Pro Football Weekly's 2018 Offensive Guard rankings

Osemele still leads pack, while DeCastro and Turner move up and Norwell makes debut

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Pro Football Weekly’s player rankings are compiled with the help of NFL evaluators and coaches, with input from the entire PFW staff. Players are ranked on their performances to date at positions they’ve played and are not projected at new positions which they might move. Rookies are not included in the rankings. NFL personnel participated on condition of anonymity.

We continue our player ratings with PFW’s top 10 guards. For the full rankings (1-21) and player ratings for every position, along with team-by-team season previews, get our Pro Football Weekly NFL Preview Magazine on newsstands now and online.

1. Kelechi Osemele, Raiders

At 6-5, 333 pounds, Osemele can dominate at guard or tackle, but it is at guard where he has become arguably the best offensive lineman in the league. Osemele is as dominant a run blocker as there is in the game today, and he also excels in pass protection, as evidenced by the Raiders allowing the fewest sacks in the NFL in 2016. He had a huge breakout season for the Baltimore Ravens in '15, when he was one of the best blockers in the NFL, and parlayed it into a $58.5-million free-agent deal in Oakland two years ago. The Raiders took a step back up front last season, but it was hardly the fault of Osemele, a two-time Pro Bowler, first-team All Pro in ’16 and Super Bowl XLVII champion.

2. David DeCastro, Steelers

DeCastro was a first-team All Pro in 2015 and 2017, second-team All Pro in between, and he has been to the past three Pro Bowls. DeCastro was one of the highest-rated guards in decades coming out of Stanford six years ago. He missed all but four games his rookie year with a preseason ACL injury, but he became a full-time starter in 2013, quickly developing into one of the top guards in the game. He is equally adept at run blocking and in pass protection, and at 6-5, 310 pounds, he’s a mauler inside who gets to the second level with ease.

3. Zack Martin, Cowboys

At 6-4, 310 pounds, Martin is pretty much the prototypical NFL guard, after being a tackle throughout his career at Notre Dame, where he started 52 games. The move to guard obviously suits him, as Martin has been a Pro Bowler all four seasons he’s been in the league, and was first-team All Pro in 2014 and 2016 and second-team All Pro in ’15 and last season. Thanks in part to his collegiate experience at left tackle, Martin is an accomplished pass protector inside, but he is still improving in the ground game.

4. Andrew Norwell, Jaguars

Norwell is the only newcomer among our top eight offensive guards, courtesy of a monster 2017 season, in which he was voted a first-team All Pro and signed a free-agent mega deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His new $66.5 million deal ($30 million guaranteed) makes Norwell the second-highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL, behind only Nate Solder. Originally an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State, Norwell made the Panthers' roster out of camp in 2014, and by Week Seven, he was in the starting lineup at left guard. At 6-6, 325 pounds, he is an extremely physical brawler who surprises with outstanding technique.

5. Trai Turner, Panthers

Although former All Pro C Ryan Kalil has struggled with injuries, the Panthers hope a return to health for him, in addition to the superb contributions of Turner, will continue to resuscitate a Carolina offensive line that was much improved in 2017. Turner became a Pro Bowler in 2015, just his second NFL season, and was a huge reason for the dramatic improvement in the Panthers' offense. In spite of the team’s collapse in 2016, Turner was a Pro Bowler again, and has become one of the most consistent guards in the game. He is 6-3, 320 pounds, and will only be 25 as he enters his 5th NFL season.

6. Marshal Yanda, Ravens

Yanda was limited to a career-low two games last season, when a fractured left ankle ended his season in Week Two. Yanda (6-3, 308 pounds) is small-ish by today’s NFL guard standards, but he is a devastating run blocker who is durable, consistent and tough as nails. He’s been named to six Pro Bowls and was a first-team All Pro in 2014 and 2015 and second-team All Pro in 2011, 2012 and 2016. The Ravens' offense spins around the inside run game a good deal of the time with Yanda leading the way with his great natural strength, and he is also extremely effective in pass protection, playing with outstanding technique.

7. Kyle Long, Bears

This ranking is too high for a player who started just eight games in 2016 and nine games last season. But he was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three years in the league (2013-15), named second-team All Pro in 2014 and was recognized as the best natural athlete at his position, where he was already considered by some to be the NFL's best, until the injury bug started to bite two years ago. Long had three different surgeries this past offseason, but if he is healthy again, he is a freak of an athlete for a 6-6, 320-pound man. He will turn 30 in December, but prior to his recent run of injuries, Long had minimal wear and tear on his body, after playing just a handful of games in college and only 63 over the last five seasons.

8. Larry Warford, Saints

Warford came into the league the same year as Long, although far less heralded as a third-round pick of the Lions out of Kentucky, and he is more of a throwback at the position, standing just 6-3 and weighing 317 pounds. He has been durable enough, playing 16, 13, 13, 15 and 14 games, respectively, over his five seasons. Warford left Detroit via 2016 free agency to sign with the Saints and earned his first Pro Bowl trip last season, when he clogged the middle for Drew Brees and opened up huge holes for the league's most dynamic rushing attack.

9. Brandon Brooks, Eagles

A massive inside presence at 6-5, 335 pounds, Brooks' breakout campaign came last season, when he earned both his first Pro Bowl trip and a Super Bowl ring. Brooks has played both left and right guard but spends most of his time on the right side, where he is most at home as a human bullzoder in the run game. Brooks spent his first four seasons in Houston, then signed a free-agent deal with the Eagles in 2016.

10. Brandon Scherff, Washington

Scherff earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl trip last season, even though at 6-5, 325 pounds, he is built more like a right tackle than a guard. But he has stepped in at guard next to Trent Williams to help form a nearly impenetrable left side. Washington surprised a lot of people when they used the fifth pick in the 2015 draft on Scherff, a tackle out of Iowa who quickly moved inside. His club left DE Leonard Williams and RB Todd Gurley, to name a few, on the board, but Scherff's strong play has helped validate Washington's decision.

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