Last week, I provided my annual list of the 10 most overrated players in the NFL. As expected, it caused an uproar, mostly from people who can’t take off their team-colored glasses and deal with the truth. For a good time, read the “Comments” section below the article; it’s pure gold and classic examples of denial.
In the spirit of showing that it’s not all negative on cover32, however – an accusation that is normally directed at me – it’s time for the annual list of players on the opposite end of the spectrum. For every player who receives too much hype, there is someone who doesn’t garner enough attention. It’s a zero-sum game, as there’s only so much media coverage (believe it or not) to go around.
Thus, it’s time to shine the spotlight in a direction it doesn’t normally aim. With that in mind, here are the 10 most-underrated players in the NFL today:
10. Justin Smith
People may scoff at this inclusion, given that Smith has earned a Pro Bowl trip in five of his six seasons in San Francisco. But that doesn’t offset the fact that he was ignored during the first eight years of his career, getting snubbed repeatedly for postseason honors. Plus, he would be about the fifth or sixth 49ers defender most people would name, despite being one of the most important on the roster.
9. Geno Atkins
Atkins has two things working against him. One, he plays defensive tackle, which isn’t exactly a high-profile position in the NFL. Two, he plays in Cincinnati, which isn’t exactly a franchise that spends a lot of time on the national radar. Thus, it’s primarily just players and coaches who realize how vital Atkins is to the Bengals defense. His seven-game absence last season proved that fact.