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OAYP: 2019 SEC Offensive Line Rankings

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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The new OAYP advanced metric ranks the SEC's returning offensive linemen.

In case you missed it, I’ve already released the marginal OAYP rankings for all the qualifying SEC skill players. Those, along with a more comprehensive explanation, can be found here:

-Quarterbacks
-Running Backs
-Receivers
-Tight Ends

Today, we’re diving into the offensive linemen. Now, simply because of the sheer volume of qualifying returnees, I won’t list all 40+ individuals, rather the projected offensive line totals for each school. Those obviously include returning starters, but also factor in projections for new starters and team pedigree.

However, before we get to that, let’s tier some of the SEC’s blockers, just like we did with the skill players, into superstars (marginal OAYP >1) and second tier (marginal OAYP between 0.5-1) players. I’ll also list the top five at each position above the team projections.

*marginal OAYP scores in parentheses*

Superstars

-Andrew Thomas, T, Georgia (3.11)
-Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia (1.4)
-Tre'Vour Wallace-Simms, G, Missouri (1.39)
-Alex Leatherwood, G, Alabama (1.06)
-Prince Tega-Wanogho, T, Auburn (1.02)

It should come as no surprise to see two Georgia Bulldogs at the top. Sam Pittman’s offensive line was a finalist for the 2018 Joe Moore Award, given annually to college football’s best group of blockers. Oklahoma ended up winning, but the Sooners return only one starter from that unit, and Alabama, the other finalist, lost three starters. Georgia only lost one. Kindley was quietly one of the best guards in the league in 2018, not allowing a single sack in the regular season. However, Thomas is the name to know. He might have been the best tackle in the country already, when healthy. Now that all of his closest competitors are off to the NFL, it’s safe to assume he’ll be the best, hands down, in 2019.

Wallace-Simms has been a bastion of consistency for Missouri for a couple of years now, and earned first team All-Conference honors from the media for his efforts. He helped the Tigers to a top 20 ranking in line yards per carry and opportunity rate, and the top ten in allowed stuff rate and sack rate, respectively.

Leatherwood is an interesting case because, based on how highly touted he was out of high school, he can sometimes leave one wanting more. Yet, at the same time, when he’s at his best, there are only a couple of offensive linemen that are in the same class as he is, athletically. He was arguably playing out of position at guard, and could be in a more favorable scenario as he takes over for Jonah Williams at left tackle, so the sky 's the limit in 2019.

There wasn’t a lot to like about Auburn’s offense in 2018, and the offensive line was a big reason why. One bright spot, though, was Prince Tega-Wanogho, who allowed just two combined sacks and hits in pass protection. With Tega-Wanogho leading the way, and all five starters coming back, Auburn’s new signal caller, whoever it ends up being, ought to be in a far more fortuitous situation.

Second Tier

-Jedrick Willis, T, Alabama (0.89)
-Isaiah Wilson, T, Georgia (0.61)
-Yasir Durant, T, Missouri (0.6)

You might be starting to notice a trend here. The three best offensive lines in the SEC last season were Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri. The reason those were the three best was because they had good offensive linemen. Some of those good offensive linemen are back. That means those teams will, in all likelihood, continue to have very good offensive lines.

Willis is the only returnee for the Tide that is still working at the position he played in 2018, and, though not as highly touted as Leatherwood was out of high school, should be the leader of that group. Wilson, a mountain of a man, will once again man the right tackle spot for what will be the most formidable offensive line in the country. Durant, meanwhile, is the prototype for the position, and play his way into a comfortable day two draft spot with another solid campaign.

Top 5 Tackles

1. Andrew Thomas, Georgia (3.11)
2. Prince Tega-Wanogho, Auburn (1.02)
3. Jedrick Willis, Alabama (0.89)
4. Isaiah Wilson, Georgia (0.61)
5. Yasir Durant, Missouri (0.6)

Obviously, as mentioned above, Alex Leatherwood is sliding to left tackle which would alter these rankings, but I’m going to leave him at guard for these purposes since that’s where he earned his OAYP score a year ago.

Top 5 Guards

1. Solomon Kindley, Georgia (1.4)
2. Tre'Vour Wallace-Simms, Missouri (1.39)
3. Alex Leatherwood, Alabama (1.06)
4. Darryl Williams, Mississippi State (0.46)
5. Damien Lewis, LSU (0.28)

Top 5 Centers

1. Donell Stanley, South Carolina (0.49)
2. Trystan Colon-Castillo, Missouri (0.39)
3. Nick Buchanan, Florida (0.28)
4. Drake Jackson, Kentucky (0.04)
5. Kaleb Kim, Auburn (0.04)

2019 Projected Marginal OAYP SEC Offensive Line Rankings

1. Georgia 6.3
2. Alabama 3.24
3. Missouri 2.67
4. Mississippi State 1.53
5. Auburn 1.15
6. Florida -0.37
7. LSU -0.55
8. South Carolina -0.61
9. Kentucky -0.67
10. Ole Miss -1.35
11. Texas A&M -1.54
12. Vanderbilt -2.02
13. Arkansas -3.02
14. Tennessee -4.81

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP