Monday, June 29, 2015

3 comments Bleacher Report Has the Official List of Overrated and Underrated NFL Players Right Here

If you read this blog regularly, or just search under the "Bleacher Report articles are crazy" tag on the blog, then you know I love me some "underrated/overrated" rankings. I love these columns because I don't love them. They are purely subjective. Whether a player is over or underrated depends entirely on who is rating that player and what that person thinks of said player. It's impossible to definitely say, "He's overrated" or "He's underrated" because you don't know how anyone else rates that player. But nevertheless, Bleacher Report likes clickbait articles that create discussion and subjective rankings where idiots can argue it out in the comments. It is the bread and butter of quite a few of the articles posted on the site. It seems there are three Bleacher Reports. There is one with the real sportswriters writing columns, then there is one where halfway sportwriters (who don't get paid much of anything to do the job) write semi-informed articles that still seem like clickbait, and then there is the Bleacher Report where guys who can barely two words together (and are paid nothing to do this) post something in the hopes it's controversial enough to get pageviews. This column is in the second category because the author throws some Pro Football Focus ratings in there as proof a player is over or underrated. Still, it's quite comical at times to read the justifications for each rating.

Let's start the slideshow!

Here, we had a somewhat similar task as we designated the most overrated and the most underrated player on each of the 32 clubs in the league. Thanks to Pro Football Focus for a big assist when it comes to backing up our theories.

"Backing up our theories" or what really happened, which was "I went through the list of players who were lowly ranked at each position, saw if they were drafted high or made a Pro Bowl, then slapped an 'overrated' label on that player." Then the author probably did the opposite, looked at those highly ranked players at each position who haven't made a Pro Bowl, and then called that player "underrated." You can't fool me. So I'm betting the author had no theories and Pro Football Focus gave him the players he could concoct a theory about. I would bet a lot of money this is the case. There were no theories until Pro Football Focus came into play.

Our definition of "overrated" means the player is an underachiever—be it due to his draft status, lack of production or, in some cases, overall reliability.

That definition of overrated is not at all what the word means. You can't just make up your own definition of overrated because you are bored. What if a player is drafted in the first round, hasn't produced and has gotten injured, but everybody knows he isn't very good. How could he be overrated? He isn't rated highly, so he isn't overrated. Simply being a high draft pick or not producing doesn't make a player overrated.

As for the underrated, we took aim at up-and-coming performers or underappreciated players who have yet to get their proper due.

If a player is up-and-coming then it doesn't mean he's underrated. It means he is possibly properly rated right now. Also, if I think a player is up-and-coming then that doesn't mean he is CURRENTLY underrated. It means if the perception of him doesn't change as he progresses, then he could be considered underrated. Sammy Watkins isn't underrated because I think he'll be a Pro Bowl wide receiver in two seasons. He isn't currently a Pro Bowl wide receiver, so he's not underrated based on my perception of him in two years. Alas, it's all subjective, which is why articles (I mean, slideshows) like this are worthless.

Arizona Cardinals

Overrated: WR Michael Floyd

In three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, the former Notre Dame standout has totaled 157 receptions for 2,444 yards (an impressive 15.6 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns. But consistency still seems to be a problem for the big-play threat. Over the last two seasons, Floyd has been targeted a combined 212 times and totaled only 112 catches.

Great. Who has been throwing Floyd the ball? He had 65 catches on 113 targets (still not great) during the 2013 season, but when he had Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley starting 10 games during the 2014 season, he had 47 catches on 99 targets. Hmmm...it's almost like his quarterback had more to do with his lack of catches during the 2014 season.

BUT WAIT, there's more. John Brown had 48 catches on 102 targets. So maybe that further proves the guy throwing the football had some impact on Floyd's 2014 performance. Floyd's reception compared to his targets have never been great, but it doesn't mean he's overrated. It means he doesn't catch enough of his targets, but there could be various reasons for this. Like, for example his yards per reception was 17.9, the best on the Cardinals team. It's harder to connect on deep passes when the quarterback throwing the football doesn't have the skill to throw deep accurately.

Atlanta Falcons

Overrated: SS William Moore

I would love to know who thinks William Moore is a great safety. He made one Pro Bowl, so therefor the author thinks everyone thinks Moore is a perennial Pro Bowler.

No team gave up more total yards or passing yards than the Atlanta Falcons last season, and Moore, who was limited to just seven games, wasn’t effective before or after he was injured.

The Falcons defense sucked, Moore was injured during the majority of the season while the Falcons defense sucked, so therefore he sucks too. Couldn't it be said that the Falcons defense wasn't good because Moore was injured, thereby making him not underrated? Nah, that's no fun.

A Pro Bowler in 2012, Moore’s play began to decline the previous year, and it will be interesting to see if he’s capable of recapturing his previous standout form.

He made a Pro Bowl one year. Therefore everyone thinks he'll make the Pro Bowl every year. That's why he's overrated.

Baltimore Ravens

Overrated: SS Matt Elam

In two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Elam (the 32nd overall pick in the 2013 draft) has yet to distinguish himself. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun has the skinny on a player general manager Ozzie Newsome says “has to be a better football player for us next year.”

Again, simply because he was a first round pick does not mean that Matt Elam is overrated. It just means he hasn't lived up to expectations of his draft position. The general consensus as seen in the article the author linked is that Elam has been disappointing, so I don't think he's overrated simply due to his draft position.

Carolina Panthers

Overrated: C Ryan Kalil

Overrated or simply on the downside of an otherwise solid career? The Carolina Panthers' Kalil is a four-time Pro Bowler and graded out as one of the league’s better centers, but he was also one of the worst pass blockers. The eight-year veteran could simply be a victim of the players around him,

I mean, sure, he's one of the better centers if you pay attention to the grades the author has paid attention to throughout this slideshow. But if you factor in that the four players around him were either rookies or terrible at their job, then you see this means Kalil is obviously overrated.

Underrated: OLB Thomas Davis

He is properly rated. He and Kuechly are often near the top of the list as the best linebacking duo in the NFL.

And yes, every single slide of this slideshow has grades from Pro Football Focus. Obviously this data just supports what the author already knew and not at all is the basis upon which the author determines whether a player is underrated or overrated.

Cincinnati Bengals

Underrated: LG Clint Boling

The four-year pro got a new contract this offseason just after the Bengals let him hit the free-agent market.

The Bengals gave Boling 5 years and $26 million with a $2.5 million signing bonus and $5 million guaranteed. Obviously they don't underrate him. But I guess because some person who doesn't follow the Bengals may not value Boling at that amount then it must mean he's underrated. Obviously.

Cleveland Browns

Overrated: DE Desmond Bryant

The former free-agent pickup from the Oakland Raiders was considered a major acquisition two years ago. But while Bryant has posted a respectable 8.5 sacks in two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, he’s been a liability when it comes to stopping the run. Last season, no team gave up more yards on the ground than Mike Pettine’s squad.

And of course, Desmond Bryant is overrated just because the Browns don't have a run-stuffing defensive tackle on the roster. Saying Bryant has been a liability against the run and then stating no team gave up more running yards last season then the Browns sounds like the author is pinning most of these issues on Bryant.

Underrated: LG Joel Bitonio

File this one under "up-and-coming."

File it under "underrated" because that's where you put him.

And not only did Pro Football Focus rank him the fifth-best guard in the league last season, but he was a member of the service’s All-Pro Team.

After one season Bitonio is underrated because in a few years he is going to be a great NFL guard. So he's not underrated now, but he will be in a few years as long as he doesn't get attention lavished on him like most NFL offensive guards receive (sarcasm intended).

Dallas Cowboys

Overrated: CB Morris Claiborne

Nope. It's pretty well understood that Claiborne isn't very good. I'd love to know who is overrating Claiborne. I want to meet this person.

Underrated: RB Lance Dunbar

I mean he DID average 3.4 yards per carry last year and has a career high of 150 rushing yards.

In limited playing time, Dunbar totaled 316 yards from scrimmage in 2014 on just 47 touches.

I think the fact Dunbar had 18 catches for 217 yards is skewing this stat just a little bit. He's a good pass catcher out of the backfield.

Detroit Lions

Overrated: TE Brandon Pettigrew

I ask again about Pettigrew, is there someone who thinks he's really good at his position to where they overrated him?

Underrated: CB Rashean Mathis

In 2013, Mathis joined the Lions after a long career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. That year, he failed to total an interception but led the team with 16 passes defensed. Last season, he totaled 54 tackles, one interception and knocked down nine passes for the league’s second-ranked defense.

As anyone who plays fantasy football with individual defensive players knows, sometimes if a cornerback has quite a few passes defensed then it means teams are throwing the ball in his direction. So, I'm not entirely sure passes defensed and tackles is the best stat to prove Mathis is underrated.

Houston Texans

Overrated: OLB Whitney Mercilus

Despite the fact that the 2012 first-round pick recently signed a new contract extension, per HoustonTexans.com, the former University of Illinois standout has yet to develop into a complete player.

Just because Mercilus is a first round pick doesn't mean he's overrated. Everyone can think he's not very good even though he was drafted in the first round.

Underrated: RT Derek Newton

This is the same Derek Newton that just received a 5 year $26.5 million deal. But don't worry, there is a great justification for why he's underrated.

The Texans ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing offense last season and also allowed just 26 sacks. Newton, re-signed by the team this offseason, was a big part of that performance, per Pro Football Focus.

Oh. So Newton is underrated, despite getting a new contract this offseason, because the Texans offensive line was really good in 2014. So because a group of players played well, and he was a part of that group, Newton is underrated. 

Kansas City Chiefs

Overrated: NT Dontari Poe

The former first-round pick has enjoyed back-to-back Pro Bowl years, but last season, while the Kansas City Chiefs ranked seventh in the NFL in total defense and gave up the second-fewest points in the league, Poe was at the center of a unit that ranked a disappointing 28th against the run. He also slipped from 11th to 49th in Pro Football Focus' defensive tackle and nose tackle rankings.

Welp, one bad season combined with being a former first round pick and you are overrated. It's the way things go.

Underrated: RB Knile Davis

Davis emerged as an exciting performer in a 2013 AFC Wild Card Game loss at Indianapolis and took on a bigger role in 2014, spelling Jamaal Charles on occasion and finishing with 463 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

What the author leaves out is that Davis got 463 yards on 134 carries for 3.5 yards per carry. The poster boy for terrible running backs, Trent Richardson, had 519 yards on 159 carries for 3.3 yards per carry. So I'm finding it hard to believe Knile Davis is underrated in any way. Davis averaged 3.5 yards per carry during the 2013 season too.

Miami Dolphins

Overrated: DT Earl Mitchell

The Miami Dolphins defense has its share of standouts, but its play against the run in 2014 left a lot to be desired. The Dolphins ranked 24th in the NFL in rushing defense, and Mitchell, the former starting nose tackle for the Houston Texans, was a disappointment.

If a team didn't play well against the run in 2014 then that must mean one of the defensive linemen on that team is overrated. It's a trend.

One issue with citing Pro Football Focus for every player to show he is overrated or underrated is that PFF is subscription-only, so anyone who doesn't have a subscription can't see how Mitchell was a disappointment when clicking on the link. Perhaps if the author had other stats, you know the same stats that originally led to his "theory" these players were over or underrated, then it might be easier to believe the author didn't simply base his entire list on the PFF list of player rankings at each position. Bleacher Report authors have a history of using information from another site in order to use that information to build a slideshow around and reach conclusions, while trying to pretend like the slideshow isn't built around another person's research.

Minnesota Vikings

Underrated: DT Tom Johnson

The veteran defensive tackle recently hit the free-agent market, but the Vikings re-signed him after a solid season in which he finished second on the team with 6.5 sacks and played in all 16 games for the first time in his four-year career. In three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Johnson totaled five sacks in 40 contests.

Have one good season during a career of averageness? All of a sudden, you are now underrated. Congrats!

New England Patriots

Overrated: LT Nate Solder

The former first-round pick has spent the last three seasons at left tackle for the New England Patriots after beginning his career on the right side. But Solder has yet to wow us with his play and has been somewhat inconsistent, as pointed out by Pro Football Focus.

Oh yes, an example of the author's "theory" being backed up by Pro Football Focus and their information. It seems in this case, the "theory" is entirely supported by a subscription-only site. So I guess we'll have to take the author's word for it. One would think since he used PFF as supporting evidence of what he already thought there would be more information then a rambling sentence followed by a link to PFF. But hey, it's fun to base a slideshow of supposedly original material around the work of others. If you don't have a subscription to PFF, then you have no idea why Nate Solder is overrated. Typical Bleacher Report.

New Orleans Saints

Overrated: LB David Hawthorne

The Saints were bad on defense last year, so somebody had to be overrated. It only makes sense.

Only the Atlanta Falcons gave up more total yards than the New Orleans Saints last season, and while Hawthorne performed well against the run, Pro Football Focus reminds us that the onetime Seattle Seahawk was a big liability in pass coverage.

He's not a great all-around linebacker like somebody somewhere must think he is, so that means he's overrated. It's a fact, don't question it. The author uses PFF as the only supporting evidence for his "theory" again.

Could it be more clear the author called up PFF's site, went down the list of low-ranked players at each position and then choose one player for each team as "overrated"? The author has no prior theories. PFF did the work, he did the slideshow.

New York Giants

Overrated: WR Rueben Randle

But Randle, a former second-round pick, has failed to wow anyone despite leading the team with six touchdown receptions back in 2013. He is coming off a year in which he hauled in a career-high 71 passes, but that number is inflated as both Cruz (10 games) and Beckham (four) missed time last season.

So Randle is overrated because he posted career highs in catches while the other receivers were injured? I like how the author says these stats are "inflated" because Cruz and Beckham missed 14 games. So does that mean Odell Beckham's numbers were also inflated because Cruz missed 10 games last season or does it just mean Beckham is a really good wide receiver who played well when given the chance? Couldn't this be true for Randle as well?

Also, Randle averaged 4.75 receptions on 7.5 targets per game when Beckham was injured and 5.2 receptions on 9.7 targets per game when Beckham was not injured. Randle averaged 4.3 receptions on 7.8 targets per game when Cruz was injured and 4.6 receptions on 8.2 targets per game when Cruz was not injured. So the idea his numbers were inflated without Cruz and Beckham doesn't hold water because he actually saw more targets when Beckham and Cruz were healthy. But hey, I'm sure the author knew that.

Underrated: DT Johnathan Hankins

After a rookie season in which he was basically a non-factor, Hankins was a 16-game starter on the league’s 29th-ranked defensive unit in 2014. The former second-round pick totaled 51 tackles, seven sacks and knocked down three passes as a bright spot on a dismal unit. 

But Hankins played on the defensive line of a bad defensive team! Hasn't this slideshow taught everyone that when a team is bad on defense, then someone on the defensive line must be overrated?

New York Jets

Overrated: LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson

Nine NFL seasons and 144 starts will take their toll on the best of players. But the three-time Pro Bowler hasn’t been the force he once was, and his play has slipped significantly each of the past two seasons, most notably when it came to run blocking in 2014, per Pro Football Focus.

Overrated or just getting older? I don't get why Ferguson is overrated because his performance is declining. He hasn't made a Pro Bowl since 2011, so obviously someone doesn't think he's still a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle.

Oakland Raiders

Overrated: TE Mychal Rivera

Perhaps it’s too early to put the young tight end on the list, but the Oakland Raiders' Rivera may be the victim of added publicity due to his more recognizable sister.

I don't even think Rivera gets that much publicity. I never hear him in the discussion for one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

In any case, the former sixth-round pick has hauled in 96 passes for 941 yards and eight touchdowns in 32 games but has also been targeted 159 times. 

Ah yes, but it's important to look at who was throwing him the football. But why in the hell would the quarterback throwing the passes ever be important when judging a tight end or receiver's performance?

Underrated: C Rodney Hudson

This is the second ex-Chiefs offensive lineman on this list. It's almost like they played well as a unit last season and this makes them all underrated. Of course, the Chiefs offensive line didn't play well enough to help the underrated Knile Davis average more than 3.5 yards per carry.

San Diego Chargers

Underrated: LT King Dunlap

Dunlap has come a long way since his days with the Philadelphia Eagles. He had an efficient year in 2014, although he still has some work to do in terms of pass protection, per Pro Football Focus.

When the author thinks of a fact or stat-based reason that a player is overrated or underrated without using Pro Football Focus, I would like to be made aware. It's interesting how some offensive linemen are overrated according to the author, because they struggle in either run blocking or pass protection, but Dunlap struggles in pass protection (PER PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS!) and he's still underrated. It's almost like there isn't a method to the madness.

San Francisco 49ers

Overrated: RT Anthony Davis

Perhaps it’s the specter of playing opposite star left tackle Joe Staley. In any case, the San Francisco 49ers' Davis was a 16-game starter in each of his first four NFL seasons but missed nine games in 2014. Even when healthy, he has struggled with consistency from year to year, per Pro Football Focus, although he’s a very solid run-blocker.

Here is an example of what I was just writing. Davis is a good run-blocker, not great at pass protection (the opposite of Dunlap), but because he missed nine games, he's now overrated. So an offensive lineman who has one good season after four mediocre seasons is underrated, while an offensive lineman who had four good seasons and one injured season is overrated. Thems the rules.

Seattle Seahawks
 
Underrated: DE Michael Bennett

You somehow knew that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would miss the unheralded defensive end once he opted to sign with the Seahawks in 2013. He’s played all 16 games for the team in each of the last two years and totaled 15.5 sacks over that span.

I think a lot of people know the importance of Michael Bennett to the Seahawks defense. I could be wrong, but I don't think he's underrated at this point due to his versatility.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Overrated: CB Johnthan Banks

Perhaps it is unfair to put any Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback on this list given the lack of pass rush by the team in recent seasons.

Ah, but fuck it, let's do it anyway. Who cares?

But Banks, a former second-round pick who has picked off a combined seven passes in two years with the club,

Rashean Mathis has one interception in the last two seasons and the author has termed him as "underrated." Interceptions don't seem like the best way to defend this selection, especially given the author admits the Buccaneers pass rush hasn't been good at all.

has been hit-or-miss and can be found closer to the bottom rather than the top of Pro Football Focus’ cornerback rankings the past two seasons.

Welp, without a subscription it's hard to see exactly where Banks may be on that list. But hey, Banks has dealt with a shitty pass rush, isn't a top corner, and was a second round pick, so that must mean he's overrated. 

Underrated: LT Demar Dotson
He began 2014 at right tackle and finished the season by starting three games on the left side. Although Dotson saw his share of penalty flags, Pro Football Focus gave him high grades in all other aspects—this on an offensive unit that allowed 52 sacks last season.

Apparently not being great in pass protection puts an offensive lineman on the "overrated" list, while committing too many penalties is no big deal for an offensive lineman.
 
Tennessee Titans

Overrated: LG Andy Levitre

It wasn’t long ago that the Tennessee Titans shelled out big money to secure the services of the former blocker from Orchard Park. But Levitre hasn’t lived up to his billing (pun intended). He has started every game in his six-year career but was a disappointment last season in Nashville. Still, there’s time for the former second-round pick to get back on track.

"Blah, blah, blah, (insert filler here), blah, blah, here is the work that PFF did which I'm basing my opinion in this slideshow upon, blah, blah."

Besides the fact whether a player is overrated or underrated is a subjective opinion, it's interesting to read how the author basically piggybacks off PFF to come up with his list. You can do this at home! Just get a subscription to PFF, go through the position rankings and choose a highly drafted player or player that used to be good who is low on the rankings at his position, call him "overrated," then go to players at the top of the rankings who are generally younger, call them "underrated," add pretty pictures to the slideshow, and then hit "Publish." You too can write a list of over and underrated NFL players.


3 comments:

Koleslaw said...

Let's see if I can write an NBA BR column:

Underrated: Michael Jordan - People are saying he's second best, but dude, he's 6-0 in the finals!

Overrated: Lebron James - 2-4 in the finals? What a loser!

Underrated: Robert Horry - That dude has SEVEN FRICKEN TITLES, WHICH IS MORE THAN MJ.

Overrated: Shaquille O'Neal - Only 4 titles and he was kinda tall. Big whoop.

Anonymous said...

PFF ranks Knile Davis as the 57th-best RB last season. Out of 57.

Going off PFF grades, the one thing Davis can't possibly be is underrated. That's hilarious to me, given how ridiculously subjective this type of article is.

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