NFL Power Rankings: 10 Most Overrated Defensive Players in the NFL
One hot button issue that people tend to take personally, is calling a player overrated. While it doesn't necessarily mean that we are saying that player is horrible, it's just that he is not as good as everyone seems to make them sound.
For example, there are great linebackers in the NFL like Patrick Willis, James Harrison, DeMarcus Ware, Clay Matthews, Jon Beason, Tamba Hali, LaMarr Woodley and Lance Briggs. There are some that like to put other names in this elite group, but they just don't belong.
I think cornerbacks have the hardest job out on the field, as they can easily be burned for touchdowns. Having reliable help at the safety position is key. Unfortunately, there are a few guys that get some lucky bounces and are dubbed as "shutdown corners."
It's time we separate perception from reality.
Feel free to add your own to this list, and if you find someone from your favorite team on this list, just take it in stride. This isn't an official list on ESPN or the NFL Network, just something fun to discuss.
Ryan Clark, Steelers
Ryan Clark benefits from the fact that he plays on the best defense in the NFL. Troy Polamalu, perhaps the best defensive player in the entire league, certainly helps shrink the field for him.
The outstanding pass-rush of the Steelers doesn't leave him in bad situations down the field either. If Clark was part of a different team, his performance would certainly decline.
Brian Cushing, Texans
Performance-enhancing drugs are not the main reason why he is on this list. When he was suspended after his amazing rookie year in 2009, he just didn't look like the same player last year.
He just might come back at full strength this year and prove us all wrong, but right now, he is not even close to being one of the best linebackers in the league.
Rashean Mathis, Jaguars
While Mathis did have eight interceptions in the 2006-2007 season, he only has 29 total in his eight-year career in the league. That is just an average of three per year.
On a team like Jacksonville where there aren't many stars on the defensive side of the ball, he does stand out. I just don't think he is a solid number one defensive back in the league.
Julius Peppers, Bears
In my mind, Peppers just needs to prove that he can stop the run. He is a freakish athlete and very quick, but teams were deliberately running right at him last year.
If he didn't take plays off during games, he could easily put up double-digit sack numbers every year.
Antonio Cromartie, Jets
Cromartie was all the rage in that epic season in San Diego. The thought was when he landed in New York that teams would not be able to throw against them with he and Revis on the other side.
Unfortunately for him, Revis has sent more plays toward his side which has really taken its toll on him. There was so much talk about him being able to stop guys like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, but is that really saying much anymore?
Asante Samuel, Eagles
Samuel is a solid player but not a great one. He is what most people call a big-time gambler.
Sure he makes plays that show up on highlight reels, but he also gives up a bunch. Because of his constant gambling, teams often find themselves with big plays down the field.
Dwight Freeney, Colts
As a Colts fan here in Indianapolis, maybe I am just missing something. When I hear other people talk about how incredible he is and how he is unstoppable, I just don't see it.
I can watch an entire game, and I just see him spinning and dancing. He is one of the biggest reasons why the Colts can not stop the run. I am fairly confident in saying that Robert Mathis is actually the better defensive end.
Brandon Meriweather, Patriots
When it comes to coverage, Brandon has some work to do. He makes some big hits and has made a few great plays, but he is not the outstanding defensive back that many think he is.
Last year he would be taken off the field in certain situations because he was such a liability.
Brian Urlacher, Bears
I actually like Urlacher, a lot. Last year he showed that he had been working on his footwork and his coverage skills.
The problem though is that everyone wants to put him in the list of the 10 best linebackers in the NFL. The fact is, he isn't even the best linebacker on his own team.
I would still consider him in the top 25, but there are many guys that play the position better than him.
DeAngelo Hall, Redskins
Hall knows how to talk a good game and has even backed it up a few times, but he gives up a lot of yardage. He is no where close to being as good as he thinks he is.
The Jay Cutler game was more of a bad reflection on Cutler, DeAngelo was simply in the right place at the right time.