• Adam Thielen has been a revelation: The veteran receiver is the Panthers’ highest-graded player and the biggest surprise this season.
• Myles Garrett atop the mountain: The Browns’ edge rusher is the highest-graded player in the NFL.
JUMP TO A TEAM:
Highest-graded player: RB James Conner (85.5)
Conner is currently on injured reserve, but he’s had the most efficient season of his career through five games. His 5.4 yards per carry and 3.51 yards after contact marks are top-10 in the NFL.
Biggest surprise: Edge Dennis Gardeck (77.9)
On a team bereft of edge-rushing star power, Gardeck has been a bright spot. He leads the team with 19 pressures and a 75.8 pass-rush grade.
Stat to know: Through nine weeks, 25.6% of the Cardinals’ RB rush attempts have resulted in a loss or no gain, the highest rate in the NFL.
Highest-graded player: S Jessie Bates III (89.9)
Bates ranks second among safeties in overall grade in 2023 and is tied for second in interceptions (3).
Biggest surprise: LB Nate Landman (85.1)
Landman’s 81.8 run-defense grade is 13th among all linebackers. He has tallied 28 stops, tied for 15th among all defenders.
Stat to know: The Falcons have the highest team run-defense grade in the NFL (80.3).
Highest-graded player: QB Lamar Jackson (89.7)
Jackson is the second-highest-graded quarterback in the NFL. Of the 32 quarterbacks who have dropped back to pass at least 125 times this season, Jackson is the only one who has yet to throw an interception on a pass thrown at least 10 yards downfield.
Biggest surprise: CB Brandon Stephens (70.9)
Opposing quarterbacks have a 68.1 passer rating when targeting Stephens, and he’s lined up in press coverage 170 times this season, third-most in the NFL.
Stat to know: The Ravens lead the NFL with 42 explosive rushing plays of 10 yards or more.
Highest-graded player: QB Josh Allen (90.7)
No quarterback has a better overall grade than Josh Allen this season. The Bills quarterback is completing a career-high 71.3% of his passes and has the fifth-most big-time throws among all quarterbacks (18).
Biggest surprise: Edge A.J. Epenesa (82.5)
Epenesa’s 82.5 overall grade ranks 16th among all edge defenders, and he’s on pace for a career-high pressure total.
Stat to know: The Bills offense leads the league in expected points added (EPA) per play (0.130).
Highest-graded player: WR Adam Thielen (81.3)
The veteran wide receiver has solidified himself as Bryce Young’s favorite target. Thielen is top-10 in targets (76) and receptions (62) through eight games and is on pace for his first 1,000-yard season since 2018.
Biggest surprise: WR Adam Thielen
It’s hard to overstate how reliable Thielen has been this season. He’s generated a 117.7 passer when targeted and has moved the chains 36 times, the sixth-highest mark at the position.
Highest-graded player: CB Jaylon Johnson (86.3)
The Bears’ wantaway star is the highest-graded cornerback in the NFL this season. Only 46.4% of the targets thrown his way have been completed, and he has allowed the fifth-lowest passer rating to opposing quarterbacks (40.9).
Biggest surprise: RB D’Onta Foreman (74.7)
Foreman was a healthy scratch from Week 2 until Week 6, and he’s been an important chain-mover for the Bears offense since. Over the last three weeks, Foreman has racked up 206 rushing yards and 125 yards after contact, forcing eight missed tackles along the way.
Stat to know: The Bears have the lowest pressure rate in the NFL (27.9%).
Highest-graded player: Edge Trey Hendrickson (89.4)
This season, Hendrickson ranks top-10 in sacks (9.0) and pressures (43). His 91.2 pass-rush grade is the fourth-highest in the NFL.
Biggest surprise: T Jonah Williams (68.7)
Williams’ Bengals career looked over in the offseason, but he’s rebounded as the starting right tackle after shifting from the left side. He’s played every snap on the offensive line this season and has earned a 66.4 pass block grade, the best on the team.
Stat to know: Joe Burrow has the lowest turnover-worthy play percentage in the NFL this season (1.4%).
Highest-graded player: Edge Myles Garrett (93.3)
Garrett has been the highest-graded player in the NFL this season. He’s generated a pass-rush win rate of 27.1%, the best mark at the position.
Biggest surprise: S Grant Delpit (77.6)
Delpit’s 83.4 coverage grade is the sixth-best in the NFL. His 22 defensive stops lead all safeties.
Stat to know: The Browns defense leads the NFL in EPA allowed per play (-0.269).
Highest-graded player: Edge DeMarcus Lawrence (91.2)
Lawrence’s 91.3 run-defense grade is the best in the NFL among edge defenders, and he’s contributed as a pass-rusher with 25 pressures.
Biggest surprise: CB DaRon Bland (83.1)
Bland has been a revelation since stepping in for Trevon Diggs as the starting cornerback for the Cowboys. He leads all cornerbacks in interceptions (4) and has the lowest passer rating when targeted this season (33.8).
Stat to know: The Cowboys’ defense has missed just 8% of tackle attempts this season, the best rate in the NFL.
Highest-graded player: CB Ja’Quan McMillian (82.1)
The Broncos’ undrafted free agent from a year ago has been a rare bright spot on the defense this season. He has 12 stops in just six games and the third-best run-defense grade among cornerbacks (90.4).
Biggest surprise: CB Ja’Quan McMillian
McMillan’s effective play extends to a top-20 coverage grade (78.1), and he averages 9.2 coverage snaps per reception allowed in the slot.
Stat to know: Though they are improving, the Broncos’ defense is dead last in EPA per play allowed (0.094) through nine weeks.
Highest-graded player: Edge Aidan Hutchinson (90.0)
Biggest surprise: DI Alim McNeill (84.6)
McNeil has helped build a wall on the Lions defensive line. He has 20 pressures, 10 stops and a top-10 overall grade among interior defenders.
Stat to know: The Lions have the second-most dropped passes this season (20).
Highest-graded player: LB De’Vondre Campbell (80.9)
Campbell has played only five games this season but earned a 90.1 run-defense grade and an acceptable 68.6 coverage grade.
Biggest surprise: CB Carrington Valentine (64.0)
Valentine has played well as a seventh-round rookie. He’s allowing a passer rating of just 68.8 and a completion percentage of 42.9% when targeted.
Stat to know: The Packers are tied for the fewest missed tackles forced on rushing plays this season (23).
Highest-graded player: LB Blake Cashman (89.6)
Cashman has been excellent for the Texans in 2023. He has the second-highest grade among all linebackers and is top-10 in run defense grade (85.5), pass-rush grade (81.4) and coverage grade (80.9)
Biggest surprise: WR Nico Collins (84.4)
Collins has caught 37 passes for 643 yards and four touchdowns. He ranks top-10 in yards per reception (17.4).
Stat to know: The Texans have the fewest turnovers in the NFL (5).
Highest-graded player: C Ryan Kelly (81.3)
Kelly has allowed just three pressures this season and is top-five at the position in overall grade, run-blocking grade (81.1) and pass-blocking grade (81.3).
Biggest surprise: T Bernhard Raimann (80.3)
A third-round pick in 2022, Raimann has been solid in his second season as the Colts’ blindside protector. He’s allowed just 16 pressures and two sacks, earning a top-20 pass block grade (78.9).
Stat to know: The Colts are top-five in receiving yards after the catch in 2023 (1,083).
Highest-graded player: Edge Josh Allen (89.2)
Josh Allen has been the best player on a much-improved Jaguars defense in 2023. He’s top-10 in total pressures (39) and sacks (9) and boasts an 85.0 pass-rush grade.
Biggest surprise: S Andre Cisco (78.1)
The former third-round pick has earned career-high grades across the board and already has three interceptions this season.
Stat to know: The Jaguars are tied for the most takeaways in the NFL (18).
Highest-graded player: QB Patrick Mahomes (87.1)
Of course. Mahomes is still playing at an elite level and is the fifth-highest-graded quarterback in 2023. He’s third in passing yards (2,444), fourth in touchdown passes (17) and has the lowest pressure-to-sack rate in the NFL (9.4%).
Biggest surprise: WR Rashee Rice (79.4)
The rookie leads all Chiefs wide receivers in catches (32), yards (378) and touchdowns (4) in 2023.
Stat to know: The Chiefs are third in EPA allowed per play on defense (-0.123).
Highest-graded player: Edge Maxx Crosby (91.7)
Crosby leads the NFL in pressures (53) and sacks (10) and is on pace for the first All-Pro season of his career.
Biggest surprise: G Greg Van Roten (75.6)
Van Rotenhas allowed just 11 pressures through nine games and has the third-highest overall grade among guards in the NFL.
Stat to know: The Raiders are averaging the second-fewest yards per carry (3.2) this season.
Highest-graded player: Edge Khalil Mack (88.9)
The former Defensive Player of the Year has 39 pressures and 20 stops on the season, showing that he can still impact the game in a big way.
Biggest surprise: Edge Tuli Tuipulotu (70.4)
The rookie edge rusher has the second-most pressures among all rookies (29) but leads the way in sacks (7). His 84.3 run-defense grade is third among all edge rushers this season.
Stat to know: Just 6.8% of the Chargers’ drives have ended in a turnover, second-best in the NFL.
Highest-graded player: DI Aaron Donald (89.1)
He’s back. Aaron Donald is back to being one of the most disruptive forces in the NFL. He has the second-most pressures among interior defenders (40) and the second-highest pass-rush grade (90.7).
Biggest surprise: G Kevin Dotson (84.0)
The Rams won’t regret trading for Dotson in the offseason. He leads all guards in overall grade and has given up just seven pressures. His run-blocking grade (87.5) is the second-highest in the NFL.
Stat to know: Matthew Stafford has the fourth-most big-time throws (19) among quarterbacks this season.
Highest-graded player: WR Tyreek Hill (93.0)
Hill is on a record-setting pace this season. He leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,075) and touchdown receptions (eight) and is the second-highest-graded player in the league. No one has more 20-plus-yard receptions (12).
Biggest surprise: Edge Andrew Van Ginkel (89.8)
Van Ginkel has recorded 22 pressures and four sacks while boasting a top-10 pass-rush grade (84.3) and a respectable 70.3 run-defense grade.
Stat to know: The Dolphins have the highest team rushing grade in the NFL (92.8).
Highest-graded player: WR Justin Jefferson (89.9)
Jefferson has been on IR since Week 5 but still ranks 17th in receiving yards (571) and 30th in receptions (36). On top of that, Jefferson is the fifth-highest-graded wide receiver.
Biggest surprise: S Camryn Bynum (85.1)
The former fourth-round pick has two interceptions and four forced incompletions in coverage. He has also earned the fifth-highest coverage grade among safeties (84.8).
Stat to know: The Vikings rank 29th in pressure rate (29.3%).
Highest-graded player: LB Jahlani Tavai (84.4)
Tavai is an apt blitzer but boasts excellent run-defense (83.4) and coverage (80.2) grades.
Biggest surprise: WR Demario Douglas (78.7)
Douglas’ 1.81 yards per route run is the best on the team. He’s averaging 5.9 yards after the catch per reception, ninth among wide receivers.
Stat to know: Mac Jones has the most turnover-worthy plays in the NFL (18).
Highest-graded player: LB Demario Davis (89.9)
Davis is the highest-graded linebacker in the NFL. He leads all linebackers in pressures (14) and has a top-five run-defense grade (88.2). He’s still doing it all for the Saints defense.
Biggest surprise: CB Paulson Adebo (86.2)
Opposing quarterbacks want nothing to do with Adebo. He’s allowing just 40.7 passer rating when targeted and has the third-best coverage grade this season (87.0)
Stat to know: Just 29.9% of drives against the Saints defense have ended in points, the fifth-best mark in the NFL.
Highest-graded player: DI Dexter Lawrence (92.3)
The past few years have seen Lawrence vault himself into the conversation for the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL. This season, he leads all interior defenders in overall grade, pressures (44), quarterback hits (10) and pass-rush grade (92.2). He is also second in run-defense grade (85.5).
Biggest surprise: LB Micah McFadden (72.2)
There haven’t been many surprises (good ones, at least) for the Giants, but McFadden has been a bright spot at linebacker. He has the third-most pressures on the team (11), the third-most tackles (36) and a solid 76.1 run-defense grade.
Stat to know: Just 8.5% of the Giants’ offensive drives have ended in a touchdown, the second-lowest rate in the NFL.
Highest-graded player: DI Quinnen Williams (90.0)
Despite not recording a sack this season, Williams has recorded the fifth-most pressures (31) and third-most hurries (25) among all interior defenders. His stellar 90.1 run-defense grade is also tops at the position.
Biggest surprise: LB C.J. Mosley (89.1)
Mosley has recorded 31 stops (ninth-most), five pressures and has the second-best coverage grade (90.2) among all linebackers this season.
Stat to know: The Jets have the fewest passing yards in the NFL this season (1,600).
Highest-graded player: WR A.J. Brown (91.8)
The list of receivers better than Brown this season is short. He has the second-most receiving yards (1,005), the fourth-most touchdowns (6) and the third-most yards after the catch (322).
Biggest surprise: S Reed Blankenship (84.5)
Blankenship has stepped up as a starter this season for the Eagles. He leads all safeties in pass breakups (6) and has added two interceptions. He has earned the third-best coverage grade (87.5) at the position.
Stat to know: The Eagles have recorded the second-most rushing first downs in the NFL (83).
Highest-graded player: Edge TJ Watt (91.2)
Watt is inevitable. He is tied for ninth in pressures (39) and has the fourth-highest grade among edge defenders this season. He’s on pace for his fifth double-digit sack season in seven years.
Biggest surprise: DI Keeanu Benton (75.2)
Benton has hit the ground running on the Steelers defensive line. He has 13 pressures, the seventh-most among all rookies, and the 14th-best overall grade among all interior defenders.
Stat to know: The Steelers have the third-most takeaways in the NFL (16).
Highest-graded player: Edge Nick Bosa (92.0)
Bosa doesn’t have the lofty sack numbers that helped him win Defensive Player of the Year in 2022, but he’s still operating as one of the premier edge rushers in the NFL. He has the second-most pressures (44), the most quarterback hits (15) and the second-highest pass-rushing grade in the NFL (91.6).
Biggest surprise: Edge Clelin Ferrell (67.5)
Any sort of tangible improvement is a good sign for Ferrell. He has 14 pressures and six quarterback hits in 2023. He’s started all eight games for the 49ers in 2023.
Stat to know: The 49ers are tied for the best EPA per play in the NFL (0.130).
Highest-graded player: LB Bobby Wagner (86.8)
Wagner is rolling back the years after re-signing with the Seahawks in the offseason. He has the best run-defense grade (91.7) among all linebackers and has added the fifth-most stops (35).
Biggest surprise: Edge Boye Mafe (81.5)
The Seahawks needed a surge of energy at edge rusher, and Mafe has delivered. His overall grade is top-20 among edge defenders, and he’s recorded 25 pressures and six sacks through seven games.
Stat to know: Only 44.2% of the Seahawks’ passing yards come after the catch, fourth-fewest in the NFL.
Highest-graded player: S Antoine Winfield Jr. (88.9)
Winfield is one of the best blitzing defensive backs in the NFL but has also been excellent in coverage, allowing the seventh-lowest reception percentage when targeted (47.1%).
Biggest surprise: T Luke Goedeke (76.8)
There was understandable concern over the Buccaneers offensive line this offseason, but Goedeke stepping up at right tackle has helped alleviate some of those gripes. He’s allowed just 18 pressures and has a top-20 pass-blocking grade (76.7).
Stat to know: The Buccaneers are averaging the fewest yards per carry in the NFL (3.1).
Highest-graded player: RB Derrick Henry (88.6)
The former Offensive Player of the Year has rushed for the fourth-most yards in the NFL (605). He has 11 runs of 10 or more yards and a top-10 rushing grade.
Biggest surprise: G Dillon Radunz (69.2)
Radunz is finally making an impact after being drafted in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s shifted inside to guard and has allowed just 11 pressures and zero sacks this season. He boasts an 80.9 run-blocking grade, too.
Stat to know: The Titans have allowed 0.013 EPA per play on defense, the fifth-worst mark in the NFL.
Highest-graded player: CB Kendall Fuller (81.6)
Fuller ranks ninth among corners in PFF grade through nine weeks. He has two interceptions, two pass breakups on the season, and a top-10 coverage grade.
Biggest surprise: G Samuel Cosmi (70.8)
Cosmi has been a solid interior presence for the Commanders this season. His run-blocking grade (67.5) and pass-blocking grade (68.4) rank 19th and 21st among all guards this season, and he’s allowed only one sack.
Stat to know: Sam Howell has been sacked 44 times, 13 more times than the next-closest passer.