While others debate the best safety tandem, cornerback duo or wide receiver pairing in the NFL, we turn our attention to the interior offensive line to consider which team can claim the league’s best guard combination.
With defenses aiming to generate pressure in the face of the quarterback, guard play has become increasingly important in today’s NFL. These five teams are in great shape when it comes to that.
1. New England Patriots: Joe Thuney and Shaquille Mason
Joe Thuney and Shaquille Mason are the best guard combination in the NFL and at just about $25 million in salary committed to them in 2020, they are paid like it.
The duo complements each other perfectly. Both are secure pass blockers while Thuney is elite at pulling and working in space and Mason is a true road-grader. Thuney and Mason are an underrated component of what makes the Patriots’ offense tick.
2. Las Vegas Raiders: Richie Incognito and Gabe Jackson
Like a fine wine, Richie Incognito is getting better with age. At 36 years old, Incognito signed a two-year extension with the Raiders and continues to perform at a high level. He brings an edge to the offensive line and an exciting blend of power and mobility that leads to impact blocks.
Gabe Jackson has been a starter since the Raiders made him a third-round pick in 2014 and a steady performer. Incognito and Jackson are arguably the best tandem of run blockers in football.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson and Mark Glowinski
Quenton Nelson may have only played two seasons in the NFL but he’s firmly entered the discussion as the best offensive linemen in football. He’s a dominant force at left guard as a run blocker, pass blocker or when he gets chances to hit blocks in space. Nelson is a tone-setter for the Colts’ offense and has been dominant.
While Mark Glowinski doesn’t have the same elite skill set as Nelson, he’s a reliable starter at right guard as part of an overall stout front five in Indianapolis.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo
Brandon Brooks has developed into one of the best offensive linemen and was arguably the best guard last season. Brooks, a starter since his second season (2013) in the league, doesn’t let his opponents sniff the quarterback on passing downs and is an elite blocker as part of the Eagles’ diverse run scheme.
Isaac Seumalo became a full-time starter in 2019 and rewarded Philadelphia with a standout season, looking the part of a long-term fixture.
5. Denver Broncos: Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow
Dalton Risner, a Day 1 starter for the Broncos, claimed the left guard job and was outstanding. He did not allow a sack in 15 of 16 games and was flashy as a run blocker. He should take a big step forward under the direction of offensive line coach Mike Munchak in his sophomore season.
Graham Glasgow recently joined the Broncos on a four-year, $44 million contract after a standout run with the Lions.
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