NFLDownload App

All-Over/Under Team: An Underrated and Overrated Player for All 32 NFL Teams

Matt ShervingtonCorrespondent IIMay 30, 2011

All-Over/Under Team: An Underrated and Overrated Player for All 32 NFL Teams

1 of 33

    Daryn Colledge of the Packers faces off against Kyle Williams of the Bills in the trenches...
    Daryn Colledge of the Packers faces off against Kyle Williams of the Bills in the trenches...Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    “Overrated…"

    No term strikes more anger into the hearts of fans than this term.

    Many people perceive it to be a slight against a player, which indeed it is. Unfortunately, people seem to believe that labeling a player as overrated means that they are not good at all. Rather, the term overrated simply means that a player is not as good as perceived or advertised.

    For instance, 10 of the players listed as “overrated” in this article still manage to crack my own personal “Top 100 Players in the NFL” list. They are not “bad” players when perceived to be good, so please do keep that in mind.

    Conversely, fans fall in love with the term “underrated." They feel as if it sings the praises of the unsung heroes on their team that people don’t seem to notice unless they are a fan of that team. People love to hear how good a player on their team is from someone who otherwise might not know about said player. Eleven of the players listed as “underrated” in this article manage to crack my own personal “Top 100 Players in the NFL” list.

    With that said, calling someone overrated is bound to incite the fury of fans of that respective player's team. As such, I am expecting backlash from this article but as always, I am fully prepared to back up my stance.

    And now onto the list…

Arizona Cardinals

2 of 33

    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 19:  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #29 of the Arizona Cardinals hits Robert McClain #36 of the Carolina Panthers in the back as Andre Roberts #12 returns a punt during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Ch
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Overrated: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

    Rodgers-Cromartie  has most certainly lived up to the athletic prowess displayed at the combine that got him selected 16th overall back in 2008. His 61 career passes defensed, 13 interceptions and four touchdowns are certainly indicative of that.

    But when picking a corner that high, you want a Darrelle Revis—not a Deltha O’Neal. DRC simply gets beat too often to consider his playmaking an asset.

     

    Underrated: Kerry Rhodes

    I am not saying that Kerry Rhodes is anywhere near the player he was three or four years ago. He certainly is not a top-three safety anymore. However, Rhodes is arguably still a top-10 safety but gets overlooked because he’s no longer as good as he once was.

    The likes of Eric Weddle get viewed as superior to Rhodes when Rhodes is still playing at a high enough level to warrant him as a good player.

Atlanta Falcons

3 of 33

    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  Quaterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Packers won 48-21. (Photo by C
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Overrated: Matt Ryan

    Matt Ryan has certainly established himself as the franchise quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. He’s also established that he has a bright future in this league. But people continue to annoint him the next “Tom Brady” or “Peyton Manning,” which just is not the case.

    Matt Ryan has not managed to outplay his draft-mate Joe Flacco but if you listen around NFL circles, Ryan is elite while Flacco isn’t.

     

    Underrated: Sam Baker

    I think the primary reason that I chose Baker is because he’s the most overlooked member of the Falcons line. The Falcons have five offensive linemen who are all great individually and even better as a unit. Baker is arguably the worst individual on there but still a very respectable left tackle.

    Because of the logjam of serviceable tackles in the league, Baker seems to get overlooked which isn’t fair.

Baltimore Ravens

4 of 33

    BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 10: Ben Grubbs #66 of the Baltimore Ravens defends against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. Players wore pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Ravens defeated th
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Overrated: Anquan Boldin

    Last offseason when the Ravens acquired “Q,” I—like many football fans—declared them the eventual AFC champions. Ironically, Boldin is arguably the primary reason they didn’t get the chance to accomplish that feat with his late-game drop in the divisional round of the postseason

    Outside of a one-week decimation of the Browns, Boldin was an average-at-best receiver last season.

     

    Underrated: Ben Grubbs

    Everyone knows the overhyped Michael Oher and his story thanks to “The Blindside." Many know the overhyped Jared Gaither. Matt Birk is pretty well known as well. Finally, I’ve heard some say Marshall Yanda is a top-10 guard.

    Ben Grubbs is the “other” guy on the Ravens offensive line but he is easily the best linemen in Baltimore and it’s time people realized it.

Buffalo Bills

5 of 33

    GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 19: Daryn Colledge #73 of the Green Bay Packers blocks Kyle Williams #95 of the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field on September 19, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bills 34-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Im
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Overrated: Kyle Williams

    I am not saying that Williams isn’t a good football player. He is one of the best one-gapping linemen in the league. At the 3-technique, he is truly effective at penetrating.

    The problem, however, is that Williams seems undisciplined in maintaining his assignments. Many times I witnessed him abandoning gap assignments to make the big play and the offense getting a big play as a result. This severely hurt his case.

     

    Underrated: Fred Jackson

    Unless you’re an avid fantasy football player you probably are unaware of Fred Jackson but he—not C.J. Spiller—was the reason the Bills were so comfortable letting go of Marshawn Lynch.

    Jackson has averaged 1,287 yards from scrimmage over the past two seasons in the anemic Buffalo Bills offense. While he fumbles a bit too much, Jackson certainly is one of the more overlooked guys in the league.

Carolina Panthers

6 of 33

    CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 03:  Center Ryan Kalil #67 of the Carolina Panthers leads the offensive line during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Overrated: DeAngelo Williams

    I think DeAngelo Williams is one hell of a halfback. While most people have forgotten about him over the last season because of injuries, I think he’s overrated for a completely different reason.

    Many people feel as if Williams is better than his backfield mate Jonathan Stewart when I believe Stewart to be the better of the two. 

     

    Underrated: Ryan Kalil

    There has been a lot of turnover in the running game in Carolina. Travelle Wharton, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have missed games. Keydrick Vincent was let go. Despite all this change, the Panthers run game continues to remain strong.

    This is because of the only consistent piece to the equation: Kalil. He is without doubt a top-6 center but is never mentioned as such and I don’t know why.

Chicago Bears

7 of 33

    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Linebacker Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after Urlacher runs an interception 39-yards in the third quarter in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Fi
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Overrated: Julius Peppers

    Julius Peppers is without question a top-five 4-3 defensive end in the National Football League. However, the entire offseason, all I have heard is about how Peppers single-handedly turned around the Bears defense. When people do this, they ignore several other factors including the return of captain Brian Urlacher to the defense.

    A guy who finishes top 10 in only one pass-rush metric—hits—did not solely change a defense.

     

    Underrated: Brian Urlacher

    Brian Urlacher was always overrated early in his career. People pegged him as some elite cover linebacker when he never finished in the top 10. However, after many people started to believe he was on the “downside” of his career, Urlacher actually turned it around.

    Urlacher has been excellent at coverage since 2007 and had arguably the best season of his career last year.

Cincinnati Bengals

8 of 33

    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots gains yardage despite the defense of Leon Hall #29 of the Cincinnati Bengals during during the NFL season opener at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Overrated: Leon Hall

    If you asked around last offseason, Leon Hall was a unanimous top-five cornerback—why, I will never know because it was the first competent season of his career. It just so coincided with a season in which every player on the Bengals defense was playing at an “overachieving” level.

    Hall has been outplayed by fellow Bengals cornerback Jonathan Joseph every year but one of their careers, yet everyone talks about Hall.

     

    Underrated: Andrew Witworth

    Andrew Witworth does something amazing for which he'd be getting praise for months if he were Jake Long: He has shut down James Harrison not on just one occasion, but in three of their past four meetings. He’s frustrated Harrison so much that the Steelers moved Harrison over to play next to Woodley to try and get pressure in one game.

    Despite this, Harrsison finished with zeros across the stat column.

    And Witworth’s a good enough run-blocker as well.

Cleveland Browns

9 of 33

    BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 27:  Alex Mack #55 of the Cleveland Browns snaps the ball against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 27, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 34-3. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Overrated: D’Qwell Jackson

    D’Qwell Jackson is an example of why I hate the statistic of the “tackle." It is the most overblown, overused and widely interpretable stat out there. If a player trips a halfback by the ankles, he is credited with a tackle by some statisticians.

    Many people thought Jackson was an amazing linebacker because he led the league in tackles in 2009 but he was often out of place and making cleanup—his own—tackles.

     

    Underrated: Alex Mack

    I don’t understand why Mack continues to get overlooked in terms of elite center talk. Mack is one of the six-best centers in the league right now and yet nobody talks about him. Perhaps what is most frustrating is that everybody talks about fellow recent first-round centers Maurkice Pouncey and Nick Mangold but Mack has played every bit as well as them.

    But of course, he plays in Cleveland, so he’s overlooked.

Dallas Cowboys

10 of 33

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 05: Miles Austin #19 of the Dallas Cowboys runs against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Cowboys defeated the Colts 38-35 in overtime. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Ima
    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    Overrated: Miles Austin

    Austin passed the test that we “wish” all wide receivers would inevitably have to take: the one where we see if they can manage top production without an elite quarterback throwing them the ball.

    While Austin passed and still managed top-10 production, I cannot help but see him as a product of a scheme. Austin essentially produces off of two routes—X-screens and post routes—and doesn’t have a complete skill set in my opinion. With Andre Gurode's selection to the top 100 players list, I am incredibly tempted to place him here.

     

    Underrated: Doug Free

    Free isn’t on the verge of being an elite left tackle but then again, 27 of the 32 guys playing that position aren’t. What Free brought to the table, however, is starting caliber play where his quarterbacks can depend on him keeping pass-rushers from getting to them.

    Where the overrated Andre Gurode continues to get props from the media, it was Free who was the Cowboys best lineman last season.

Denver Broncos

11 of 33

    DENVER - OCTOBER 05:  Offensive tackle Ryan Clady #78 of the Denver Broncos blocks the rush of Gaines Adams #90 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during NFL action on October 5, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Buccaneers 16-13.  (Photo by Dou
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Overrated: Ryan Clady

    Everybody has heard about Clady’s rookie campaign in which he was credited with allowing only half of a sack on the season. Since then, however, the debate has raged if whether or not his half of a sack allowed meant anything when he gave up so many pressures.

    I still find that number impressive but what I don’t find impressive is his regression to a borderline top-10 tackle since then, yet people still lock him in as a top-three guy.

    Underrated: D.J. Williams

    It’s not that I think Williams is an unheralded player who plays at an elite level. I have never thought of him as a top-5 linebacker at any of the positions.

    However, Williams is impressive in that he has played three different linebacker positions at a high enough level to warrant praise that he never gets. Williams has succeeded as a 4-3 middle linebacker, a 3-4 inside linebacker and a 4-3 outside linebacker.

Detroit Lions

12 of 33

    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19:  Safety Louis Delmas #26 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Overrated: Kyle Vanden Bosch

    Vanden Bosch is a guy that I have never really gotten the hype about. People always allude to Vanden Bosch having a “motor” but when you evaluate it against guys like Clay Matthews III, he doesn’t even compare. While you cannot really quantify a “motor,” I’d imagine it would be more than two double-digit sacks.

    Additionally, the guy has never succeeded without an elite defensive tackle lining up next to him.

     

    Underrated: Louis Delmas

    I believe that this is the second straight year which I have talked about Delmas being underrated and I still adamantly believe it. I think Delmas has Troy Polamalu-type abilities. Delmas is officially listed as a free safety but he is very capable of lining up in the box as a strong safety as well.

    With all the questions in the Lions secondary, Delmas seems to be the only sure thing going for them back there.

Green Bay Packers

13 of 33

    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers looks on from the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Overrated: Clay Matthews III

    Clay Matthews III had one heck of a start to his season. He even had a tremendous game-changing play in the Super Bowl. But he was not as good of a player as the media would have had you believe last season.

    Matthews regressed heavily against the run in 2010 and disappeared at times. People often blamed it on “double-teams” but every elite pass-rusher faces those.

     

    Underrated: Ryan Grant

    For years, I had Grant penciled in as overrated because I believed he was a product of a system. With all of the talent in the passing game in Green Bay, I argued that people didn’t focus on him and his production was a byproduct of that. Through absence Grant proved that he is every bit as good as his production, as none of his replacements could thoroughly step in last season.

    Grant is underrated. By the way, it would have been too easy to mention Tramon Williams or Josh Stitton.

Houston Texans

14 of 33

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 02:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball as he elludes the pass rush from Mario Williams #90 of the Houston Texans at Lincoln Financial Field on December 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Overrated: Mario Williams

    I’ve been on the Williams’ bandwagon since day one. I knew all along that he was the correct pick for the Houston Texans. With that said, I believe people are so intent on proving that he was the “right” pick that they often overrate him. Many people pencil Williams in as a top-three 4-3 defensive end when the reality is that he is barely top-five at the position if at all.

    His move to 3-4 outside linebacker will truly tell us what to think about him.

     

    Underrated: Kareem Jackson

    Jackson was toasted left and right in his rookie season but people tend to overlook that last tidbit of information. Jackson was expected to replace Dunta Robinson from day one and the transition from college to the NFL at the cornerback position is one of the toughest to make.

    I’m not even saying that Jackson is good but that he received too much criticism being thrust into a role most rookies aren’t.

Indianapolis Colts

15 of 33

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Center Jeff Saturday #63 of the Indianapolis Colts readies to snap the ball against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Jets w
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Overrated: Pierre Garcon

    It’s not that Garcon isn’t a good player on his own right. In fact, I have seen him make some plays that have made me think the opposite of what I am about to say.

    But I do not think Garcon is as good as his statistics make him to be. His stats would make you feel he is every bit as good as Mike Wallace, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin and Hakeem Nicks when the reality is he has Peyton Manning throwing him the ball.

    Underrated: Jeff Saturday

    With all due respect to Nick Mangold, if he is better than Saturday then it isn’t by much. However, if you were to ask around a crop of fans you would hear Mangold’s name mentioned constantly all the while rarely hearing Saturday’s name mentioned.

    Saturday is arguably the best pass-blocking center of all time and a stout run-blocker on a makeshift line. He is the second-most important piece on that offense behind Manning.

Jacksonville Jaguars

16 of 33

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 12:  Terrance Knighton #96 of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts to tackle Spencer Larsen #46 of the Denver Broncos during the NFL season opener game at EverBank Field on September 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Overrated: Marcedes Lewis

    Lewis had widely been considered a waste of a first-round pick outside of Jacksonville until the previous season. Perhaps it finally all clicked for him and last season was the proverbial “leap” year that a lot of players take.

    I don’t believe that though. I feel as if Lewis overachieved in the way of being a red-zone target and is not the top-10 tight end that people have him pegged out to be based on last season.

     

    Underrated: Terrance Knighton

    It’s incredibly easy—and also misleading—to look at statistics for a defensive lineman and pencil them in as having a good or bad year. If you did that with Knighton, you would get mixed reviews. Some people would believe his seven plays behind the line of scrimmage aren’t much while others would believe them to be a lot.

    However, Football Outsiders had Knighton with one of the best stop rates in all of football.

Kansas City Chiefs

17 of 33

    KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 31:  Andy Studebaker #96 and Tamba Hali #91 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrate after a tackle during the game against the Buffalo Bills on October 31, 2010  at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Overrated: Tamba Hali

    How can a guy who notched 14.5 sacks in a season be overrated? We'll hear people say that Tamba Hali is the best pass-rusher in the league. Even if he did lead the league in pressures last season, Hali is nowhere near that claim. Those 14.5 sacks are the only time he’s etched double-digit sacks and he did it when rushing the passer on just about every snap.

    Hali is a good player but I’m not sure I’d call him a top-5 pass-rusher.

    By the way, Brian Waters may be declining but nobody talks about him so he's not overrated.

     

    Underrated: Derrick Johnson

    While everyone was singing the praises of Tamba Hali last season, the linebacker they should have been talking about was Derrick Johnson.

    I am almost without doubt that had Todd Haley not been such an egomaniac and started Johnson all season two years ago, Johnson would widely be considered a top-10 inside linebacker. His coverage is astounding and he’s every bit the playmaker you would want.

Miami Dolphins

18 of 33

    MIAMI - OCTOBER 12:  Offensive lineman Jake Long #77 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after a touchdown by Ronnie Brown #23 against the New York Jets at Land Shark Stadium on October 12, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Jets 31-27.  (Phot
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Overrated: Jake Long

    I am not saying that Jake Long isn’t a good player. He’s a top-five tackle in the league. Despite this, his play has been overrated from the first game he ever played because of his high draft status.

    In his first two seasons, Long never faced a strong slate of pass-rushers and had it pretty easy. Finally facing a strong slate last season—and doing amazing—Long got injured and his play dipped but he still got First-Team All-Pro nods despite guys playing better

     

    Underrated: Cameron Wake

    While everyone was singing the praises of Tamba Hali, it was Cameron Wake that was the best breakout 3-4 outside linebacker last season. Sure, Wake primarily played the right side—but he dominated from it. He was consistent week in and week out.

    Although he crashed the line of scrimmage primarily, Wake still managed to be a force. Wake’s 33 “big plays” far outshined the likes of Clay Matthews III.

Minnesota Vikings

19 of 33

    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 11:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs to his left toward the end zone in front of teammates Steve Hutchinson #76 and John Sullivan #65 during their NFL game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on Octobe
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Overrated: Steve Hutchinson

    Steve Hutchinson is living off of what I have deemed “The Alan Faneca Effect” at this point in his career. Having been such a dominant run-blocker for his entire career coupled with a strong running game on his current team, people believe him to be better than he actually is.

    Hutchinson is clearly on the decline and is not the person he was in 2009. Hutchinson wouldn’t even grade as a top-10 guard now in my opinion.

     

    Underrated: Antoine Winfield

    When ESPN’s panel of voters rated Winfield the sixth-best cornerback in the league, I stated he did not deserve to be there. That’s how underrated he is. I’m currently calling him underrated because before I was calling him overrated because he wasn’t a good coverage corner anymore.

    The truth of the matter is while he is not Nnamdi Asomugha, he’s still good in coverage, all the while being stout as ever against the run.

New England Patriots

20 of 33

    FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 08:  Jerod Mayo #51 of the New England Patriots celebrates making a stop as Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins looks on November 8, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Dolphins 27-17.  (Pho
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Overrated: Jerod Mayo

    Never has there been a better example of why tackles are overrated than Jerod Mayo. Mayo led the league in tackles but how many of them were actually stopping first downs or big gains?

    Per Football Outsiders, there were at least 17 interior linebackers with more run stops and defeats than Mayo. A paltry 41 percent of Mayo’s tackles were within four yards of the line of scrimmage. He needs to make more impact plays to truly be elite.

     

    Underrated: Sebastian Vollmer

    Everybody is talking about Matt Light leaving the Patriots in free agency but the organization isn’t worried. Sebastian Vollmer has been groomed to be the franchise's best lineman and he certainly is.

    Already a top-three right tackle, Vollmer will be an elite left tackle next season as he was one for half of the 2009 season. In 2009 at left tackle for eight games, Vollmer only surrendered 1.5 sacks.

New Orleans Saints

21 of 33

    NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09:  Jabari Greer #33 of the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Overrated: Jahri Evans

    Jahri Evans is one hell of a player. He’s an even better person as I knew him before he was drafted. He’s unarguably a top-10 guard in the NFL.

    But some people seem to hold this odd misconception that Evans is the best guard in the league. Pretty interesting thought process when he’s not the best guard on his own team. Carl Nicks has long been the better run-blocker and the more disciplined of the two.

     

    Underrated: Jabari Greer

    When people talk about the top 10 cornerbacks in the league, nobody talks about Greer. Heck, even when discussing the Saints, everybody just remembers Tracy Porter because of his pick-six against Peyton Manning.

    Greer is the best cornerback in New Orleans and I just wish he could play a full 16-game season so the common excuse of injuries would stop hurting his stock at his position.

New York Giants

22 of 33

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 19:  Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants scores a touchdown in the second quarter as Dimitri Patterson #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles defends during their game on December 19, 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Overrated: Antrel Rolle

    If I asked you to name five of the league’s best safeties, I can almost assure you that Rolle’s name would not come out of your mouth. Yet somehow, this happened for the "NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2011" list.

    Rolle was one of only five safeties mentioned and even more so, he was listed above the likes of Nick Collins and Adrian Wilson. There’s a reason Rolle was allowed to walk in Arizona.

     

    Underrated: Hakeem Nicks

    With all due respect to Steve Smith—who still remains one of my favorite NFL players—Hakeem Nicks has stepped up as the premier receiver on that young corps in New York. Nicks went off last season to the tune of 79 receptions for 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns in a mere 13 games.

    If DeSean Jackson’s numbers were good enough to make the Pro Bowl in 14 games, then Nicks’ unquestionably were.

New York Jets

23 of 33

    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots runs down field against the defense of Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachu
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Overrated: Darrelle Revis

    I am in no way saying Darrelle Revis the player is overrated here. Darrelle Revis is comfortably the second-best pure cornerback in the league in my opinion.

    What is overrated—or should I say overhyped—about Revis is his 2009 season. I’ve heard numerous people call it the “best season ever by a cornerback” when quite frankly it wouldn’t even rank in the top 10. In case people didn’t know, Revis’ 2010 season was better than his 2009 but Rex Ryan didn’t hype it up…

    Underrated: Sione Pouha

    With Kris Jenkins going down for two consecutive years, many people thought the Jets defense would take a step back in terms of defending the run. It hasn’t.

    Sure, Pouha might not be the force against the pass that Jenkins was but at this point, I’m not sure Jenkins provides an improvement over what Pouha offers.

    Is he a top-10 interior defensive lineman? Probably not. Is he in that next tier? Probably.

Oakland Raiders

24 of 33

    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs with the ball during their game against the Denver Broncos at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Overrated: Darren McFadden

    For the first two seasons of his career, McFadden was approaching “bust” status. Last season, McFadden finally lived up to the “Run DMC” nickname afforded to him during college. He ran for 1,157 yards on 5.2 yards per carry and added an additional 500 yards receiving on 47 receptions. Most impressive were his 10 total touchdowns from scrimmage.

    However, the fact that Michael Bush was so productive in McFadden’s stead while injured hurts McFadden’s case.

     

    Underrated: Zach Miller

    Zach Miller just quietly continues to produce 60 receptions for 700 yards and four touchdowns year in and year out, yet he continues to go overlooked. Most people don’t include Miller on their top 10 tight end lists for some asinine reason.

    Miller has produced from the first day he stepped on an NFL field and yet I hear the like of Marcedes Lewis mentioned as a top-10 tight end before him?

Philadelphia Eagles

25 of 33

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  Jeremy Maclin #18 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs down field against the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by C
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Overrated: LeSean McCoy

    I’ve always liked LeSean McCoy. I wanted the Steelers to pair him with Rashard Mendenhall. So when he got drafted to my hometown team in the Eagles, I wasn’t too disappointed because I’d get to watch him play.

    I am glad I get to see him play because his performance doesn’t live up to the numbers.

    Teams were clearly focused on Jackson and Vick and McCoy was the benefactor, often running through wide open holes as teams game-planned for those other two guys.

    Underrated: Jeremy Maclin

    DeSean Jackson may grab the headlines but Jeremy Maclin is actually the best wide receiver in Philadelphia. Maclin runs routes with precision and can attack the ball better than Jackson ever has (although he still needs work in that aspect). Maclin can run all over the field and can stretch the field as well.

    Maclin continues to get overlooked but that’s just fine.

Pittsburgh Steelers

26 of 33

    PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 14:  Deion Branch #84 of the New England Patriots attempts to run by Lawrence Timmons #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on November 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Gett
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Overrated: Maurkice Pouncey

    I may be the only Steelers fan alive that thinks Maurkice Pouncey isn’t some end-all, be-all, amazing offensive lineman. While Pouncey is excellent at getting to the second level, too many times did I see him get walked back while pass-blocking which led to his high amount of sacks allowed (three).

    Pouncey was not worthy of a Pro Bowl, nor all the media hype given to him.

     

    Underrated: Lawrence Timmons

    Everybody knows about James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley but it was Lawrence Timmons who was the Steelers' best linebacker last season. How he didn’t make the All-Pro team was a joke to me.

    Timmons is a prime example of making your tackles count, as 62 percent of his tackles were within four yards of the line of scrimmage. He finished third in run defeats/stops and was a playmaker (three sacks, two interceptions) to boot.

San Diego Chargers

27 of 33

    SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 16:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked by defensive tackle Antonio Garay #71 of the San Diego Chargers in the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on December 16, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Overrated: Shaun Phillips

    Shaun Phillips was recently voted as the 95th-best player on the "NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2011" list. Whether this is based on career or the 2011 season—as it should have been—I don’t know if Phillips deserved the honor.

    Outside of that Arizona Cardinals game Phillips was an average player. What’s worse is I’ve heard some Chargers fans say he’s superior to the likes of LaMarr Woodley or Terrell Suggs.

    Seriously?

     

    Underrated: Antonio Garay

    Antonio Garay never gets mentioned amongst the top interior defensive linemen, which is to be expected. He’s young and the replacement to a guy who was a Pro Bowler year in and year out in Jamal Williams. But Garay has already stepped in as a great young nose tackle.

    Unlike Kyle Williams—who people thought was “underrated” this past season—Garray can make plays behind the line of scrimmage but understands gap responsibility and doesn’t leave his backers out to dry.

San Fransisco 49ers

28 of 33

    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 14:  Brandon Gibson #11 of the St. Louis Rams is tackled by Travis LaBoy #54 and Justin Smith #94 of the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 14, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Overrated: Justin Smith

    This is another one of those “overrated” players in that they are nearly as good as advertised but some people out there are certainly overselling them. Justin Smith is entrenched as the second-best 3-4 defensive end behind Haloti Ngata.

    However, I’ve seen people recently name him a top-10 overall defensive player in this league. Justin Smith owes a bit of his success to nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin if you ask me.

     

    Underrated: Mike Iupati

    I say that Iupati is underrated because he was one of two high-profile interior offensive linemen taken in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. Maurkice Pouncey was the other one and he didn’t play much better than him—if at all—yet was hyped all the way to a Pro Bowl berth and media hype.

    If Pouncey received media hype, then Iupati certainly deserved some talk as well.

St. Louis Rams

29 of 33

    ST. LOUIS - NOVEMBER 22:  Jason Brown #60 of the St. Louis Rams gets ready to hike the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at the Edward Jones Dome on November 22, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Rams 21-13. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Ge
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Overrated: Jason Brown

    Jason Brown was overrated when he was in Baltimore. As a result, the Rams overpaid for him in free agency in an effort to rebuild their franchise from the offensive line up.

    While things seem to be going according to plan, it won’t be long before Brown is easily the weak link on the offensive line. He is being paid like one of the five best centers in the league but I’m not sure that he is top-10.

     

    Underrated: Roger Saffold

    It would be too easy to name the three cornerstones of the Rams' budding defense in James Laurinitis, Ron Bartell and Chris Long so I’m going offense here.

    Jake Long, Joe Thomas and D’Brickashaw Ferguson all are considered elite left tackles. Saffold had a better rookie season than all three of them but didn’t get nearly the amount of hype because he wasn’t a top-15 pick. Saffold allowed only 3.5 sacks as a rookie while blocking for a rookie QB.

Seattle Seahawks

30 of 33

    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08:  Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks runs for a 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Tracy Porter #22 of the New Orleans Saints during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on Janua
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Overrated: Marshawn Lynch

    Everybody remembers Lynch’s admirable postseason run against the Saints—which I believe to be overrated as well—but nobody seems to remember that his career has been dismal at best.

    Lynch has yet to reach “Beast Mode” during his NFL career for more than a highlight play or two and has hovered around four yards per carry all his career, often going below that.

    Underrated: Brandon Mebane

    The fact that the Seahawks are contemplating letting this kid walk is a little ridiculous. Brandon Mebane has an argument as one of the top 10 interior defensive linemen in the NFL. He is stout against both the run and pass and has excellent gap control.

    He was an excellent reason as to why David Hawthorne stepped in for Lofa Tatupu in 2009 and produced elite numbers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

31 of 33

    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19:  Safety John Wendling #29 of the Detroit Lions tackles quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Overrated: Davin Joseph

    Part of me wanted to go with Mike Williams. Although he had a good season by rookie standards, he was in no way a top-100 player in the NFL.

    However, Joseph has been overrated for longer. Year in and year out, I hear people mention Joseph as an elite guard when he just simply isn’t one. He’s only completed two seasons and wasn’t that great in either. He’s never put together a good season as both as pass-blocker and run-blocker.

     

    Underrated: Josh Freeman

    I think a lot of people are starting to get to know Josh Freeman and he’s getting his due. He might even be known by the casual fan after making the "NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2011" list.

    However, he continues to be overshadowed by draft-mate Mark Sanchez just because Sanchez plays in New York. Freeman has shown amazing poise that Sanchez hasn’t come close to with a 26-touchdown and five-interception season, yet few people talk about him.

Tennesee Titans

32 of 33

    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 10:  Defensive tackle Jason Jones #91 of the Tennessee Titans sacks quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Overrated: Kenny Britt

    On a national scale, Kenny Britt isn’t exactly overrated because nobody is talking about him. But if you were to ask Titans fans about Britt, they would tell you he’s in the same echelon as the top four guys from his draft class.

    Perhaps time will tell that he is but we certainly haven’t seen enough from Britt to believe that he actually is a No. 1-caliber wide receiver or just a stopgap.

     

    Underrated: Jason Jones

    Jason Jones gives those Kenny Britt fans hope. A few seasons ago, Titans fans professed that Albert Haynesworth was replaceable due to Jason Jones. While the rest of the football community laughed at the time, Tennessee fans get the last laugh.

    The NFL Network named career journeyman Jason Babin a top-100 player but it should have been Jones named to the list, as his play against the run and pass made Babin look so good.

Washington Redskins

33 of 33

    LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles makes a break past Brian Orakpo #98 of the Washington Redskins on November 15, 2010 at FedExField in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Overrated: DeAngelo Hall

    I think DeAngelo Hall has appeared on just about everybody’s overrated list at some point in his career. It even makes one beg the question of whether or not one can actually think he’s “overrated” if so many people think so little of him.

    Well, apparently some people actually think he's a great corner given Hall recently was voted a top-10 cornerback according to a panel of ESPN “experts." I’m sure their vote had nothing to do with his four-interception game against Cutler.

     

    Underrated: Brian Orakpo

    Brian Orakpo is every bit as good as the likes of Tamba Hali, Clay Matthews III and Cameron Wake, yet nobody talks about him. Orakpo might even be the best pass-rusher out of all of them. He certainly was the most consistent, drawing a sack or hold in all but two games last year.

    He tied James Harrison for the defensive player held the most this past season and I can count at least two more blatant ones not called.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices