Top 10 Most Overrated NFL Players
Top 10 Most Overrated NFL Players
Published Feb. 21, 2012
Follow me @walterfootball
I've been really frustrated lately. Ever since Randy Moss announced that he was "coming back from retirement" - otherwise known as the "no one wanted me last year, so let me try a gimmick so front offices remember that I still exist" strategy - I've been bombarded with questions about Moss' possible destination.
Moss is completely finished, and most sensible people know this, so all the media coverage surrounding his supposed return to the NFL has been unbearable. I asked myself, "Is there anyone more overrated than Moss right now?" And thus, I created this article.
Keep in mind that I don't think most of the players on this list suck. They're just not nearly as good as the general consensus thinks they are.
10. Stanford Routt, CB, Chiefs
Stanford Routt tied DeAngelo Hall for most touchdowns allowed (13) in the past two years. That's not his only problem.
Routt was whistled for a whopping 17 penalties in 2011 alone. As a comparison, Champ Bailey had seven penalties - dating back to 2008! In case you're wondering, Darrelle Revis has had 11 infractions in that same 4-year span. And the man he's replacing, Brandon Carr, had eight penalties the past two seasons.
I have no idea why Routt is considered to be one of the elite cornerbacks in the NFL, but he is anything but. Check out what sort of grade I gave the Chiefs for signing Routt.
9. Antrel Rolle, S, Giants
I criticized the Giants for signing Antrel Rolle to a 5-year, $37 million deal two springs ago. New York fans yelled at me, while Arizona supporters laughed at the Giants' decision. Seriously, I've never seen a fan base so thrilled to see a Pro Bowler leave. People who cheered for the Cardinals were thrilled that he would no longer be blowing coverages in their secondary.
I think Giant fans understand now. Rolle gets terribly lost in coverage, and the numbers back it up. When targeting Rolle in 2011, opposing quarterbacks completed a whopping 81.6 percent of their passes and maintained a sterling quarterback rating of 126.1. On top of that, Rolle committed four penalties, which tied for sixth in the NFL (safeties only).
8. DeAngelo Hall, CB, Redskins
DeAngelo Hall is fortunate that the Redskins are more than $30 million under the cap; otherwise, he could have been a salary casualty at his $6 million price tag.
I mentioned that Hall has surrendered 13 touchdowns in the past two seasons, which ties Stanford Routt for most by any cornerback in that span. Quarterbacks have completed 70.5 percent of their passes while targeting Hall since 2010, maintaining a passer rating of about 103.
In addition to his overrated performance on the field, Hall is also a problem in the locker room. He's gotten into verbal fights with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett on several occasions, and also made light of DeSean Jackson's concussion problems prior to one of his lazy performances against the Eagles in 2010.
7. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
The Falcons were among the league's worst in first-down runs and negative plays in the running game for a reason. Michael Turner is done.
You may tilt your head and ask, "Didn't Turner rush for more than 1,300 yards and average 4.5 YPC last year?" While that's true, Turner looked very sluggish and really slow down the stretch. He had a 3.6 YPC or worse in six of his final seven contests, with the lone exception being against a Buccaneer team that quit on Raheem Morris.
Turner also offers nothing in the passing game, so he's a non-factor if the Falcons happen to be trailing.
6. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers
When most people talk about LeGarrette Blount, his unbelievable, hurdling run against the Packers is the first thing brought up in the conversation.
Here are two things that should trump that: his extreme lethargy and inability to learn protection schemes. Charlie Campbell reported a couple of weeks ago that both Blount and Mike Williams didn't work out or put any effort in the weight room. Blount also frustrated his coaches by not being able to learn the nuances in the passing game, rendering him useless when Tampa fell behind because he wouldn't be able to get on the field.
Blount has great talent, but he's an incredibly overrated player because the mental aspect of his game is severely lacking. And based on his history, it's doubtful that he'll ever be able to put it all together.
5. Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins
Brandon Marshall has elite talent, but that doesn't mean that he's an elite player. An elite player wouldn't lead the NFL in drops the past two years (27). An elite player would be able to help his team finish with a winning record at least once in his career. It's remarkable, but Marshall has never been a part of a winning squad. How does that happen?
Marshall also kills his team by doing stupid things on the field, whether that's committing unsportsmanlike penalties or mindlessly running out of the bounds on a play that should have been a touchdown.
If Marshall could strengthen the mental part of his game, he would be an elite player. He'll be turning 28 soon, so that may never happen.
4. Randy Moss, WR, Free Agent
When Randy Moss announced that he was unretiring, I tweeted (@walterfootball), "Randy Moss unretires. Hooray. In the next hour, I will post all of the teams that will be interested in signing him. Stay tuned."
An hour later: "I hope everyone enjoyed my list of teams that are interested in Randy Moss. It'll be quite the bidding war."
Some people didn't get the joke. The joke is Moss because no one wants him. Why would any team want to sign him? He couldn't even get on the field when he was with the Titans. The Vikings jettisoned him because he was a locker-room nuisance on top of being a receiver who can no longer get open.
Moss was always one-trick pony who destroyed secondaries because of his unbelievable talent. Now at 35, that talent is all gone, so Moss can't do his one trick anymore.
I'll be shocked if any team signs Moss. Any front office that acquires him will only humiliate itself.
3. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
DeSean Jackson made a huge impact when on the field for the Eagles last year because opposing defensive coordinators were scared to death of his speed and downfield ability.
But here's the thing - they shouldn't have been so afraid. Jackson's bark is way worse than his bite; after suffering concussions last year and taking a vicious hit against the Texans in an early December battle, Jackson apparently decided that he would run nothing but go routes. His teammates have criticized him, even calling him a "candy a**." But that apparently didn't matter to the speedy wideout, who has had just two 100-yard performances since the middle of December 2010.
If that's not enough, Jackson's frequent drops and poor attitude make him undesirable in my book. But some team will trade for him. After all, if some defensive coordinators haven't caught on yet, then there must be general managers out there who covet Jackson's playmaking ability despite all of the ugly warts.
2. QB Eagles No. 7, QB, Eagles
The quarterback who has lost his name would have been No. 1 on this list a year ago, back when everyone was singing his praises and Matthew Berry was telling his followers to pick him first overall in fantasy drafts. I'll never forget the look on a bank security guard's face when we were discussing football and I told him that QB Dog Killer was the most overrated player in the NFL. I thought he was going to handcuff me.
People are now somewhat more familiar with QB Dog Killer's warts. He's very exciting to watch and he has great physical talent. There's no doubt about that. However, he struggles to read defenses and he can't recognize blitzes. Any smart defensive coordinator can simply out-game plan him, so I can't see Philadelphia ever advancing deep into the playoffs with him under center.
So, if more fans are familiar with QB Dog Killer's liabilities, why is he on this list? Is it because I hate his guts? Hardly. It's because he's not much of a runner anymore. I don't know if it's age (32 in June) or financial security after signing a huge contract, but QB Dog Killer's rushing attempts were down from 100 in 12 games in 2010 to just 76 in 13 games in 2011. His 76 scampers marked a career low in which he's started a dozen or more games.
And speaking of which, QB Dog Killer is unreliable. He always gets hurt, so the Eagles can't count on him to stay in the lineup.
1. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
This is not a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in the Super Bowl. I've always believed that Wes Welker has been incredibly overrated. When the average fan puts together a list of the top receivers in the NFL, Welker is usually included. He shouldn't be.
Welker is just a slot receiver. He's a really, really good slot receiver, but a slot receiver nonetheless. Because of the monstrous stats he has posted the past five years, some football fans argue that he's on the level of Larry Fitzgerald and other wideouts of that ilk.
There's no denying that Welker is tremendous in New England's system, but I highly doubt he would be half as effective in a normal offense with an average quarterback. Welker just doesn't have the talent to be a No. 1 wideout. He's very smart and crafty, and he's a great guy to have on a team, despite what hot supermodels may think, but his ability to be as effective in another scheme is very debatable. Forum mod Injured Reserve once told me, "The difference between Wes Welker and Davone Bess is Tom Brady." Like Welker, Bess is just a slot receiver. Who's to say Bess wouldn't post 100-plus receptions playing in Welker's spot with Brady?
This stat may surprise you: Aside from Brandon Marshall, no receiver has more drops in the past two years than Welker (26). Sure, Welker has many more targets than the average wideout, but most of the passes that go his way are of the short variety.
So, perhaps that decisive play in the Super Bowl wasn't a fluke. Maybe Tom Brady's supermodel wife knows what she's talking about after all.
Overrated NFL Players Also Considered:
John Abraham, DE, Falcons - Racks up sacks versus awful opponents; disappears often in big games.
Michael Bush, RB, Raiders - Hasn't proven he can handle the load; wore down at the end of the season despite not playing much in first half.
Jermon Bushrod, OT, Saints - Doesn't surrender many sacks because Drew Brees gets rid of the ball quickly, but allows Brees to be pressured often.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers - Will he ever live up to his potential?
Dashon Goldson, S, 49ers - I slotted him pretty low in my 2012 NFL Free Agent Rankings, prompting dozens of 49er fans to send me hate mail for it. By that reaction, you'd think I insulted the Pope, spat on Mother Teresa's grave or said that Jeremy Lin has some sort of hole in his armor.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB - I'm listing him because Chris Berman constantly harps that Hasselbeck was the best free agency signing last year. But Jake Locker outplayed him.
A.J. Hawk, ILB, Packers - He has nothing left in the tank.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromarite, CB, Eagles - Could be good if he actually cared.
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys - Will he ever step up in a big game?
Jonathan Vilma, ILB, Saints - Constantly gets washed away in the run. To be fair though, the defensive tackles in front of him suck.
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