Every year in the NFL, there are a variety of players who perform at a high level yet go unnoticed. Part of that is due to the fact that the media sway its attention to previously established stars and young players who have been tabbed to be special.
Time will tell who will step up this season and burst onto the scene, but these 25 players deserve to receive more attention for their early-season success.
Without further ado, let's get rollin'.
Through three games this season, McFadden has looked like the running back who tormented defenses at Arkansas. He's rushed for 100 yards in back-to-back games and ended up with 95 in Week 1.
Many had written off McFadden after two lackluster years, but not all of that is his fault considering he's never been given the opportunity—until this season—to carry the load for Oakland.
With the job now his, expect McFadden to finish near the top in rushing yards this season.
When Orton was struggling with the Chicago Bears, who would have thought that he would develop into a top 10 quarterback in the league?
Definitely not anybody who lived in the Chicago area. And when the Denver Broncos traded the big-armed Jay Cutler for a couple of high draft picks, Orton was hardly the talk of the trade.
Despite Orton's tossing 21 touchdowns to 12 interceptions a year ago, it didn't stop the Broncos from acquiring Brady Quinn and using its first-round pick on Tim Tebow. Orton has said all the right things and gone about his business admirably.
He's second in the league in passing yards—with 1,078—and trails only Philip Rivers.
What he's been able to do through the first three games is unbelievable. Whether or not he can perform like this for a full season has yet to be seen. Either way, hats off to Mr. Orton.
Williams didn't record a single stat in Sunday's disappointing loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but the former No. 1 pick still has four sacks through three games.
What's more amazing than his three-sack game against Washington is the fact that nobody's paying attention to him. Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers, and Jared Allen are the names that we consistently hear as top defensive ends in the league, but it's time Williams gets his due.
And he likely will if he keeps performing at a high level and the Texans keep winning.
If you were to ask a random fan, "Who led the New York Giants in receiving yards?," they would probably say Steve Smith or Hakeem Nicks.
Smith was the team's best receiver a year ago and Nicks is most notable for his three TDs against Carolina in Week 1.
Manningham has been the Giants' most consistent receiver through three games, averaging 79.3 YPG. What's more impressive is that he's been targeted less than Smith and Nicks, yet still has been producing more consistently.
If you play fantasy football—who doesn't?—Manningham is a good option to consider with his early-season success.
Timmons has shined early in the get-go and helped the Pittsburgh Steeler defense become even more fearsome. He is second in solo tackles behind LaRon Landry with 26. On a star-studded defense that features the likes of James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, Timmons doesn't get the credit he deserves.
If he continues to be a tackling machine, he will find himself in the Pro Bowl along with several other members from the Pittsburgh defense.
Nobody benefited more than Murphy when the Raiders made the change from Jason Campbell to Bruce Gradkowski. In his first full game with Gradkowski, the pair hooked up five times for 119 yards a week after he had 91 yards and a TD.
He has the ability and speed to go deep on most cornerbacks, which will mean increased throws his way this season. Right now he's tied for 13th in receiving yards with Manningham, who also made this list.
I'm sure many Raider fans would like to see the highly touted Darrius Heyward-Bey live up to his potential, but they'll have to settle for Murphy's success at the moment.
The third-year pro out of Iowa is having himself quite a season, and has been a bright spot on a Carolina team that has been downright awful.
Godfrey picked off Eli Manning twice in the season opener and, against the Bengals, recorded nine solo tackles with a pick. The defense for the Panthers has played admirably considering how poor the offense has been early on.
It's unlikely Godfrey will lead the league in interceptions at the end of the season, but the Panthers at least know that they have a ball-hawk at the safety position for years to come.
Witherspoon's best days may be behind him, but he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. He's shown that early on, as he's totaled three sacks already this season, surpassing his combined total for the past two years.
It was a bit of surprise that the Philadelphia Eagles cut Witherspoon over the offseason. Jeff Fisher and the Tennessee organization have had nothing but positive things to say about him.
More will take notice of the Titans' linebacker's play if the team keeps winning and he keeps making plays on the field.
One of the most inconsistent receivers in the NFL over the years has had himself quite a start to the 2010 season. Lloyd has had his ups and downs, but is currently second in the NFL in receiving yards.
A big game against the Indianapolis Colts in which Lloyd totaled 169 yards and scored a TD will cause him to have his name mentioned a bit more in fantasy football circles throughout the season.
Despite his recent success, he still is a player not many pay attention to. The Broncos would love to see Lloyd continue to have a productive season, and it just may happen with the way Kyle Orton's slinging the ball around.
Let's play a game: Who's leading the NFL in receiving yards?
If you guessed Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Randy Moss, or Brandon Marshall, you're wrong.
Instead it's little-known Austin Collie from the Indianapolis Colts. Collie was instrumental in the Colts win over the Broncos, as he caught 12 balls for 171 yards and scored twice.
It was the second time this season that Collie's totaled over 10 catches and 160 yards. While the rapid pace he's on right now most likely won't continue, he will continue to be what Wes Welker is to Tom Brady.
A slew of injuries to the wide receiver position have led to more playing time for Collie, and he has more than taken advantage of the opportunity.
It also doesn't hurt that he has that Peyton Manning guy throwing to him.
Tate was drafted in the third round in the 2009 draft, and is having a good season returning kickoffs. So far, the young receiver is averaging 29.9 yards per return.
He leads the NFL in kickoff return yards and took one back to the house already this season.
Tate's impact on the Patriots will continue to grow as he becomes more comfortable catching passes from Tom Brady.
It's been a great start to the 2010 season for the former second-round pick. If you remember, Nugent was drafted No. 47 overall by the Jets in 2005.
Although he didn't live up to his potential in New York, and has failed to find a home the past couple of years, it appears things have finally turned around for the former Ohio State Buckeye.
Nugent's 8-8 on field goal attempts this season, with a long of 54 yards. If he keeps putting the ball through the uprights as he is now, he may have found himself a home for the next couple of years.
Through three games, McIntosh is on pace to eclipse 100 tackles for the first time in his career. The five-year pro's career-high is 94 from a year ago. As of now, he has 31 tackles, which puts him third in the league and just three behind teammate LaRon Landry.
McIntosh is coming into his own and has become a central figure on the Washington defense.
Now all the 'Skins need to do is get Albert Haynesworth to play up to his potential. Good luck.
The lone punter to make the list is one of two St. Louis Rams to make the cut. Jones has been booming punts at an average of 48.9 yards per kick. That puts him barely behind the best punter in the NFL, Shane Lechler, who is booming punts a littler over 50 yards per attempt.
Jones has been a bright spot on a Rams team that is headed towards another losing season. He's pinned opponents inside their 20 seven times, and only has one touchback on the season.
If he keeps it up, he may find himself on the NFC Pro Bowl roster.
"Matty Ice" lived up to his nickname in Atlanta's win over the defending Super Bowl champs, although it took a little bit of luck to do so (Garrett Hartley, please stand up).
Ryan's numbers won't jump out at you (5 TD 1 INT), but he doesn't get mentioned nearly enough. He has a higher QB rating than Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Donovan McNabb, or Eli Manning.
What hinders Ryan's ability from being known as a top-flight QB is the fact that the Falcons like to pound the rock with Michael Turner so much.
Ryan is efficient and great at managing a game. Both qualities could mean that Atlanta finds themselves in the Super Bowl this season.
Moss has been around so long that everybody knows who he is. And almost everybody has had him on their fantasy team at one point or another.
Once again Moss is showing that he is capable of being a go-to guy early on. McNabb and Moss have shown good chemistry in the little time the two have played together.
The speedy receiver is 10 yards shy of 300 and has caught 22 balls, which has him tied for third in the league with a slew of players. It's looking like Moss will break the 1,000-yard mark for the first time since 2008, when he finished with 1,044 receiving yards.
No matter how you slice it, the 31-year-old receiver isn't on his last legs quite yet.
The 10-year vet broke out last season recording a career-high eight sacks and is on pace to surpass last year's total.
Parker has just five tackles on the season, but four of them have been sacks. The little-known defensive end has also forced a fumble.
It's highly unlikely he will be able to keep up this level of productivity for the rest of the season, but a double-digit sack season is definitely in his sights.
Beanie Wells is back from an injury and has taken over the starting job from Hightower. Nevertheless, Hightower has performed admirably with the limited number of carries he has received.
He's averaging six yards per carry on 35 attempts and has run for 209 yards. While his role will ultimately be determined by how Wells performs, since Wells has a history of being injury-prone, Hightower will likely still see his fair share of carries.
The third-year athletic cornerback from Virginia Tech has helped the Kansas City Chiefs defense become a force this season. Flowers has interceptions in the team's past two games, including one that was taken back for a touchdown in Week 2.
Flowers set a career-high with five interceptions last season and looks capable of coming close to that number again, if not surpassing it.
The 3-0 Chiefs have received a variety of contributions from players who aren't household names yet. Flowers happens to be one.
Hernandez has quickly become a favorite target of Tom Brady. The rookie tight end out of Florida ranks fourth in receiving yards for tight ends through three games.
He has yet to find the end zone, but has shown he has the speed to break away from defenders. New England drafted two tight ends in the first four rounds in this past year's draft, and have seen it pay off early on.
Expect big things from Hernandez the rest of the way.
Jamaal Charles is getting all of the love from the national media and rightfully so—he's averaging seven yards per carry. There are many in the media asking why Charles doesn't get more carries, and the reason is the veteran Jones.
Jones is carrying the load early in the season and has done a good job thus far, averaging 4.2 YPC. He's totaled 217 yards and has a TD to go with it.
It's likely Jones' role will decrease as the season goes along, as head coach Todd Haley will likely turn to Charles later on. But, at the moment, they are going to limit Charles' carries to keep him fresh throughout the season, which means Jones will have his opportunities to produce.
Without Big Ben behind center, the Steelers have leaned heavily on Mendenhall to carry the offense. In Week 1 he broke free in overtime for a 50-yard TD run that sent Pittsburgh home winners.
Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and Arian Foster have been the most talked-about running backs so far, but if Mendenhall keeps up his current performance, he'll find himself being grouped with the best backs in the game.
Right now, he's fourth in the league in rushing and is averaging an impressive 5.2 YPC.
Sure. he's not what he used to be. At first glance, Hasselbeck's numbers are less than desirable: He's thrown one more interception than touchdowns and has a QB rating of 75.4.
Take away Seattle's horrible performance in which Hasselbeck threw three picks, and his numbers look a little better. Regardless of what you think of his stats, he has Seattle at 2-1 and, more importantly, in line to compete in the putrid NFC West.
Don't sleep on this Seahawks team.
After five inconsistent seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Clayton may have found a home in St. Louis. When the Ravens selected Clayton with the 22nd pick in the 2005 draft, they thought they were getting a game-breaker at the receiver position.
While it didn't work out in Baltimore, Sam Bradford has taken a liking to the former Oklahoma Sooner. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Bradford is fresh out of Oklahoma.
Probably not, but nevertheless Clayton is on pace to break 1,000 yards for the first time in his six-year career.
Lenon is far from a big name, but his performance has been terrific through three games. He's done a little bit of everything by recording a sack, an interception, and 23 solo tackles.
With the loss of linebacker Karlos Dansby over the offseason, Lenon has come to Arizona and played admirably. Whether or not he can keep it up will be interesting.
Lenon did record back-to-back seasons with 100-plus tackles when he was with Detroit in 2007 and 2008.