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Conner Heyward leads the Steelers offensive Pro Football Focus grades

The Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off their 2023 season with a decisive preseason win on the road. The Steelers starters saw limited action on offense and about half of them didn’t even take the field on defense. But the players on field got the job done as a team to get the 27-17 win.

But how did the individual players grade out?

For this exercise, we will be looking at the player grades from Pro Football Focus (PFF) for the Steelers preseason Week 1 performance. Before going any further, I must give my typical disclaimer that PFF grades are subjective and merely an opinion. While some people rely on them heavily, others are quite skeptical of the process in which they are determined. It is completely up to each person as to how much stock they put into PFF’s grades. For me, I often look at the grades to see if my own “eye test” lines up with what others viewed as how a player performed and sometimes it causes me to look more at a certain player when looking at things a second time. If nothing more, the grades create a discussion about how accurate, or inaccurate, they are each week.

Instead of looking at the entire team at once, we break up the scores into offense and defense. First up this week is the offense. Included will be the players who played at least one snap and the total snap counts for each player will be included. For reference sake, the Steelers played 63 snaps on offense in Friday’s game.


Top 5 (regardless of position)

TE Connor Heyward: 93.7 (12 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 91.1 (9 snaps)
QB Mason Rudolph: 87.4 (23 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 81.4 (8 snaps)
TE Rodney Williams: 80.4 (17 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

WR Allen Robinson II: 51.8 (9 snaps)
WR Cody White: 47.9 (29 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 39.5 (27 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 38.5 (10 snaps)
QB Tanner Morgan: 28.5 (21 snaps)


QB Mason Rudolph: 87.4 (23 snaps)
QB Kenny Pickett: 79.0 (10 snaps)
QB Mitch Trubisky: 61.5 (9 snaps)
QB Tanner Morgan: 28.5 (21 snaps)

The order of the grades is probably not surprising the Steelers fans with the exception of many probably would have flipped the top two scores. Mason Rudolph scored a 79.8 passing score completing 7 of 12 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown while Kenny Pickett‘s passing score was 77.4 from his six of seven completions for 70 yards and a touchdown. But Mason Rudolph also added a 15 yard run as well as being credited for two “big time throws” according to PFF. Mitch Trubisky didn’t do anything overly exciting giving him an average score, and Tanner Morgan had two “turnover worthy plays” according to PFF.

Running Backs

RB Jaylen Warren: 68.1 (6 snaps)
RB Najee Harris: 60.7 (4 snaps)
RB Anthony McFarland Jr.: 57.1 (21 snaps)
RB Darius Hagans: 54.3 (12 snaps)
RB Greg Bell: 53.3 (12 snaps)

Najee Harris barely played in the game and therefore didn’t have anything overly exciting to change the average 60.0 score players start with. Jaylen Warren had the best rushing score of any running back with a 67.3 in his six snaps. While many Steelers fans probably expected Anthony McFarland to come in with a higher score, PFF gave him a 14.7 pass blocking score on four snaps which brought down his overall number.


TE Connor Heyward: 93.7 (12 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 91.1 (9 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 81.4 (8 snaps)
TE Rodney Williams: 80.4 (17 snaps)
TE Darnell Washington: 66.8 (25 snaps)
WR Calvin Austin III: 65.9 (21 snaps)
WR Gunner Olszewski: 58.5 (31 snaps)
WR Dan Chisena: 58.4 (2 snaps)
WR Hakeem Butler: 56.8 (15 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 56.1 (5 snaps)
WR Dez Fitzpatrick: 55.5 (19 snaps)
WR Miles Boykin: 54.5 (14 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 54.3 (28 snaps)
WR Jordan Byrd: 52.6 (4 snaps)
WR Allen Robinson II: 51.8 (9 snaps)
WR Cody White: 47.9 (29 snaps)

The versatility of Connor Heyward may appear to be rewarded with his score, but it was Heyward‘s 94.4 passing grade which rocketed him up the rankings. Similarly, Diontae Johnson’s 89.7 passing grade did likewise. It wasn’t surprising to see George Pickens in the top despite only having one target but turning it into a 33-yard touchdown. Seeing tight end Rodney Williams in the top five for the offense may have caught some by surprise, but Williams has been having a good camp. Gunner Olszewski logged more snaps on offense than any other non-lineman. When looking at the scores at the bottom, Allen Robinson didn’t get a chance to do much in his nine snaps. Unfortunately, Cody White had plenty of snaps and did not take advantage of his opportunity on Friday.

Offensive Line

G James Daniels: 75.7 (10 snaps)
T Le’Raven Clark: 66.6 (29 snaps)
G Nate Herbig: 66.4 (32 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 65.4 (16 snaps)
G Isaac Seumalo: 62.4 (10 snaps)
OT Broderick Jones: 61.7 (49 snaps)
G William Dunkle: 61.5 (24 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 61.5 (10 snaps)
C Mason Cole: 60.9 (10 snaps)
G Spencer Anderson: 56.7 (37 snaps)
OT Dylan Cook: 56.2 (21 snaps)
C Ryan McCollum: 55.5 (30 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 39.5 (27 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 38.5 (10 snaps)

James Daniels led the way due to the most balanced performance between pass blocking and run blocking with an 80.0 pass block score and a 68.9 run blocking score. The only players with a better pass blocking score than Daniels were Spencer Anderson with an 84.6 and Ryan McCollum with an 82.0 while Isaac Seumalo also pulled in at 80.0. When it came to Daniels run blocking, only Le’Raven Clark scored higher with a 71.7. Broderick Jones played the most offensive snaps of anybody on the team and pulled a 61.7 pass blocking score and 59.0 run blocking score. It’s not much of a surprise to see Kendrick Green at the bottom as he had a series of poor plays. What was surprising was to see Chuks Okorafor so low with just his 10 snaps. Okorafor had such a poor score because PFF graded his pass blocking at 6.5. When I went back to review the opening drive, there were two reps that stood out where Okorafor gave up pressure, but he had just as many reps where he did a nice job so the extremely low score is a mystery to me.

So, what do you think of the above grades? Do they pass the eye test? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ offensive grades in the comments below.


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