I'm proud of that list. Only one of those 10 players (Jackson) had a strong 2013 campaign, and the former Philadelphia receiver was released this offseason for reasons I specified. But I'll get to that later since Jackson has made this list for the third year in a row.
My goal this year is to once again go 10-for-10 in this overrated list. I thought long and hard about which NFL players receive too much acclaim, and here's what I came up with:
10. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Giants
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie might be seen as an unlikely player to make this list, given that he had an outstanding 2013 campaign for the Broncos. The Giants certainly don't think he belongs here in the wake of giving him a 5-year, $35 million contract in March. That will probably end up being money poorly spent.
Rodgers-Cromartie's initials are "DRC." Those in Arizona and Philadelphia know them to stand for "Doesn't Really Care." Rodgers-Cromartie can be exceptional when he tries hard, but those instances are few and far between. He gave full effort last year because he was playing for a contract. Now that he obtained his $14 million in guarantees, he'll probably revert to the sloth-like player that Cardinal and Eagle fans are familiar with.
9. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins
Mike Wallace was third on this list last year. Here's what I wrote:
Wallace is another one-trick receiver who is extremely overrated. He can run go routes with the best of them, but he can't do much else. In fact, his go routes aren't even that effective because he drops a ton of passes. He's also not very good to have in the locker room. He has a loser attitude which came to light when he signed with Miami. Several Steelers came out and said how much of a relief it is to have him off the team, hinting that it's better to have players who will take games seriously.
Wallace signed a 5-year, $60 million with the Dolphins this offseason, which is just insane. It's painfully obvious that he abandoned a perennial Super Bowl contender and went to a lesser team solely because of the money. This can't possibly go well for Miami.
Wallace has been somewhat exposed as an overrated commodity, so that's why I've dropped him to No. 9. However, there are many who still believe he can be a top wideout in the NFL, which is not the case at all. He'll continue to struggle in Miami.
8. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
I didn't even consider Frank Gore to be an option until I saw that he was ranked 46th in the NFL Top 100 Players list. I didn't even entertain the possibility of Gore being in the top 100; let alone top 50. Putting him 46th is a joke. Gore is nowhere near the player he once was. He's no longer an every-down runner, and the 49ers want to lighten his workload even more so than they already did in 2013, as the selection of Carlos Hyde indicates.
7. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
I once argued that Tom Brady was better than Peyton Manning. I pointed out that Brady came through in the clutch, won despite having an inferior supporting cast and did the little things it took to help his team. While Manning was signing giant contracts, Brady was taking less money so that his teammates could get paid. When Brady won his third championship, I was sure he'd end up claiming at least five Lombardi trophies.
Then, something changed. Brady is no longer the blue-collar player who triumphed in those Super Bowls. He now makes strange commercials for UGGs, sports Justin Bieber lesbian haircuts and dons outfits that the European villains of the Die Hard movies would wear. All of this has seemingly affected his play on the field. Brady now chokes in the clutch, and he can't seem to win any playoff games unless he's battling Matt Schaub. His completion percentage of 60.5 and YPA of 6.9 in 2013 were both horrific.
These are signs that the 37-year-old Brady is in a decline - yet the league was crazy enough to name him the No. 3 overall player in the NFL. That's a poor ranking, as the Brady we once saw lead fourth-quarter comebacks is long gone.
6. Steve Smith, WR, Ravens
Steve Smith is done. He turned 35 this May, which is not good news because as a 34-year-old, he logged 64 catches for 745 yards. That gave him 11.6 yards per reception - a career-second-worst figure. Smith can no longer move like he once did, so he has no business being a starter anymore. That's why it was puzzling that the Ravens gave him a 3-year, $10.5 million contract to be the No. 2 wideout across from Torrey Smith. It's almost as if they didn't watch a single snap of his in 2013.
5. Riley Cooper, WR, Eagles
Riley Cooper tallied 835 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013, and he had some big outings in the middle of the season. He posted a 5-139-3 line at Oakland, and he followed that up by going 3-102-2 at Green Bay.
The problem? Cooper benefited from DeSean Jackson's double teams. Cooper struggles with separation, but he was able to get open because opposing defenses didn't pay much attention to him. Well, that's what happened at first. Teams caught on, which is why Cooper was limited to 53 or fewer receiving yards in all but one of his final six regular-season games.
Cooper received much acclaim, so he quickly became an overrated commodity. The Eagles didn't agree with that sentiment, however, when they gave him a 5-year, $22.5 million deal. Philadelphia will regret giving him that much money.
4. Chris Johnson, RB, Jets
I know Chris Johnson sucks. I feel like most smart football people know that Chris Johnson sucks. However, based on the reactions I've received this offseason, Jet fans don't realize how abysmal of a runner he is. Apparently, the coaches don't either, as Marty Mornhinweg recently called Johnson a "first-ballot Hall of Famer." It's unclear how much of Walter White's product Mornhinweg consumed prior to making that statement.
Johnson is not a Hall of Fame running back; let alone a first-ballot player. He had three Hall of Fame-caliber seasons to kick off his career, but he has since regressed horrifically. He dances behind the line of scrimmage on too many of his carries, and now he has lost his burst. He mustered 3.9 yards per carry last year, all while throwing his teammates under the bus. He'll continue to do so in New York, and the front office will quickly realize that Johnson is subtraction by addition.
3. Reggie Bush, RB, Lions
Reggie Bush is another unworthy running back to make the NFL Top 100 list. Frank Gore at least played last year. The same can't be said for Bush.
Bush had a hot start to the 2013 campaign when he logged 191 total yards against the Vikings. He had several other nice games prior to November, but the second half of his season was pitiful. Bush couldn't stop fumbling and dropping key passes, and the Detroit coaching staff benched him on multiple occasions. They even used Theo Riddick instead of Bush in some instances.
Making matters worse, Bush just turned 29. Speedy running backs begin to decline around Bush's current age, so the 2014 season could be even worse for the former Saint.
2. Wes Welker, WR, Broncos
Wes Welker was No. 1 on this list in 2012, and he was No. 2 the following year. Here's what I wrote:
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 supermodels may think, but his ability to be as effective in another scheme is very debatable.
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.
Let's check in and see how things went in 2012... Welker once again led the NFL in drops (15). And no, he didn't have the most targets. In fact, three players saw more balls thrown their way. And once again, unlike those wideouts (Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Reggie Wayne), the majority of passes Welker saw were thrown near the line of scrimmage.
Credit Bill Belichick for recognizing that Welker was more of a product of his system than anything. He refused to pay Welker, allowing him to walk to his quarterback's greatest rival. The media made a big deal out of this, but Belichick didn't give a damn. The Patriots will get equal or better production out of Danny Amendola as long as the former Ram can stay healthy.
Welker had a terrific start to his 2013 season, including the opener in which he caught nine balls for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Welker had several other great outings prior to November, but he tailed off after that. He logged 38 or fewer receiving yards in five of his final eight games of the season (including the playoffs). He barely did anything in meaningful playoff action, save for his crushing hit on Aqib Talib.
It's unlikely that Welker will rebound from a poor finish. He turned 33 this offseason, so his regression will continue. Meanwhile, Julian Edelman - not Amendola - was able to pick up the slack in New England.
1. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins
DeSean Jackson is the most overrated player in the NFL. He's coming off an 82-catch, 1,332-yard, nine-touchdown season, so that may sound like a strange statement. It's not in the slightest, and there shouldn't have been any hoopla this offseason when the Eagles released him.
Jackson is an injury-prone, one-trick pony. He does that one trick very, very well, but there's a reason why he has failed to register more than 63 receptions in all but one season throughout his career. He managed to do so in 2013, with the help of Chip Kelly, and yet the Eagles were content to release him. The burden is now on the Redskins, who will regret adding Jackson to the roster. It'll be a repeat of the last time a high-profile Philadelphia reject went to Washington. Donovan McNabb was a huge disappointment as a Redskin, and the same will be said for Jackson.
Jackson has lots of physical talent, but his issue, aside from his durability, is his attitude in the locker room. Jackson is an awful person to have on a team. He doesn't listen to the coaching staff. He has quit on his team on multiple occasions, prompting some Eagle players to call him a "candy a**" in the past. He throws teammates under the bus when things aren't going well. He's like a worse version of Terrell Owens who can't stay healthy.
Overrated NFL Players Also Considered:
Jared Allen, DE, Bears - Still ranked highly in the top 100 list, yet he was extremely mediocre in 2013. Nowhere near the player he once was.
Zane Beadles, G, Jaguars - Zane Beadles struggled mightily last year and appears to be a product of Peyton Manning, yet the Jaguars gave him $30 million over five years. Why?
Jon Beason, LB, Giants - Can no longer cover anyone, yet the sentiment is that he's still a talented linebacker.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles - I delved deeply into Foles in my NFL Top 100 Players analysis article.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars - Why does anyone in the NFL think Toby Gerhart can start?
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills - Will he ever live up to expectations?
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions - The talent is there, and so are the fantasy numbers, but Matthew Stafford doesn't seem to give a damn about improving his mechanics.
Golden Tate, WR, Lions - The Seahawks ran the ball frequently, but that's not the only reason why Golden Tate didn't produce. He's also not very good in the locker room.
Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys - A shell of his former self, yet Witten was still ranked in the top 100.