Saturday, June 20, 2009

Top 10- Underrated Players in the NFL

The title is self-explanatory, no caveats, no funny stuff, just simply the most underrated players in the NFL in my opinion.

10. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, LT, New York Jets- A lot of the lack of appreciation for D'Brick has to do with who he was drafted over (Jay Cutler in particular), and the city in which he plays. He has started every game since being drafted fourth overall in the 2006 NFL draft, and is one of the league's best pass blockers. I also believe his draft spot plays into this, as there is an expectation for him to either be the best LT in the business or comparable to guys like Walter Jones, or Orlando Pace. There is a reason those guys are Hall of Famers. D'Brick can only be himself, and to this point he is a great pass blocker.

9. John Carlson, TE, Seattle Seahawks- Notre Dame stand up!!!!!! Carlson came in, and in his rookie season put up nice numbers with 55 catches, 628 and 5 TDs, with an unstable QB situation due to the injury of Matt Hasslebeck. I expect him to have a monster season this year if Hasselbeck stays healthy. He reminds me of Jason Witten. That isn't to say that he is as good as Witten, but he is a similar player.

8. Sean Jones, S, Philadelphia Eagles- Whenever the topic of safeties comes up, all I ever hear is Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. There are other guys out there who don't get the recognition they deserve at the S spot, and one of them is Sean Jones. Watching him play, he flies to the ball, looking at his numbers, he gets a lot of INTs and pass deflections. But, as is a common theme, when a guy plays for a bad team in the middle of nowhere (Browns) he won't get as much credit as he deserves. I have a new name for that, it's called Larry Fitzgerald syndrome.

7. Darnell Dockett, DT, Arizona Cardinals- He doesn't have the shiny numbers for the most part, as is the case with most good DTs, but his presence cannot be denied in the middle of that defense. He is a very good pass rusher, who often wreaks havoc for the middle of offensive lines. Look no further than the SB for evidence as he had 3.5 sacks and consistently found his way into the Steelers backfield. He can line up anywhere on the line, and be successful, and has the strength and quickness to make life hell for most offensive linemen.

6. Ty Warren, DE, New England Patriots- Warren is another one of those defensive linemen who don't have the shiny statistics but plays an intrical part of his team. He lives in the shadow of the gang of notable players in New England, including his defensive line mates Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork but one could make the argument that he has been the best of the bunch.

5. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys- I know this is a weird entry on this list, but as I mentioned in a prior entry Romo gets called overrated and bashed endlessly for a variety of reasons to the point where he is very underrated. You can talk about his supporting cast if you will, you can talk about his decision making if you wish, but the man's production isn't matched by many. Over the course of the last two seasons, Romo has put up monster numbers, throwing for 62 TDs, and 7,659 yards, yet he's "overrated", and "overhyped", meanwhile guys like Donovan McNabb are "great". Give me a break. He isn't as celebrated as he should be, and though he gets plenty of hype, he gets FAR too much hate and people are far too quick to take credit away from him.

4. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions- Coming in as arguably the best WR prospect ever, Calvin had a decent rookie season and absolutely exploded last season to the tune of 78 catches, 1331 yards and 12 TDs on the Detroit Lions, yes the 0-16 pathetic, sorry sack Detroit Lions. He has arguably the most physical talent in the game, and still has some room to improve. He arguably would be considered the number one wide receiver in the league if he was on a winning team.

3. Lofa Tatupu, MLB, Seattle Seahawks- I think this is one of those where the "lack" of eye popping athletic ability, as well as playing in the Pacific Northwest contribute to the lack of attention Tatupu gets, but the guy just goes out there and gets the job done. In a way I compare him to pound cake. For the most part, Lofa isn't going to 'wow' you, he isn't going to make any plays that will make the Sportscenter Top 10 plays, but he goes out there and gets the job done. He is coming off a bit of a down year, statistically speaking, but statistics from LBs can be twisted and molded to fit what you feel anyway.

2. Lee Evans, WR, Buffalo Bills- Evans has long been one of my favorite players in the league, and is absolutely exciting to watch. Over the last three years he has totaled 3,158 yards, 16 TDs, 16 YPC, and 200 total catches. Over the course of his career Evans has scored 32 TDs in 5 years, and has maintained the aforementioned 16 YPC clip. Evans is arguably the fastest man in the NFL, runs good routes and puts up good production despite being the only legitimate receiving option on that team, and never having played with a decent QB. Don't be surprised to see Lee Evans outproduce Terrell Owens this season, though Owens presence will create more space for Evans to work. It's scary to think what he could do with a good support system around him.

1. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers- Jennings is one of the very few complete WRs in football. When I say complete, I mean from the standpoint that he does EVERYTHING on the field well. He rs a good route runner, he blocks well, he breaks a lot of tackles, has breakaway speed, goes over the middle to make the tough catches and scores a lot of TDs. Over the last two seasons, Jennings has put up 133 catches, 2212 yards, 16.6 YPC and 21 TDs. And still when the topic of 'Top WRs in the NFL' comes up his name is almost never mentioned. The guy just gets it done. Maybe if he changed his name to Ocho Cinco, took sharpies out of his sock, waved pom poms after scoring a TD, say 'I love me some me', cut himself a blond mohawk, fake propose to a Packer cheerleader, do situps on his lawn or just be a gigantic, self aggrandizing, narcissistic ass he would get more attention. Who knows, but he is one of the best young WRs in the game and he is getting better.

Others who garnered consideration:

Adrian Wilson, SS, Arizona Cardinals
Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers

Michael Griffin, S, Tennesee Titans
Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans

Karlos Dansby, LB, Arizona Cardinals
Nick Collins S, Green Bay Packers

Dunta Robinson, CB, Houston Texans

Derrick Burgess, DE, Oakland Raiders

John Abraham, DE, Atlanta Falcons

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