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Raiders, Chargers top list of biggest offensive lines in the NFL

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The Raiders hold on to their title as the heaviest offensive line in the NFL, but the Chargers are just a fraction behind.

Not long ago, someone standing at 6'4, 320 pounds would be one of the biggest players in the NFL. But he'd be a smaller-than-average member of a couple offensive lines in the AFC West.

The Oakland Raiders somehow got lighter along the starting offensive line when the team acquired 6'5, 330-pound guard Kelechi Osemele from the Baltimore Ravens. The huge guard is slated to fill in for J'Marcus Webb, a 6'7, 335-pound giant who is projected to start at right tackle for the Seattle Seahawks in 2016.

But the swap wasn't enough to knock the Raiders from owning the title of NFL's heaviest offensive line. If you're looking to do damage at a buffet, the average starting offensive lineman in Oakland is 6'4, 327.2 pounds, so they'd be a good unit to bring along.

The San Diego Chargers have a strong argument for largest offensive line, though. The group is just one pound lighter than the Raiders, but the average Chargers lineman is two inches taller, thanks to King Dunlap at 6'9 and Orlando Franklin at 6'7.

Here's the average size of the starting offensive linemen for each team (based on the starting lineup projections at Rotoworld):

In decades past, offensive linemen were the size of the quarterbacks of today. According to Cork Gaines of Business Insider, the average lineman in the 1970s was 6'3, 255 pounds, but just five players under 300 pounds are projected to start in 2016 and they are just a few pounds under the mark. That's half as many as the 10 linemen under 300 pounds who were atop the depth charts in September 2015.

But there isn't much evidence to support the idea that bigger is better as a unit, at least when comparing groups that average over 320 pounds and under 305 pounds. The best offensive lines in 2015, per Football Outsiders, belonged to the St. Louis Rams and Baltimore Ravens, two units on opposite sides of the size spectrum.

Still, when teams decide to make a change for the better, they usually to add size. The Seahawks added a significant amount of weight by replacing Drew Nowak and J.R. Sweezy, and inserting Webb at right tackle. First-round pick Germain Ifedi made a difference too, tipping the scales at 325 pounds. Altogether, the Seahawks added 72 pounds to the offensive line, jumping from second-lightest to fifth-heaviest.

At the bottom are the Atlanta Falcons, even after adding some size earlier in the offseason. The Atlanta offensive line will now feature Andy Levitre and Alex Mack in the starting group, taking over for Mike Person and Joe Hawley. That upped the average from 301.2 pounds to 304.4 pounds, but wasn't enough to take the title of "lightest offensive line" away.

The Falcons are far smaller up front than the Raiders and Chargers, but still did a good job keeping Matt Ryan clean in 2015, and finished in the top 10 of FO's pass protection rankings. So even though the Seahawks added a ton of weight to improve the protection of Russell Wilson, it will only matter if those bigger players are actually better players.