Ten most underrated players in the NFL today


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

Justin Smith
Other Niners get more attention than 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

Geno Atkins
Atkins is the key to Cincy’s defense

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.


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  • Paul

    “As expected, it caused an uproar, mostly from people who can’t take off their team-colored glasses and deal with the truth.”

    You say you believe in statistics, that emotions are for suckers. But the only statistics you presented as support of Wilson’s position as the most overrated player in the ENTIRE NFL is 24-8 record with a SB victory… Which you complemented with your feeling that other players could have have also won the super bowl if placed in his situation.

    Obviously. Plenty of super bowls have been won by QB’s that were not the best all around quarter backs of their year. But just because Andrew Luck probably could have done the same if he traded places with Wilson, does not mean Wilson should be devalued and specifically lambasted because he played well in a good, low throw volume system.

    And one more thing: at the end of a 13 year career Trent Dilfer left only one of five franchises having thrown more TDs than INTs for them. That jaw dropping 12/11 one year clinic went to the lucky lucky 2000 Ravens. Don’t put him in the same paragraph as Wilson.

    • concretejimmy52

      2000 Ravens defense was better than I thought.

  • Raider Arlin

    Release the Reece!

  • PG62

    Who cares about your uninformed opinion about the most underrated players after you laid a giant egg with Wilson being the most overrated? LOL! What do you base that on? It certainly isn’t by a SB ring and two winning seasons. Wilson also TIED Peyton’s rookie record for wins and did it behind an often injured offensive line of backups. Game Manager? Forget about his strong arm and unequaled scrambling ability huh? Please be better informed before spouting such ridiculous trash…….