Jaguars PFF grades: Best and worst performers in first half of 2023

The Jacksonville Jaguars shook off a 1-2 start to the year and hit their Week 9 bye on a five-game win streak.

With nine weekends of the 2023 season gone and nine more on the schedule before the playoffs begin, which Jaguars players deserve the most credit for the team’s 6-2 start? And which players in Jacksonville need to step it up in the last two months of the year?

At Pro Football Focus, they’re grading every player in the NFL on every snap.

With half of the regular season in the books, these are the Jaguars players who are standing out most, according to PFF:

5 highest grades on offense

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union
Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union
  1. QB Trevor Lawrence: 84.9

  2. OL Walker Little: 76.0

  3. RB Travis Etienne Jr: 71.5

  4. TE Evan Engram: 71.2

  5. WR Christian Kirk: 70.7

There are 20 quarterbacks in the NFL with at least 10 touchdown passes so far this season and the list doesn’t include Lawrence. So just how effective has the Jaguars quarterback been if the stats show underwhelming numbers? According to PFF, he’s been brilliant. His 84.9 grade is seventh among starting quarterbacks.

5 lowest grades on offense

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
  1. RB Tank Bigsby: 46.2

  2. G Tyler Shatley: 46.5

  3. TE Brenton Strange: 46.5

  4. TE Luke Farrell: 47.2

  5. WR Tim Jones: 48.9

The underwhelming play of Bigsby has forced the Jaguars to lean on Travis Etienne Jr. an uncomfortable amount in the first eight games. The run game for Jacksonville would inspire a lot more confidence if the rookie running back, and every other player in the bottom five, showed improvement in the back half of the year.

5 highest grades on defense

Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports
  1. OLB Josh Allen: 89.2

  2. S Andrew Wingard: 86.6

  3. CB Darious Williams: 85.5

  4. LB Foye Oluokun: 81.5

  5. S Andre Cisco: 78.1

In a contract year with the pressure on, Allen is putting together his best season as a pro. He has nine sacks, more than every other Jaguars player combined, through eight games.

5 lowest grades on defense

Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports
Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports
  1. LB Chad Muma: 35.7

  2. OLB Dawuane Smoot: 41.4

  3. DL Jeremiah Ledbetter: 43.1

  4. DL Angelo Blackson: 47.8

  5. OLB K’Lavon Chaisson: 48.4

A year ago, Muma and Devin Lloyd were on pretty equal footing as rookie linebackers. But the latter has taken a significant step forward in his second season and Muma hasn’t done the same. It’s way too early to give up on the second-year linebacker — the Jaguars learned that lesson with Quincy Williams — but the team’s linebackers depth doesn’t look quite as strong as it did before the year started.

5 other notables

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union
Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union
  1. LB Devin Lloyd: 75.8

  2. OLB Travon Walker: 57.4

  3. C Luke Fortner: 49.8

  4. G Brandon Scherff: 67.6

  5. ST Daniel Thomas: 80.0

Walker still hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations that come with being the No. 1 pick, but fellow 2022 first-round pick Lloyd is coming along quickly.

On the other side of the ball, Fortner hasn’t made a second year leap while Scherff is putting together a pretty strong season with only three pressures allowed in his last five games.

Thomas is leading the way for a special teams unit that has been rock solid since its rough Week 3.

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire