The grades produced by Pro Football Focus might not be to everyone’s liking, but there is no doubt their opinions carry some weight with NFL teams. With all 32 clubs in the league now a subscriber to their services in some form or another, the company has grown rapidly in recent years.
While not all the data PFF produces is released to the public, their controversial grades are, and in an article written by analyst and recent Bachelorette contestant Mike Renner, he ranked every offensive line in the NFL.
Fans may not agree with some of the grades given to the starting unit, but few can argue with the Pittsburgh Steelers overall position on the list at No. 4. As Renner explained.
“2018 marks the third-straight season that the Steelers will have their starting five intact heading into the year. Expectations were ridiculously high for them heading into 2017, but an injury to Marcus Gilbert and uncharacteristic down year from Ramon Foster hampered their effectiveness. Still the entire starting five is 30 years old or younger and capable of recapturing their 2016 form.”
David DeCastro was PFF’s highest graded guard in 2017 and their second highest graded offensive lineman overall after Eagles center Jason Kelce. However, while the grades for Marcus Gilbert and Alejandro Villanueva seem fair given their performances last year, many fans will be surprised by the low grades given to Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncey.
With the contract of Foster set to expire at the end of the year, the 2018 season could be the last time this unit will play together and his departure could be the first of many across the offensive line in the coming years with both Pouncey and Gilbert out of contract after 2019.