Neal, Mangold offer inside pass protection

March, 4, 2010
3/04/10
1:16
PM ET
In examining how effectively every NFL offensive lineman pass blocks, ProFootballFocus.com analyst Khaled Elsayed didn't limit himself to the tackles.

On Wednesday, we took a gander at Elsayed's research on the ultimate pass-protectors. The AFC East featured three of 2009's best tackles in a metric called "pass blocking productivity" of every offensive lineman.

[+] EnlargeStephen Neal
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesPotential free-agent-to-be Stephen Neal was ranked as the fourth-best guard at pass-protecting.
ProFootballFocus.com devised a formula that essentially takes the number of sacks and quarterback hits allowed plus pressures and divides them by the number of pass plays.

Elsayed also applied that equation to the interior linemen. AFC East grunts excelled there, too.

Buffalo Bills

Geoff Hangartner came in last at center, but he was flanked by rookie guards in 2009. ProFootballFocus.com had Hangartner down for three sacks, four QB hits and 17 pressures.

Those rookies, Andy Levitre and Eric Wood, graded well.

Levitre was in the middle of the left guard pack. He allowed two sacks, nine QB hits and 11 pressures. Wood was farther down the list among right guards. In 10 games he gave up three sacks, two QB hits and a dozen pressures.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins had two centers in the top nine. Usual starter Jake Grove was ninth (zero sacks, one QB hit, seven pressures), while injury replacement Joe Berger was fifth (zero sack, one QB hit, four pressures).

Justin Smiley was ninth among left guards with three sacks, five QB hits and eight pressures. Nate Garner was second in limited action on the right side. He was blamed for only one sack, two QB hits and two pressures.

New England Patriots

Stephen Neal ranked fourth among all guards. ProFootballFocus.com charged him with two sacks, one QB hit and seven pressures.

Logan Mankins ranked 13th among all guards and sixth among left guards. Mankins yielded two sacks, three QB hits and 13 pressures.

Dan Koppen, however, was in the lower third at center, ranking eighth from the bottom. He allowed zero sacks, but had eight QB hits and 10 pressures.

New York Jets

Perennial Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca was way down the list. A dozen left guards had a worse PBP rating, but only two yielded more sacks than Faneca did. He was charged with six sacks, two QB hits and 15 pressures.

Brandon Moore was ninth among all guards and sixth on the right side with one sack, two QB hits and eight pressures.

Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold ranked fourth at his position. He gave up one sack, two QB hits and five pressures.

Elsayed was kind enough to share the spreadsheet he used to track these stats, and with a few clicks of the mouse I was able to merge all of the positions and sort them by PBP rating. Obviously, centers and guards were the most efficient because they're not victimized by pass-rushers as much.

Mangold ranked highest among all AFC East O-linemen at sixth overall. Berger was seventh and Garner ninth. Neal was 12th, Grove was 15th and Moore was 27th.

Bills left tackle Demetrius Bell ranked last among all NFL offensive linemen in PBP rating.

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