The Five Most Underappreciated Players In The NFL

Forrest Kobayashi@forrestkobaSenior Analyst IDecember 9, 2007 have your Tom Bradys and Brett Favres, quarterbacks who stand tall in the pocket and deliver solid performances week after week.

You have all-purpose running backs like LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook, who give a fantastic, non-stop effort every game.

And then you have those other players: Players that casual NFL fans aren't able to name. Players whose performances stick out, but don't necessarily stand out in our heads.

Here are five players who are underappreciated by NFL fans everywhere, but who constantly put their teams in a position to succeed.

David Garrard (QB-Jac)

All that David Garrard has done this season is lead the Jacksonville Jaguars to an 8-4 record, while maintaining a top-notch QB rating of 104.7—third-best in the league. 

Garrard has transformed into one of the most reliable quarterbacks in the league, without a doubt. His consistent performances go unrecognized by much of the country, possibly due to the fact that Jacksonville is a small-market NFL team. He deserves much more credit than he currently gets.

Jamal Lewis (RB-Cle)

The spotlight in Cleveland always falls on young slinger Derek Anderson and star WR Braylon Edwards, but you have to give Lewis some props. He is averaging a respectable 4.1 yards per carry, for a total of 803 rushing yards and eight TDs.

Lewis is flying under the radar at this point, but should be recognized for his workmanlike numbers, running behind an average Cleveland offensive line.

Bobby Engram (WR-Sea) we please get some love for Engram?

Sure, everyone recognizes former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch and young star DJ Hackett, but let's take a step back for a second.

Engram leads the team with 72 catches for 874 yards and four scores.

The Seattle receiving corps has been beat up this season, but Engram has been extremely consistent and able to produce. He plays hard, and is one of the best third-down converting WR's in the league. Let's get him the props he deserves!

Roddy White (WR-Atl)

Few NFL viewers have taken note of the fantastic season Roddy White has had with Atlanta. The former first-round pick out of UAB was bordering on bust status coming into this season, but has produced at a very high level despite playing with an unstable quarterback situation.

I love Roddy White, and the game-breaking speed he brings to the table. Team officials state that his work ethic has improved to an unprecedented level, and he is in the best shape of his life. He is eighth in the NFL with 920 receiving yards, and look for him to end on a very high note as the Falcons close out their season.

Donald Lee (TE-GB) can you say that Donald Lee is not among the best tight ends in this league?

Whenever Brett Favre needs a crucial third down conversion, he zips the ball out to Lee, who makes the play.

Donald Lee is under-appreciated, and has been for years. Bubba Franks stole the show in Green Bay for a while, but it's time for Lee to step up and become one of the elite tight ends in the league.

With his strong work ethic and attitude, he can take that next step.

Other underappreciated players: Jeff Garcia/Luke McCown (QB-TB), Fred Taylor (RB-Jac), Shaun McDonald (WR-Det), Ike Hillard (WR-TB).

What players in today's NFL do you think need to get more recognition for their contributions on the gridiron?