Oklahoma football: Sooner 2017 offensive line best in the business

NORMAN, OK - DECEMBER 3: Quarterback Baker Mayfield
NORMAN, OK - DECEMBER 3: Quarterback Baker Mayfield /
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 plethoraThe skill players on offense — the quarterback, running backs and receivers generally get all the credit when the offense is humming on all cylinders, but truth be told, it’s the big guys upfront in the trenches who make it all happen. The good news for Oklahoma football fans is, the Sooner O-line may be the best in the land this season.

The Sooners certainly have the talent level at the sill positions on offense to generate a plethora of yards and points, but they also have the ultimate difference-maker in a big, strong and, most important, an experienced offensive line.

With the exception of quarterback Baker Mayfield, the offensive line is Oklahoma’s biggest strength heading into the new season.

The Oklahoma starters on the offensive line in 2017 average 6-foot, 5-inches in height and 323 pounds and have combined for almost 100 career starts. In addition to the five starters upfront, three other players have multiple starts on the offensive line for the Sooners.

At 6-foot, 8-inches, 345 pounds, junior Orlando Brown is the anchor of the Sooner O-line, manning the critical left-tackle spot, the position that protects Mayfield’s backside. Brown was a second-team All-American last season and is projected as one of the top offensive linemen to be taken in the 2018 NFL Draft..

At the opposite tackle spot is sophomore Bobby Evans. Evans did not play in the OU opener a year ago, but started all 12 of the Sooners’ remaining games, allowing just two sacks in nearly 600 snaps.

Juniors Ben Powers and Dru Samia man the two guard positions, flanking senior center Erick Wren, who was named earlier this week to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, presented each season to the most outstanding center in college football. The three of them combined yielded only two sacks the entire season.

Senior Jonathan Alvarez, redshirt junior Alex Dalton and redshirt sophomore Cody Ford also have playing-time experience and will see plenty of action in 2017 as part of the rotation.

Phil Steele, popular college-football number cruncher and publisher of the widely followed College Football Preview publication that bears his name, rates the Oklahoma offensive line as the best in the country in 2017, ahead of Alabama, Ohio State, LSU and Clemson. Athlon Sports has the Sooners’ as the second-best offensive line entering the 2017 season behind Alabama.

It really makes little difference whether the Oklahoma offensive line is first, second or even the 10th-best unit in college football. The point is, the Sooners are better than good upfront on offense, and with the offensive firepower they have at their disposal, you can count on Oklahoma winning plenty of games this coming season.