2010 NFL Season Rankings: The Most Overrated & Underrated Player on All 32 Teams
When it comes to the NFL regular season, the league doesn't hesitate to highlight the good and bad in both the players and teams all year long.
Since the kickoff in New Orleans little over a week ago, most NFL fans have endured quite a stressful and drama-filled week, something that just about everybody was more or less expecting during a point in midseason play.
However, now that all 32 teams have kicked off their 2010 campaign, it is time to separate the good players from the bad, the overrated from the underrated, and like Noah in the Bible, choose the truly great athletes to board the ark this season.
When it comes to a list of this magnitude, it is normally quite successful in sparking some kind of controversy. This time around though, I am positive that a few select people will disagree with some kind of call made, but I assure you that there are no player bashings.
So who has made the list for 2010?
Let me state for the record, this is one of the hardest lists to produce. Still, the following players who have made it are definitely worthy, and even if Tim Tebow is or isn't mentioned, it's worth a quick look.
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Overrated: Derek Anderson
The Cardinals aren't the hardest team to decipher right now. Seeing as though head coach Ken Whisenhunt has been comfortable in his "Matt Leinart out, Derek Anderson in" strategy as of late, it's easy to state that Derek Anderson is by far the most overrated player in Arizona right now.
When it comes to justification of this call, simply looking at Derek Anderson's stats over the past years indicates that he hasn't had much experience. In 2009, he accumulated only 182 yards in eight games, and although he wasn't the starter in Cleveland for much of the season, he did often struggle when he had his moment in the spotlight.
Now that Derek Anderson has taken over a once-promising postseason team, the worrying begins for Cardinal faithful. Will he succeed? That's the question we want answered. For now though, Derek Anderson is a little overrated, even though most people question his ability on a daily basis.
Underrated: Steve Breaston
The anticipation surrounding young Cardinals wide receiver Steve Breaston has been surprisingly low this season. It would be unfair to say that Breaston was a key playmaker for Arizona last year; however, he was one of the main reasons the Cardinals once again made the playoffs, as his 712 yards and three touchdowns was certainly handy.
In 2010, Steve Breaston has a ton of pressure above his shoulders. Anquan Boldin is no longer with the team, and now it is time for Steve Breaston to not only complement Larry Fitzgerald, but also to provide that second passing option to an inexperienced quarterback.
Fortunately for Steve Breaston, people are beginning to become aware of who he is. Last week against the Rams, he finished the game with 132 yards, and if he continues to improve, his underrated status will change instantly.
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Overrated: Matt Ryan
As much as I love Matt Ryan's brilliance at times, there is no doubt that he has proven to be all hype and no results following last year's performance.
Following the 2008 season that saw Matt Ryan excel as a rookie, most people stood up and expected this young player to perform in leaps and bounds, as it seemed natural talent oozed out of his very fingertips.
Unfortunately for Ryan, though, this scenario never played out.
No, instead of continuing along his explosive path, Matt Ryan took his foot off the gas pedal a little in 2009, and wasn't quite as impressive as he was in his first year.
Much of this could be credited to the Falcons as a team, but Matt Ryan went from 3,340 yards to 2,916 and from 16 interceptions to 22 over the two-year period.
Realistically, these aren't at all bad stats in comparison to other quarterbacks. However given the expectations, it is a bit of a let down. Matt Ryan is sitting just on the edge of an overrated status, but if he jumps over that last hurdle this season, you can mark him down as a steady quarterback.
Underrated: Roddy White
Even though most people know Roddy White by name, I'm not totally convinced that everyone realizes how good a receiver he truly is.
To put it simply, Roddy White does all the little things on the field. He makes catches, he blocks, he helps the quarterback when in need, and above all else just remains consistent and steady every year.
But as great as this all is, Roddy White is one of those rare receivers who seems to fly under the radar and become overshadowed by Andre Johnson and other big-name players.
Last year, Roddy White accumulated 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. Like Matt Ryan, these stats were down a little in comparison to 2008, but they are impressive nonetheless. For Roddy White though, he excels off an underrated status, and seems to like being underestimated.
Perhaps we'll see a new Roddy White this season, or maybe he'll always be that seemingly forgotten guy. Either way, the Falcons aren't complaining; they have a great receiver on their hands.
Overrated: Willis McGahee
For those of you reading this that know have a slight grudge against Willis McGahee being overrated, don't get me wrong, I love No. 23 a lot.
But what isn't to love from Willis McGahee is his stats. During McGahee's eight-year career, he has seen both highs and lows. However, the best example of this is by looking at McGahee's total yards over his career, as he has only rushed for 1,000-plus yards twice.
Of course, this stat may be irrelevant to some people, as McGahee has always been looked at as more of a ground and pound style rusher, rather than a flashy foot dancer. But still, when a prime-time starter fails to reach the 1,000 yard mark in today's modern era, a small sign of concern is shown.
Unlike other players on this list, it is doubtful that McGahee will get a chance to redeem himself. Ray Rice is the firm starter in Baltimore, and the chances of McGahee seeing the starting role anytime soon is slim.
Say what you want about McGahee, he is a great player. Yet he is still overrated.
Underrated: Derrick Mason
When it comes to appreciating a veteran NFL player, Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason is the epitome of greatness. Not only does Mason portray a great deal of experience, he is also one of the true team leaders on the Baltimore Ravens offense.
But aside from the mental side of things that Mason brings to the team, it is his physical performance that sees him take home the underrated role. In Mason's 14-year career, he has been successful in posting above 1,000 receiving yards eight times.
Is this impressive? You bet your life it is, as these kind of stats are hard to maintain for an older guy, that is seeing a great deal of competition at the wide receiver spot.
And is he underrated? Unfortunately, yes, he is. That still doesn't take away from what a successful career Derrick Mason has had, along with the fact that he is still willing to challenge the younger guys on the team this season, and try and reach the 1,000-yard mark once again.
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Overrated: CJ Spiller
As controversial as the Bills decision to draft running back C.J Spiller was, there is no doubt that the Buffalo offense was in some serious need of a spark, as talent was running dry.
What people didn't expect though from C.J Spiller was a rather disappointing offseason, as his training camp routine was good, but nowhere near as impressive as the likes of Jahvid Best. Spiller's performance against the Dolphins last week was also rather ordinary.
By the time the clock struck triple zero, C.J Spiller had just seven carries and six yards, rather disappointing stats for a player who has been poised for the starting role ahead of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson for quite some time now.
Realistically, we'll keep a close watch on C.J Spiller, after all he could have a turnaround this season. However, the Bills play Green Bay this week at Lambeau Field, and the Packer defense is at its best right now.
Perhaps by the end of the season, we'll see a new Spiller unfold, but for now, he has the stench of "overrated" sticking to him.
Underrated: Trent Edwards
Call me crazy, but Trent Edwards is one of the few underrated players visible on the Bills starting roster.
What is unique about Trent Edwards right now is that he has maintained the starting role, and has also managed to post reasonable stats through the turmoil that has plagued the Buffalo Bills for the past five to 10 years.
Last season saw Edwards finish his year with 1,169 yards and six touchdowns, and although he had one more interception than a pass for six, he has done well considering how poor the Bills receiving game has been.
If there was some kind of underrated list, Trent Edwards would be way down the bottom. People still consider him to be a terrible quarterback, and think he has no chance at a bright future.
While this is a reasonable assumption, it is also time to realize that Trent Edwards can't perform miracles, and his stats are okay for a guy who has at least been dependable for a team that has struggles left, right and center.
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Overrated: Matt Moore
Following Matt Moore's incredibly disappointing start on Sunday against the New York Giants, there is no doubt that he is well and truly worthy to be cracking this list right now.
When the game finished, the Panthers found themselves in quite a dilemma. Matt Moore only passed for 182 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, and more importantly, Jimmy Clausen wasn't given much game time at all, even though he is the favored starter right now.
But perhaps the most concerning point right now for the Panthers is the fact that Matt Moore looks increasingly unsettled in the starting role.
He struggled against one of the lesser dominant defenses in the league, and the Panthers find themselves with an overrated quarterback who is sliding down the bench.
Not much more to say here; Matt Moore's performance in Week 1 sums it all up.
Underrated: Richard Marshall
I wouldn't totally blame you if you hadn't heard of Richard Marshall, but when you consider how important he has been as of late to the Carolina Panthers defense, it makes sense for him to be listed as underrated.
When it comes to Panther defense, it is an area that the team lacks. Fortunately they are lucky enough to have Richard Marshall around at the cornerback position. He managed to collect four interceptions last season.
Aside from last year, though, the fact that Marshall's interception numbers have been decent every year is what makes him a minor star. He's rarely injured, and he is one of the few talented guys on the Panther defense.
Given that Marshall didn't have a fantastic start against the Giants last week, does him no credit. This guy is underrated, but should be looked out for, especially if your team is playing against him.
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Overrated: Lance Briggs
Briggs is the definition of a dominant defensive player, and when it comes to how tough the Bears can be on defense, he can definitely provide.
With this in mind though, Lance Briggs has failed to be the tough-as- nails guy he once was, and by looking at his stats it only further produces the truth.
For an outside linebackers as talented as Briggs is, it's a shame to see him only have 2.5 sacks to his name last season.
More so, it is also disappointing to see that guys like Clay Matthews can rack up two sacks in a single game, as they are capable of rushing the quarterback.
Two years ago, I would never have placed Lance Briggs here. He was always a great player alongside Brian Urlacher, and was the backbone of the Bears defense.
While the last part of this statement is true, though, right now he has slipped into an overrated status, purely due to his lack of performance.
Lance Briggs has never been a big sack machine, but he really should be. He's big enough and strong enough, so until he hits some quarterbacks, hard, then he will always be overlooked.
Underrated: Devin Hester
We all know that Devin Hester is a fantastic kick returner, and whether it's on Madden or in real life, he can rip a big gain with the best of them.
But when it comes to Hester's other position at the wide receiver spot, his efforts often go unnoticed. In a time that sees the Bears offense struggling a little, Devin Hester has always been a good source of results.
Sure he doesn't post big 1,000-yard seasons, but he is always reliable, even though some fans question his ability in the catching game.
More importantly though is Hester's chemistry with the coaching staff. Just about everyone in Chicago likes him, including Jay Cutler, who relies on him heavily at times.
I'm aware that some may say that Hester is far from underrated, and in fact the very opposite, but credit is due for his efforts, even if they aren't as great as they could be.
Overrated: Jermaine Gresham
Jermaine Gresham looks great at the tight end role in Cincinnati. What isn't great about the situation though is that Jermaine Gresham missed the entire 2009 season in Oklahoma, resulting a little rustiness heading into his career with the Bengals.
Although Jermaine Gresham has played only one meaningful game in his pro career, he has looked quite good. He scored a touchdown against New England last week, and put up 25 yards.
So what's overrated about him? Simply the fact that he can be a little non-existent in big-time games. Yes, he performed well against New England, but the test remains to be seen when Indianapolis and the bigger AFC teams come knocking.
Chances are Jermaine Gresham will excel in this league, he his highly talented. But for him to slip into the starting role so easily, makes pressure mount. Most people are comfortable he can do it, but missing a whole 2009 year of football may do funny things.
Underrated: Carson Palmer
A select few people rank Carson Palmer amongst their top 10 quarterbacks, but for those that do, I commend you highly.
For you see, Carson Palmer is one of the most underrated passers in the history of the game. Not only does he post great stats year in and year out, he also manages to perform as a leader for the Bengals, even though he is injury prone.
Speaking of injuries, it seems that Palmer's injury in 2008 has affected his reputation a little. He went form being a highly respected player, to a guy that has scratched and clawed his way back to the top. So far Palmer has been successful in doing so, but he is still underrated.
Perhaps this season if Palmer and the Bengals go all the way deep in postseason football, this attitude may change. Still, when it comes to talent, Carson Palmer's 3,094 yards and 21 touchdowns last year will still be ignored.
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Overrated: Jerome Harrison
It would be easy to say Jake Delhomme in this instance, but the better option to go with coming out of Cleveland right now would be running back Jerome Harrison, who showed bursts of brilliance last season.
In terms of good years, it's fair to say Jerome Harrison's 862 yards and five touchdowns were certainly promising. But surely, the question must be asked, what has he done before that?
Basically nothing. In 2008 Harrison rushed for 246 yards in 15 games, and further down the list the story is printed in bold. I guess the issue here for Harrison is that he hasn't yet inserted his dominance as a Brown, and as a result looks overrated due to his experience in the NFL.
Chances are Jerome Harrison changes all of this in 2010. He did only have 52 yards against the Buccaneers last week though, so maybe he is yet another one-hit wonder in the NFL.
We'll have to wait and see. However, I fear that if Harrison doesn't break the 1,000-yard barrier this season around, he will be labeled as the ultimate overrated player. The talent is there, so it's just time to put words and performances into better action.
Underrated: Joe Haden
People seem to have forgotten a little about Joe Haden recently, and as a result the Browns No. 1 draft pick has become a little irrelevant recently. For the most part, much of this problem could be blamed on the fact that Haden isn't one of the starting corners in Cleveland right now, even though he is edging ever closer.
But what people seem to forget, is the fact that Joe Haden came from perhaps the best college football school of the past decade, the Florida Gators. Not only was he a standout under head coach Urban Meyer, he is also perhaps the best cornerback to come out of the SEC division in a number of years.
Unfortunately for Joe Haden fans, the chances of him starting this season are a little slim. He may step in shortly, but it seems Mike Holmgren and Eric Mangini don't want to rush things.
This strategy may be very smart, but for the time being Joe Haden is sitting idly by with an underrated status above his head.
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Overrated: Marion Barber
Cowboys fans will be delighted not to see Tony Romo featured in this spot, but they may not be as pleased to see their favored running back Marion Barber take home the honors.
Now, while I do recognize that Marion Barber doesn't play in every drive that the Cowboys produce, he does however see a decent amount of playing time each season, which should allow him to reach a great deal of impressive statistical numbers.
But while it is reasonable to expect that, this isn't the case. First and foremost, Marion Barber has yet to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. In 2009 he did come within a whisker at 932, yet still fell just short of his full potential.
The benefit of having Marion Barber is that he is a very strong, reliable, and fast runner. The downside is that he doesn't always find the end zone, and can have games where he is stuffed for all four quarters.
Until Barber develops into that all-down, all-around back, he will be just the slightest bit overrated, even though his contributions are certainly noticed.
Underrated: Bradie James
In terms of consistency, Bradie James' efforts haven't always been there. But in terms of reliability and usage, he has been 100 percent helpful for the Dallas Cowboys in the past eight years.
Those who are unaware, in 2008 Bradie James had a stellar year that saw him post eight total sacks for the season. Although these were his best numbers for his career, they are definitely a standout on the stat sheet, making him a very underrated player.
The most important thing to consider about Bradie James though is the fact that when the Cowboys get going, James starts rushing.
It's funny that in 2009 this wasn't the case, and even though against the Redskins he had only eight tackles, he is a player to watch for this season.
Personally, I just feel if James can get back to his eight-sack ways, he can really shine in the NFL. Until then though, he will slide under the radar for the time being.
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Overrated: Brian Dawkins (Post-Philadelphia days)
It's extremely tough to put Brian Dawkins in this spot, but since he became a Denver Bronco, it just seems that we don't hear about him as much as used to.
We all know Dawkins was an interception machine in Philadelphia. But since his time with the Broncos, he has only managed two interceptions, and isn't quite the prolific player he once was in The City of Brotherly Love.
Given that two picks for a guy his age in a single season is quite reasonable, I think you'll agree that the hype around Dawkins' dominance is no longer quite as loud.
Don't get me wrong, Dawkins was never even close to being overrated when he was with the Eagles, but now that he is a Bronco, it is starting to sway that way slightly.
Underrated: DJ Williams
Most people are aware of who DJ Williams is these days, following his highly impressive 3.5 sacks last season.
When it comes to DJ Williams, he isn't the greatest performer on the stat sheet, yet he does everything right at the inside linebacker position. Firstly, he is great at holding receivers. And secondly, he is also very talented at drawing the ball away from the area he is covering.
To say that DJ Williams will be underrated in two years time may not the wisest move, as he is slowly making his way toward the top. However, give him a few years and he should well and truly be on top of his game.
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Overrated: Nate Burleson
Nate Burleson is only just entering his first season as a Detroit Lion, but he does have an incredible amount of experience to his name.
In Burleson's years with the Seahawks, he has seen both ups and downs in terms of his performance. On one hand, Nate Burleson is capable of reaching over 1,000 yards, even though he is yet to do so.
While on the other hand, he can fail to be consistent for a season or two, and even be the slightest bit injury prone.
So what makes Nate Burleson overrated in Detroit?
Well the fact that he is the No. 2 receiver behind Calvin Johnson tells most of the story. Not only would failure make Nate Burleson look at that worse, he also enters into a new team after posting a decent amount of stats last season, so expectations are high.
All in all Nate Burleson could develop nicely under Jim Schwartz, but we'll have to wait and see. Much of the talk, though, is a little overdone.
Underrated: Chris Houston
Like Nate Burleson, Chris Houston is one of the newest members to the Detroit Lions. Personally, I feel that Chris Houston has yet to fully develop as a player. He has only posted three picks in his four-year career, and these stats can be improved now that he is the starting corner in Detroit.
Last week against the Chicago Bears, we all received glimpses of how talented Chris Houston can be. Not only did he force a fumble, he also helped nicely in his first game, and recorded five tackles.
Promising things are to come from Houston, and hopefully he won't have a problem.
Green Bay Packers
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Overrated: Ryan Grant
It's tricky to find an overrated player on the Green Bay roster right now, as there is so much talent swirling in Packer Nation. But if there is one guy who has caused Packer fans some frustration over the years, it is Ryan Grant.
When Grant was signed by the Packers from the New York Giants in 2005, things looked promising. Here the Packers were getting a running back who was young and healthy, and ready to make an impact. In 2007, that impact came under Brett Favre, as the Packers went to the NFC Championship Game.
However, following on from that, things went downhill. Ryan Grant's rushing stalled a little, and his 2- to 3-yard gains became a trademark of his.
To this day, Ryan Grant has improved tremendously, and it is unfortunate that he has gone down injured, and is set to miss the entire 2010 season.
Still, given his past, he is one of the few mildly overrated Packer players right now, and rightfully so.
Underrated: Brandon Jackson
Sticking with the running back theme, Ryan Grant's replacement, Brandon Jackson, is one of the more underrated players on the Packer roster.
For those that watched the Packers take on the Eagles this past Sunday, would have noticed Jackson's near dominance, as he is not only a very quick and speedy running back, but strong at the same time.
In past seasons, Brandon Jackson has been made to sit back and watch a little by head coach Mike McCarthy, which seems to have worked a treat right now. This season Brandon Jackson gets his spot in the sunshine, and has a chance to really impress everybody.
He's underrated right now, but improving drastically. Don't be surprised to be thinking of Brandon Jackson in a new frame of mind, come this time next year.
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Overrated: Kevin Walter
Like the Packers, it is tough to find an overrated player on the Texans roster right now, as the team is the best it has ever been.
Upon looking through the depth chart, though, one man did arise, whose name is Kevin Walter. Now, while hype around Kevin Walter is dull considering that Andre Johnson is the main man, some of the expectation placed on him is a little unfair.
To give a prime example, Kevin Walter had only 611 yards and two touchdowns last season for the Houston Texans. Given he did make a good play against the Colts on Sunday, he is one of the more overrated wide receivers in the starting role, just by looking at his stats.
I will give credit where credit is due though, he's gotten off to a great start this season. A touchdown against Indianapolis is never easy, and maybe this will help his career lift off into the next level.
Underrated: Arian Foster
This is the easiest selection I've had to make all week, as Arian Foster's brilliance against the Colts last week was nothing short of fantastic.
With three touchdowns to his name and 231 yards, Arian Foster is a diamond amongst the rough when it comes to the Texans' run game.
I think I will let Foster's performance speak for itself here, as it was that great. We all expect big things from the second-year player, so let's hope he delivers.
The Texans need him, and it sure is a delight to see him run with the ball right now.
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Overrated: Bob Sanders
If Arian Foster was the easiest underrated pick to make this week, then Bob Sanders is the easiest overrated pick, as people need to stop sticking up for this guy, and just admit the truth.
Once again, we find ourselves in the Bob Sanders loop. Like last season, he's hurt himself again, and this time around it is torn biceps that have required some form of surgery.
Luckily for Colts fans, head coach Jim Caldwell feels that he can make a healthy recovery. But as we have seen in the past, this is by far the most injury-prone player in the league, along with one of the most questionably talented.
It feels like decades ago that we last saw Bob Sanders really play at his best, and God knows that the Colts could do with him. Right now though he is not even walking a fine line, he simply looks overrated, and these injuries are doing him no good at all.
Underrated: Austin Collie
It could be argued that Austin Collie is no longer considered underrated, but after all he is only entering his second year in the league.
During last season, Austin Collie had a great rookie year. He finished up with 676 yards and seven touchdowns, and although he struggled in the postseason a little, he has had a taste of everything the NFL has to offer early on his career.
Therefore, we can only expect bigger and better things from this guy, and his 163 yards and one touchdown last week against the Texans makes that statement even more true. Big things are to come from Collie, and I for one look forward to it.
The Colts would strive off of another great wide receiver, and although Collie is underrated now, I doubt he will be for long.
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Overrated: Justin Durant
Four-year pro linebacker Justin Durant cracks open the overrated list for the Jaguars, as his play in the past four years hasn't been of the highest possible standard.
The most concerning point of this scenario, is that Justin Durant has only recorded two sacks from the linebacker position, after playing nearly all 16 games in the past three seasons. Not only is this a dismal stat to have, it also reflects how tough the Jaguar defense has had to cope in the present time.
As much as I'd like to say that Durant can pick it up, I doubt it. He hasn't had a great career, and his history shows that he struggles at times.
If there is one positive though, he is a rather young player, and is with a team that has a "never say die" attitude.
Maybe things may change if he works hard at it.
Underrated: David Garrard
I've been promoting David Garrard all offseason long, as his attitude toward hard work is a great example for any young NFL fan to follow.
Not only had Garrard been working longer than most quarterback this season, he has also seen great results on the field so far.
One of the smaller upsets to come out of Week 1 was the Jaguars win over the Broncos. It wasn't exactly a huge upset by any stretch of the imagination, but since Garrard himself had three touchdown passes and 170 yards, it was certainly a major success.
Chances are David Garrard never cracks anyone's Top 10 quarterback list, let alone Top 20 or Top 15. However, he has really tried to turn the Jaguars around, and does have a good arm on his shoulders.
Kansas City Chiefs
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Overrated: Matt Cassel
Like Bob Sanders, people have stuck up for Matt Cassel for long enough, as his great plays with the New England Patriots in 2008 have certainly gone out the window now that he has entered the Kansas City Chiefs organization.
For the most part, Cassel was never going to work magic in Kansas City. As great as the win was over the San Diego Chargers on Monday night, the Chiefs are still very much a rebuilding team right now.
But speaking of last Monday night, Matt Cassel was the last reason that the Chiefs won that game. Instead of Cassel taking charge, he put forward a measly 68 yards and 1 touchdown, so it was lucky that the defense made a last-minute stand.
The opportunity for Cassel to turn it all around is there; he just needs to find his rhythm in Kansas City. It's taken some time, but sooner or later, it could show up.
Underrated: Jamaal Charles
Most of us know who Jamaal Charles is now, following his 1,120-yard effort last season. What people can't understand though is why he is the second-string rusher for the Chiefs at the present time.
But aside from that, Jamaal Charles has shown a tremendous amount of talent for a third-year player. His stats last year were great, particularly in the second half of the season, and it appears when he does have his hands on the ball, he can do some serious damage to a defense.
Head coach Todd Haley would be smart to start giving this guy some game time, as it may pay dividends for Kansas City. In the meantime, watching Charles develop is a treat, especially since he is still so young and underrated.
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Overrated: Ronnie Brown
Don't get me wrong here, Ronnie Brown is a very good player. We all love his quickness, and even though has struggled in life away from football, he is a key part of the Miami Dolphins offense right here and now.
But what is disappointing in regards to Ronnie Brown's career, is the fact that he hasn't grasped the starting role with an iron grip, and really proven to everyone that he is a top-tier running back.
For the most part, much of this issue is due to the fact that Ricky Williams is right behind him. However, seeing as though Ronnie Brown has had numerous half-played seasons and below 1,000 rushing yard attempts, he is the slightest bit overrated.
Now for those that are taken back by this, trust me, I do see the potential in Ronnie Brown right now. But still, his past five years in the NFL could have been much better, if he solidified the starting role.
Underrated: Chad Henne
It seems that a day doesn't go by in the NFL that sees Chad Henne either praised for his work, or cut short for what he has or hasn't done.
What's important in many peoples eyes though is the fact that Chad Henne has done something that Ronnie Brown has failed to do, and that is maintain the starting role. In 2009 Chad Henne finished the year with 2,878 yards, 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Yes, Chad Henne did have more picks than touchdowns thrown, but big whoop. When it comes right down to it, people are now aware of this young and developing player, yet they still seem to favor the likes of Mark Sanchez in the AFC East.
This year Chad Henne looks to break out, and Brandon Marshall can help him along the way. Underrated? For now, he is. Give it two or three years though, and he should be a well rounded quarterback in every area of the game.
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Overrated: Bernard Berrian
It was a tough to place Bernard Berrian in the Vikings overrated spot, but his overall efforts throughout his career have been a little hit-and-miss as of late.
When it comes to Bernard Berrian, people seem to be fond of hyping him up a little. This story is now even more true, considering that Sidney Rice is set to miss most of the season, and Bernard Berrian will be filling in at the No. 1 starting receiver spot.
However, on paper, Bernard Berrian has struggled. Given that he does have to compete with two other talented players on a regular basis, his 618 yards last season and 4 touchdowns certainly weren't a reflection of what a great year his quarterback, Brett Favre, had.
No, instead it was the very opposite. And to add a little icing to the already large cake, Bernard Berrian's efforts last week against the New Orleans Saints were also dismal.
It puzzles me a little how some people can say that Berrian is a great receiver. Sure he has a great pair of hands, but he isn't always as consistent as people make him out to be. When it comes to overrated receivers, Bernard Berrian can mix and match with the best of them, even though some fans won't want to hear it.
Underrated: Pat Williams
On a name to name basis, Pat Williams is a very recognized defensive lineman. Yet on the playing field and statistically speaking, Pat Williams goes a little unnoticed at times, even though his stats aren't as great as other tackles in the league.
Prior to 2010 kickoff, Pat Williams recorded only two sacks last season. But as low as this is for an experienced player like Williams, it is the small things that he does right that make him such a talent.
Whether it's rushing the quarterback or complimenting Jared Allen. Pat Williams is a guy that Brad Childress can depend on. He does things right, and now that he is entering his 14th season in the NFL, he has been around long enough to be recognized by fans.
Still, it seems that age really is just a number, because Pat Williams is underrated at times. Chances are he never makes the Hall of Fame for his efforts, but Viking fans have a special place in their hearts for the big man.
New England Patriots
Overrated: Vince Wilfork
From what was a very promising player three years ago, Vince Wilfork has taken his foot off the accelerator recently, particularly during the 2009 season.
In comparison to other defensive tackles, Vince Wilfork's stats aren't quite as good. Last year Vince Wilfork missed a handful of games, and seeing as though he was out of action for a period of time, he failed to accumulate a single sack.
But fortunately for Patriot fans, things aren't all bad. Wilfork does have some sacks to his name, even though there aren't an excessive amount just yet.
Realistically, this selection could be considered a bit of a nit pick, as the Patriots don't have a boatload of overrated players right now. However, if Wilfork picked his game up a little, he may not be the easy pick to make for New England.
Underrated: Brandon Meriweather
It's arguable to say that the Patriots strong point doesn't come from the defensive side of the ball. But when you take a look at a young player by the name of Brandon Meriweather, the future begins to shine for Bill Belichick.
For the most part, the Patriots have never been a very strong-safety style team. They've always had a ton of dominant linebackers, and instead have relied on hard hitting and physical play.
Therefore, it is slightly surprising to see that Brandon Meriweather picked off five passes last season, and was quietly amongst the rankings of Darrelle Revis and other great defensive players in 2009.
Most importantly, though, is the potential that this guy shows. He is the type of player that will get better as each game progresses, and this is a scary thought for other AFC East teams.
Can Meriweather become more of an elite safety? I'd say so, if he keeps posting these kind of stats, he's a shoo-in.
New York Giants
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Overrated: Brandon Jacobs
Like the 2009 Atlanta Falcons, Brandon Jacobs was all fizzle. He was poised to be a standout running back in the coming years, yet somehow slipped statistically, and failed to show up on the playing field.
As a result, Brandon Jacobs has now lost the starting role to Ahmad Bradshaw. But what is perhaps most disappointing for No. 27, is the fact that he was so firmly in control of his destiny in New York, only to see it slip away very quickly.
So where has Jacobs been bad? Easy, on the stat sheet. Last year, he had only 835 yards and 5 touchdowns, disappointing considering he had 1,089 yards and 15 touchdowns the year before.
Overrated? Yes, unfortunately. This guy was such a great rusher, but now he is fast becoming a worry.
Underrated: Terrell Thomas
New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas has seemingly come out of nowhere recently. Like the Patriots' Brandon Meriweather, Terrell Thomas has excelled on the stat sheet when considering how young he still is.
Besides the fact that Terrell Thomas had five interceptions last year, the more important thing to consider is that he already has one pick to his name this season.
However, aside from what he has accomplished, the fact that the Giants now have one of the most underrated players in the league is certainly promising.
Not only should this provide dividends for the team in the future, Thomas may also be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in the coming seasons.
New York Jets
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Overrated: Mark Sanchez
I've been kind to most quarterbacks on this list, but upon reaching Mark Sanchez, the luck has unfortunately run out.
If Mark Sanchez's display against the Baltimore Ravens this week wasn't enough, then his season last year should just about tide you over.
Now, don't take this the wrong way, Mark Sanchez's 2,444 yards last season was certainly special. But like the most people seem to think nowadays, the truth really is that the Jets did carry Mark Sanchez slightly toward postseason football.
Of course, perhaps criticizing Mark Sanchez too much is the wrong thing to do. He is still learning the game, and has been thrown into a franchise that expects the very best at this time in the season.
Maybe we'll all have to eat our words in the coming months, but for now Mark Sanchez looks a little overrated, particularly when it comes to skill levels.
Underrated: Calvin Pace
It seems these days that the impressive linebacker loop leaves a lot of players out. Whether it's Clay Matthews or Ray Lewis, there's no denying that many great linebackers often fail to get any mention at all in terms of talent.
Fortunately though, Calvin Pace is starting to become a noticeable player. But aside from how promising this is, it's simply all around great to see Pace's eight sacks last season appreciated by all NFL fans.
The other issue that plagues Calvin Pace is the fact that Darrelle Revis is with the Jets. Not only does this overshadow Pace's efforts, it also makes him less of a defensive standout, and more a forgettable player.
It's unfortunate for this to happen, and right now Pace is slight underrated. It could change, but I do feel that as long as Darrelle Revis is in New York, Calvin Pace will always be a second thought.
New Orleans Saints
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Overrated: Reggie Bush
Most Saints fans would expect to see Reggie Bush in this role; ask and you shall receive. In all honesty, Reggie Bush deserves this role completely.
Not only has been a very disappointing player, he has also had his greatest accomplishment behind winning the Super Bowl stripped off of him, as his Heisman Trophy is no more.
But while we're all being so honest, most NFL fans recognize how overrated Reggie Bush really is. Not only does he struggle, he also gives the perfect definition to a "hot and cold" type player, as it seems one game he will be great, and the next he will be as flat as a tack.
The words Reggie Bush and overrated go hand in hand these days, and even though the Saints two-headed running attack is no more, Reggie Bush has yet to develop as the starter.
Underrated: Devery Henderson
Wide receiver Devery Henderson is by far the forgotten wide receiver in New Orleans. Often overshadowed by the talents of Marques Colston, Henderson has struggled a little on the stat sheet as of late, even though he now has a great ring wrapped around his finger.
In 2009, Henderson posted 804 yards and 2 touchdowns, not fantastic stats, but impressive enough.
What is more promising though is the fact that Devery Henderson just seems poised for a bigger year this season, considering that his confidence is certainly up right now.
It would be unrealistic to assume that Devery Henderson will ever evolve into an elite receiver. However, he strives off of an underrated status, and most likely always will.
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Overrated: No one
Underrated: Darrius Heyward-Bey
Although it is tough to find anyone that is overrated in Oakland right now, on the underrated side of the ball, Darrius Heyward-Bey takes the cake.
For those of you that are unaware, Heyward-Bey had a fantastic offseason. Not only was he successful in impressing head coach Tom Cable, he also won over the starting role, and looks to help Jason Campbell out immensely this season.
If your a stats guy like me, you probably won't agree with this pick. But if you are optimistic and love to think of what could happen, Darrius Heyward-Bey is favorable.
Yes, he only had 124 receiving yards last season and one touchdown, but that's fine for a rookie. Now is his time to shine, and he is in a very confident position to do so.
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Overrated: Michael Vick
You were expecting to see Kevin Kolb in this spot, right? Wrong. Instead, the very opposite has happened, as Michael Vick takes home the prize right now.
For the past week or so, Michael Vick has been a loved man in Philadelphia. He played a tremendous game against the Packers in the second half, and even though the Eagles lost, Vick did more than enough to win over the starting role from Kevin Kolb this week.
However, as great as this all sounds, what has Michael Vick done recently that makes him such a good starter? That's right, nothing.
Sure playing one half in the rain against the Packers is fine, but it isn't enough to create a big hullabaloo just yet. In reality, Michael Vick could still fail just as fast as Kevin Kolb did, considering that he hasn't played a full game of NFL football in the past three years.
Michael Vick may prove me wrong next week, but for the time being, he is overrated. His skills are still a question, and the expectations are very high.
Underrated: Brent Celek
When it comes to tight ends, Brent Celek often fails to be mentioned with the Dallas Clarks and Vernon Davises of this league. But funnily enough, there is no real reason for this demise.
First and foremost, Brent Celek is a fantastic player. He is always dependable, and his 971 yards and 8 touchdowns last year highlight this fact.
Luckily for Brent Celek, at least Eagle fans appreciate him. He is the guy that does the hard yards and always pulls through, and even against a tough Green Bay defense was able to post some decent stats this week.
In the future, maybe Celek's status will change, but I guess fans just aren't ready to place him with the top tight ends of this league. It's a real shame, but Brent Celek doesn't seem to mind being underestimated too much.
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Overrated: Bryant McFadden
It's hard to find an overrated Steeler right now. However, upon further review, Bryant McFadden gradually became an ideal fit for this mold.
Although no big fuss has been made toward Bryant McFadden, he does get spoken about often in terms of potential. Questionably though, the reason for this is unknown, as McFadden has failed to prove that he is a decent cornerback in the NFL.
Last season alone McFadden only accumulated 64 tackles in 16 games. No interceptions were recorded, and as a result McFadden finds himself among the Steelers overrated players list.
Underrated: Mike Wallace
Like most rookies these days, Mike Wallace didn't break the 1,000-yard receiving barrier in his first year at the position, but came might close at 756.
What was more impressive from Mike Wallace, though, was his 52-yard reception this week against the Atlanta Falcons, as Wallace took some of the spotlight from Hines Ward, which is often very hard to do.
Considering that Mike Wallace had such a successful rookie season, he is set for bigger and better things this year. It could be said that he can be mentioned in the same sentence as Austin Collie, as both are as bright as each other.
Expect better things from Wallace this season, he's definitely set off on the right foot.
St. Louis Rams
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Overrated: No one
Underrated: Sam Bradford
As much as everyone knows who Sam Bradford is, it is in fact his ability that is funnily enough underrated.
In the past week already, we've seen Sam Bradford questioned for his high attempt rate. Now, while some consider this to be a lack of discipline and skill, other prefer to look at it as eagerness and an attempt to turn such a struggling team around.
But did it work? Well, the Rams nearly won the game, didn't they?
However, aside from last week, Sam Bradford has been asked a lot of recently. He's been drafted by one of the worst teams in the league, and has been expected to put a cape on and call himself Superman this regular season.
What is more concerning though is the fact that people seem to judge Sam Bradford by his preseason. Sure, Bradford had a couple of rough games, but he did show some good signs.
Cut this kid some slack, he deserves it. He was great in Oklahoma, and has the power to be great very shortly.
San Diego Chargers
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Overrated: Ryan Matthews
For the time being, running back Ryan Matthews is slightly overrated. As great of potential as I do see in this young guy, the simple fact that people have been hailing him as the second coming of LaDainian Tomlinson is a little absurd.
Ryan Matthews is a rookie, and it will take time for him to develop. While most Charger fans acknowledge that fact, there are the select few that choose to state that he is the real deal, and that he will run the feet off of defenders this season.
In all likelihood, Matthews is a contender for the Rookie of the Year award, however it will take a tremendous effort to outdo Jahvid Best and other great young rookies.
Right now, Ryan Matthews is overrated due to people's perceptions, rather than skill. Hopefully he lives up to expectations, but until he proves something, he will carry this status for a while.
Underrated: Philip Rivers
Whether or not you agree with this call is your own opinion, but still to this day Philip Rivers receives very little credit.
For the most part, Philip Rivers hasn't accomplished all he would like. He has no Super Bowl ring, and has notably struggled in the postseason as the starter in San Diego.
But as for what Rivers has accomplished, well the list goes on. Not only is a very accurate quarterback, he is a great team leader for the Chargers to have. Sure, he does share this role with Shawne Merriman, but on offense, Philip Rivers makes the calls.
The greatest part of this story though is that Rivers is young. He is like Aaron Rodgers, and can take the Chargers all the way if all things go right.
Underestimate his ability if you will, he has at least put the Chargers on the map for the time being.
San Francisco 49ers
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Overrated: Alex Smith
Say what you will about Alex Smith, all of the hype surrounding him the offseason has notably overwhelmed him.
In past years, Alex Smith has always been questioned. The 49ers have constantly been criticized for passing on Aaron Rodgers, and seeing as though Alex Smith has struggled to maintain any stability in San Francisco as the starter, only rubs salt to an open wound.
Yet at the same time, all of this was meant to change this season. Alex Smith gained protection in Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati, and Smith was set to excel.
That is until he failed against the Seattle Seahawks, and struggled to do just about anything. Unfortunately for Alex Smith, until he accomplishes postseason football, he will be labeled as overrated.
He's stumbled all the way up until now, and no amount of expectation can change the fact that he is not as good as some make him out to be.
Underrated: Michael Crabtree
Michael Crabtree has been as controversial as they come in recent years. Through it all though, Crabtree has finally made the NFL work, and now it is action time for a player that has been so successful in his College days.
Perhaps the most promising factor to come from Michael Crabtree is his 625 yards and 2 touchdowns last season. Sure, they may not be great stats to have considering how talented Crabtree really is, but they are solid enough to give him a good future.
Let's not forget how great Crabtree also was in his time with Texas Tech. If he can get that scary attitude back in San Francisco and really push the boundaries, then expect him to join other explosive wide receivers in the coming years.
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Overrated: Matt Hasselbeck
As good as Matt Hasselbeck looked this week against the San Francisco 49ers, no amount of good work can undo his horrid year last season.
In case you missed Matt Hasselbeck in 2009, the best way to put it, is to say that Hasselbeck really did struggle.
With 3,029 yards, 17 touchdowns and 17 interceptions to his name, Matt Hasselbeck's play against top-tier teams didn't resemble his Super Bowl XL greatness of 2005.
Right now it seems that Hasselbeck is on the right track, and good on him for that. However, the past will always haunt a player, and even though he looks much improved, until Hasselbeck jumps that final hurdle back into proper form, he will always be amongst the overrated quarterbacks of this league.
It's sad to see a former Pro Bowl quarterback turn out this way, yet some good could come from it. Let's hope Hasselbeck continues his good fortune next week.
Underrated: Golden Tate
The Seahawks originally required Notre Dame star receiver Golden Tate in this year's NFL Draft, with their second-round pick.
At the time, this wasn't a huge surprise, but it was nowhere near as big a headline as seeing T.J Houshmandzadeh depart, and watching Tate step in as the starter.
Like most rookies this year who are in the starting role, people seem to forget their college days. Yes, there is a difference between both leagues, yet we all remember how talented Golden Tate was with the Fighting Irish.
Not only did the Seahawks gain a great receiver with sticky hands, they also gained a punt returner and suitable wildcat rusher if the opportunity should arise.
If Seattle utilizes Tate well this season, they can really put some points on the board. He is underrated for now, but don't be surprised to see that status change shortly.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Overrated: Cadillac Williams
It's my understanding that some people feel Cadillac Williams is a great rusher. While this is partially true, Williams is notorious for not only being injured, but for also failing to show up on the stat sheet year after year.
When discussing Williams' stats last season, his 823 yards and 4 touchdowns were a dismal effort for a guy that is the strong starter in Tampa Bay. More surprising though is the fact that he has struggled in other years as well, as it appears that his stats just never seem to jump rapidly.
Fortunately for Cadillac Williams, he is an underrated overrated running back, if that makes sense. People sometimes forget about him, and prefer to consider him as a veteran of the game.
Don't take it the wrong way, this guy is very respectable. But he is over-hyped a lot.
Underrated: Josh Freeman
Anyone that wasn't impressed with Josh Freeman last year should have their head checked, as the rookie was tremendous in most shapes and forms.
Firstly, Josh Freeman's arm seems to be solid. He can throw a deep ball with the best of them, while at the same time can throw a nice short route quite quickly. Stats wise, this is also true. Last year Freeman wound up with 1,885 yards and 10 touchdowns, highly solid stats for a rookie player.
Chances are this guy excels this season, even though he is injured currently. What is great about this story though is that Josh Freeman was a diamond amongst the rough for the Bucs, just when they needed a dependable quarterback.
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Overrated: No one
Underrated: Vince Young
Some of you may be sitting at home thinking that I've confused categories with Vince Young, but I assure you I haven't.
For those that can see past what Vince Young has been through, would be aware of how dangerous this guy is on the playing field. His accuracy, and his sheer will to win is a mirror image of his day with the Texas Longhorns under Mack Brown, and he really is a true athlete.
But what is great about Vince Young is that he is a fighter. He accumulated 1,879 yards last season and 10 touchdowns with 7 picks. These stats could have been better, but they are good for a guy who was fresh off a year off in 2008.
This time around, Young hopes to lead off on an even better foot. He threw 2 touchdowns last week against the Raiders, and is beginning to become a leader on offense.
Say what you will about him, Vince Young has improved immensely, and the sooner everyone realizes that, the sooner we can move on into the Vince Young era in Tennessee.
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Overrated: Albert Haynesworth
Albert Haynesworth is the easy pick to go with for the Redskins, and unfortunately I have to run with it.
For you see, throughout the years of Albert Haynesworth's dominance, there has always been some kind of scrutiny toward his character. And once again, this year is no exception.
Since Haynesworth has arrived in Washington, he has caused the entire team some heartache. Whether it's choosing to no-show at training camp, or failing numerous physical fitness tests, Big Al has certainly proven to be more overrated than talented these days.
In terms of his play, Albert Haynesworth hasn't exactly struggled. He had four sacks last year and could very well top that this season if he recovers from injury.
But like most players these days, his character and attitude has gotten him into trouble. Not only does this make him overrated, it also makes him a little bit less of the player he could be.
Underrated: Clinton Portis
Prior to Week 1 of 2010, I never would have placed Clinton Portis here, but his play against the Dallas Cowboys really made myself and others realize just how talented Portis can be at times.
Unfortunately for Clinton Portis though, he hasn't done himself any favors. His 494 yards and one touchdown last season was a replica of how the Redskins season unfolded, and although he looked good last week, he is very underrated still.
So why is Portis in this spot?
It's simple, if he really gets going, he can take off, and in 2008 his 1,487-yard season proves that theory right.
Clinton Portis has slipped back into an underrated status for now, but is quickly fighting out of it. Come midseason, don't be shocked to see him amongst the better rushers this year, as he seems to be back at his very best.
Not only is this great news for the Redskins, it's great news for the NFL, as everyone loves an up-and-coming rusher, right?