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The NFL's All-Overrated Team.
Hold your horses!
I know that mere subject of this list is volatile, and as these are my opinions, you are entitled to your own. And, by mere definition, Overrated means "to overestimate the merits of or rate too highly."
So. To say that someone is overrated is not to belittle their talent or ability, merely that I feel they are greatly overestimated by fan-bases and the media.
I'm well aware of the fire I will most likely come under after you read this, and I understand that I may have earned it, but please provide evidence as to why you feel I am incorrect, and try to read this with your brain, and not your heart.
This was the toughest position to pick.
The Quarterback gets the most credit, and the most blame of any position on the field.
Here's an example.
One second left on the clock.
Down by four.
On the visitor's five yard line.
The Quarterback takes the snap, goes through his progressions, rolls out, throws it to the back of the endzone and...
Sometimes it's dumb luck.
Sometimes It's incredible focus.
But one play can be the difference between an elite, clutch superstar and an overrated idiot of a choke artist.
Every good QB in the NFL has been referred to as overrated at one point.
Most people would say "Dear God! Why didn't you pick Tony Romo?!"
Well. Frankly, that's exactly why. If everybody is calling somebody overrated, then you can't really call them overrated, can you?
And who has been given more media attention over the last season than any other QB? Who has been showered with more accolades and credit than he probably deserves?
Robert Griffin The Third.
People love RG3.
And why wouldn't they?
He's intelligent, charming, and absolutely exciting to watch.
He could be described as the perfect blend of speed and accuracy, a mobile QB who can make big plays on the ground and through the air.
You can not argue that he isn't a good player.
But one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL?
"But Ryan. Look at his numbers"
Oh I have. Extensively. Perhaps more than the average fan.
Let me highlight what he does well for you, so you don't have to remind me.
This year, he completed 65% of his passes for 3,200 yards and 20 TDs to only 5 interceptions. He took the down and out Redskins from 5-11 to NFC East champions. He also made plays with his legs, He rushed for 815 yards and 7 touchdowns!
So. How can I say he is the most overrated quarterback in the NFL?
Well, I'll start with pulling the curtain on Mr. Griffin, and exposing the sad truth behind his big plays.
As I've said (and written, [http://ryandanielsmith.hubpages.com/hub/Is-Russell-Wilson-really-the-best-young-QB-in-the-NFL]) before, his game-plan is pretty simple.
When Griffin lines up, he usually has two hot reads, and a check down.
He hikes the ball, does a quick glance at his two hot reads, then either hands the ball off or fakes it, checks his reads again, looks at his check-down, and then, at that point, if nobody is open, he runs.
It's brilliant. Instead of forcing throws that might fall incomplete or be intercepted, Griffin uses his speed and athleticism to turn a dead play into a gain. In fact, he's so athletic, that he can often outrun linebackers.
Peyton Manning can't run that offense. He has to force those throws, he has to have faith in his arm strength and sometimes he gets burned.
Now, you might say, "Ryan, that isn't a bad thing".
And you would almost be right. Almost.
There's a catch.
RG3 is only 6'2 and 217 pounds. That sounds muscular for you or me, but for somebody who gets hit 145 times a season (113 by scrambling, and 32 by sack) by guys who are built like DeMarcus Ware... That won't last.
It already has. Griffin had to leave three games (Atlanta, Baltimore, and the playoff loss to Seattle) games early because his body couldn't withstand the punishment, and even missed a game late in the season. How can he be the guy who will lead your franchise to the promised land if he can't stay healthy.
Also, the stats aren't as good underneath the surface.
Let's compare RG3 to the most average quarterback in the NFL.
Shockingly, my research has lead me to... VIkings QB, Christian Ponder.
If you average out Christian Ponder's game stats, the final line comes up to him completing 19 of 30 passes for 1 TD, 1 Interception, and 183 yards.
An average game by Griffin? He completes 16 of 25 passes for 200 yards and 1 TD.
Are Griffin's numbers better? In a way. He has more yards and doesn't have an interception.
And also... It's Christian Freakin' Ponder.
If we compared him to.. Say... Tony Romo? The guy you called overrated?
Romo completed 27 of 41 passes for 308 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Which numbers look better to you?
Another thing? only 18% of Griffin's passes were in the air longer than 15 yards. This concerns me, because with the linebackers playing it safe at home, there should have been an incredible amount of opportunities for Griffin to throw the ball deep.
My biggest issue with his stat line is that he rarely throws the ball more than 30 times in a game, and when he does, his numbers don't increase and the Redskins lose.
In the four games that RG3 has been forced to throw the league average amount of attempts, the Redskins are 1-3, Griffin has only two touchdowns, and has fumbled 5 times.
Bottom Line- Griffin perfectly executes a gameplan that generates big plays. However, this same gameplan stunts his growth as a genuine pocket passer, and makes him susceptible to injuries that will shorten his career and perhaps endanger his life. On a less important level, an elite quarterback, or the face of the franchise should be accountable, and RG3 is too injury prone for that. He can't rise his game to the level of other guys who are considered inadequate, especially in important games. With all the evidence I've provided here, I think you can agree that while good, he's not worthy of the incredible hype, attention, and image provided by the media.
Runningback- Ray Rice
This is one that I'm sure will draw the ire of all the Ravens fans. For years, he's been "the guy" for the Baltimore offense.
Since he became the starter in 2009, he's had at least 1,000 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving every season. He's known as a versatile back who can make plays on the ground and through the air.
So it makes sense that you'd say he was good, hell, I'd evens say very good.
But come on. As far as "special' runningbacks go, is he really the best?
When I think special, I think Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles, I think of guys who make their teams, who put the other 52 guys on their backs and truck to victory.
Ray Rice has always seemed like more of an accessory to the offense than the main piece, and 2012 was no exception.
Despite making 17 million dollars and getting 257 carries, Ray Rice only amassed 1,143 rushing yards and 478 receiving yards.
Those numbers are decent... But completely average.
He was 11th overall in rushing, his yards per carry (with a minimum of 100 carries) was 15th in the league, and was fourth in receiving yards among running and fullbacks.
He has never lead the league or even the conference in rushing, and has only been in the top 5 once (2011).
And another thing. What happens to this guy in the playoffs?
He has played in 10 playoff games but has only managed 2 one hundred yard games and 5 touchdowns.
His averages 75 yards rushing, 3 catches for 25 years and a fumble per playoff game.
You can't look at that stat line and think "this guy is a game-changer".
Bottom Line- Is he good? Yeah. He's agile, versatile, and his low center of gravity makes him difficult to bring down. But at best, he's an accessory to an offense, not the featured back the everyone on ESPN says that he is.
Fullback- Tim Tebow
Just kidding. But the guy is overrated, and if he wants to keep a job in the NFL, he might want to consider it.
Being a back-up QB to Tom Brady or a back-up Tight End to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez won't get you anywhere, Tim.
Wide Receivers- Dwayne Bowe, Roddy White, and Mike Wallace
Because there are multiple receivers are the field for the majority of NFL plays, I decided to do three of em. So, I'll give you three short explanations.
(I got a little nasty with this one)
Dwayne Bowe is the classic "He's tall and has decent speed so he's a good receiver" cliché. In reality, he's just not that good. His fantasy numbers are decent, but even his career stats aren't that impressive. He's never had a 85 catch or 1,200 yard season. He had one year with 15 catches, but in that same season he had 30 drops. He's a physically tough guy with decent hands but he's not great after the catch, he is awful when he isn't "on." and he's got off the field issues. He's like Randy Moss without the incredible speed and... well.. talent. The re-signing of Bowe, like giving their punter an 18 million dollar contract, was another decision that the Chiefs made this spring that gave me a headache. Oh. And the "He didn't have a good QB argument?"
Tell that to the 78 catches, 1,331 yards, and 12 touchdowns that Calvin Johnson had in 2008. Remember who his quarterback was that year? Google 0-16 season and get back to me.
Frankly, Richard Sherman had it right. He's just not an outstanding receiver. He's very good, but just not as good as everybody makes him out to be. He's not exceptionally tall or fast, and he doesn't have that signature catch. In fact, when I think of Roddy White, I think of that hideous drop he had a few years ago, and again against the 49ers this season. He's not even the best receiver on his team and yet he gets a ton of hype. It seems like the modern NFL is less about how good you are and more about how marketable you are. *Cough* Tim Tebow *Cough*
This one is simple. He's a one trick pony. He's got decent size and incredible speed. His 4.33 40 time made him a trendy pick before the draft, so the Steelers took him in the third round. The reason he had to wait three rounds in the draft is the same reason he's on this list, he's underdeveloped. He can't run any routes other than the post, his hands are inconsistent, and he's injury prone. He's nothing but a deep threat. That didn't stop the Dolphins from giving him a ridiculous 5 year, 60 million dollar contract. Ridiculous.
Tight End- Tony Gonzales
"WHOA! Tony Gonzales is a first ballot hall of famer, you have said yourself that he is the best tight end who ever played!"
Relax enthusiastic football fan, I'm not arguing that. Tony G is easily one of the best tight ends in NFL history... Or at least he was.
For all the attention he gets from the media, Tony Gonzales is far from the player he used to be. Athletically, age has caught up with him, and it shows. He can't run past 15 yards, and the former basketball star isn't out-jumping anybody anymore.
Don't get me wrong. His numbers this year were incredible. For an old man, he made a solid fantasy option at a weak position.
But with guys like Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and the rookie Tyler Eifert (just wait and see), you can't call him the best anymore.
Overrated all time? No, you can never give him enough credit for what he's done over his career.
Overrated right now? Absolutely. For a "superstar", there are several rosters that he couldn't make.
Defensive End- Mario Williams
Mario Williams was the steal of the 2006 draft. Instead of taking Reggie Bush or Matt Lienart, the Texans took a chance on the young defensive end from NC State.
Well. 7 years later, LIenart and Reggie Bush have both failed to meet expectations and have played for at least 3 teams.
Meanwhile, "Super Mario" has 63.5 sacks, has been to two pro-bowls, and been elected all pro twice.
So why is he on this list?
Well despite having 10.5 sacks last season, a solid number... He signed a 100 million dollar contract.
One. Hundred. Million. Dollars.
For ten and a half sacks?
It does seem like he isn't the elite pass-rusher that he was with Houston. With the recent success that J.J. Watt has had, you almost have to wonder if it didn't have something to do with the talent around him.
I don't know about you, but I wouldn't pay anybody for 100 thousand dollars a sack...
Defensive/Nose Tackle- Ndamukong Suh
I think that everyone outside of Detroit and Nebraska would agree with me on this.
Suh hasn't quite been the same player since his incredible rookie season.
As a rookie, he had 66 tackles, 10 sacks, 1 forced fumble, an interception, and 3 passes defended.
Since then? He hasn't reached double digits in sacks, forced a single fumble, or gotten over 37 tackles. You could say that teams are double-teaming him, and that's the reason for his decreased statistical showing, but if so, the rest of the team should have benefited...
But nobody else on the team has gotten over 10 sacks either. Playing in a division with two terrible offensive lines (Green Bay and Chicago) and an average quarterback (Christian Ponder), an "elite" player should have dominated.
Nowadays, I think Ndamukong Suh and I think two things.
A. What a dirty player.
B. How the hell do you spell Ndamukong?
Outside Linebacker- Terrell Suggs
This is an unpopular pick for the position.
Defensive rookie and player of the year, first team all-pro, 5 time pro-bowler, Super Bowl champion and holder of the Ravens sack record with 84 and a half sacks.
It's a pretty tough job for me to say that he isn't worthy of being considered the best outside linebacker in the NFL.
But instead of getting in trouble for copyright infringement, you could just read my blog below.
Inside Linebacker- Dannell Ellerbe
This one is really simple. Ellerbe was the 53rd man on the Ravens roster last season.
Meaning when it came down to making their cuts, Ellerbe was one roster spot away from spending the season as a free agent.
Fortunately for Dannell, 53 is still the magic number, and he stayed on the Ravens.
Even more fortunately, Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain went down with injuries and he was the next man up. He registered 69 tackles and helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl.
Then, before he knew it, his contract was up and he was a free agent.
So the Miami Dolphins gave him a 35 million dollar contract.
35 Mil? For a guy who barely made the roster, and frankly, didn't contribute to pass coverage?
35 million dollars for a guy who lead the defense who lost 4 games in a row late in the season?
35 million dollars for a guy who hasn't forced a turnover in the regular season in 3 years and despite showing flashes of potential as a pass rusher, struggles in pass coverage.
This is just silly. Mike Wallace, Philip Wheeler, and Dannell Ellerbe are the most overpaid free agents to come to Miami since... Well... We'll see how well Dwayne Wade plays for the rest of the finals.
Cornerbacks- DeAngelo Hall. Asante Samuel, Champ Bailey.
I decided to have three corners to combat the three receivers that I picked.
DeAngelo Hall has had a strange career. While incredibly fast, he has never lived up to the hype that came with being drafted 8th overall by the Falcons in 2004. He's shown splashes of brilliance, like the game in 2010 where he intercepted Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler four times in one game.
But, in that same season, he was targeted 88 times, and the Quarterback was successful 40 percent of the time, and for an average of 11 yards per catch. So... Despite a few flashy plays, he also gave up around 35 catches.
Asante is similar to DeAngelo except for one big difference. Asante can cover, and he has great ball skills. The 50 interceptions he has had over the last 9 seasons show that. But the credit that he has been given, especially recently, is undeserved for one big reason. The guy blows coverage and takes way too many risks. While it's true that he makes a ton of interceptions, he often completely abandons his coverage to play the ball and his size (5'10) doesn't match up against big targets.
This case is similar to the Tony Gonzalez pick. He has a great history and will one day make his home in the hall of fame. But this hasn't been the case for a couple of seasons and yet he still gets the "shutdown corner" treatment. The reality is that he should have made the transition to safety last season. He can't keep up with younger receivers anymore. He has made a living feasting off of the pathetic AFC West, but if you watch the game tape from the AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Ravens... He got burned... Three times. First, raw receiver Torrey Smith ripped off two deep touchdown plays over him, and then on another, Jacoby Jones was able to outrun Bailey, stop, wait for the ball, and then score. They blame Rahim Moore for the loss, but Champ Bailey had "moore" to do with the loss in the big picture.
Free Safety- Ed Reed
I was tempted to copy and paste Asante Samuels' description and put it here. They're very similar.
But I couldn't.
Because Reed is a hall of fame caliber player. I believe that his 61 interceptions over the last 12 years prove that.
But, unfortunately, he also abandons coverage to get interceptions, and worse than that... The guy just can't tackle anymore. The safety is back there to prevent huge plays, and sometimes that means tackling guys that get away from the front 7. Ed just can't do it anymore.
If you need any more proof, just look up the play from the Ravens blowout win over the Raiders where Darrius Heyward-Bey just shrugs him off on the way to the endzone.
Strong Safety- Troy Polamalu
I'm getting tired so I'll keep it short and sweet.
Polamalu used to be the best safety in the NFL. Period. No argument. He was great in coverage, he was great in the box, he hit hard. He might be a hall of famer.
But... These days?
He can't stay healthy, and when he is, he's lost a bit of his edge. He misses tackles, he can't keep up with receivers, and most importantly, NFL teams have figured out how to stop him.
Spread out your offensive targets and Polamalu is restricted to parts of the field. It holds back the Steelers pass rush and quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and now Joe Flacco have a field day.