Who Is the Most Overrated, Most Underrated Player on the Cleveland Browns?
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It's hard to imagine any Cleveland Browns player as "overrated," at least considering the kind of season they had last year, but indeed, there are players getting more credit than they're due on that roster. The same goes for underrated players—yes, the Browns also have those as well.
Here, I will examine one of each and try to determine why so much love has been given one, while the other hasn't gotten the attention he deserves.
Overrated: QB Seneca Wallace
How on Earth can a quarterback like Seneca Wallace be overrated? Even if fans don't necessarily think so, clearly, the Browns' powers-that-be believe that Wallace is in some way a valuable quarterback.
Wallace has followed Browns president Mike Holmgren from Seattle to Cleveland and isn't likely to be the Browns passer cut now that Brandon Weeden is primed to be the team's starter. Instead, that honor will go to Colt McCoy, who clearly has more overall upside, even as a No. 2 quarterback, than Wallace.
In the past two seasons, Wallace has started seven games (four in 2010 and three in 2011), never doing enough to secure himself the job over McCoy. He passed for 567 yards last season, completed just 51.4 percent of his passes and threw two touchdowns and two interceptions.
That's not all that impressive, and it doesn't make anyone feel all that confident that if Weeden should be sidelined for any reason that Wallace would likely be the No. 2 behind him this year.
At this point in Wallace's career, him simply having a job somewhere, even as a backup quarterback, makes him overrated. All he has in his favor is the support of Holmgren and little else.
The Browns know that they can trade McCoy to another team for value, but there's no chance of them doing so with Wallace, which has much to do with McCoy not likely lasting in Cleveland past training camp.
That's a shame, because it's far scarier to consider the prospect of Wallace starting a game this year than to think of McCoy potentially doing so. Maybe Wallace has a bigger arm (his longest pass last season went for 76 yards, while McCoy's longest was 56), and neither had impressive yards per attempt last year (5.3 for Wallace to McCoy's 5.9), but McCoy still averaged more yards per game than Wallace by over 100.
For someone averaging 89.5 passing yards per game to be considered a viable backup quarterback option clearly points to Wallace being overrated by the Browns' front office.
Underrated: WR Jordan Norwood
With two quarterbacks practically splitting time for the Browns last year and the majority of attention being paid Greg Little and his issue with dropping passes, slot receiver Jordan Norwood spent his first year in Cleveland being mostly overlooked.
Nevertheless, Norwood was active for 14 games and caught 23 of the 34 passes thrown to him, good for 268 yards and a score. He averaged 11.7 yards per reception and had 15 catches good for a first down.
For a slot receiver in a passing offense that did little more than struggle last season, Norwood was a shining beacon of reliability and an example of what could be for the Browns with more stability and talent at quarterback.
This year, Norwood needs to fend off rookies Josh Cooper and Travis Benjamin to keep hold of the starting slot receiver job, and at the very least, he's getting the best opportunity to do so, having spent most of OTAs and minicamp working solely with the first-team offense.
According to stats compiled by Pro Football Focus, Norwood was not the greatest asset to his team last year, but he was absolutely not a liability (subscription required). He was just slightly below average in run blocking and completely average when asked to pass block, and by the halfway point of the season, he earned himself a great deal more offensive snaps.
As long as he continues to work with the first-team offense in training camp, he'll hold down the starting slot job in 2012.
Look for Norwood to have a breakout season of sorts if so, as Weeden looks to him to be the kind of reliable, security-blanket type player every rookie quarterback tends to require. His yards per reception should increase, and he could be good for over 400 yards with a better quarterback like Weeden throwing at him.
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