Top 5 Most Overrated NFL Players

Colan LamontAnalyst IIJune 16, 2012

Top 5 Most Overrated NFL Players

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    "Overrated" means that a player receives far more praise and credit than his play actually deserves.

    A player can be overrated because he plays on a good team and so his flaws may not be exposed as much as they would be otherwise.

    Overrated players also often get a free pass based on their past glory, even if their best days are behind them.

    This list isn't an attack on the players mentioned; I actually enjoy watching them, and wouldn't mind having the majority of them on the teams that I support.

Clay Matthews

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    I'd imagine most fans would disagree with me on this one.

    But despite Matthews being a great talent, I think much of his praise is unjustified.

    He is not one of the best linebackers in the league—maybe a top-five pure pass-rusher though.

    With 29.5 sacks in his first three seasons, he is disruptive but he is very incomplete as a player.

    Matthews becomes pretty anonymous if he is not given the green light to rush the passer. Shouldn't the best linebackers also be able to hold up against the run?

    The best linebackers are able to stand out even if they can't be disruptive in the backfield. Matthews doesn't.

    To be fair, I think some have overreacted to his reduced sack numbers in 2011. He faced a lot of double-teams and I still think he is an excellent pass-rusher.

    To start with, Matthews must improve against the run. According to ESPN, the Pittsburgh Steelers instructed their backs to target Matthews the entire game because he was a weak link.

    I can think of six outside linebackers right now who I think are better than Matthews, yet they don't receive anywhere near the same hype.

Lance Briggs

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    Briggs used to be a difference-maker.

    But, he is definitely on the decline and I feel he receives far too much praise now.

    Last year, he had zero sacks; not what you want from your top outside linebacker.

    Briggs is one of the best run-stopping linebackers in the league and he still remains a hardworking player, but it is only a matter of time before he loses a step, if he hasn't already.

Andy Dalton

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    Dalton had a good rookie campaign. Good, not great

    Reaching the playoffs was brilliant, but people seem to forget that his team also had a very good defense which helped keep him in games.

    I was actually surprised to see him do reasonably well last year, but I don't buy into the thought that he has cemented himself as the Cincinnati Bengals' quarterback of the future.

    A passer rating of 80.4 and 20 touchdowns in your rookie season is promising, but not enough to crown Dalton as a future star.

    He has average height, athleticism and arm strength. I appreciate that he is a smart guy, but I think he will continue to struggle against tough defenses.

    He seemed completely lost against the stout defenses of the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, accounting for two touchdowns and five interceptions.

    Dalton could become an average starting quarterback in the NFL, but I can't see him ever being a top 10 player at his position.

Philip Rivers

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    This is not a knee-jerk reaction to his poor 2011 season.

    Rivers is in the unfortunate position of being forever compared to Eli Manning, and until he wins a Super Bowl, he will always come up short.

    Rivers always puts up big numbers and people are impressed by them, but the gaudy statistics don't always translate to victories.

    For instance, he threw for a combined 747 yards and four touchdowns against the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs last season. These numbers pass the eyeball test immediately.

    You might be surprised to hear that Rivers also threw five interceptions and lost both games.

    Rivers has all the ideal measurables for a quarterback, but he is definitely not the top-five player at his position that many believed he was last year.

Troy Polamalu

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    Polamalu is a future Hall of Famer, but he is not the top safety in the league anymore.

    He is easily beaten in coverage and gets confused by play-action passes and pump fakes.

    He still has scary range, but that is also because he is given the freedom to roam around the field waiting for the chance to make a big play.

    His lack of consistency frustrates me because there are times when he makes plays that nobody else in the league can, but he will then allow a receiver or tight end to beat him with relative ease.

    He has single-handedly both won and lost games for the Pittsburgh Steelers by going for the big play rather than doing the simple thing.

    I'm not sure if it is age or injuries, but Polamalu has not looked like the same player of late, and I fear his best days are long behind him.