clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cumulative Pro Football Focus grades for the Steelers’ offense this preseason

Checking in on the preseason PFF grades for the Steelers’ offensive players on the 53-man roster.

Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have concluded the 2021 NFL preseason and have made their first series of moves in regards to their 53-man roster. As fans have learned, the first 53-man roster may not last much longer than 24 hours as the Steelers made three moves a day after their final cut downs.

Now that we know what players are on the Steelers’ roster (for now), how did those players perform throughout the preseason?

For this exercise, we will be looking at the player grades from Pro Football Focus (PFF) for the entire 2021 NFL preseason. 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.

Instead of looking at the entire 53 man roster at once, first we will look at the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive players. Included will be all the players currently on the Steelers 53-man roster as well as those who are currently on the Reserve/Injured List but are eligible to return. Total snap counts for each player will be included. For reference sake, the Steelers played 254 snaps on offense this preseason.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

G Kevin Dotson: 91.1 (120 snaps)
QB Ben Roethlisberger: 83.7 (16 snaps)
TE Eric Ebron: 82.9 (48 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 77.0 (47 snaps)
OT Joe Haeg: 76.0 (97 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

RB Benny Snell Jr.: 54.4 (29 snaps)
RB Derek Watt: 53.7 (8 snap)
WR James Washington: 53.3 (89 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 48.6 (67 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 44.2 (90 snaps)

Quarterbacks

QB Ben Roethlisberger: 83.7 (16 snaps)
QB Dwayne Haskins: 68.6 (118 snaps)
QB Mason Rudolph: 64.1 (67 snaps)

While it’s nice to look at all these grades, moving forward it’s really only about Ben Roethlisberger. Although it’s helpful to know how both Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins scored, ultimately Steelers fans would prefer to not have to use their services at all in 2021 unless it is in mop-up duty at the end of a game or a meaningless Week 18 matchup. As for Ben Roethlisberger, in his very limited action his 83.7 score had him 7th in the NFL and 5th among projected starting quarterbacks.

Running Backs

RB Najee Harris: 70.7 (45 snaps)
RB Kalen Ballage: 68.0 (33 snaps)
RB Anthony McFarland*: 63.8 (50 snaps)
RB Benny Snell Jr.: 54.4 (29 snaps)
RB Derek Watt: 53.7 (8 snap)

The running back scores don’t really jump out as being excellent in the 2021 NFL preseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s nice to see rookie Najee Harris in the top spot with his limited action, but his 70.7 score had him 37th in the NFL. Seeing an average of 15 snaps over his three games, Harris’ score, as well as those of the other running backs, isn’t based nearly as much on how the player will likely be used during the regular season as Harris will possibly see more snaps in Week 1 than he did the entire preseason.

Receivers

TE Eric Ebron: 82.9 (48 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 77.0 (47 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 69.3 (54 snaps)
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: 68.5 (56 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 67.6 (59 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 62.4 (88 snaps)
WR James Washington: 53.3 (89 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 48.6 (67 snaps)

Seeing tight end Eric Ebron on the top of his list might surprise some Steelers fans, but with improved run blocking Ebron did well in his limited preseason action and landed him as the 7th highest score among NFL tight ends this preseason. As for the wide receivers, seeing Chase Claypool finish out strong after suffering an injury may be the most notable among the group. Rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth’s score will be more welcomed if it was more consistent as his individual scores in his three games of action were 43.3, 93.1, and 53.5.

Offensive Line

G Kevin Dotson: 91.1 (120 snaps)
OT Joe Haeg: 76.0 (97 snaps)
G B.J. Finney: 73.7 (108 snaps)
OT Zach Banner*: 73.1 (12 snaps)
G Rashaad Coward: 69.5 (79 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 67.7 (138 snaps)
C J.C. Hassenauer: 67.3 (128 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 62.8 (108 snaps)
G Trai Turner: 55.1 (45 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 44.2 (90 snaps)

It has to be concerning the two projected starters are not only at the bottom of the list, but on the bottom of all team scores. Hopefully Trai Turner can get more acclimated to the Steelers and start stronger in the regular season. To say Steelers fans are concerned about Chuks Okorafor at tackle would definitely be an understatement as he needs to get his act together or should be on a short hook with Dan Moore Jr. and Joe Haeg scoring much higher. Speaking of Moore and Haeg, their scores were even better if looking only at their time played at just one side of the line with Moore being strong at left tackle and Haeg scoring higher on the right. What is no surprise is the outstanding play of Kevin Dotson who ranked 3rd among all NFL offensive linemen and 2nd among guards during the 2021 preseason.

*Currently on the Reserve/Injured List


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.