A lot of questions are being asked around the country about the NFL, and a lot of them have to deal with which players are underrated or overrated. This slideshow lists the most underrated and overrated quarterbacks, running backs and receivers in the NFL, and the choices might shock you.
That's right. Last year's MVP, the same player who threw for 36 touchdowns and four interceptions, is overrated.
There is no doubt that during the regular season Brady is one of the best around, but in the postseason he downright chokes. Yes, he did win three Super Bowls in the early 2000's, but all of those came during the fabled Spygate affair. Brady hasn't won a single playoff game since the season it was discovered.
In Super Bowl XLII, the first time Brady had a chance to prove he was a clutch quarterback in big games since Spygate, he could not gain a single yard against the Giants on the last drive of the game.
Brady can wow people with big numbers in the regular season, but in the playoffs he isn't the player you'd want under center. In 2009, he threw three interceptions and fumbled as the Pats lost to the Ravens in the wild card round. Last year, against the Jets in the divisional round, he looked a little better, throwing only one interception, but he still could not bring the Pats a win over their hated rivals, whom they most recently beat 45-3 in the regular season.
Tom Brady's stats look great on paper, and he is a solid quarterback, but he is by no means one of the best of all time, and he is not the clutch quarterback people think he is.
These days it seems that everybody hates Eli Manning. He is called overrated almost all the time, but how can he be overrated when everyone hates him? He is underrated because he takes non-stop criticism for his solid play, and he has to live in the shadow of Peyton Manning.
He threw 25 interceptions last season, but the Giants were practically grabbing new receivers off the streets for Eli to throw to because of injuries. Many of his interceptions simply bounced out of the hands of those receivers.
However, Manning still threw for 31 touchdown passes and over 4,000 yards. He doesn't deserve the hate he has to deal with all the time. He may not be as good as his brother, but Eli is certainly a solid quarterback who never gets enough credit.
Manning also recently said in an interview he is in the same class as Tom Brady. Never did he say he was as good as or better than Brady, but he still wants to be considered an elite quarterback. After all, he did out-clutch Brady and the Pats in 2007 as the Giants won their third Super Bowl.
For Giants fans, this statement should be completely welcomed, because it shows that Eli is gaining confidence, something the quiet quarterback has not shown much of over his career. Saying that he is on the same level as Brady shows that Eli Manning is sending a message that he is confident and ready to play at a high level in 2011. Although he has been solid throughout his career, look for 2011 to be the year that Eli shows his critics what he can do.
Cool your jets, Rams fans. I'm a Steven Jackson fan, too. And yes, I've heard all about how he can carry the Rams offense and is a workhouse back. However, he is not a top-5 back and has only scored double-digit touchdowns once in his career. As a starter, he has never averaged more than 4.4 yards per carry and only has 18 total touchdowns in the past three years.
The guy is a solid back without question, but he isn't as extraordinary as many make him out to be. Granted, he hasn't had much talent around him to work with, but the Rams got their passing game going with Sam Bradford last season, and Jackson still only averaged 3.8 yards per carry. If he can't improve on that this year, the "overrated" label may become even harder to peel off.
LeSean McCoy is the perfect example of someone who benefits from talent around them. Sure, he has speed and agility, but he wouldn't be much more than a Reggie Bush duplicate if it weren't for Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson. If Vick so much as jogs after handing the ball off, all 11 defenders look to him because it may have been a play action.
Michael Vick's level of play was ridiculous last season, and teams would spend the whole week trying to plan for him and his number one receiver, DeSean Jackson. After spending all their time being paranoid about those two, there was little room for teams to try and stop McCoy.
While all eyes were on Jackson and Vick, LeSean McCoy benefited from being in their shadows. He averaged 5.2 yards a carry in 2010 as opposed to 4.1 in 2009, showing that McCoy would be a very average back without the help of talent around him. If Vick gets injured in 2011, McCoy's production will drop like Brett Favre's popularity in Green Bay after signing with the Jets.
Despite Charles' amazing, almost Barry Sanders-like elusiveness, he is still getting flak from critics. Many state that Charles can't possibly be one of the best backs in the game today because he hasn't proven himself and played long enough yet. However, let's look at his stats from the past three years:
2008: 67 carries, 357 yards, 5.3 yards per carry, 0 TDs
2009: 190 carries, 1,120 yards, 5.9 yards per carry, 7 TDs
2010: 230 carries, 1,467 yards, 6.4 yards per carry, 5 TDs
So after three years of being in the NFL, Jamaal Charles has a career average of 6.0 yards per carry.
People claim that Charles hasn't played long enough to be a top back. If you can maintain a staggering six yards per carry during three years, that should qualify you as at least a top-five back. Even after splitting time with Thomas Jones in 2010, Charles made the most out of his 230 carries with almost 1,500 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Thomas Jones had 15 more carries for almost 700 less yards. Charles resembles a Chris Johnson who is a little bit slower but has more power, and definitely deserves to be considered a top-five running back over players like Steven Jackson.
So, 47 receptions, barely 1,000 yards and 6 TD's qualifies you as a top-five receiver? Those were DeSean Jackson's stats last year. Yet, he is considered to be better than some great receivers like Roddy White and Dwayne Bowe.
Yes, yes, we've all heard the story of DeSean Jackson's incredible punt return skills. However, if you take away the one good punt return DeSean Jackson had all season (and we know which one that is), he only registered two other returns of over 20 yards, none over 40 yards, and no touchdowns. Not very stunning for the guy who claimed in an interview to be the best returner in the league.
Also, only registering 47 receptions shows that you can't get open consistently enough for your quarterback, which is why Jeremy Maclin caught 23 more balls and scored four more touchdowns. Sure, Jackson is good, but he is not the incredible playmaker every time he touches the ball that people assume he is.
Washington's receiving duo deserves a lot more credit than they receive. Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman both took snaps under center for the Skins last season, but neither of them could get the job done. They combined for 19 interceptions and couldn't lead the Redskins anywhere despite huge expectations for McNabb.
Still, Santana Moss showed that he could produce and wasn't anywhere near washed up, recording more receptions, yards and touchdowns than he did in 2009 in the same number of games. Moss had almost 100 receptions, recorded 1,115 yards and caught six touchdowns, showing that although Moss is never mentioned when talking about great receivers, he has the numbers to qualify for a top-15 spot.
Meanwhile, Anthony Armstrong, the 28-year-old rookie, recorded 44 receptions and took them for over 800 yards, averaging an incredible 19.8 yards per catch. The Skins are often overlooked because of horrid quarterback play, but there is no question that they have talented receivers who deserve more credit.