15 Best NFL Guards of all Time

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In the NFL scene, the position of an offensive guard is often less appreciated compared to other NFL positions. But, there always stands the best NFL guards of all time who, despite the circumstances, shine bright. 

The quarterbacks and the linebackers often take the glorious center stage. However, it’s time for the NFL guards to shine. There were days when people incorporated only the number of games an NFL guard started in their career highlights. 

Gil Brandt. (Source: NFL)
NFL Players (Source: NFL)

However, there are data such as the numbers of passes they protected and run blocking in the game. Therefore, the data mentioned above are valid statistics to consider while selecting the best NFL guards ever. 

In this list, we include the best NFL guards of all time in NFL history. In addition, this list contains the new NFL players as well as the legendary players. 

15 Best NFL Guards of all Time 

Before we dive into the intricate details about the NFL guards, let’s take a look at the overview of the list. The list has been gathered from PFF and NFL

Name of the player Team
1. Larry Allen Dallas Cowboys
2. John Hannah New England Patriots
3. Jim Parker Baltimore Colts
4. Randall McDaniel Minnesota Vikings
5. Bruce Matthews Houston Oilers
6. Joe Delamielleure Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns
7. Larry Little Miami Dolphins
8. Steve Hutchinson Seattle Seahawks
9. Tom Mack Los Angeles Rams
10. Gene Upshaw Oakland Raiders
11. Quenton Nelson Indianapolis Colts
12. Zack Martin Dallas Cowboys
13. Joe Thuney Kansas City Chiefs
14. Joel Bitonio Cleveland Browns
15. Brandon Scherff Washington Football Team

1. Larry Allen

  • Full name: Larry Christopher Allen 
  • Date of birth: November 27, 1971
  • Team: Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers

Larry Allen is a former NFL guard who played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1994 to 2005 and San Francisco 49ers from 2006 to 2007. Standing tall at 6ft and 3 inches and weighing 325 lbs, he is the most outstanding NFL guard in history. 

In his NFL career, he has played a total of 203 games, in which he started a total of 197. He has been a Super Bowl Champion and was awarded the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. 

Larry Allen (Source: Instagram)
Larry Allen (Source: Instagram)

Larry was awarded the First-Team All-Pro seven times and was nominated eleven times. Furthermore, he was honored by the NFL Alumni as the Offensive Lineman of the Year from 1996 to 1999. 

Born in Los Angeles, California, Larry is one of the strongest NFL players of all time.

2. John Hannah

  • Full Name: John Allen Hannah
  • Date of birth: April 4, 1951
  • Team: New England Patriots 

John Hannah, also called Hog by his loved ones, is an NFL guard who played for Patriots from 1973 to 1985. He was awarded the 2nd Most Outstanding Offensive Guard by the Sporting News in the year 1999. 

Hannah weighed 265lb, comparatively lesser than other NFL guards. However, this didn’t deter his motivation to give his best. During his professional career, he has played a total of 183 games and started 183. 

After retirement, he worked for a public school and spent most of his time volunteering for organizations. Currently, he resides in Boston with his wife and two children. 

3. Jim Parker

  • Full Name: James Thomas Parker
  • Date of birth: April 3, 1934
  • Team: Baltimore Colts

Jim Parker was an NFL offensive tackle guard who played with the Baltimore Colts from 1957 to 1967. Before starting his professional career, he played college football at the Ohio State University for two years. 

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Throughout his NFL career, he has received several awards and recognitions. Parker won NFL, All-Pro, and Pro Bowl championships between 1957 and 1965. 

Similarly, he also received the Outland Trophy, Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor, and became the National Champion in 1954. During his NFL career, he has been a part of 135 games in total. 

Parker is also an author and published his book called “The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football” in 1984. Sadly, Jim left the world at the age of 74. 

4. Randall McDaniel

  • Full Name: Randall Cornell McDaniel
  • Date of birth: December 19, 1964
  • Team: Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Before starting his NFL career, McDaniel played college football for Arizona State University. Then in the 1987 NFL Draft, he was chosen by the Minnesota Vikings to play as the offensive guard. 

Furthermore, Randall currently has a record for the offensive guard with the fastest 100-meter dash timing. He was only a senior college football player at that time. 

During his time with the Vikings, he was considered the most outstanding offensive lineman ever. Then, in 2000, he signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for three years worth $6 million. 

After retiring from the football scene, he spent his time volunteering and working in public schools. 

5. Bruce Matthews

  • Full Name: Bruce Rankin Matthews
  • Date of birth: August 8, 1961
  • Team: Houston Oilers

Bruce is a former NFL player who played as a guard, center, offensive tacker, and long snapper. He played NFL seasons from 1983-2001. 

Bruce Matthews (Source: Twitter)
Bruce Matthews (Source: Twitter)

Throughout his NFL career, he has played a total of 296 games, where he started 293. Bruce has received several awards such as the Bart Starr Award, Titans and Oilers Ring of Honor, won All-Pro and Pro Bowl championships. 

Matthews was also named one of the Top 100 Players of all time in the 2020 Super Bowl.

6. Joe Delamielleure

  • Full name: Joeseph Michael Delamielleure
  • Date of birth: March 16, 1951
  • Team: Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and Charlotte Rage

Joe played college football before his NFL career began. He was known as the star player at Michigan State University. 

Later in the 1973 NFL Draft, he was picked by the Buffalo Bills. He played for the Bills from 1973 to 1979 and then joined with them again in 1985. Similarly, he also played for the Cleveland Browns from 1980 to 1984 and the Charlotte Rage in 1992. 

During his career, he has been 6 times Pro Bowl and 8 times All pro winner. Moreover, he also received the Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor and Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame accreditations. 

7. Larry Little

  • Full name: Lawrence Chatmon Little
  • Date of birth: November 2, 1945
  • Team: San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins

Larry is a former NFL star who played professional football with the San Diego Chargers from 1967 to 1968. Then he joined the team of Miami Dolphins from 1969 till 1980. 

He has been a Super Bowl Champion twice, five times Pro Bowl, and won All-Pro championships throughout his career. He was also a receiver of the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll. 

After retiring from football, he worked as a coach at Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina Central University, and Ohio Glory. Further, Larry received the MAEC Coach of the Year award in 1984 for his tremendous performance. 

8. Steve Hutchinson

  • Full name: Steve J. Hutchinson
  • Date of birth: November 1, 1977
  • Teams: Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, and Tennesse Titans

Steven is a former NFL player who played as a guard. Before playing professionally, he played college football for the University of Michigan. Then, in the 2001 NFL Draft, he was selected by the Seahawks

Hutchinson played for the Seahawks from 2001 to 2005 and moved to Minnesota Vikings from 2006 to 2011. Lastly, he played for the Tennesse Titans in 2012 for a year and got retired. 

As a college football player, he became the National Champion in 1997 and was awarded the Big Ten Offensive Linman in the year 2000. 

Similarly, in his professional career, he became a seven times Pro Bowl Champion and won the All-Pro Games between 2003 to 2006.

9. Tom Mack

  • Full name: Thomas Lee Mack
  • Date of birth: November 1, 1943
  • Team: Los Angeles Rams

Tom is the player with the shortest NFL career in our list of the best NFL guards of all time. Mack joined the Los Angeles Rams in 1966 and played for them until 1978. The same year, he announced his retirement. 

In the 1966 NFL Draft, Tom was picked by the LA Rams for the left guard position. In total, he played with the Rams for 13 seasons. Mack played a total of 184 games and started 176. 

Tom Mack
Tom Mack

During his time as a professional football player, he has received several Pro Bowl and All-Pro awards. Similarly, he was also named Athletic Hall of Honor at the University of Michigan. 

After his retirement, Tom started to work as an engineer and currently works as a lobbyist.

10. Gene Upshaw

  • Full Name: Eugene Thurman Upshaw
  • Date of Birth: August 15, 1945
  • Team: Oakland Raiders

Eugene was a former NFL player who played for the Oakland Raiders from 1967 to 1981. He has also worked as the NFL players association’s executive director. 

During his tenure as a professional player, he has been awarded several awards. He won Super Bowl Championships twice, AFL Champion and All-star. In total, he played 217 games, in which he started 207 games. 

Unfortunately, Upshaw passed away suddenly on August 17, 2008. Later he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

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11. Quenton Nelson

  • Full Name: Quenton Emerson Nelson
  • Date of birth: March 19, 1996
  • Team: Indianapolis Colts

Nelson is one of the youngest and new players on the list of the best NFL guards of all time. It might come off as a surprise as to why someone with only 3 years of experience is included. 

Firstly, even in his short career, he has played 50 games and started 50. In addition, Quenton has won All-Pro three times and Pro Bowls between 2018-2020. Moreover, during his rookie year, he won the PFWA All-Rookie Team. 

In 2021, the Colts extended the contract with Nelson with a guaranteed salary of $13.8 million approximately. Unfortunately, he suffered a foot injury and is currently marked as Injured Reserve status. 

13. Zack Martin

  • Full name: Zachary Edward Martin
  • Date of birth: November 20, 1990
  • Team: Dallas Cowboys

Zack Martin is an NFL offensive player who plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Before he started his professional career, he played college football at Notre Dame. 

The Cowboys selected Martine during the 2014 NFL Draft as their 16th pick. From 2014, he has played 104 games and started all 104. Moreover, in 2018 the Cowboys re-signed with Zack for another six years.

Zack Martin
Zack Martin (Source: Commons wikimedia.org)

The contract was worth $84 million, which makes him the highest-paid NFL guard in history. However, he didn’t make it to the 2021 NFL as he tested positive for COVID-19. 

Zack is currently married to Morgan Martin and is a father to two children.

13. Joe Thuney

  • Full name: Joseph Thuney
  • Date of birth: November 18, 1992
  • Team: New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs

Joseph Thuney is an NFL offensive guard who currently plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. Previously, he was selected in the 2016 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. 

Before starting his professional career, he played college football for NC State. Further, during his college career, he was the finalist of the Campbell Trophy, which is given to the players with the best performance in academics, community service, and on-field.

Then, he played with the Patriots from 2016 to 2020. Then, in 2021, he signed with the Chiefs a five-year contract worth $80 million. 

As of now, he has been a two times Super Bowl Champion and won the All-Pro in 2019. 

14. Joel Bitonio

  • Full Name: Joel Michael Bitonio
  • Date of birth: October 11, 1991
  • Team: Cleveland Browns

Bitonio is an NFL player who plays for the Cleveland Browns as a guard. The Browns selected him in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Before his professional football career, he played at the University of Nevada. Then in the 2014 NFL season, it was considered an excellent option for the position of an offensive tackle.

Joel Bitonio
Joel Bitonio (Source: The Daily Record)

Unfortunately, in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Bitonio suffered a foot injury that gave him the injured status. Later, in 2017 he re-signed with the Browns for another five years.

Throughout his career, he has been named for the All-Pro and Pro-Bowl games.

15. Brandon Scherff

  • Full name: Brandon Scherff
  • Date of Birth: December 26, 1991
  • Team: Washington Football League

Last but not least, we have Brandon Scherff, who made it to the list of the best NFL guards of all time. Brandon is an NFL offensive guard who currently plays for the Washington Football League.

Scherff started playing football in his college days in Iowa. He was considered a skillful candidate for the offensive lineman. However, he decided to continue his studies and received his BA degree. 

Finally, in the 2015 NFL Draft, he was picked by the Redskins in the first round. Iowa-based player Brandon Scherff signed a four-year contract with the Redskins worth $22 million. In 2021, he re-signed with the Redskins again for $18 million.


In the NFL scene, it is pretty tough for the players to get recognition. For a guard, it is even tough. However, the NFL players mentioned above prove that the players are worthy of the hype regardless of the positions. 

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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