NFL Playoff Picture: Most Overrated Starters Left in the Playoffs

Jake SilverCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2012

NFL Playoff Picture: Most Overrated Starters Left in the Playoffs

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    With only four teams remaining in the playoffs, we know that each and every squad deserves to be where they are. Making it to the conference title game is not a fluke, despite the fall of some heavily favored teams along the way. 

    While the New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots should be commended, there are always some players who get to bask in the limelight of their team's success thanks to inflated stats or a perception that they have played well. 

    Here is the most overrated starter on each team remaining in the postseason. 

New York Giants: Aaron Ross

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    Aaron Ross has never quite lived up to the potential he showed prior to being drafted in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft by the New York Giants. 

    As an overall defensive player, Ross is OK thanks to his tackling ability and big-play potential.

    There are two problems here: Ross tackles well because his assignment often catches the ball, and if he's not making a big play, its usually because he's letting one up.

    He was responsible on the coverage for a majority of the deep passes completed on the Giants throughout 2011, including the only 20-plus yard pass completed by Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. 

    Ross is not quite a defensive liability, but he is more suited to the role of nickel corner than the starting No. 2.

New England Patriots: BenJarvus Green-Ellis

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    BenJarvus Green-Ellis has become the featured back for the New England Patriots over the last two years, but he gets much more of the credit than he is due. 

    His 1,000-yard season in 2010 had heads turning around the league, thinking that the Patriots had found their franchise running back. 

    Though the New England passing attack became even more ferocious in 2011, with Tom Brady narrowly trailing Drew Brees and breaking Dan Marino's yardage record, Green-Ellis regressed.

    His 11 (mostly goal-line) touchdowns help take attention off the fact that he was averaging a mere 3.7 yards per carry, and caught only nine of Brady's many passes in 2011. His breakout 2010 season looks more like a one-and-done now that he managed only 667 yards this year. 

    If you can't average at least 4.0 yards per carry with defenses respecting Tom Brady, you're doing something wrong. 

San Francisco 49ers: Parys Haralson

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    Somehow, despite the monstrous season enjoyed by rookie Aldon Smith, he inexplicably remains a situation player behind the far less productive Parys Haralson. 

    Haralson recorded a mere 30 tackles and two sacks starting in 16 games at linebacker for the prolific San Francisco defense. 

    Aldon Smith had 15 sacks with fewer than half the snaps.

    Does anything else need to be said?

Baltimore Ravens: Anquan Boldin

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    Anquan Boldin signed a big contract with the Baltimore Ravens after leaving the Arizona Cardinals, ready to make his mark as a top wideout away from prolific former teammate Larry Fitzgerald

    Clearly, Boldin's production in Arizona had much to do with Larry Fitzgerald manning the other side of the field, and Kurt Warner throwing the passes. 

    He has not recorded a 1,000-yard season since joining the Ravens, despite bringing them an image of being a prolific passing offense. 

    Despite his route-running prowess, Boldin has an abysmal catch percentage, having only caught 54 percent of Joe Flacco's targets to him in 2011. 

    That puts him only four percent higher than Santonio Holmes' 2011 catch rate.

    Before you get up in arms about his good game against Houston on Sunday, note that the cornerback covering him was Kareem Jackson, a starting corner on the Texans' league-worst pass defense in 2010.