• Trent Williams comes in at No. 1: Williams has been the league's highest-graded offensive tackle for three years running. He earned a 91.7 overall grade in 2022, allowing just 19 pressures and only one sack across 17 games.
• Aaron Donald not far behind: After years of superb durability and absolute game-wrecking dominance, Donald suffered the first significant injury of his career in 2022. He’d be No. 1 on this list had that not happened, but could this be the start of his late-career decline?
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
As we enter the summer months, we turn the page from the NFL draft to preview pieces for the 2023 season and beyond.
Yesterday, we continued our annual tradition of ranking the top 25 NFL players under the age of 25. Now, it’s time to look at the players on the other end of the age spectrum and rank the top 30 players who will be over 30 when Week 1 of the NFL season begins.
Back in 2021, Williams put up one of the best single-season grades ever recorded by an offensive tackle (96.6), and he has been the league's highest-graded offensive tackle for three years running. He earned a 91.7 overall grade in 2022, continuing his dominance as a run-blocker and allowing just 19 pressures and only one sack across 17 games.
2. DI Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
After years of superb durability and absolute game-wrecking dominance, Donald suffered the first significant injury of his career in 2022.
He’d be No. 1 on this list had that not happened, but could this be the start of his late-career decline? The Rams star was still dominant when he was on the field, but it marked the first time since his rookie season that he recorded a sub-20% pass-rush win rate, and he ended the campaign with the lowest pressure rate of his career.
Despite all of that, Donald was still the third-highest-graded defensive tackle in the NFL.
3. TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Kelce’s play in 2022 was perhaps the best of his career, as Tyreek Hill‘s departure put that much more pressure on the future Hall of Fame tight end. He excelled and made the Chiefs offense almost impossible to stop. He put up receiver-like numbers, catching 137 passes and leading the league in yards per route run over the whole season.
4. WR Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders
A season ago, Adams quietly had one of the best seasons of any receiver, but no one noticed because the Raiders struggled to win games. Adams' 14 touchdowns led the league, and his combined 92.9 grade over the past two seasons is the third-best mark of any player over the age of 30.
Heyward has been one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL for several years, only to be overshadowed by Aaron Donald’s utter dominance. He has earned six straight PFF grades above 84.4, five of them over 89.1. He ranked third at the position in pass-rush win rate in 2022 and finished fourth in sack rate.
6. WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Kupp has always been a productive wide receiver, but it wasn’t until Matthew Stafford arrived that he took it to another level. After earning a PFF receiving grade of 93.1 in 2021 and 88.1 in 2022, Kupp (when healthy) now has just one sub-60.0 graded game over the past two seasons.
The Rams star turns 30 in June and, other than needing ankle surgery, looks primed to dominate for a few more seasons.
7. G Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns
Not only has Bitonio been one of the best over-30-year-olds in the league the past few seasons, but he’s also arguably been a top-10 offensive player regardless of age. The Browns guard has earned a 92.8 PFF grade over the past two years, the highest mark among interior offensive linemen over that span, paving the way for the Browns' running backs and protecting Cleveland's quarterbacks.
8. EDGE Von Miller, Buffalo Bills
Miller remains one of the best edge defenders in the NFL well into his 30s. His season was cut short in 2022 due to injury, and the Bills' defense suffered. Miller’s play has dipped slightly late in his career — after never grading below 90.0 in his first eight seasons, he’s done so twice in the past three.
9. QB Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets
Rodgers has won two MVPs over the past three years, but his play has been on a slight decline since 2020. Perhaps the trade to the Jets reignites a fire under the four-time MVP and we see him lead the Jets to the Super Bowl. He’ll need to improve upon his 77.5 grade in 2022 for that to happen.
10. C Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles
Kelce hasn’t given up a sack since Week 6 of 2021 and allowed just 12 hurries and no hits in 2022. The best center in the league on the move, Kelce anchors the best offensive line in football and shows no signs of slowing.
11. T Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles
Just to one-up his teammate, Johnson hasn’t given up a sack since Week 11 of the 2020 campaign and has given up just 20 since his rookie season back in 2013. Johnson hasn’t given up a hit since Week 7 of 2021 and consistently performs at a high level with little to no help at the right tackle position.
12. LB Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
Arguably the best linebacker of the past decade, Wagner left the confines of Seattle and put up one of the best seasons of his career for the Rams in 2022, earning a 90.7 grade that led the position. He returns to Seattle for 2023 and hasn’t lost a step in his 30s.
13. EDGE Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles
Graham continues to put up elite grades and pressure rates from the edge position. And they finally turned into a monster sack season in 2022, as he recorded a career-high 12 sacks. Despite turning 35, Graham had his second-highest-graded season, finishing with an 89.8 pass-rush grade.
14. S Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans
Byard turns 30 in August, and he’s been one of the best safeties in the NFL since 2017. In the last two seasons, Byard has graded at 90.9 and 81.0 in coverage, logging 11 interceptions and 12 forced incompletions. He rarely misses tackles, too, as he has missed only 14 over the past five years.
15. G Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
Martin earned a 72.8 PFF grade in 2022, the lowest mark of his career, but before then hadn’t graded below 79.6. Expect Martin to get back into the 80s in 2023, as he’s allowed just three sacks over the past four seasons and remains one of the best guards in the NFL.
16. QB Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Cousins turned in his lowest passing grade as a Viking in 2022 (77.7), but that was still a top-10 season at the position as he led his team to the playoffs. Cousins’ 31 big-time throws were a career-high, but so were his 23 turnover-worthy plays.
17. WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Although Allen missed some time in 2022 due to injury, he still turned in an 84.4 grade and has never graded below 76.1 in his career. Allen didn’t drop a single one of his 76 catchable targets in 2022.
18. LB Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints
Davis started his career slowly, never grading above 62.4 from 2012 to 2016. In 2017, Davis found his stride and has not graded below 73.7 since.
In his 30s, Davis has been one of the best run-defending linebackers in the NFL and has given up just two touchdowns in coverage over the past two seasons. The Saints star put up an 82.7 PFF grade in 2022, a top-four mark at the position.
19. EDGE Za’Darius Smith, Cleveland Browns
Over his past three healthy seasons, Smith has graded above 84.2 as a pass-rusher while moving around all over the defensive line. He now gets to play opposite Myles Garrett and reunites with his former Vikings teammate Dalvin Tomlinson.
20. LB Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
David has posted coverage grades of at least 83.1 in three of his past four seasons and has held his own for the Buccaneers' defense since 2012. He's also put up a run-defense grade above 70.0 for six straight seasons, showing no sign of decline despite playing three seasons in his 30s.
21. EDGE Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys
Lawrence has graded above 86.2 in five of the last six seasons for the Cowboys, but the one year he dipped below that mark was in 2022 when he earned a 73.9 grade, the second-lowest of his career. He might be too low on this list, but 2022 saw some signs of decline, as he didn’t have the juice rushing the passer we’re accustomed to seeing.
22. G Joe Thuney, Kansas City Chiefs
The signing of Thuney as part of the Chiefs' offensive line rebuild was vital, as he has turned in the two best pass-protecting seasons of his career. Keeping Patrick Mahomes upright means that the star quarterback is able to work his magic, and Thuney has allowed just two sacks and six hits in his two seasons in Kansas City.
23. WR Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
Lockett is on a mission never to get hit after the catch, and he’s doing so at a high level. He has earned a receiving grade above 77.6 for five straight seasons, continues to get open at a high rate and has caught 94.8% or more of his catchable targets in four of the past five seasons.
24. CB Stephon Gilmore, Dallas Cowboys
Gilmore is getting shuffled around the league, as he’ll be on his fourth team in as many seasons. Despite that, he’s graded at 79.4 or better in coverage in five of his last six seasons and was the fifth-highest-graded cornerback in 2022.
25. DI Calais Campbell, Atlanta Falcons
An ageless wonder, Campbell will be 37 years old by Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season, and he’s not graded below 71.4 since 2010. With incredible consistency and a high level of play for over a decade, Campbell has provided value to three different teams and is about to join his fourth. With another strong season, Campbell could crack 100 career sacks in 2023.
Another 2021 offseason acquisition that turned out to be excellent, Linsley joined the Chargers and has turned in two elite seasons protecting Justin Herbert. He’s allowed zero sacks and just two hits in his time with Los Angeles.
27. S Jimmie Ward, Houston Texans
Ward has been a consistently good piece for the 49ers' defense for several years and follows his defensive coordinator to Houston. While he struggled in coverage early in his career, he has been excellent in both coverage and run defense since 2019.
28. WR DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
Hopkins has been vitally important for Kyler Murray when he’s on the field. He has dropped just four passes in the past three years, and if he can stay on the field, he will provide a dominant force with the ball in his hands.
29. CB Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles
Slay finished the 2022 season as the 12th-highest-graded cornerback in the NFL. He’s graded at 84.5 and 77.3 in coverage the past two seasons, forcing 21 incompletions over that span. He returns to Philadelphia in 2023 and is the fourth Eagle on this list.
30. T Terron Armstead, Miami Dolphins
We saw how the Dolphins' offense struggled when Armstead missed a handful of games. One of the best pass protectors at the left tackle position for several years, Armstead’s run blocking has dipped in recent years from his mid-career highs, but he remains a superb left tackle into his 30s.