Offensive lineman is the most uncelebrated of all positions. Lineman are only noticed by fans when they make a mistake and the quarterback is lying on the ground while the defender celebrates. Although not celebrated, offensive lineman are the heartbeat of an offense, if you don’t have a strong line the offense isn’t likely to have much success. The ideal offensive lineman is best scribed as a “dancing bear” a player with the strength of a bear but the agility of a skill position player. Among the different positions along the line, the primary difference is skill and strength. Players on the inside of the line are more reliant on strength, where as players outside must have more athleticism and can get a way with less brute strength. What else should we look for when evaluating offensive lineman?
Offensive Lineman must be strong, athletic, intelligent, and mountainous
Offensive lineman must be able to push back 250+lb defensive lineman who are rushing at them full speed. They also must be able to overpower defenders in the run game. Lower body strength and have a solid base is critical for players at all positions along the line.
This is an attribute that is more critical for players on the outside of the line (offensive tackles). The ability to kick slide and stay with defenders as they try to turn the edge on the outside. Guards with the ability to get to the second level (linebackers & defensive backs) in the run game are also highly coveted.
Often protection is adjusted right before the play and lineman need to understand the offensive scheme in order to protect the quarterback. This is also important as players need to be able to call the protection on certain plays and read defenses in order to adjust correctly.
Lineman need to be physically imposing figures and have the size and weight to be able to hold their own. Long arms are important as they need to keep defenders from getting into their pads and pushing them into the quarterback. Additionally the ability to stand their ground and not get driven back is critical to providing a clean pocket for the quarterback.