• A.J. McCarron posts first 90.0-plus game grade for QB this season: The Battlehawks' signal-caller made two big-time throws and no turnover-worthy plays in his team's Week 6 win.
• Pita Taumoepenu jumps into league lead for pressures: The standout Vipers edge rusher now has 22 quarterback pressures on the season, including six sacks.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Week 7 of the XFL is here, with the Seattle Sea Dragons and Arlington Renegades set to open the slate on Friday. Here are PFF's highest-graded players through six weeks of action.
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Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
- Offense: OG Mike Horton (69.1)
- Defense: DI T.J. Barnes (88.1)
Horton has allowed just one pressure across the past two weeks, a span during which he is the XFL's highest-graded pass-blocking guard (84.1).
Barnes remains the clear leader among XFL interior defenders in overall grade. He has earned a positive grade on 29.8% of his run-defense snaps, the league's highest rate at the position.
- Offense: OG Michael Maietti (81.8)
- Defense: LB Francis Bernard (82.5)
Maietti debuts here for the Defenders after three straight games with 70.0-plus grades (and a game in which D'Eriq King played just four snaps to fall below the qualifying snap threshold). The former Missouri lineman has allowed just three pressures on the year — all quarterback hurries.
The undefeated Defenders held the Roughnecks' running backs to 35 yards on 13 carries, thanks in no small part to Bernard. He tallied four run stops, the most among XFL linebackers in Week 6. His 16.7% run-stop rate for the season ranks second at the position.
Coach @reggiebarlow is repping the #BEERSNAKE and of course I has to ask about the return of Francis Bernard!
@XFLDefenders @XFL2023 pic.twitter.com/f57ajoHa4n
— Dee #sportsncoffee (@DeeLovesSports) March 28, 2023
- Offense: RB Max Borghi (77.4)
- Defense: EDGE Tim Ward (90.8)
Borghi was limited by the aforementioned Defenders and Francis Bernard, but he still found the end zone twice and forced a missed tackle. It wasn't his best outing (60.0 overall game grade), but it was enough to keep him in the top spot for Houston.
The Roughnecks' arsenal of pass rushers is among the XFL's best, and it's spearheaded by Ward and John Daka. Ward boasts 16 quarterback pressures on the season, including four on just 22 pass-rushing snaps in Week 5. He is now the XFL's second-highest-graded edge rusher despite not playing in Week 6.
Las Vegas Vipers
- Offense: RB Rod Smith (70.9)
- Defense: EDGE Pita Taumoepenu (79.2)
The Vipers' highest-graded players remain the same from Week 5. Smith was a nonfactor this past week, recording 15 rushing yards and a broken tackle on five carries in a paltry offensive showing for the entire Vegas offense.
Taumoepenu continues to impress as a pass rusher. He added three more pressures to his season total in Week 6, putting him in the league lead among all defenders.
Ghost Rush by @PitaTaumoepenu of the @XFLVipers. Feints with the inside hand, then dips under the blocker’s punch. Great execution & body control at the top of the rush. Taumoepenu is one of the best pass rushers in the XFL! #passrush #xfl #xfl2023 pic.twitter.com/b7uLc2HWp7
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) March 26, 2023
- Offense: TE Cody Latimer (82.6)
- Defense: LB Terrance Plummer (89.0)
We say it each week, but Latimer refuses to relinquish his spot at the top for the winless Guardians. His 10 contested receptions this season are four more than the next best pass catcher, and only three others have racked up more yards after the catch (161).
Plummer was rather quiet in Week 6, but he has earned 65.0-plus game grades in five of his six outings to date. His 89.0 overall grade ranks second among XFL linebackers this season.
San Antonio Brahmas
- Offense: RB Jacques Patrick (74.5)
- Defense: EDGE Delontae Scott (90.9)
Patrick is the third running back featured this week, and deservedly so after he set season highs in rushing yards (82), yards after contact (42) and overall grade (80.8). He was the XFL's highest-graded running back in Week 6.
Scott posted a 93.9 run-defense grade in Week 6, the second-highest such mark of any defender this season. He forced a fumble and made two stops overall in the run game while adding three pressures as a pass rusher.
Delontae Scott with the forced fumble and Jordan Williams with the scoop and score!
10-0 2 minutes left in the first half #XFL2023 | #HornsForward pic.twitter.com/tvlgPjfKJb
— San Antonio Brahmas (@XFLBrahmas) March 26, 2023
Seattle Sea Dragons
- Offense: WR Jahcour Pearson (76.4)
- Defense: EDGE Tuzar Skipper (90.1)
Week 6 marked Pearson's quietest performance of the season. Yet, he still leads the league targets, receptions, yards and yards after the catch. The 4-2 Sea Dragons open the Week 7 slate against the Renegades.
Skipper played just four snaps this past week before exiting due to injury. He remains the team's highest-graded defender and has five sacks on just 72 pass-rush snaps this season.
St. Louis Battlehawks
- Offense: QB A.J. McCarron (81.0)
- Defense: EDGE Travis Feeney (88.2)
McCarron is now comfortably the XFL's highest-graded quarterback due to D'Eriq King not qualifying based on the snap count threshold. He became the first quarterback this season to post a 90.0-plus game grade, making two big-time throws and no turnover-worthy plays in the Battlehawks' 29-6 trouncing of the Vipers.
Feeney posted a season-high six quarterback pressures this past week. While it has been a streaky season thus far for the former Steelers sixth-round pick, having earned two 90.0-plus game grades and two sub-51.0 game grades this year, he is one of the XFL's best when on top of his game.
A.J. McCarron with some magic for another @XFLBattlehawks TD ✨@XFL2023 pic.twitter.com/nLP6vCZwqI
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 26, 2023