For a player to be overrated or underrated, he must be rated first.
This seems obvious, but it's worth stating to San Francisco 49ers fans who come across this article.
I perceived how 49ers offseason additions have been rated by reading comments sections and other writers' opinions. From there, I formed an opinion on the following five players.
"Overrated" players aren't necessarily bad additions. And "underrated" additions aren't necessarily going to make a huge difference this season.
I'm simply providing my expectations for five players I believe many 49ers fans and scribes have rated inaccurately.
Glenn Dorsey hasn't lived up to the expectations of being a top-five draft pick, but he's also a very good player who doesn't get enough credit.
In 2011, Dorsey (listed as a 3-4 defensive end) ranked second in Pro Football Focus' run-stopping stat at his position (subscription required). He missed most of 2012 with a calf injury, paving the way for San Francisco to sign him to a relatively cheap deal.
The 49ers will give him a shot at the starting nose tackle job in training camp, but even if he doesn't thrive there, he'll still be a valuable weapon on the defensive line on first and second downs.
Under Jim Tomsula's tutelage, my guess is he'll become a fantastic 3-4 nose tackle anyway. By the end of the 2013 season, Isaac Sopoaga's run-stuffing dominance in San Francisco will likely be a distant memory.
Nnamdi Asomugha has serious name value in the Bay Area, and it has led some to believe that he'll be a savior for the 49ers cornerback corps.
First off, the Niners' cornerbacks don't need saving. Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver were great in the regular season last year. Carlos Rogers took a step back from his outstanding 2011 season, but he still ranked 46th out of 113 qualified cornerbacks in Pro Football Focus' rankings (subscription required).
Secondly, some might say Asomugha was on a dysfunctional Philadelphia Eagles defense, and that's what held him back the last couple of years.
Well, that's only partly true. In 2011, the Eagles led the league with 50 sacks. Despite getting all that pressure, Asomugha placed 88th out of 109 qualified cornerbacks for Pro Football Focus' rankings (subscription required). He was dreadful again last year, but in fairness to him, the entire Eagles defense fell apart.
I absolutely don't blame the 49ers for taking a chance on him, especially considering how cheap his contract is.
But don't expect miracles. A rotational nickel cornerback job seems more realistic.
I think most 49ers fans were pleased with the Phil Dawson signing, but let me give you a little more reason to like it.
Over the last two seasons, Dawson has made 14 of his 15 field-goal attempts from 50 yards or more.
As a means of comparison, David Akers only made 13 of his 20 field-goal attempts from outside of 40 yards in his historic 2011 season. And, as I'm sure you guessed, the numbers got far worse in 2012.
It was a bargain for a player who could have a crucial role in San Francisco's success in 2013.
At the time of the Craig Dahl signing, 49ers followers were left to wonder if he was expected to earn the starting job for the 2013 season.
Since, the 49ers grabbed Eric Reid in the NFL draft, and as long as he adjusts to the NFL game quickly, he'll be starter.
I'm sure of this because Dahl was awful in St. Louis last year. He was 78th out of 88 qualified safeties in Pro Football Focus' rankings (subscription required).
I don't think many were ecstatic about this signing, but it makes this list just because of how bad it was. The Niners could've signed a different veteran, such as Charles Woodson or Kerry Rhodes, but instead they're stuck paying Dahl, who may not even be the team's primary safety backup by the end of training camp.
Is it cheating to pick a rookie?
Maybe, but I'm confident enough in Quinton Patton that I'm going to do it anyway.
The former Louisiana Tech wider receiver was ranked as the 27th-best prospect by National Football Post, yet the 49ers took him with pick No. 128. From what I've seen, it seems some fans are unaware that he's not your average fourth-round pick.
He doesn't have jaw-dropping speed, but he has most of the other important wide receiver attributes—great hands, toughness, instincts and an ability to make defenders miss after the catch.
With Michael Crabtree out indefinitely with a torn Achilles, Patton is going to get an opportunity to see the field. I bet he turns some heads with that opportunity.