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Kansas City Chiefs: The Most Overrated and Underrated Player at Each Position

Nathan BadleyCorrespondent IJune 21, 2011

Kansas City Chiefs: The Most Overrated and Underrated Player at Each Position

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    As football fans, it is hard to be unbiased watching your favorite team. You have strong feelings about the players, either hating them or thinking they are the best ever.

    Most of the time, neither is true.

    Our strong feelings easily overrate and underrate players at the drop of a hat. Being told that our favorite player is overrated can upset and hurt just like finding out a player you like is drastically underrated, thus does not receive as much playing time as you would like.

    It’s time to face some hard truths, though. Many players are valued incorrectly by the fanbase. All across the board you can find these players.

    These are the most overrated and underrated Chiefs.

Quarterback

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    Underrated: Tyler Palko

    Tyler Palko will never be confused for a starting quarterback. In fact, he will probably not be a second string quarterback. He is, though, a much better quarterback than he is given credit for.

    Palko was released and signed to the practice squad last season before being signed back to the 53-man roster. In extremely limited play, Palko seemed adequate, much better than a practice squad quarterback.

    He did only have six pass attempts, but in 13 fewer attempts than back up Brodie Croyle, Palko had only three fewer yards and an 81.9 pass rating.

    Great quarterback? No. Deserving of at least an ounce of respect? Yes.

     

    Overrated: Matt Cassel

    Yes, Matt Cassel is a good quarterback. In fact, he is very good, and after the carousel of Brody Croyle, Damon Huard and Tyler Thigpen following Trent Green’s retirement, he looks amazing.

    His 2010 season was great, sending him to the Pro Bowl and making Chiefs fans feel good about their quarterback situation for the first time in a few years.

    Unfortunately, they feel too good. Cassel is a good, at times even great, starter. He is much more capable then many starting quarterbacks the Chiefs have deemed their next big thing (Steve Bono anyone?) and is able to get the job done.

    Listening to many Chiefs fans, though, you would think Cassel was the second coming of Len Dawson. Cassel can become a second-tier quarterback, but he will most likely never be a star, hall of fame quarterback.

Running Back

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    Underrated: Jamaal Charles

    Jamaal Charles had an amazing breakout season in 2010, averaging an outstanding 6.4 yards per carry. He made himself a star for Kansas City, becoming an instant favorite among fans.

    How is Charles underrated then? Despite this, it seems there might be someone on the coaching staff that is still slightly underestimating Charles.

    Charles alone provided 23.5 percent of the Chiefs yardage in 2010. If he had received as many carries as other backs, this total would have been significantly higher.

    A player like this should not receive the second most carries on a team that uses the rush more than many other teams. While the Chiefs’ coaching staff was using this strategy to lengthen his career, a smart move any way you look at it, one has to wonder how the season would have been different if Charles had received a few more carries a game.

     

    Overrated: Thomas Jones

    Using a two-pronged running attack powered by Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs created a dominate running game last season. One of the prongs seemed to be a bit weaker than the other, though.

    Throughout the season, Jones consistently received more carries than Jamaal Charles despite Charles’ incredible breakthrough performance.

    For example, against the St. Louis Rams in week 15, Jones rushed for 62 yards on 22 carries. Meanwhile, Charles gained 126 on only 11 carries, making Jones literally a quarter as effective as Charles.

    If Jones had been shifted into more of a situational role, he would not have made this list. Continually being given carries over Jamaal Charles, though, proves that someone on the coaching staff likes Jones a bit more than they should.

Wide Receiver

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    Underrated: Dexter McCluster

    People like Dexter McCluster for his speed. In college, McCluster played wide receiver and running back and, with two running backs already receiving playing time, McCluster lined up at wide receiver quite a bit. Despite his athletic ability, he is not looked at as a legitimate threat by many.

    With 173 of his yards coming after the catch, McCluster should be looked at as a threat on the Chiefs offense. Kansas City loves their short dump passes, and McCluster could easily become a go-to guy for this type of play. Mix in his returning ability, and there should not be a question as to how McCluster can fit into the Chiefs game plan. 

     

    Overrated: Chris Chambers, Terrance Copper, Verran Tucker

    The three wide receivers combined for 484 yards receiving all season. That is nearly a fourth of what Dwayne Bowe brought down. No one is saying these three are great, but for receivers who are competing for a starting position in the NFL, that is pathetic.

    The fact that these three were supposed to complement Bowe makes them vastly overrated.

Tight End

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    Underrated: Tony Moeaki

    Kansas City was spoiled for years with one of the best tight ends of all time in Tony Gonzalez. Chiefs’ fans may not have the next Gonzalez in Moeaki, but they do have a solid tight end.

    In 2010, Moeaki was the Chiefs second leading receiver with 556 yards. While that is not exactly a Tony Gonzalez number, it is a very respectable number for a rookie. He also caught 65 percent of the throws that were headed his way, showing off his soft hands.

    Very few fans gave Moeaki the credit he deserved last season. While some have been singing his praises, others should join in soon if he continues to play like this.

     

    Overrated: No One

    Really, no one seems to have any opinion on the other tight ends on the roster.

    No expectation means no disappointment.

Offensive Line

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    Underrated: Brian Waters

    Brian Waters has been to five Pro Bowls, the most recent being last season, as well as having been named All-Pro twice. He is one of the best guards in the league.

    When researching him for this very article, though, his name kept popping up as one of the most overrated Chiefs players. Kansas City fans were saying Waters only received attention because he is one of the remaining members of that 13-3 team from 2003.

    If you are an All-Pro lineman who was named to an All-Star game LAST SEASON and multiple fans are calling you overrated, there is a very good chance you are underrated, at least by them.

     

    Overrated: No One

    Just like the tight end spot on the roster, no one on the offensive line seems to be too overrated.

    With the offensive line being one of the most criticized spots on the Chiefs offense, offensive lineman are more likely to fall out of favor with fans than be given too much credit.

Defensive Line

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    Underrated: Wallace Gilberry

    For whatever reason, Wallace Gilberry does not seem to get the fans’ attention.

    Gilberry recorded seven sacks in 2010, the only person besides league leader Tamba Hali to record more than three. He also forced and recovered two fumbles.

    While his tackle numbers may be middle of the road on the Chiefs’ defense, causing opponents to lose fifty yards because of sacks will help make up for that.

    His ability to cause a commotion on defense gives him a plus that many fans choose to ignore. He is certainly not the greatest defensive end ever, but some Chiefs fans would have you think that Gilberry would play poorly against a peewee team.

    That is not the case.

     

    Overrated: Tyson Jackson

    Compared to Gilberry, Tyson Jackson looks to be severely overrated.

    Drafted third overall in 2009, Jackson held out until August, finally signing a contract worth $57 million. Meanwhile, Gilberry, who had been signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008, was released by the New York Giants and signed by the Chiefs.

    Fast forward to 2010. Both players record 19 solo tackles, with Gilberry recording six more sacks than Jackson. For the money, Gilberry is more valuable, making Jackson significantly overrated.

Linebackers

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    Underrated: Derrick Johnson

    With everyone focusing their attention on Tamba Hali’s 14.5 sacks last season, another linebacker went overlooked.

    Derrick Johnson led the Chiefs with 121 tackles, 29 more than the runner up. This, along with his four forced fumbles makes him one of the strongest defensive forces that Kansas City has.

    Despite this, people do not mention Johnson when talking about what is right with the defense, instead asking if he will finally play up to his expectations next season.

    While he may not have impressed a lot of people with his play in past seasons, last season should have changed that. Instead, he is still fighting the perception that he is somewhat of a bust for the Chiefs.

     

    Overrated: Mike Vrabel

    With a young team like the Chiefs, it is good to have a veteran leader who has experienced success guiding them along. Unfortunately, that seems to be about the only thing that Vrabel is offering.

    Vrabel only totaled 48 tackles with no sacks in 2010, a far cry from his Pro Bowl season in 2007. If it was not for his veteran leadership, Vrabel would be fighting for playing time. Instead, Chiefs fans and coaches are happy to see Vrabel in a red jersey.

Defensive Backs

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    Underrated: Kendrick Lewis

    Drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, Kendrick Lewis started off his rookie season backing up Jon McGraw at free safety. After a McGraw injury, Lewis took over, starting the final ten games of the season.

    In ten games, Lewis registered three interceptions, ranking second on the team behind pro bowler Eric Berry. Teaming up with Berry at small safety, the Chiefs have a good set of safeties that are able to capitalize on opposing quarterback’s mistakes.

    While fans are talking about Berry and Brandon Flowers as a great defensive backs of the future, Lewis’ name should at least get some attention.

     

    Overrated: Brandon Flowers

    Go ahead and get mad at me Chiefs fans, but Brandon Flowers is slightly overrated.

    By the rest of the NFL, Flowers is not overrated and actually borders on being underrated. People acknowledge his abilities, yet he is not mentioned as one of the top cornerbacks in the league.

    By Chiefs fans, though, Flowers is spoken of with the highest regard, as if he is the most criminally underrated player in the history of the NFL. The way fans reacted after Flowers was not named to the Pro Bowl, you would have thought someone had personally insulted the mother of every one of them.

    He might have been the most underrated in 2009 when he registered five interceptions, all while playing with a hurt shoulder. In 2010, though, Flowers was very good, just not spectacular. 

    Is Flowers good? Absolutely. He is one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Is he the best cornerback ever? Not right now. Maybe in the future, but for now he is an incredibly good cornerback and Chiefs fans should be happy with that.

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