Every year in the NFL there are those unsung heroes who work hard but don't get the recognition they deserve and go overlooked.
The opposite is also true. There are players who receive far more praise than they deserve.
Here's a look at some players who received more praise than they deserve or vice-versa.
Tyvon Branch is arguably the best defender the Raiders have.
Last year he led all NFL defensive backs in tackles, he had one sack, and two forced fumbles as well. The only thing that may have kept him out of the pro-bowl was a lack of interceptions.
Branch is all over the field constantly in on nearly every tackle and to make matters interesting at safety, he is our last line of defense. Just think how much worse our defense would be if he missed a few of those tackles.
Michael Huff was selected seventh overall in the 2006 NFL draft.
So far he has done nothing but struggle. He is solid in pass coverage but struggles tackling and in run support.
He often whiffs on tackles like in the picture above and often plays the "catcher" waiting for ball carriers to come to him.
For that reason he was displaced as starter at FS by Hiram Eugene because Hiram Eugene, believe it or not, is a better tackler than Michael Huff. Throughout the season Huff and Eugene split playing time with Huff playing on passing downs and Eugene playing on running downs.
Last year Huff was greatly hyped because he had three INTs through the first three games, but fell off later in the season without a single INT through the next 13 games.
Jon Condo is the Raiders unsung hero on special teams. He consistently snaps the ball cleanly. And without that, Janikowski never would have been able to kick a 60-yard field goal and Shane Lechlar never would have been able to complete 96 punts without a bobble while leading the league in average and net average.
Chaz Schilens is a big athletic receiver. At 6'4'', 225 his combine numbers were eerily similar to Calvin Johnson including identical 4.37 40-yard dashes and ridiculous 43-inch vertical leaps—prompting many Raider fans to compare the two players.
Only one problem, Chaz Schilens fell to the seventh round possibly for good reason. Throughout his college career he he was never able to stay healthy, and his injury problems have only continued in the NFL.
Sure Schilens may have great hands and the same physical tools as Calvin Johnson but he can't use them while injured on the sideline.
Sure Mario Henderson struggled last year, but pretty much the whole team struggled last year. While nearly the entire offensive line went down with injuries, Mario Henderson was the lone point of continuity throughout the season.
He also plays the hardest position on the offensive line at left-tackle. The same position former first round draft pick Robert Galley failed at.
Louis Murphy had a great rookie season and lead all Raider wide-outs in receptions. But the problem is 34 receptions and 521 yards isn't very impressive coming from a teams leading receiver.
Furthermore Louis Murphy not only led the Raiders in receptions but dropped passes as well with nine—including key drops throughout the season.
Murphys' nine dropped passes was enough to tie him at fourth in the league in dropped passes among him were players like Terrell Owens and Dallas Clark. Both of whom more than double Murphys' reception total.
This may not be a popular opinion but I think Thomas Howard was the best line-backer we had last year.
He is among the best line-backers in coverage and out of all of the line-backer we had last year, he tackled with the most authority.
Sure he may be a little light and lean for a line-backer at 6'3'' 240. But he would benefit greatly by better play from the d-line in front of him.
Last year Thomas Howard had 79 tackles, third on the Raiders, two sacks, six passes defensed, and a forced fumble.
These two guys have been over hyped all offseason. Sure they were good mid-late round picks and add good depth to our team, but that is it. Neither is worthy of a starting position in the NFL or worth the hype they've received from Raider fans.
Shaughnessy is a good rotational player and plays with great energy. At 6'5'' 270 he has nearly ideal size and strength to play DE in the 4-3 as well as the moves to get to the QB totaling 4 sacks as a rookie.
He may very well develop into a great d-linemen under the tutelage of Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly. Just he isn't there yet and currently is no better than a good rotational player.
Trevor Scott on the other hand has a lot working against him. He is too small to play defensive and lacks the coverage skills to play the traditional line-backer position in the 4-3. Trevor Scott is no more than a situational player.
Believe it or not Tommy Kelly is the strong point on the d-line. He is the victim of constant double teams as offensive lines focus much of their attention on him.
But despite double teams, his production is among the leagues best. Among defensive tackles he ranked fourth in tackles beating out players like Richard Seymour, Jared Allen, Casey Hampton, Pat Williams, Albert Haynesworth and nearly every d-linemen in the pro-bowl.
But despite his elite level of production he receives constant criticism and blame from much of the fan base.
I've heard it time and time again from fellow Raider fans.
"Robert Gallery is a pro-bowl quality guard and the best o-linemen we have."
The best? If Robert Gallery is the best we have, how come he isn't good enough to play left tackle?
Pro-bowl quality? If I recall correctly Robert Gallery has never been to the pro-bowl.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that Robert Gallery is bad. I just think he isn't worthy of much of the praise he receives nor has he lived up to the expectations of being selected second overall in the 2004 draft.