Perhaps It’s Time for Offensive Linemen to Not Be So Large

October 22, 2008 – 11:54 am by TheRiot

Oh, Tony Mandarich, what did you start? Well, we don’t know exactly when it started. But we do know that for as long as we can remember the key statistic for an offensive lineman has been weight, plain and simple. Other things like height and wingspan have become important recently, but pure size has always been the big factor.

You might recall Mandarich, all ‘roided up and what not, was hailed as the best offensive line prospect EVAR coming out of Michigan State, at 6-foot-6, 315 pounds. Just think, the Packers selected him second overall in 1989, one behind Troy Aikman and one ahead of Barry Sanders. Which isn’t something Packers fans are bitter about at all. Nope, no anger here.

Anyway, for the longest time it’s been practically mandatory that an offensive lineman be 300 lbs. or more. All the while elite pass rushers are lean, quick and often super-athletic players that can just blow past a big, slow right tackle.

Thinking along those lines, we ran across an interesting story that posed this question: Is it time for offensive lineman to get smaller, quicker and more agile to better protect quarterbacks from guys like Dwight Freeney or Julius Peppers?

We’re not sure what to make of the theory, but it does make some sense. What good is a 340-pound lineman if Justin Tuck can run right past him before he gets out of his stance?

We all know that in the NFL speed rules. It’s all we can talk about come draft time. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay can’t get enough of it. So maybe offensive linemen should lay off the carbs to keep up. Maybe.

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