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Tight ends top the list of Steelers offensive player grades vs. the Lions

Checking in on the PFF grades for the Steelers’ offensive players in the third preseason game vs. the Lions.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious yet again in their third preseason action vs. the Detroit Lions. The 26-20 final score does not accurately portray how much the Steelers dominated the first half before giving up 20 points in the fourth quarter. In all, the only drives which did not end up scoring points were the first possession of the night and the last one which ran out the clock.

But how did these players grade out?

To get a better grasp on the individual performances by the Steelers, we turn to Pro Football Focus (PFF) to see their individual grades. Before going any further, it’s time for the disclaimer as we are all aware many fans cannot stand PFF’s grading system. It is up to each individual as to how much they trust the process which goes into PFF grades, but we will report on the grades for you to make the decision.

Nonetheless, even if you don’t like PFF it does give a baseline to allow fans to see who played well, and who might have been “below the line”, as Mike Tomlin would put it.

Below are the grades for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense from their preseason Week 2 game vs. the Detroit Lions Saturday night. For reference sake, the Steelers played 64 offensive snaps. All offensive players were listed regardless of the number of snaps played as long as it was at least one.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

TE Pat Freiermuth: 93.1 (17 snaps)
TE Eric Ebron: 89.4 (26 snaps)
QB Ben Roethlisberger: 83.7 (16 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 78.4 (48 snaps)
OT Zach Banner: 73.1 (12 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

C John Leglue: 51.3 (16 snaps)
OT Chaz Green: 51.3 (5 snaps)
RB Jaylen Samuels: 49.8 (16 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 44.4 (48 snaps)
QB Mason Rudolph: 41.6 (32 snaps)

Quarterbacks

QB Ben Roethlisberger: 83.7 (16 snaps)
QB Dwayne Haskins: 54.4 (16 snaps)
QB Mason Rudolph: 41.6 (32 snaps)

With a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating, it was expected that Ben Roethlisberger would have a fairly decent PFF grade. Actually, I’m surprised it wasn’t closer to the 90 range. Although Mason Rudolph led the Steelers on three field-goal drives, seeing his grade cut almost in half from the previous week was an interesting conclusion.

Running Backs & Receivers

TE Pat Freiermuth: 93.1 (17 snaps)
TE Eric Ebron: 89.4 (26 snaps)
TE Marcus Baugh: 70.7 (5 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 69.3 (16 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 67.6 (16 snaps)
RB Kalen Ballage: 66.8 (15 snaps)
RB Najee Harris: 66.6 (15 snaps)
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: 65.3 (41 snaps)
RB Anthony McFarland: 64.0 (18 snaps)
WR James Washington: 61.8 (43 snaps)
RB Derek Watt: 59.7 (1 snap)
WR Rico Bussey: 58.3 (1 snap)
WR Diontae Johnson: 57.2 (33 snaps)
WR Cody White: 55.2 (25 snaps)
TE Kevin Rader: 55.0 (15 snaps)
WR Anthony Johnson: 53.7 (14 snaps)
RB Trey Edmunds: 51.4 (5 snaps)
RB Jaylen Samuels: 49.8 (16 snaps)

The tight ends ruled the day as they grabbed the top two overall spots and the first four spots of the position players. While many fans were probably not surprised to see Pat Freiermuth at the top, being followed closely by Eric Ebron may have been a surprise. Also, Ebron’s run blocking grade of 74.8 was higher than any of the offensive linemen. The only one who didn’t find his way to the top of the list was Kevin Rader. Overall, the scores were down from the previous week. The most surprising numbers of all may have been the snap counts of James Washington and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Offensive Line

G Kevin Dotson: 78.4 (48 snaps)
OT Zach Banner: 73.1 (12 snaps)
G Rashaad Coward: 62.6 (25 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 61.2 (47 snaps)
OT Joe Haeg: 60.9 (16 snaps)
G Trai Turner: 60.5 (25 snaps)
G B.J. Finney: 59.7 (14 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 58.3 (48 snaps)
C J.C. Hassenauer: 52.7 (16 snaps)
C John Leglue: 51.3 (16 snaps)
OT Chaz Green: 51.3 (5 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 44.4 (48 snaps)

The usual suspects of Kevin Dotson, Dan Moore Jr, and Joe Haeg found themselves towards the top of the list once again. It was nice to see Zach Banner find a spot towards the top as well as seeing Rashaad Cower and Trai Turner move up the pecking order. Unfortunately, these grades were overall lower than they were the previous week against the Eagles. Seeing Chuks Okorafor constantly at the bottom is only verifying the concern that many Steelers fans already have. The other red flag comes from Kendrick Green’s pass blocking grade of 30.5 which was the lowest on the team Saturday night while is quality run blocking saved his overall score.


So, what do you think of the above grades? Were they close, or way off? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ offensive grades in the comments below.