The good people at Pro Football Focus spend enormous amounts of time breaking down every player’s performance on every individual play throughout the season. In the end, players can then be given a final rating somewhere between zero (poor) and 100 (elite). If you want to learn more about their methodology, you can read PFF’s Player Grade overview.
Most of us as fans view PFF ratings this way: “If the grade fits my opinion of a player then it’s credible, but if the grade conflicts with my conclusions then PFF is stupid garbage and should never be trusted.” I’m not advocating for PFF, rather I’m just providing one set of data that’s at least interesting. Here’s how PFF graded and ranked the Panthers offensive players.
Final PFF grades - Offense
|POS||Player||Grade||POS Rank||Snaps||% Snaps|
|POS||Player||Grade||POS Rank||Snaps||% Snaps|
|QB||Sam Darnold||62.2||31 of 38||377||37%|
|RB||Chuba Hubbard||76.6||21 of 64||275||27%|
|RB||D'Onta Foreman||73.1||31 of 64||353||35%|
|WR||D.J. Moore||73.9||33 of 123||978||96%|
|WR||Terrace Marshall Jr.||67.7||62 of 123||645||63%|
|WR||Shi Smith||52.1||120 of 123||482||47%|
|TE||Ian Thomas||49.6||69 of 75||556||55%|
|TE||Tommy Tremble||49.5||70 of 75||510||50%|
|C||Bradley Bozeman||63.1||19 of 40||679||67%|
|C||Pat Elflein||60.9||26 of 40||337||33%|
|G||Austin Corbett||69.1||19 of 78||983||97%|
|G||Brady Christensen||57.6||54 of 78||963||95%|
|T||Taylor Moton||69.3||38 of 81||1016||100%|
|T||Ikem Ekwonu||65.3||50 of 81||1016||100%|
Credit to Sam Darnold for making progress in his second year in Carolina. His PFF grade improved from 55.2 last year to 62.2 this year but even then he was ranked just 31st of 38 quarterbacks. Darnold could be a fine backup but he’s clearly not the starter going forward. PJ Walker also proved worthy of a QB3 designation after registering a 64.4 grade in fairly limited snaps.
The development of Chuba Hubbard and the impact of free agent D’Onta Foreman were more than promising this year. Chuba’s PFF grade increased from 64.9 during his rookie season last year to an impressive 76.6 this year after averaging 4.9 yards per carry. This is a shocker, but Hubbard had the single highest PFF grade among Panthers offensive players.
Foreman was an absolute workhorse after Christian McCaffrey was traded. He put up five 100-plus yard outings over his last 11 games and averaged 4.5 yards per carry on the season.
DJ Moore continues to be outright special. Despite the rotating cast of low-end quarterbacks throwing him the ball he still put up 888 receiving yards and a career-high seven touchdowns. He was ranked No. 33 among wide receivers but my gut tells me he’d be closer to a Top 15 guy if he played with a Pro Bowl quarterback.
Terrace Marshall Jr. rebounded from his subpar rookie season last year (53.3 PFF grade) to have a solid Year 2 with 28 receptions for 490 yards and a PFF grade of 67.7. This is more than welcome news for Panthers fans. Shi Smith registered a 52.1 PFF grade in his second NFL season which ranked 120th of 123 receivers. That’s not welcome news for Panthers fans.
I sound like a broken record but for three straight years now I’ve lamented the lowly state of the Panthers tight end room. The duo of Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble may be the least effective tight end combo in the league. PFF ranked them 69th and 70th of 75 tight ends and both of them saw their PFF grades decline from last year.
One of the biggest year-over-year improvements the Panthers saw in 2022 was the play and the stability of their offensive line. Five of the six regulars posted PFF grades between 61 and 69. Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman were outstanding free agent signings and finished ranked among the Top 20 at their respective positions. Rookie first round tackle Ikem Ekwonu shook off some early growing pains to post a solid 65.3 grade.
The only player coming in below a grade of 60 was Brady Christensen, which is highly questionable (or maybe I’m just a biased BYU fan). He finished the season on a high note as a pass blocker by registering the league’s second best pass-blocking grade over a five-week period.
All six of the Panthers key offensive linemen are under contract in 2023 except for Bozeman who signed a one-year deal for 2022, and hopefully he’ll be brought back next season. After years of shoddy offensive line play, Carolina finally seems pretty set going into next year, provided Corbett fully heals from his torn ACL in Week 18.
Next week we’ll take a look at the Panthers defensive ratings.
What do you think about the offense, CSR community? Which PFF grades sound about right, and which ones seem way off base?