Not all of Chris Wormley's contributions this season can be on a stat sheet, yet his performance so far this season has given added value to the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.
Hampered by injuries last season, Wormley played in 148 total snaps, and did not have many opportunities to contribute to a defensive unit that was one of the best in the NFL at that time. Even with the small sample size, Wormley still managed to record a sack with 8 total tackles, and three quarterback hits.
This season, a healthy Wormley has shown the type of versatility that compelled the team to sign him to a two-year contract back in March. In five starts, not only has he doubled the amount of tackles from last season, he has added two pass deflections, a forced fumble, half a sack, and four quarterback pressures. His emergence has softened the blow of losing veteran Tyson Alualu for the season, while enabling him to grow into one of the team's most important defensive linemen.
His value has been well reflected in Pro Football Focus, as his overall grade of 77.1, has placed him among the highest graded defenders in the NFL.
In their overtime victory against the Seattle Seahawks on October 17th, Wormley did a little bit of everything, recording tackles, a quarterback hit, and an impressive pass deflection on Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith. Despite his struggles stopping the Seahawks run offense in the second half, Wormley and the rest of the defensive front stayed strong and came out on top at the end.
In Alualu's absence, and little indication of veteran defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt's return, Wormley's presence becomes that much more important, as the Steelers look to earn a spot in the playoffs. Above all, Wormley has earned the trust of his team, which has resulted in an increase in snaps, and more opportunities to produce on the field.