NFL Predictions: Under-the-Radar Players Who Will Be Superstars by Season's End

Chris CortesCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2011

NFL Predictions: Under-the-Radar Players Who Will Be Superstars by Season's End

0 of 5

    Making preseason predictions can be easy at times, as analysts will often pick the best players of the NFL from the year before.  

    However, every year we get a few players that go above and beyond, and make the leap to super stardom.  These players are the ones who usually are rarely talked about despite great performances, but will get their recognition by the end of the year.  

    Here are this season's surprise superstars.

Darren McFadden

1 of 5

    This two-time Heisman runner up has had great expectations placed upon him since his arrival in the NFL. 

    While he had a good season last year, rushing for over 1,200 yards, he has the chance to be a 1,500 yard back this year, as he already has 519 yards and is averaging 5.7 yards a carry.

    While superstardom was expected from McFadden since his start in the NFL, he is currently leading the NFL in rushing and can be a superstar by the end of the year.  This is crazy to think about, as he was not even in the top 10 in ESPN’s preseason fantasy running back rankings.

Fred Jackson

2 of 5

    Fred Jackson is another running back that was not seen as a top 10 running back. 

    What makes him fly under the radar even more is the fact that he went to a Division III college and.bounced around Arena Football and NFL Europe. He had a 1,000 yard rushing and 1,000 return yard season two years ago, but he is still rarely talked about.

    With the Buffalo Bills at 4-1 and atop the AFC East, Jackson is starting to get the recognition he deserves.  He is having a solid year, and will be seen as a superstar by the end of the year.

Hakeem Nicks

3 of 5

    Despite having over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns last year, the media was quick to point out the alleged weakness of the Giants passing game because of the departures of Kevin Boss and Steve Smith.

    Even with these supposed weaknesses, Nicks is putting up solid numbers (28 catches, 412 yards) as the Giants primary weapon on offense.  If he’s able to keep producing, he will be an elite wide receiver.

Jimmy Graham

4 of 5

    Jimmy Graham has certainly exceeded expectations for the New Orleans Saints, as he has already surpassed his yardage total last year (356 in 2010, 496 so far in 2011). 

    Graham also was not ranked in the top 10 at his position in ESPN’s fantasy leagues, but is leading all tight ends in receiving yardage. 

    He will most likely be a pro bowler by the end of the year, and is on pace to be the best at his position this year.

Jason Pierre-Paul

5 of 5

    Pierre-Paul was not a full-time starter before this year, but he has emerged as a star for the New York Giants.  He is currently tied for second in sacks with 7, and only all-pro defensive end Jared Allen has more.

    On a front four that features Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, Pierre-Paul has managed to fly under the radar.  As his sack total grows, so will his superstardom.