Evaluating the NFL's Most Overrated and Underrated Players on Offense

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Evaluating the NFL's Most Overrated and Underrated Players on Offense
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

This is a topic that people constantly debate about. Is Terrel Owens overrated? Is Matt Hasselbeck underrated? What makes a player overrated or underrated?

Fullbacks are a dying breed and anyone who thinks a fullback is overrated or underrated is out of their mind. They're not used nearly as much as they used to be, so judging them is unfair. Writing about fullbacks is also very boring, so to save me time and you pointless reading, I'll forget about them.

Here's a list of players who are overrated and underrated at their respective positions.

 

QUARTERBACK

Most Overrated: Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)

GASP! Go ahead and start the boo chants all you die hard Ben fans! The fact is, this guy has benefited from the best defense in the NFL since his arrival. He had one great season in 2007, but other than that, he's done mediocre.

"Andy, he has two Super Bowl rings! Go die." Well, then I say so did Jim Plunkett. Never heard of him, huh? He won two Super Bowls for the Oakland Raiders, but posted a career rating of 67.5 and had 164 touchdowns to 198 interceptions.

This past season was Big Ben's first full season, too. It only took him five years to accomplish that feat. He fumbled the ball 14 times last season and has been sacked a whopping 192 times in his career.

He takes too long to find his target. After a certain amount of time, any wide receiver can get open. If JaMarcus Russell had this offensive line and set of receivers, they'd have similar results.

He manages the clock in the fourth quarter, but the other three quarters are horrendous. If he can learn to get rid of the ball quicker, he could easily become an elite.

HONORABLE MENTION: Kerry Collins (Tennessee Titans)

An 80.2 quarterback rating? How did he make the Pro Bowl? His team was good, but he was not. He is a good candidate for the Hall of Fame, but his numbers last season don't jump out as even average. Please get off this guys back. He's a backup now and Jeff Fisher doesn't realize it.

 

Most Underrated: Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

Yes, Brett Favre's replacement gets no respect. He was overshadowed too long and people dont' care. The fact is, this guy came out of the gate and filled some of the biggest shoes ever. He faced tremendous amounts of pressure and performed well.

As a Minnesota Vikings' fan, this is hard putting a rival quarterback on this list. He really is something special though. In his first year as a full time starter, Rodgers completed over 63.6 percent of his passes for an amazing 4,038 yards and a touchdown to interception ratio of 28/13. Those are MVP worthy numbers.

He's a top five quarterback that nobody has heard of. The only negative thing I can say about this guy is he fails to perform well in the fourth quarter when the game is on the line. If he improves his field general skills, he can easily become an MVP.

HONORABLE MENTION: Matt Schaub (Houston Texans)

He doesn't get recognition because Peyton Manning is in the same division. The fact is, this guy will make you pay if you don't respect him. He's got some deadly weapons on offense and will prove to the NFL why the Texans traded for him a couple years back.

 

MYTHBUSTER: Matt Hasselbeck is overrated.

Sorry guys and gals, but when this guy is healthy, he is as deadly as they come. He's suffered from a terrible offensive line the past few years and has never had a great receiver to throw to.

All the great quarterbacks have a Pro Bowl receiver except this guy. Peyton has Reggie Wayne, Tom has Randy Moss, and Kurt Warner has Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Matt has done the most with the least. With T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Matt should have a break out year in 2009.

Running Back

Most Overrated: Larry Johnson (Kansas City Chiefs)

Since his break out season in 2005, people haven't heard much from him. He compiled back to back 1700 yard seasons, but that's easy to do when in the second season you carry the ball an unprecedented 416 times.

He's got a huge attitude problem and is always in trouble with the law. He thinks he's God's gift to the NFL. Sorry Larry, but your fans are getting tired of your antics. With a future star in Jamaal Charles in the wings, you better shape up real quick.

In the last two seasons, Johnson has played in only 20 games. In those 20 games, he's barely managed to average four yards per carry. That yards per carry average is simply that, average.

Throw down a whopping nine total touchdowns over the past two seasons and you've got the equivalent of Rashaan Salaam's rookie season in 1995. That's good company, huh?

HONORABLE MENTION: LenDale White (Tennessee Titans)

This guy has benefited from a certain rookie who carried him to the goal line all last season. He's faster than some guys think, but he's still very slow. He hasn't averaged over four yards per carry in any of his three seasons.

He also can't catch a ball to save his life. If it wasn't for Chris Johnson, this guy would be nothing.

 

Most Underrated: Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)

No, I'm just messing with you. My pick is Steve Slaton of the Houston Texans.

With all the talk about Andre Johnson and Mario Williams, this guy was lost in what was probably the best season for a rookie running back in 2008. Yes, even better than Chris Johnson. I would have had no problem if this guy would have won the Rookie of the Year award.

Slaton quietly pounced his way to over a thousand yards rushing and had a very impressive 50 receptions for 377 yards. His combination of size and speed makes him a slightly smaller LaDainian Tomlinson. He could very well be the next Brian Westbrook. The only difference is Slaton will get more carries than Westbrook could imagine.

This guy is still a rookie, but his name is forgotten because he plays for the "terrible" Houston Texans. I believe next season, the Texans could be a surprise team making a deep playoff run. They have the tools necessary, and Slaton is a key part to making it all happen.

HONORABLE MENTION: Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia Eagles)

Like it or not, he is the best all around running back in the game. He has a little trouble staying healthy, but given any more than three yards of space and this guy will make you pay. Just look what he did to the Vikings in the playoffs last season.

One play from this guy will break you in two. He is a model citizen and should be a no brainer for the Hall of Fame when he retires.

 

Mythbuster: Willie Parker is a top five running back in the NFL.

Now Steeler fans are really going to be pissed. The fact is, this guy can hardly rush for 4.5 yard per carry and has only one full season without an injury. Pair that with an overwhelming seven touchdowns in the last two seasons and...Shazaam! Please try to tell me you don't honestly believe that is top five material.

Oh, and there's that part where when he gets touched, he falls down. This guy is speed and speed only. He doesn't have great balance and doesn't have the vision to take a step to the next level. I'm sorry, but I don't even think Willie is a top 15 back right now.

Wide Receiver

Most Overrated: Terrell Owens (Buffalo Bills)

No surprise here for many NFL fans. His attitude alone can put him on this list, but adding how many balls he drops is just topping on the cake. He led the league in dropped balls last season despite still putting up decent numbers.

Is he worth having on a team? He's good the first season, but after that is when the problems occur. He destroyed Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, and Tony Romo. It'll be tough to do the same in Buffalo with a relative no namer at the quarterback position.

He has been nicknamed TO not for his name, but for "team obliterator" for a reason.

Over his career, it's safe to say that nearly all his quarterbacks could eventually make the Hall of Fame. It'll be interesting to see how things in Buffalo go with a very young Trent Edwards.

HONORABLE MENTION: It's pretty hard to name another an give a good argument, so I'll leave it at that. Names come up like T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Greg Jennings, but you can make a good argument for each of them not to be on this list.

 

Most Underrated: Derrick Mason (Baltimore Ravens)

This guy wanted me to tell you, "I don't get respect!" He'll never say it to the public eye though. He is as quiet as they come. He's put up very good numbers with some not so great quarterbacks.

He's very small at 5'10'' and 190 pounds, but he packs a punch. He's been very durable, not missing a game since 2002 and has played through several injuries along the way. He makes catches he has no business making. He is a strong mentor and would improve any team in need of his services.

He has 790 receptions for 10,061 yards and 52 touchdowns. Those are somewhat comparable to Michael Irvin's Hall of Fame numbers, but he probably won't find his name called into Canton any time soon. Maybe if he got into drugs and was accused of sexual abuse, then he might get in, right?

HONORABLE MENTION: Andre Johnson (Houston Texans)

There are a few names that could go here and I would encourage people to give me some names! Perhaps none are more deserving than this guy though.

I know there are already a couple Texans on here. This guy would have been No. 1 on my underrated list had he not finally started getting the recognition he deserves. His numbers speak for themselves. With a healthy quarterback, he could end up being one of the best in game.

He's proved he has the hands and will etch his name to the Pro Bowl roster every year.

 

Mythbuster: Roddy White is overrated.

Someone please explain this one to me. He had no quarterback last year, but still managed 83 receptions and over 1200 yards and six touchdowns. This year, he had a rookie quarterback and slightly improved in every statistical category.

This guy will only get better. With Michael Turner gaining respect, the running game will be closely watched leaving White to duplicate his numbers year after year.

Tight End

Most Overrated: Dallas Clark (Indianapolis Colts)

Again, I'm sorry, but this guy has a Hall of Fame quarterback and only one good year to show for it. He has never played a full season. He's another one of those big tight ends who can only catch. I can't stand when people mention his name as the best tight end in this era.

He has no blocking skills to help out his running back, but does an okay job protecting his quarterback. The drive from his legs isn't there to make him an effective run blocker. It's sad to say, but the day of the blocking tight end is over.

 

HONORABLE MENTION:Vernon Davis (San Francisco 49ers)

Let's face it, this guy didn't deserve to be a first-round pick three years ago. He hasn't put up anywhere near good numbers and can't seem to stay healthy. When he is healthy, his heart isn't in the game causing him to get sent home early.

He could live up to expectations as a receiver, but not as a blocker. He can't find anyone to block and if he does, they get away too easily. Let's face it. He's a big wide receiver who doesn't give an all out effort on every play. There's nothing else to add here.

 

Most Underrated: Chris Cooley (Washington Redskins)

He does a little fullback and halfback to go with his tremendous catching abilities. Over his short five year career, he's averaged 60 receptions for nearly 700 yards and six touchdowns. He's also never missed a single game.

Unlike his AFC counterpart in Clark, this guy can block. He's helped Clinton Portis to become one of the best running backs in the game. Cooley is fast, strong, and has great hands. He is the perfect tight end for a passing era, yet has all the abilities to be great run blocker.

HONORABLE MENTION: Greg Olsen (Chicago Bears)

He's been in the league for two years now, but still hasn't started more than half his games. As a backup tight end last season, he caught 54 passes for 574 yards and five touchdowns. He's got amazing hands and helped block for Matt Forte.

This guy is so underrated that even his coach Lovie Smith is scared to start him on a regular basis. I hope he goes to a team that appreciates him more. Chicago fans know about his skill, but for some reason, the coaches don't see it.

 

Mythbuster: Visanthe Shiancoe will never be a good tight end.

He proved all last season and the first two games this season that it was a strong possibility. He was widely known as the worst catching tight end in the game, but suddenly came out of nowhere and caught seven touchdown passes for the Vikings.

He finally showed Minnesota the potential he has and could end up being a legitimate threat on the offensive side of the ball next season. He's only other knock is being very slooooooooow. Hopefully some good strength and conditioning coaching can help that a little.

Offensive Line

Most Overrated: Jacksonville Jaguars

They came into the 2008 season with high expectations. The result, allowing their quarterback to be sacked over 40 times which was good for third in the NFL.

Their rushing attack, which was believed to be top three in the league, was just barely good enough for the number 18 spot in the NFL. That's a huge upset compared to the number two spot they claimed a year ago.

 

Most Underrated: Atlanta Falcons

Easily one of the biggest surprises in the NFL last season was the emergence of the Atlanta Falcons. They don't have a single Pro Bowler on their offensive line, but gave up only 17 sacks and boasted the league's second best rushing attack. That's pretty good for having a bunch of overachievers on their line! They get an A+ for their fabulous performance in 2008.

 

Well, there you have it. A list of the NFL's most outrageous rankings. Coming soon will be the defensive side of the ball!

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