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Tre Norwood comes up huge in Week 6 according to Pro Football Focus grades

In the grades provided by PFF, Norwood edged out Cam Heyward for the top overall grade for the Steelers on defense.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers started their first winning streak of the 2021 season in Week 6 and carry some momentum into their bye week. The offense had another solid week, and the defense dominated early and came up with splash plays late to finish things off in overtime.

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 their Week 6 performance. These score are just from Sunday night’s game and not for the entire season. Before going any further, I must give the typical disclaimer that PFF grades are subjective. 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. 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 is the defense. Included will be all 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 65 snaps on defense in Week 6.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

CB Tre Norwood: 92.9 (15 snaps)
DT Cam Heyward: 90.0 (58 snaps)
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk: 74.2 (8 snaps)
DT Chris Wormley: 72.2 (45 snaps)
OLB Alex Highsmith: 72.0 (65 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

ILB Joe Schobert: 53.9 (50 snaps)
DT Henry Mondeaux: 52.9 (19 snaps)
ILB Robert Spillane: 52.6 (10 snaps)
S Terrell Edmunds: 49.1 (65 snaps)
DT Isaiah Buggs: 32.6 (15 snaps)


Defensive Front Seven

DT Cam Heyward: 90.0 (58 snaps)
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk: 74.2 (8 snaps)
DT Chris Wormley: 72.2 (45 snaps)
OLB Alex Highsmith: 72.0 (65 snaps)
OLB T.J. Watt: 70.9 (56 snaps)
OLB Melvin Ingram III: 68.2 (17 snaps)
DT Henry Mondeaux: 52.9 (19 snaps)
DT Isaiah Buggs: 32.6 (15 snaps)

It was this position group which led the way for the Steelers as six in the top eight scores came from the defensive front. Cameron Heyward continues to dominate and still has the highest defensive grade in the league through the first six weeks of the NFL season. Some might be surprised that T.J. Watt landed in the middle of the pack, but PFF does not weight their scores for either how big of a play it was or when it came in the game. So while Watt came up huge in overtime, those plays were not considered any more than ones in the first quarter. Seeing Isaiah Buggs as the lowest graded player on defense was discouraging, especially with a team low 29.3 run defense grade.

Inside Linebackers

ILB Devin Bush: 56.1 (55 snaps)
ILB Joe Schobert: 53.9 (50 snaps)
ILB Robert Spillane: 52.6 (10 snaps)

After seeing some high scores, especially by Devin Bush, in Week 5, the inside linebackers came back down to reality. While the scores are not that low, they definitely fit more into the ‘average’ category. With nobody really standing out in any way, it was Bush’s low run defense score of 29.9 which affected him negatively while he had the second-highest coverage score of 77.2 which ultimately landed his overall score in the middle.

Defensive Backs

CB Tre Norwood: 92.9 (15 snaps)
CB James Pierre: 71.8 (14 snaps)
CB Arthur Maulet: 62.5 (28 snaps)
CB Joe Haden: 59.3 (65 snaps)
S Minkah Fitzpatrick: 58.6 (65 snaps)
CB Cam Sutton: 55.8 (65 snaps)
S Terrell Edmunds: 49.1 (65 snaps)

What Steelers fan saw with their eyes during the game is what they also see now with Tre Norwood’s PFF score. With a 92.3 coverage score, Norwood has the second-highest coverage score in the NFL for Week 6 only behind Isaiah Rodgers of the Colts. James Pierre and Arthur Maulet continue to be towards the top of the position group in their subpackage roles, while Terrell Edmunds had one of his lowest scores of the season.


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