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“Pickett to Pickens” leads the Steelers top offensive Pro Football Focus grades

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished their 2023 season with their third decisive win, this time in a shutout. The Steelers offensive starters saw two more drives which finished in touchdowns bring their total to five for five. As for the defense, they dominated early and got the job done for all 60 minutes.

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 3 performance. It is their performance just this week and not combined with their previous performances. 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 68 snaps on offense in Thursday’s game.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

QB Kenny Pickett: 95.4 (11 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 88.0 (10 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 85.7 (11 snaps)
G Isaac Seumalo: 79.1 (11 snaps)
QB Mason Rudolph: 78.9 (21 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

WR Dez Fitzpatrick: 45.4 (35 snaps)
TE Darnell Washington: 42.4 (18 snaps)

G William Dunkle: 39.9 (36 snaps)
WR Aron Chruickshank: 37.7 (11 snaps)

TE Rodney Williams: 35.8 (30 snaps)


Quarterback

QB Kenny Pickett: 95.4 (11 snaps)
QB Mason Rudolph: 78.9 (21 snaps)
QB Tanner Morgan: 74.7 (7 snaps)
QB Mitch Trubisky: 67.8 (29 snaps)

From Thursday night’s game, all four quarterbacks came out with a score that was above the 60.0 standard while Kenny Pickett had his highest grade in the preseason. Completing all of his passes, despite not having any passing touchdowns, brought Pickett’s passing grade to 94.5. Additionally, Pickett was determined to have made two “big-time throws” which brought his score up. As for Rudolph, he had a 69.0 running score and was also deemed to have a “big-time throw” to his credit.

Running Backs

RB Najee Harris: 75.4 (7 snaps)
RB Darius Hagans: 69.9 (7 snaps)
RB Jaylen Warren: 68.2 (4 snaps)
RB Anthony McFarland Jr.: 67.3 (14 snaps)

RB Xazavian Valladay: 66.9 (13 snaps)
RB Greg Bell: 52.2 (16 snaps)

Najee Harris made the most out of his seven snaps on Thursday with a rushing touchdown as part of a 70.1 running score. But it was also the 79.7 passing score of Harris that put them on top of the list. With only four snaps, I assumed Jaylen Warren would be very close behind but somehow PFF is back to their 2022 ways. Somehow Jaylen Warren, in only one pass block snap, scored a 3.1 blocking score. It simply doesn’t make sense.

Receivers

WR George Pickens: 88.0 (10 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 85.7 (11 snaps)
TE Connor Heyward: 75.9 (8 snaps)

WR Jordan Byrd: 62.7 (8 snaps)
WR Gunner Olszewski: 60.8 (27 snaps)
WR Allen Robinson II: 58.7 (6 snaps)

WR Miles Boykin: 57.6 (26 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 57.5 (11 snaps)
WR Calvin Austin III: 54.5 (21 snaps)
WR Dan Chisena: 50.6 (27 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 45.6 (30 snaps)

WR Dez Fitzpatrick: 45.4 (35 snaps)
TE Darnell Washington: 42.4 (18 snaps)

WR Aron Chruickshank: 37.7 (11 snaps)

TE Rodney Williams: 35.8 (30 snaps)

There was a wide variety of scores from the receivers in the Steelers final preseason game. George Pickens and Diontae Johnson rightfully topped the list with their big plays on their only target. But if all the receivers Connor Heyward had the highest score in the passing game of 92.7 but was brought down by his 59.8 running score. The score that makes no sense to me is seeing Darnell Washington in the bottom five. While I’m not going to argue with the 53.1 passing score even though he did not have a target, how Washington was given a 47.5 run blocking score is completely baffling. This time PFF must have either been watching a different game or were taking a bathroom break while Washington was springing running backs for big runs with his blocks.

Offensive Line

G Isaac Seumalo: 79.1 (11 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 70.4 (19 snaps)
OT Dylan Cook: 69.4 (49 snaps)
C Mason Cole: 66.0 (11 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 63.6 (11 snaps)
G Spencer Anderson: 62.8 (41 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 60.5 (50 snaps)
T Le’Raven Clark: 59.3 (26 snaps)

OT Broderick Jones: 57.7 (47 snaps)
C Ryan McCollum: 55.3 (39 snaps)
G William Dunkle: 39.9 (36 snaps)

There wasn’t a lot of change in the order of players on the offensive line when it came to their scores. The starters grabbed a lot of the top spots and the addition of Isaac Seumalo to the Steelers offensive line looks to be huge. Interestingly enough, Kendrick Green got a nearly identical score as to what he had last week despite playing much better in this game starting at right guard. In my opinion, this is the score that’s more in line with his performance and don’t know what happened last week for him to land as average. But Green was ranked the highest pass blocking score this week with an 83.6. Another score that seemed unusual is a Broderick Jones being below a 60.0 when I felt he had his best game of the preseason. Despite shoving guys to the ground at times, Jones had only a 51.0 run blocking score.


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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