Tuesday the offseason officially ends for several teams across the league, with the rookies of several teams reporting for training camp. Those teams include the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, along with a half dozen others. Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks, in spite of being afforded the opportunity to have rookies report for camp this week have opted to have both rookies and veterans report next Tuesday, July 25th.
As teams across the league see their players arrive for camp, it brings about the end of the doldrums of summer in terms of the NFL news cycle. That will mean, at least in part, the flood of offseason rankings and ratings that have been so prevalent in recent weeks will slowly be replaced by actual news and the optimism of training camp reports. However, before filing the last of those summer ranking away, outlets, such as Pro Football Focus are sliding in a final wave of offseason rankings prior to fans getting to see actual on-field action.
In one of these last rankings, PFF put pen to paper to rank the top 32 tackles across the league, and just a single tackle from the NFC West making the cut. Not only did just a single tackle from the division make the list of the top 32 tackles, he managed to occupy the top overall spot, with the next 31 spots filled by players from other divisions.
1. Trent Williams— PFF (@PFF) July 15, 2023
32. Jermaine Eluemunor
The Top-32 offensive tackles headed into next seasonhttps://t.co/qckyZODK75
Failing to crack the top half of starting tackles in the league were the bookend second year Seahawks Charles Cross and Abe Lucas. Both Cross and Lucas held up well playing the overwhelming majority of snaps for the Hawks at the tackle spot, however, both struggled at times during the second half of the season as opponents gained film on their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the tendencies of the Seattle offense. Specifically, Cross allowed four or more pressures just five times during the season, but three of those four occasions came in Week 9 or later. Similarly for Lucas, both of the games in which he surrendered a pair of sacks came down the stretch after the Week 11 bye.
As has been shown by multiple research outlets through the years, struggles - especially during the second half of the season - for rookie offensive linemen are to be expected and not necessarily a cause for concern. The 2023 season will give Cross and Lucas a chance to show what they can do after an offseason of both rest and work, while also giving the pair the opportunity to build on their promising rookie seasons, while likely getting the opportunity to mentor youngsters Anthony Bradford and Olu Oluwatimi on the interior.
Amusingly, none of the tackles for either the Los Angeles Rams or the Arizona Cardinals made the top 32, in spite of the fact that both the Rams and Cards pay their starting left tackle about as much as the entire projected starting offensive line for Seattle makes combined. For those curious about the numbers, the Seahawks projected starting five of Cross, Damien Lewis, Evan Brown and Lucas have combined 2023 cap hits of $15,609,594 per OverTheCap.com. Meanwhile, the Cardinals pay their starting left tackle D.J. Humphries $17M per year, while the Rams left tackle Joe Noteboom is signed to a three year contract that pays him $13.33M per year.
Interestingly, former 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey, who signed with the Denver Broncos as a free agent this offseason came in at the 21 spot on the list. That pairs McGlinchey with Garett Bolles, who ranked 23 on the list, and gives Denver a pair of top half tackles to protect former Seahawks signal caller Russell Wilson in his second season with the Broncos and his first under new head coach Sean Payton.
In any case, while neither Cross nor Lucas made the top 32 tackle list for PFF this summer, given the development they showed over the course of their rookie season, adding another year of starting experience and work on their technique and skills, it would be a surprise if the duo doesn’t make such a list come training camp in 2024.