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Today we will wrap up the NFC North Position rankings for the offense with the big guys up front that try their best to help their running game and keep their Quarterback upright. The NFC North division features some of the league's best offensive linemen, but which team has the best unit, and where do the Detroit Lions rank as we enter the 2023 NFL season?
Ranking NFC North Offensive Linemen
Number Four: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings had one player on their offensive line finish in the top ten in run block win rate, which was Christian Darrisaw, who finished with an 81%, and they had one player finish in the top ten pass block win rate, and Brian O'Neill and he finished with a 95%.
The Vikings will need to do a better job at protecting Kirk Cousins with the speed they have on the outside with their wide receivers; they need him to have time to get the ball to his playmakers; last season, they finished 25th in the league in sacks allowed with 47, and they also finished 28th in rushing yards last year which is a bad look for this line because they had a talented running back in Dalvin Cook, now Alexander Mattison is in the backfield. They will need to do a better job of giving him holes so he can break big runs.
Number Three: Green Bay Packers
The Packers feature one of the best offensive linemen in the game in David Bakhtiari, and he also proved it last season, finishing second in pass block win rate with 95%, which finished second for tackles. The Packers' offensive line will also feature Elgton Jenkins and Jon Runyan; Jenkins was selected by the Packers 44th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, and Runyan was selected 192nd overall by the Packers in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Packers have two talented backs that this offensive line will need to create lanes for and continue protecting their Quarterback, which will be Jordan Love this year. Last season they allowed only 32 sacks which put them at seventh in the league for the least amount, and that was partly without Bakhtiari as he was hurt; now he is healthy and ready to go for 2023.
Number Two: Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears offensive line is a young group that features Darnell Wright, who they drafted tenth overall out of Tennessee as well as Braxton Jones and Cody Whitehair, who both finished in the top ten last season in pass block win rate, with Jones finishing at 93% and Whitehair finished at 96%. Whitehair also finished in the top three in run block win rate at 77%.
The Bears will need their offensive line to be better at allowing sacks, as they ranked 29th in the league in sacks allowed with 58. However, the Bears finished first in the league in rushing yards, and that's a compliment to their offensive line that allowed lanes for their running backs or even Justin Fields. This season they will need to be better at protecting Fields and allowing him time in the pocket, as he has the talent around him to make the Bears good; they will need similar numbers from Whitehair and Jones and will require Darnell Wright to block as he did for Hendon Hooker at Tennessee last year.
Number One: Detroit Lions
The Lions have two players on their offensive line that finished in the top ten last season for block win rate in Graham Glasgow and Frank Ragnow, who both finished the season at 72%, finishing tied for fifth in the league. They also brought back all their starters from last season's team and added depth to it; Taylor Decker even mentioned that they have enough talent for three offensive lines.
The Lions finished last season 11th in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns, mostly from Jamaal Williams, due to their offensive line and the blocking they allowed their backs to get to create big plays. The Lions' offensive line also finished second in the league in sacks allowed last season with 24, which allowed Jared Goff time in the pocket to make plays, and with this unit being the same and with the depth they have, you can expect the same from this unit this season as well.
Bottom Line: Offensive Line will be essential to NFC North Champion
The story of this season for all the NFC North offenses will be who can record the most rushing yards and be sacked the least; the team that can do both will most likely win the division. There is a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball; the most significant part of it being successful, though, is the blocking and allowing the play to create, which right now, the Detroit Lions seem to have the players to do and have the most talent on their roster at the offensive line.
Teams two thru four could flip-flop all season, but you saw the Bears have success last season running the ball, and they will look to flip things around for their franchise and do that same thing this season.