Wednesday, 01 June 2011 12:33
New Orleans Saints: NFL’s Best Offensive Lineman?
Written by 

New Orleans SaintsIt's a question to which you'll get a variety of answers depending who you ask. Some will say Nick Mangold while others will look at blindside protectors like Jake Long and Joe Thomas. There will even be guys like Brian Balldinger, a former NFL lineman and now a TV analyst for NFL game, who picks 2009's dominant guard Jahri Evans of the Saints.

"All are worthy choices," says Khaled Elsayed of, who keeps statistics on every NFL player, game and play, "when you're at who is the best offensive lineman in the NFL, and for many different reasons. While I wouldn't argue against any of those, I think one guy needs his name added to that list after three seasons of top-notch play that has seen continual improvment."

Carl Nicks.

Fresh off a superb season, the Saints guard made the Pro Bowl squad (though not as a starter) and was criminally overlooked on the All-Pro team. According to Elsayed, Nicks was the highest positioned offensive lineman on his 101- players- of -the- year list, and the talent detective will tell you why he thinks Nicks is better than anyone appears to give him credit for.

Here's Elsayed's story about living in the shadows:

"Back in 2009 there was a guard that really stood out above all others. He was a punishing run blocker who made the kind of blocks that get connoisseurs of offensive line play salivating. His performance was so good that his Pro Football Focus run blocking grade was a full +9.4 points above the next best guard in the league. So good  that he earned end -of-the season awards. So good that he earned the largest contact ever handed out to an interior offensive lineman.

"I am of course talking about Jahri Evans. The Saints' right guard built on a very good 2008 to establish himself as the league's premier guard a year later."

Few of us really focus on linemen until they get penalized.

"The only problem is he wasn't quite as good in 2010." said Elsayed. "He still demonstrated the ability we've come to know, but there were more lapses. Six more penalties and more lost match-ups, with guys Brandon Mebane and Derek Landri getting the better of him. It wasn't a terrible season, but it wasn't what we had come to know, didn't live up to the contract, and didn't warrant the Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors that came his way."

But just a few feet to his left on the Saints line was a guy who was deserving, but with the focus on Evans, fans just didn't know how good of player Nicks had become.

Nicks' performance wasn't a bolt from the blue. It wasn't like the shock emergence of Brando Lloyd because Nicks has always produced.. In 2008, he had finished with the 14th highest grade of all guards, a full +26 points ahead of Evans (using the same grading system that had Evans the top guard in 2009) and in 2009 had jumped up to fourth place with a noticeable improvement in his run blocking. Sure, he  had been upstaged  by Evans as the Saints won their Super Bowl, but that season was still among the elite.

He carried the elite play into 2010, kicking the season off in fine fashion. While his teammates (including Evans) were having trouble with Kevin Williams, Nicks was getting the better of the normally stout Pat Williams for most of the game. (the Williams linemen of the Vikings and the Saints' Will Smith) will sit out four games of the 2011 season in the Starcaps" suspension).

What was incredible about Nicks is just how many key blocks he made. reviewed the grades on every play, and Nicks rated just behind Logan Mankins (who played fewer snaps) with an incredible 17.66 per cent of his run blocking plays resulting in a positive mark

Elsayed ranks the NFL's top 5 guards like this: 1) Logan Mankins  2) Carl Nicks 3) Chilo Rachal  4) Ryan Lilja 5) Jahri Evans.



Ed Staton

by Ed Staton

Order LSU jerseys at Louisiana Sports








Login to post comments
  • Despite 5th plea, Schiff says House Intelligence Committee pursues Flynn's documents
  • Facebook Live: Discuss harm of Trump budget proposal on Louisiana coastal economy, restoration
  • Governor Edwards welcomes Pence with Medicaid, budget, Louisiana coast wishlist
  • World Premiere tonight in N.O. Bilderberg, the Movie

flynn2Despite General Michael Flynn’s announcement via his counsel that the General and former head of National Security, would take the 5th Amendment in Congressional proceedings, the Intelligence Committee will pursue information, regardless.

Read More

560 usgs land loss map 2The efforts to rebuild the Louisiana coast has suffered a major and immediate setback, assuming that Congress goes along with the most recent budget proposal from President Trump.

Read More

penceToday, Governor John Bel Edwards welcomed Vice President Mike Pence to Louisiana as he Veep is attending a event with top Louisianqa Republican officials. Along with the welcome, however, is a wishlist of requests including an item of recent vinctage involving the current Trump budget which tears a hole into the funding for the Louisiana coastal restoration. 

Read More

bilderbergIt is always an honor when a movie premiere is held in New Orleans and tonight is no exception. At 7:30 p.m. Bilderberg, the Movie will premiere at the historic Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania Street.

Read More


Sen. Appel talks budget, economy


Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1