinson, Vikings; Ryan Lilja, Chiefs
Dropped from list:
Steve Hutchinson, Vikings (4)
Leonard Davis, Cowboys (6)
Alan Faneca, Cardinals (9)
Ben Grubbs, Ravens (10)
The Vikings no longer make Hutchinson the fulcrum of their run-blocking efforts, and he doesn’t exert great raw power. Davis was awful at times in 2010, especially in pass pro. Faneca recently retired, while Grubbs must cut back on the gaffe plays.
Youngster who could burst onto this list next year:
Mike Iupati, 49ers
It’s a virtual guarantee that the ’10 first-round pick will be top-10 caliber before Halloween. Iupati is already a top-five pulling guard and showed more and more polish each week as a rookie.