The football analytics website Pro Football Focus has named its top offensive lineman for 2018, an honor it calls the Bruce Matthews Award. It is Kansas City Chiefs starting right tackle Mitch Schwartz, who was also named a first-team All-Pro for his 2018 campaign.
You may find the full announcement from PFF here.
PFF: Kansas City Chiefs‘ right tackle Mitchell Schwartz was the league’s top offensive lineman in 2018, as he was consistently dominant against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL. The fact that he plays right tackle and not left just means he gets to face better pass-rushers like Von Miller more. By season’s end, Schwartz was one of only three tackles with a top-10 pass-blocking grade and a top-10 run blocking grade (Joe Staley and Andrew Whitworth were the others).
Schwartz is the poster boy for offensive line development in the NFL. He allowed 11 sacks and 65 total pressures his second season in the league as the right tackle for the Browns. By his fourth season in the league, he cut those numbers down to three sacks and 43 pressures.
The article goes on to note that Schwartz allowed only 23 pressures on quarterback Patrick Mahomes all season, including six games without a pressure and two total to the Denver Broncos, who boast one of the best outside linebackers in the league in Von Miller.
Being a member of the offensive line is a thankless position, but as the PFF article notes, that is especially the case on the right side of the line. The NFL’s flawed system kept Schwartz out of the Pro Bowl (as of right now—he’s an alternate).
In a world in which the best ability is availability, Schwartz has that covered, too. The 29-year-old has yet to miss a snap in his seven-game career, and if you pay close attention, he stays in for games like the Week 17 Mahomes debut last year and when players are removed because the result is all but determined.
Schwartz signed a five-year contract worth $33 million with the Chiefs back in 2016 and won’t become a free agent until 2021, but if there is anybody who deserves a pay raise given the value he provides (PFF called the deal arguably the most team-friendly deal in the NFL), it’s Schwartz.