Packers: Justin McCray’s bright future predicted in interior line rankings
A preview of the interior offensive line positions headed into the 2018 season.
The interior line positions rarely get the attention that most other positions receive, but they are incredibly important to the stability of an NFL franchise.
The NFL is evolving in terms of how defenses approach getting to the quarterback. Teams are beginning to learn that even if you don’t have a Von Miller type pass rusher on the outside, you can still pressure the quarterback through the inside, which is increasing the importance of interior linemen.
In today’s game, 4-3 defensive schemes are far more popular than 3-4 schemes, as well. This adds more pressure on the interior, hence creating more importance at the guard and center positions.
Teams are realizing these changes, which is why premier interior offensive linemen such as Andrew Norwell and Weston Richburg have been able to cash in during free agency recently. I think it is a fair argument to make that having a premier center is just as important as having a top offensive tackle, given the intelligence that comes with that position, as they are the quarterback of the offensive line.
Guards also come with great value. Teams that have spent high draft picks on running backs recently have made sure they are stable at the guard position. Just look at Jacksonville. After drafting Leonard Fournette in 2017, they signed Andrew Norwell an offseason later.
Guards and centers also come with more athletic value than they did 25-30 years ago, due to the increased use of screen passes in today’s NFL. Offensive linemen are stronger and faster than they were years ago, and this has helped offensive lines have more versatility.
Anyway’s, let’s get this going.