Pro Football Focus also did a three-year look back at offensive lineman. Nicks #6, Grubbs #14, and Evans #15 rounded out the “Top Dogs.” It should be noted that all three made the Pro Bowl this year.
As an overall offensive unit, Pro Football Outsiders ranked New Orleans #1 in run blocking and #3 in pass protection. The Ravens were #6 in run blocking and #12 in pass protection.
This ranking is based on the offensive line’s effect on a play and differentiates the unit play from the running back by adjusting for yards gained. (Lost yardage from the line of scrimmage are ascribable to the O Line; whereas yardage gained of 5-10 is ascribed to the running back).
It has long been a concern for fans when a particular star player like Nicks leaves the fold. However, it is my humble opinion that the sum of offensive line and its interplay with the quarterback is greater than the individual player.
As can be seen from the above, Nicks is a dominant player. However, the ability of the QB to get a ball out in 3 seconds augments the O Line as a unit, and the ability to work together as a unit can offset the loss of an individual star player.