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Steelers OL Continues Climb Up The Board In Latest PFF Positional Rankings

Coming off of arguably its best performance of the 2022 season, it’s no surprise to see the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line climb another spot in the rankings in the latest offensive line rankings from Pro Football Focus.

In the 24-16 win over the Carolina Panthers, the Steelers offensive line dominated the point of attack throughout the matchup, rushing for 156 yards and three touchdowns while keeping backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky upright and relatively clean on the day, leading to the convincing Steelers win that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

Thanks to that dominant performance in the trenches, the Steelers offensive line climbed one spot in the Week 16 rankings, moving up to No. 17 overall in the NFL, according to PFF’s Sam Monson.

“Pittsburgh’s line is significantly better as a pass-protecting unit than it is in run blocking. They rank eighth in pass-blocking efficiency and 23rd in run-blocking grade,” Monson writes regarding the Steelers’ offensive line. “Mason Cole was the only member of the line to surrender any pressure against Carolina.”

The numbers from Pro Football Focus for the Steelers offense line is a bit shocking, quite honestly. The group has had serious issues in pass protection this season overall, allowing 35 sacks on the season to date. While the running game got off to a slow start, the Steelers have been much better on the ground since the Week 9 bye week.

That includes some impressive rushing performances against the New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Panthers in recent weeks.

The offensive line feels much better equipped to come off the ball and move guys off the point of attack in the run game, compared to sitting back in pass protection overall on the year.

That thought will again be put to the test on Saturday night on Christmas Eve against the Las Vegas Raiders in a matchup that will feature star pass rushers in Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby for the Raiders.

“Maxx Crosby is the main threat on the Raiders, boasting 62 total pressures and 52 defensive stops on the season. He lines up almost exclusively across from the right tackle,” Monson writes.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin specifically highlighted the terrific pairing during his weekly media session ahead of the matchup with the Raiders as guys the Steelers will have to be ready for. That includes right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, who will match up with Crosby. Okorafor has had his moments in pass protection on the season, earning a 66.0 overall grade from PFF on the season as a pass blocker. 

On the year, Okorafor has allowed 31 pressures and three sacks in 579 pass blocking reps.

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