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Where does PFF rank Colts’ DT Grover Stewart among peers?

Pro Football Focus continues on with their offseason positional rankings. Recently, PFF put together its list of the top-32 defensive tackles, which included a pair of Indianapolis Colts’ interior defenders.

Coming in at No. 6 on the list was DeForest Buckner, while Grover Stewart was ranked 31st overall among the position group.

PFF’s top-5 included Chris Jones at the top, followed by Dexter Lawrence, Quinnen Williams, Derrick Brown, and Cameron Heyward. Just ahead of Stewart was Devonte Wyatt at No. 29 and Sheldon Rankins at No. 30.

Here is what PFF had to say about Stewart:

“One of the league’s better run defenders, Stewart has graded consistently well in that area in every season of his NFL career. He has shown in the past few years that he can impact the passing game, as well, notching the second-most pressures from a nose tackle alignment over the past two seasons.”

As PFF mentions, Stewart has established himself as one of the top run defenders in the game. Last season, Stewart ranked 11th in run-stop rate and was fifth in overall run defense grade.

When Stewart was on the field versus when he was off, there was a noticeable difference in the Colts’ ability to defend the run. During the first six games of last season, which featured Stewart, the Colts surrendered only 3.7 yards per rush and 2.24 yards after contact. However, over the next six games without him, the Colts gave up 4.9 yards per carry and 3.14 yards after contact, according to ESPN.

The offseason addition of Raekwon Davis, who the Colts added in free agency, will hopefully bolster their run defense depth, so there isn’t such a steep dropoff in play when Stewart isn’t on the field.

While run defense has been Stewart’s calling card, a focus for this season is on becoming more disruptive as a pass rusher, which will help Stewart reach that next level and become an “elite player.”

“I just want to be an elite player, man,” said Stewart when meeting with reporters during offseason programs. “I know that I’ve been labeled as one of the best run-stoppers in the league, but I want to get to that next level like I always say, man. Like everybody big on getting the quarterback, so I want to show them that I can do that too, along with stopping the run.”

As a pass rusher in 2023, Stewart logged 15 pressures, including six quarterback hits, which were a career-high. Stewart’s pass rush win rate of 8.1 percent was a career-high as well–although compared to the rest of his position group, he still ranked 68th.

As a primary run defender, Stewart’s pass rush opportunities may be more limited in comparison to some of his counterparts, but if he is able to get after the quarterback with more consistency, it’s not only his game that he will take to another level, but the entire Colts’ defensive front – which should already be quite disruptive – will reach another level as well.

“I mean, I’ve just got to take more advantage of my opportunity when I’m out there,” Stewart said. “Make it happen when I’m out there.”

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire