With the 2018 NFL season just weeks away, it’s a good time to take a look at which offensive linemen are poised to step up their game this season and whether they’ll be able to be counted on to keep things in check for a top-five defense.
As a result, here are some key offensive linemen who could see their roles grow in 2018:T.J. Clemmings, QB, Washington RedskinsThe offensive lineman who won the 2015 Pro Bowl, Clemming is one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
He leads the NFL with 17 touchdowns, but his biggest weapon is his ability to run.
Last year, he led the NFL in rushing attempts (1,738) and completion percentage (73.4).
In addition, Clemsings is one the best players in the NFL when it comes to protecting the football.
Last season, he recorded six sacks, seven quarterback hits, and four hurries on the year.
While Clemses game is not as polished as that of many of the other linemen in the top-tier of the NFL, his production and ability to handle the workload are just as impressive.
He is a perfect fit for the Redskins, who already have a proven run game in the secondary.
If you’re looking for a QB who can make you pay, Clemens is a good candidate.
Clemses top pass rushing target is linebacker D.J.-J.
He was second on the team with 5.5 sacks last season, and he was the NFL Defensive Player of the Week for Week 4 with a 10.5-sack effort against the Titans.
In 2018, Swearings will be facing a Washington defense that was ranked 28th in total defense, 27th in passing defense, and 23rd in rushing defense.
While the Redskins had the best pass defense in the AFC, they also had the NFL’s No. 4 rushing defense (29.3 yards per carry).
With a new defensive coordinator in John Pagano, the Redskins will be relying on Swearing to keep the run game going.
With the pass defense having been bolstered by free agency signings, the Washington pass rush should have some major changes this season.
If Clemenses run is the main focus of his game, Swears is a player who can play in any scheme.
The rookie has been used mostly in a 3-4 defensive end role, but he has also shown the ability to play multiple spots.
If the Redskins want to maximize his effectiveness in 2018, they’ll need to be patient with him.
The Redskins offensive line has been one of their best in years.
The team has only allowed five sacks on the season, including a season-high five in Week 3 against the Rams.
They are a team that is well-equipped to help Clemens play a more dynamic role.
If Swears does continue to show the same dominance he did in 2017, he’ll have a lot of opportunities to thrive.
If not, he will be expected to step into a starting role with the team.
The Seahawks have a strong defense, but it’s unlikely they’ll have the same success as the Redskins if Clems plays as well as he did last season.
The Seahawks also have some of the league’s best pass rushers in DeShawn Shead and Chris Clemons, but both of them have the ability for the run as well.
The Ravens have had a tough time finding a pass rusher capable of competing with the likes of Clemens, Swearing, and Shead.
But that’s not stopping them from looking for one in 2018.
They have a number of options to work with.
With the arrival of free agency additions, the Ravens will have to rely on a number to bring back the success they had last season with the pass rush.
With one of this year’s top pass risers in Derrick Shelby, they could be a contender in 2018 with a strong run game.
Shelby is a true “number one” in the division and is one to watch.
The Rams will likely rely on the addition of a pass riser this offseason, but they should also look to find another option in the form of another strong pass rusher in Justin Ellis.
Ellis was the first overall pick in the 2018 draft and will be a great complement to Clemens.
Ellis, like Shelby, is a free agent and has shown the potential to be a star in the CFL.
He has the size and length to be an effective pass rusher, but has yet to be able fit the scheme that the Rams have been playing with in recent years.
If Ellis is able to become a better pass rusher this season, the Rams could be in for some success.
The Steelers have struggled to find a pass rush in the past few years, but their best pass rusher is still Chris Harris Jr., who is in the prime of his career.
Harris has recorded three sacks and six quarterback hits in two seasons with the Steelers.