Who’s getting tired of NFL at this point? Not me. I can tell you that. The countdown to opening week is on.
When it comes to overrated and underrated, I feel like sports fans misinterpret those terms when discussing teams and players. Typically when I talk to people and say someone is overrated, it automatically equates to “they are trash.” On the flip side when I say someone is underrated, it means “people think they are bad.” However, underrated is exactly what the word says it is, people underestimate them and their value.
When it comes to the NFL, I think the pulse surrounding QBs is relatively accurate and it is hard to find a QB who is underrated. I don’t know that the argument can be made for offensive lineman because it is not like your average joe is having conversations about offensive lineman. It is much easier to talk about the big men as a unit. I am eliminating those two positions from the conversation by default. Here are my 10 of the most underrated talents in the NFL.
10. Frank Gore – Running Back – Buffalo Bills
New year, new team for Frank Gore. He is a total anomaly when it comes to the running back position at 36 years old. He is well past what his shelf life should be. He is still productive. His entire career could be described as underrated.
9. Cooper Kupp – Wide Receiver – Los Angeles Rams
He adds so much to the Rams pass game thanks to having the route tree down. He can do it all from the short to intermediate to deep balls. He opens the floodgates for the other two receivers in LA. Brandin Cooks is a burner on the outsider. Robert Woods is another solid option, but his production dipped once Kupp went down.
8. Mark Ingram – Running Back – Baltimore Ravens
Another guy with a change of scenery, Ingram was a stud for the Saints. He wouldn’t be on this list if he had been playing with a heavier workload. He can do it all. He can run between the tackles, run outside, catch the ball out the backfield and pass block. He’s not only above average at everything. He is actually very good to great at everything.
7. Antoine Bethea – Safety – Arizona Cardinals
Another savvy vet on the list. Bethea has been around for what feels like forever. Arizona used him a number of ways (strong, free and nickel) in 2017 which led to 5 interceptions, a career high. In 2018, he went back to his normal position at free safety leading to another 100 plus tackle season and also 3 sacks.
6. Adam Thielen – Wide Receiver – Minnesota Vikings
While Thielen is one of the few guys on this list who gets a ton of credit, I still think there is much to be desired when it comes to credit he gets. He is an absolute baller and the go-to receiver in Minnesota. However, I feel people sometimes talk about Stefon Diggs more. While I have Thielen as the 6th best receiver in the league, I think most people have him as a fringe top 10 guy if that.
5. Blake Martinez – Linebacker – Green Bay Packers
For the last two years, Martinez has been one of the few bright spots on a porous Packers defense. He has racked up 286 tackles, 6 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss, 11 pass deflections and an interception. Thanks to playing for a bad defense, he gets lost in the shuffle in terms of linebackers who deserve credit.
4. Harrison Smith – Safety – Minnesota Vikings
With 20 career interceptions and 12 sacks, Smith is a staple part of a quality Vikings defense. He may be the best run support safety in the league and he is one of the best in pass coverage. He is a do it all player. Maybe it is the safety position in general, but the guys back there don’t get the credit they deserve.
3. Cameron Jordan – Defensive End – New Orleans Saints
Maybe in more recent years he doesn’t fit the bill of underrated. I am honestly not sure what the pulse of thought is on him around the league. He is one of the best defensive ends rushing the passer and in run support. He has been for years. For many of those, he didn’t get the credit he deserved. That was in New Orleans as well.
2. Eddie Jackson – Safety – Chicago Bears
Jackson is well on his way to become a household name in the NFL thanks to electrifying playmaking ability. I haven’t seen someone have the ability to house interceptions the way he does since Ed Reed. In his first two seasons, he has 5 defensive touchdowns already. He had his coming out party in 2018 (6 ints and 3 TDs) thanks to a nasty pass rush led by Khalil Mack.
1. Chris Harris Jr. – Cornerback – Denver Broncos
Maybe it is because he has such a basic name. Harris never seems to get the recognition when he has been one of the top corners in the league for years. Corners only seem to get recognition when they are either loud mouths or get a lot of interceptions which means teams aren’t afraid to go after them. He allowed just one touchdowns in 2018 over 457 coverage snaps. One of the things that makes Harris so special is his ability to move around the field. He can cover outside, but he really excels at covering the slot which is where he plays most of his snaps.