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How have Penn State's offensive players graded out on PFF this season?

After breaking down the snap counts for each Penn State football player on Wednesday, it's time to take a closer look at how they've graded out so far through the 2021 season.

We'll start with the offense today, and as you would expect, the grades reflect much of what we've seen on the field this season. QB Sean Clifford has certainly stepped his game up, while WR Jahan Dotson ranks among the best wide receivers in the country.

But there are plenty of other interesting takeaways through the first six games. For those unfamiliar with Pro Football Focus' grading system, click here to learn how it all works.

Let's get into them below, beginning at quarterback.

Penn State Nittany Lion wide receiver Jahan Dotson ranks highly in the Big Ten according to Pro Football Focus.
Penn State Nittany Lion Jahan Dotson ranks among the best wide receivers in the country.

OFFENSE

Quarterback
Player Total Snaps (%) Pass Grade Run Grade Overall Grade

Sean Clifford

359 (83.48%)

74.3

67.1

76.5

Taquan Roberson

70 (16.27%)

44.6

52.4

45.4

Total Offensive Snaps - 430

- Clifford's total offensive grade last season was a 65.3, so he's clearly taken his game up a bit. He had three games last season in the low 50s or high 40s (Ohio State, Maryland and Nebraska). His lowest ranked game this year was actually this past weekend at Iowa with a 56.8. One would assume that if he plays that entire game, it ends up being a more respectable score.

His best two games were an 83.2 against Ball State and a 77.9 vs. Auburn. For those wondering, Clifford totaled a grade of 74.4 in 2019, so this year's grade has been similar to what we saw two years ago.

Overall in the conference, there are 15 quarterbacks who have dropped back to pass at least 100 times. Clifford's 76.5 ranks seventh. Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud leads the Big Ten with a 90.8.

Running Backs
Player Total Snaps (%) Pass Grade Run Grade Overall Grade

Noah Cain

208 (48.37%)

65.0

68.0

65.8

Keyvone Lee

105 (24.41%)

62.2

69.5

67.6

John Lovett

82 (19.06%)

51.1

70.6

67.1

Devyn Ford

48 (11.16%)

73.7

69.3

74.8

Caziah Holmes

5 (1.16%)

N/A

61.9

57.0

Tank Smith

2 (0.04%)

N/A

62.8

65.4

Total Offensive Snaps - 430

- Not included in the grades above are some eye-catching blocking grades. John Lovett has been best among the group with an 80.8 pass blocking grade. That's very good, especially when you compare that to Noah Cain's 44.4, Keyvone Lee's 57.1 and Devyn Ford's 43.8. Ford has been good at blocking for Clifford when he gets the opportunity to run block with a grade of 86.7, although those reps are limited.

But the main takeaway here is that no one is truly standing out overall. Basically all of the overall offensive numbers are average, at best. Devyn Ford's 74.8 overall grade is slightly above average, but with just 48 snaps, that's tough to compare to someone like Cain with over 200 total snaps.

For some comparison, there are 25 running backs in the Big Ten who have totaled the same amount of snaps as Lee and Cain. Lee ranks 21st and Cain ranks 24th.

Blake Corum from Michigan has the highest grade with a 90.9, while Kenneth Walker from Michigan State has an 89.0. Penn State needs more from this group.

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