Center Rodney Hudson and Guard Kelechi Osemele
One could make the argument that the Oakland Raiders offensive line was the core foundation behind the team's success in 2016. With protection in the pocket, quarterback Derek Carr was able to orchestrate the offense and keep the ball moving down field on a regular basis, en route to a 12-4 record in the regular season
The Silver and Black's offensive line features three Pro Bowl selections: left tackle Donald Penn, left guard Kelechi Osemele, and center Rodney Hudson, all of whom contributed to the league's lowest sack total in 2016 (18).
It was consistent performances all year long that earned the group Pro Football Focus' ranking as the fourth-best offensive line in the NFL. Not only were they consistent, but they were versatile, as they were forced to readjust and battle through a variety of injuries at the right tackle position.
Here's a breakdown of their evaluation:
Top overall grade: C Rodney Hudson, 88.7 (No. 4)
Top pass-blocking grade: C Rodney Hudson, 90.0 (No. 2)
Top run-blocking grade: LT Donald Penn, 88.3 (No. 3)
"Teams all try and build through the draft, but the Raiders have shown that if you have the spending money, you may be better off shooting for proven commodities when it comes to the offensive line—such is the strike rate of linemen coming into the NFL from the college game. Only Gabe Jackson among the starting five on this line was drafted by the Raiders, but he has been outshone by free-agent imports in the shape of LT Donald Penn, LG Kelechi Osemele, and C Rodney Hudson," wrote PFF.
"Osemele, in particular, was a monster this season, and was narrowly edged onto PFF's All-Pro second team by his former teammate Marshal Yanda—the league's best guard. If not for the injury problems Oakland has experienced all season at right tackle, the Raiders would likely be higher on the list. Oakland has used four different players at RT for extended snaps; those players have combined to surrender seven sacks and 15 penalties."
While "K.O." and Gabe Jackson were a force to be reckoned with a majority of the time, PFF paid close attention to the production and efficiency of Hudson and Penn. The collective effort from the front line also led the league in least amount of quarterback hits (41).
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