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Let's Get It Straight: Five Over and Underrated Saints Players

Brandon ButeraContributor ISeptember 5, 2010

Let's Get It Straight: Five Over and Underrated Saints Players

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    Many times players are judged and known for only one play. One single misstep or one wrong decision can define a player. On the flip side, one unbelievable play in the spotlight can shoot a player to stardom.

    Many players are misjudged based on single plays such as these. Or they may be judged on one single below average physical aspect, forever condemning them to criticism.

    There are many players in the NFL who aren't flashy and therefore go unnoticed. These players may deliver week after week, and never truly get acknowledged. At the same time there are the outspoken,braggarts of the NFL who drag all the media towards them.

    These occurrences are true for every team in the NFL and in all of sports.

    But here's a look at the most underrated and overrated New Orleans Saints players. I am not saying I do not like the overrated players in this slide show. I am merely demonstrating how they aren't as amazing as everyone tends to believe.

5. Overrated: Sedrick Ellis

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    In the 2008 NFL draft, the saints selected defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis with the seventh overall draft pick. They traded up the board to get him and saints had huge expectations for this rookie. he was supposed to rejuvenate this lacking saints defense by strengthening the defensive line tremendously. but he has not lived up to that potential yet.

    In his two seasons with the Saints, he has been on and off the injury report. he cant seem to stay healthy. he has missed 9 full games throughout the season and missed parts if many more.

    when he is healthy, he still isn't the top lineman on this saints team, even though he is the highest paid. he earns nearly 10 million dollars a year. 10 million!

    he is a good tackle but not a 10 million dollar tackle. In his two seasons with the Saints he has only recorded 46 total tackles and 6 sacks. Those are not very good stats.

    There are times when Saints fans are glad Sedrick Ellis is on the team, like when he stops a running back in his tracks for no gain on 4th and 1. But there are other times where they reconsider his value.

    Sedrick Ellis is a good defensive lineman, but he has not lived up to the potential he was supposed to have. He does not deliver on a weekly basis like a top lineman should.

4. Overrated: Tracy Porter

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    On the Saints road to the Superbowl victory last season, Tracy Porter emerged as one of the Saints top play makers. He intercepted a pass from Brett Favre towards the end of the NFC Championship game, sending the game into overtime and into the Saints hands.

    Then the fabled interception to seal the Saints Superbowl victory on February 7. He beat one of the best quarterbacks in the game by reading Peyton Manning's route and pouncing on the ball.

    After these playoff picks, Porter became a household name in the New Orleans region and around the entire NFL.

    Personally, I love Tracy Porter, and I think he is a great player and an essential part to this team.

    But I don't believe he is as amazing as everyone believes because of his two interceptions. HE is a good corner back who can make tackles and run with most guys. But there have been multiple occasions where he has made the wrong read and been burned for big yardage.

    He gets a lot of tackles throughout the season because quarterbacks would rather choose to pick on him over Jabari Greer.

    All in all, Porter is a good play maker, but he isn't as brilliant as everyone believes him to be.

3. Overrated: Jeremy Shockey

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    In 2008, the New Orleans Saints traded second and fifth round picks in the 2009 NFL draft to the New York Giants in exchange for disgruntled Tight End Jeremy Shockey. The tough guy attitude of Shockey had created problems in the New York locker room, so they shipped him out.

    Saints fans welcomed Shockey with open arms, as is usual the case with new possible talent. They liked the idea of another big weapon in the mastermind offense that Drew Brees engineered

    This 6'5" 250 pound tight end has great skills in blocking and the receiving game. He knows how to slip by the defense and pick up a huge first don. He also knows how to create a hole n the defensive line allowing the running back to run for a 50 yard touchdown.

    But this player also has a lot of downside. Shockey has dropped multiple first down passes to end the offensive rhythm. He occasionally misses his block or executes the wrong play. He is inconsistent. When the Saints are losing, he tends to not deliver. When they are winning, he is a receiving stud.

    Too many times he has gotten into mini-brawls with the defense, creating big penalty yardage, stopping a big drive in its tracks.

    But, most importantly, Shockey is always plagued by injury. He has never played an entire NFL season. He always seems to have some sort of nagging injury he has to deal with. 

    Still, Shockey is a valuable player with  lot of potential. He is a great tight end, blocking and receiving, but he has a lot of downside. Through all of the injuries, miscues, and penalties, Shockey is an overrated player.

2. Overrated: Darren Sharper

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    Darren Sharper is going to miss half of a season because of an injury.

    Sharper is an experienced veteran who has tremendous field presence. He knows how to read the quarterback's eyes and make a key interception.

    But as he heads into his 14th season in the NFL, he enters beat up and withered. Darrren Sharper is falling to the age factor in the NFL and his days are limited.

    Lately, he has fallen to many injuries, mainly to his knee. These injuries are depleting his once top-notch speed, and causing him to be beaten by receivers more and more.

    He has gotten plenty of interceptions in his career, and he has capitalized on those touchdowns countless times. But this previous season was it because of his agility, or the Saints pressure on the quarterback which created these turnovers?

    The Saints blitzed quarterbacks so many times this season, beating them down and taking away rhythm. Many times a pass would go array and Sharper would intercept it, taking the fame and glory with his touchdown. But was it really his talent, or the defensive line which deserved the credit?

    Either way, Darren Sharper is a possible future Hall-of-Famer, who is a team leader week in and week out. But I think it is about time he hangs up those cleats, so that he can leave while he is still on a high note.

1. Overrated: Reggie Bush

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    Reggie Bush is without a doubt the most overrated Saints player. I will not label him a bust because as far as potential talent goes, he is one of the best backs in the league. But for the second overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Bush has not lived up to all the hype. 

    It seems that this preseason, Bush is finally learning to run up the middle and power through backs for big gains. But every once in a while he still tries to bust it to the outside and make something that wasn't there happen. This is the story of Bush's professional football career up to this point.

    Bush is a speed demon, he can hurdle over defenders, juke, shake, and dance his way into the end zone. He has amazing athletic ability and is a great weapon on this offense.

    But he is not the down-for-down back he was originally supposed to be. He has been plagued by multiple injuries, and he can never seem to stay healthy for an entire season.

    He is being paid 7 million dollars a season, an unbelievably high amount for someone who isn't even in the starting running back role. The true starter, Pierre Thomas earns less than 500,000 a season.

    The fans support him, and he is one of the most famous and followed sports figures in the USA today. But I truly don't believe he is deserving of the hype he receives. Reggie Bush is a great athlete and football player, but he is not a down-for-down back you can depend on for 16 games in a season.

5. Underrated: David Thomas

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    David Thomas is another one of the underrated players who isn't well known because the famous veterans at his position always steal the spotlight, good or bad.  In this case it is veteran tight end Jeremy Shockey. As I already explained, Shockey is a slightly overrated offensive weapon. I believe the true talent lies in the hands of David Thomas.

    A great blocking tight end, Thomas is amazing at creating holes through the line to give the running back or receiver a window to break out and steal the spotlight. But the true heroes of the offensive line are forgotten.

    This is a major way in which tight ends and lineman in general are ignored and everyone focuses on the running back. If it wasn't for the hard blocking up front, the running back would never have a chance to succeed.

    Not only does Thomas contribute to amazing gains on offense by his blocking, but he will catch some of those passes too, well when he is in the game that is. The only problem is he is a second string who doesn't see enough playing time.

    When playing, Thomas easily slips through coverage after a swift block and pick up a first down or much more. He is a similar size to Shockey, yet he is more agile. He runs sharp routes and has great hands. He is a clutch receiver who will never drop the ball.

    He stays healthy during the season and has a great positive attitude in the locker room.

    Thomas provides much more production than people give him credit for. He is one of the most underrated players on this Saints team.

4. Underrated: Lance Moore

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    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    Lance Moore has been plagued by injury as of late, ruining his 2008 shining season and covering up his big play ability.

    When healthy, Moore is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL today. He quietly moves in on the slant pass, jukes a defender, and gets the big gain. He is very good at going for long yardage after the short catch. He is a small receiver who knows how to make big plays.

    Many times analysts have compared him to New England's Wes Welker. he executes routes perfectly, and he is crazy agile. He has the most sure hands on the team, he never drops passes.

    He is a superb athlete who doesn't get enough attention in the offensive arrangement.

    In 2008, when Marques Colston was injured most of the year, Moore stepped up and recorded nearly 1,000 yards receiving. Then, in 2009, when ready to explode for a huge year, he was injured all throughout the season and stepped out of the spotlight.

    Maybe he will now get increased roles on offense this year.

    Either way, Moore is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL.

3. Underrated: Will Smith

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Will Smith is going into is seventh NFL season as a Defensive End for the New Orleans Saints. He has never played for another team. He went through the Katrina times when the road was rough for New Orleans. He has stuck to this Saints team and city through thick and thin.

    He is one of the most devoted and consistent players on this Saints team.

    He rarely gets injured, and he is very tough.

    He has not missed a game in the past three seasons, and he has been getting better and better all the time. Last season he reached his peak when he recorded 49 tackles, 13 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 3 deflected passes, and an interception.

    Will Smith is probably the most valuable defensive lineman on the Saints team. He has a great pursuit of the quarterback, he knows how to get by offensive lineman, and he never gives up on the tackle, no matter how far back he is from the ball carrier.

    Quietly, Smith does his job week in and week out by making tackles and sacks consistently.

    Although defensive lineman such as Smith don't get very much news coverage, Smith still does his job for his team, continuing to be a success for this city.

2. Underrated: Pierre Thomas

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    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    In 2007, the Saints picked up an undrafted rookie out of Illinois as a backup running back who could push in the football on the goal line. He was supposed to be reassurance for the second year back Reggie Bush, an apparent superstar in the making.

    Thomas signed a small contract and started training hard, determined to be successful in the NFL. He didn't record much playing time his rookie season, and he only accumulated 400 offensive yards.

    In 2008, questions over Reggie Bush's value started to pop up, and Thomas just kept working hard day after day, waiting for his chance to shine. Reggie Bush had an injury-plagued season, but Thomas picked up the workload and delivered far more than Bush could. From  there he would become the starter over Reggie Bush as the down-for-down Saints back.

    Pierre Thomas is a small-sized running back who powers through defenders as though he was 50 pounds heavier. He has developed into the master of the screen play, which was instrumental in the Saints Superbowl 44 victory.

    He is finally starting to get noticed, and his talent is finally being displayed on national levels. His contract this year pays him less than 500,000, while Reggie Bush makes over 7 million.

    But Thomas isn't too worried about any of that. He just wants to win football games.

    Pierre Thomas is a team player, who is one of the lowest paid/greatest production players in the NFL.

1. Underrated: Jabari Greer

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    Perhaps the most underrated player on the entire Saints squad, Jabari Greer is the best corner back on this team who does not get the rep that he deserves.

    When most people look to evaluate a corner back, they tend to immediately look at his stat of total tackles. Although Greer's tackle total is still above average, it isn't enough to define Greer's ability.

    You must look at Jabari Greer as he plays to fully appreciate his talent. The reason he doesn't get a phenomenal number of tackles is because he shuts down receivers game after game. When quarterbacks see how tightly their top receiver is being covered, they immediately look in another direction to find an alternative open man. Hence, although Greer's tackle totals aren't tremendous, big plays on his side are few.

    Greer is also the most experienced corner back on the Saints team. He is a relatively small corner back, but he is extremely aggressive. He loves to play very tight coverage to shut out receivers on his side. With his mixture of speed and strength, Greer can stay with almost any receiver in the NFL in single coverage.

    Greer is a great corner back who never loses sight of the ball or his temper. He is a quiet force who lets his actions speak for him.

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