Top 10 Most Overrated NFL Players for 2015

Top 10 Most Overrated NFL Players for 2015

Published Aug. 5, 2015
Follow me @walterfootball

I really enjoyed compiling the Most Overrated NFL Players in 2012, Most Overrated NFL Players in 2013 and Most Overrated NFL Players in 2014 lists. It received a ton of feedback, and while not all of it was all positive, it was fun to argue which NFL players were truly the most overrated.

If you’re too lazy to click the link, here’s the rundown on who made the cut in 2014:

10. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Giants
9. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins
8. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
7. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
6. Steve Smith, WR, Ravens
5. Riley Cooper, WR, Eagles
4. Chris Johnson, RB, Jets
3. Reggie Bush, RB, Lions
2. Wes Welker, WR, Broncos
1. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins

I’m happy with that list. The only player who proved me wrong there was Steve Smith, and that’s because he actually tried in 2014. DeSean Jackson had a good statistical season, but he once again helped ruin his team’s chances by being terrible in the locker room. It was also a fluke that he wasn’t injured for too long. As for Tom Brady, well, he felt as though he needed to cheat to win, so I can’t say I’m ashamed that I ranked him No. 7. Besides, he wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl with his checkdown strategy if Seattle’s top pass-rusher hadn’t left the game with an injury.

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. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Tom Brady is definitely on this list again after being voted the No. 3 overall player in the NFL Top 100 Players list. That was completely absurd. Brady is still a very effective quarterback, but he’s not a top-tier player at his position anymore. All he did was toss checkdowns in his Super Bowl victory, and he looked decrepit in that contest before Cliff Avril left with an injury. With Avril gone, Brady had all the time in the world in the pocket, which made things so much easier for him.

Brady’s cheating tactics also have to be taken into account. Whether or not you believe Deflategate was a big deal, the fact remains that Brady cheated. He believed he needed to cheat in order to win. If he could’ve won without deflating his footballs, why didn’t he? Why did he think he needed footballs with a lower PSI?

Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not saying Brady sucks, or anything. “Overrated” does not mean a player sucks. I just believe that Brady isn’t as good as everyone makes him out to be. He’s one of the all-time great quarterbacks, but he’s not nearly as terrific at the age of 38.

9. Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
Speaking of declining Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Peyton Manning certainly deserves a spot on this list after looking like a fossil toward the end of the 2014 season. A quad injury was used as an excuse, but Manning was showing glaring signs of regressions even prior to getting hurt. This was only natural, after all, given that he’s now 39.

Despite the awful finish, the clueless players still felt as though he needed to be voted as the No. 5 overall player in the league. That’s almost as bad as Brady’s rating… perhaps it’s even worse, given how much Manning has choked in the postseason over the years. Manning is the greatest regular-season quarterback of all time, but there’s no denying that he has never lived up to expectations come January.

8. Julius Thomas, TE, Jaguars
Because Peyton Manning is the greatest regular-season quarterback of all time, he has been able to get the most out of average players. Recall what he was able to do with Brandon Stokley, Eric Decker, Austin Collie and Jacob Tamme and many other athletes of that caliber.

Manning has also been able to transform above-average players into mega stat producers. Julius Thomas, as an example, has thrived with Manning throughout his career. Thomas is a skilled tight end, but he’s nowhere near as good as his numbers indicate. His stats are likely to plummet now that he won’t be playing with Manning for the first time in his career.

7. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs
Maybe I’m not remembering things correctly, but Jeremy Maclin was always regarded as just a decent No. 2 receiver who couldn’t live up to his potential because of injury problems. Maclin finally stayed healthy last year and put up monstrous numbers, thanks to Chip Kelly’s high-volume offense. Maclin went on to sign a 5-year, $55 million contract with the Chiefs.

Is Maclin worth that sort of money? Most definitely not. His 2014 numbers were the byproduct of Kelly’s offense, and paying him $11 million per year because of one fluky, healthy season is just insane. Yet, this was seen as a reasonable deal in NFL circles. Apparently, people forgot that Maclin is just a solid No. 2 wideout.

6. Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets
Brandon Marshall used to be great, but now he’s just a 30-something receiver who is on a major decline. Marshall is problematic in the locker room, and he even screwed over his teammates last year by flying out to New York each week to film some TV show.

Despite all of this, many still consider Marshall to be a potent receiver. He was even voted 57th on the NFL Top 100 Players, which is just absurd, given how much he regressed this past season.

5. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
Julian Edelman is a nifty slot receiver, and he’s dangerous on special teams, but does he qualify as a top-100 player in the NFL? Not even close.

Edelman is simply the next system player in New England’s offense. His predecessor, Wes Welker, was a perennial member of this list, and it appears as though Edelman will be featured here until he’s no longer paired with a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

4. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers
Jordy Nelson has eclipsed 1,300 yards in each of the past two seasons. In the past four years, he has scored a whopping 43 touchdowns. Thus, it may seem like a blasphemous act that I’d place him so high on the overrated list, but he definitely belongs here.

Nelson is a solid receiver. Again, just because I’ve designated him as overrated doesn’t mean I think he sucks. He’s just not as great as everyone thinks he is, and based on the NFL Top 100 Players list, many hold him in extremely high regard. He was actually voted as the 18th-best player in the NFL, which is just absurd. Perhaps he’s the 18th-best fantasy player, but in real life? No way.

Nelson wouldn’t even come close to his crazy stats without Aaron Rodgers, and there is evidence behind that. When Rodgers missed time in 2013, Nelson was limited to 61 or fewer yards in five of the seven games in which his starting quarterback was out of the lineup. Does that sound like the No. 18 player in the NFL to you?

3. DeMarco Murray, RB, Eagles
Someone more absurdly ranked than Jordy Nelson is DeMarco Murray. Here’s what I wrote in my top-100 players analysis:

Wow. This is horrible. DeMarco Murray was great last year, but shouldn’t NFL players realize that it kind of, sort of helped that he had the top offensive line in the NFL blocking for him? Running backs can often be products of blocking schemes – Mike Shanahan proved that – and Murray is the latest player to benefit from such a thing. Murray is a great player, and he definitely deserves to be in the top 100, but putting him at No. 4 is an absolute joke, and it speaks volumes about how clueless some of these NFL players are.

I forgot that Murray was voted fourth the morning I began writing up this list. I was eating cereal and nearly choked on a Cocoa Puff when I was reminded how high Murray was slotted. Thank you, stupid NFL players, you nearly killed me with your awful rankings.

2. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins
I keep placing DeSean Jackson on this list, yet no one listens because the players voted him No. 50. Hey, if a guy who poisons his locker room and constantly gets hurt can qualify in the top 50, then there must be many awful players in the NFL.

I’m just going to copy-paste what I wrote last year at this spot because I give up:

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.

1. Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens
Players 10-2 on this list are all very talented. They’re not as good as the public believes them to be, but they are all above-average players. The person who tops this list isn’t nearly as skilled.

Justin Forsett posted big numbers in 2014. He rushed for 1,266 yards and caught 44 passes, coming out of nowhere to take over as Baltimore’s lead back in the wake of the Ray Rice suspension. Forsett had a great season, but his stats were the byproduct of Baltimore’s offensive line, which is one of the league’s best. Forsett enjoyed the luxury of massive running lanes, but he struggled to miss and break tackles; otherwise, his stats would’ve been much better.

I’m not saying Forsett is a bad player – I like what he can do on third downs in terms of pass protecting – but he’s not even close to being a top-70 talent, which is where he was voted this summer. I don’t even know if I’d have him in the top 150.

Overrated NFL Players Also Considered:

Jon Beason, LB, Giants – Jon Beason can no longer cover anyone, yet the sentiment is that he’s still a talented linebacker.

Drew Brees, QB, Saints – Drew Brees is another future Hall of Fame quarterback who could’ve been on this list. He showed major signs of decline in 2014.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Seahawks – I’m interested to see how Jimmy Graham fares without Drew Brees. It doesn’t help that he’s bad in the locker room.

Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Titans – Brian Orakpo was paid a ton of money this offseason, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Giants – “DRC” was on this list last summer, and he easily could’ve made it this year. He played well in 2014, but his tendency to quit on his teams makes him a bad person to have in a locker room.

Steve Smith, WR, Ravens – I delved into Steve Smith in my NFL Top 100 Players analysis article.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Saints – Will C.J. Spiller ever live up to expectations? If he doesn’t succeed with Drew Brees, Spiller will be a lost cause.

Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles – Darren Sproles is no longer the player he once was, yet he was No. 81 in that absurd players ranking.

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.

Charles Woodson, S, Packers – Charles Woodson will be in the Hall of Fame by 2022ish, but he can barely move right now.

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