The NY Jets' offensive line is starting to make strides after a difficult start to the 2023 season, and rookie offensive guard Joe Tippmann is a large reason for that.
The Jets didn't plan for Tippmann to play this season. He entered the year as a developmental backup center behind Connor McGovern, but following an injury to left tackle Duane Brown, the Jets were forced to shift their offensive line room around.
In fact, if not for an injury to veteran Wes Schweitzer in practice, Tippmann wouldn't even have been in the starting lineup. Now, two weeks later, he's essentially irreplaceable.
Tippmann graded out as the Jets' best offensive lineman in their Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, per Pro Football Focus. He's led the team in PFF run-block grade in each of his two starts thus far.
Tippmann isn't just playing like arguably the best offensive lineman on his own team, however. His performance ranks among the best guards in football.
NY Jets rookie Joe Tippmann is playing at a Pro Bowl level
Among offensive guards with at least 120 snaps played, Tippmann's 76.6 PFF grade ranks fourth-best in the NFL. His 80.1 pass-block grade ranks fifth, while his 76.5 run-block grade ranks sixth.
He's legitimately playing at a Pro Bowl level. The only three guards with higher PFF grades through four weeks have been Cowboys standout Tyler Smith, Falcons Pro Bowler Chris Lindstrom, and arguably the best guard in football, Zack Martin.
Tippmann has allowed just one pressure (no QB hits or sacks) on 122 pass-block snaps this season. He's one of only three qualified guards with one or fewer pressures allowed.
It's a small sample size, sure. Tippmann has only played in two games. Still, the results have been obvious. The Jets' offensive line is much better with him on the field. More specifically, the unit is much better with him and Alijah Vera-Tucker controlling the right side.
The Jets may have drafted Tippmann to be their long-term starting center of the future, but he's been outstanding at guard. Perhaps the plan is still for him to take over at center in the future, but right now, the team should have no plans to move him.
The Jets' offensive line is playing well, and they have their rookie second-round pick to thank for that. Joe Douglas found a keeper.