Most overrated NFL players on all 32 teams | NFC
With the AFC out of the way, who are the most overrated players in the NFC?
Arizona Cardinals: A.J. Green, WR
For as great as A.J. Green was in his prime, he has not been a legitimate receiving weapon for four years. In fact, last year was the first time he was healthy for a full season since 2017. Sure, he may be able to produce at a moderate rate in Arizona, but even as the WR2 behind DeAndre Hopkins, I don’t expect much from the soon-to-be 33-year-old veteran.
Atlanta Falcons: Dante Fowler Jr., DE
Fowler has missed more than 12% of his tackles each season since his rookie campaign in 2016. His transition from outslide linebacker with the Rams to a defensive end resulted in poor statistical production last year. In 200 fewer snaps, Fowler amassed 8 sacks, 8 QB hits, and 4 tackles for loss, all far cries from his previous outing. 2021 will be crucial for the next steps of his career.
Carolina Panthers: Matt Paradis, C
You can make an argument for Sam Darnold here, but his trade was met with a great deal of criticism. Nevertheless, the most overrated player on the Carolina Panthers is center Matt Paradis. He blew 21 blocks in 2019 and 26 in 2020, with the latter being the third-most at the position. Paradis also conceded 5 sacks in 2020, which is not what you want from a center.
Chicago Bears: Teven Jenkins, OT
After playing primarily right tackle in college, Teven Jenkins will be kicking over to left tackle in the NFL. The rookie will not be an upgrade over the steady Charles Leno Jr. in Year 1. It is difficult to put a rookie on an overrated list, but fans from the Windy City have high expectations for the 39th-overall selection that he may not live up to out of the gates.
Dallas Cowboys: Linebackers
Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and first-round pick Micah Parsons are propped up far too high. Smith and Vander Esch struggled mightly in 2020. And we have seen elite physical talents at linebacker endure severe growing pains as rookies due to offenses targeting the position.
Yes, Smith owns exceptional tackle totals, but he is a weak link in coverage. In each of the past three years, Smith allowed a completion rate over 70%, 400+ yards, and at least 2 TDs. Staying on the field has proved difficult for Vander Esch, and his coverage prowess is even worse than Smith’s.
Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE
It is hard to find an overrated player on such a flawed roster. Still, for the sake of the article, my choice is T.J. Hockenson. Similar to Hunter Henry, Hockenson won’t make you miss with the ball in his hands, nor will he rack up yards after the catch. He lacks the sheer receiving ability that makes Travis Kelce and Darren Waller so great and that got Kyle Pitts drafted fourth overall. Hockenson made strides last season and is an excellent all-around tight end, but he is not on the same level as the best at the position.
Green Bay Packers: Robert Tonyan, TE
“Big Bob” Tonyan exploded onto the NFL stage in 2020, scoring more touchdowns (11) than incompletions when targeted (7). Even with Aaron Rodgers under center next season, the touchdowns will regress. And when it does, his 3.3 receptions for 36.6 yards per game will look much worse. Tonyan was one of the most exciting stories last year, but J.K. Rowling didn’t write it, so I anticipate the story ending sooner rather than later.
Los Angeles Rams: Leonard Floyd, OLB
Like Dante Fowler, Leonard Floyd has profited off complementing Aaron Donald. Floyd generated a 15% pressure rate in 2016 and 2017 with the Bears but has failed to reach those heights since. The main reason is Floyd saw less than 300 pass-rush snaps those seasons. With an increase in usage, his production has gone down. Yes, he recorded 10.5 sacks in 2020, but that’s with Donald taking on two if not three blockers, leaving Floyd in one-on-one situations.
Minnesota Vikings: Patrick Peterson, CB
Peterson can shut me up in his first year in Mike Zimmer’s defense (which caters to his strengths). Still, Peterson has been nowhere near a shutdown corner the last two years. He has conceded over 12 yards per completion and 4+ touchdowns, with completion rates above 65% in each of the previous two years.
New Orleans Saints: Taysom Hill, QB
Taysom Hill was a fun gadget player, but even then, were carries and targets more effective going to him over Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas? Head coach Sean Payton made headlines in 2020 after saying Hill could be a “Steve Young-type” QB. We won’t get into how ridiculous that is, but even if Payton designed the perfect offense built to Hill’s abilities, the Saints would not be contenders.
New York Giants: Evan Engram, TE
It has been four years since Evan Engram entered the league, yet every offseason, analysts continue to say, “this could be the season Engram breaks out.” It isn’t going to happen. He is basically a big-bodied wide receiver with little blocking prowess. Even as a receiver, Engram dropped 11 passes last year (most among TEs). If he can hone in the drops and increase his catch rate (which Daniel Jones plays a major role in), Engram could erase his name from this list.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts, QB
It is a bit unfair to say a player entering their second year in the NFL is overrated, but fans have driven the Jalen Hurts hype train over the edge. Although he pushed a floundering Carson Wentz out of town, Hurts was not an effective passer. He completed just over 50% of his throws for 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Furthermore, he fumbled 9 times, took 13 sacks, and recorded a paltry 58.8% on-target percentage (second-lowest among QBs with 100 attempts).
San Francisco 49ers: Raheem Mostert, RB
If you look at 49ers fan sites, you will find a common trend: Arik Armstead, Raheem Mostert, and Jimmy Garoppolo are overrated. However, Armstead has remained consistent the last three years, and Jimmy G is about to be replaced by a QB selected third overall in 2020. Thus, Mostert is my pick. The speedy RB was a special-teams contributor until 2018 before enjoying a solid 2019, culminating in an explosive postseason.
Mostert has the top-end speed to blow by any defensive back, but the offensive line springs him for the big gains. He’s averaged over 3.3 yards BEFORE contact per carry the last two years, one of the highest rates in the NFL. Not to mention the injury concerns that seem to hit every season, limiting his RB1 capability.
Seattle Seahawks: Jamal Adams, S
Jamal Adams’ 9.5 sacks in 2020 were the most among non-front seven players, and he did it in just 12 games. Regardless, Adams is versatile in the box, but not outside of it. He is a liability when matched up against receivers in coverage. In 2020, he forfeited a 77.8% completion rate for 411 yards and multiple touchdowns. Adams is an elite box safety but ineffective when asked to perform in the slot or deep middle.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rob Gronkowski, TE
There are few holes to poke on the Buccaneers’ roster, especially considering they are returning all 22 starters from their Super Bowl-winning lineup. Still, one player that is overrated compared to his NFL counterparts is Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is not even the best tight end on his roster, with O.J. Howard (when healthy) and Cameron Brate ahead of him.
Gronk hasn’t been the same since his injury in 2018, as he registered his fewest receptions (2.8), yards per game (38.9), and first downs (29) since his rookie campaign. Brate outperformed him in the playoffs, catching 14 passes for 175 yards and 1 touchdown compared to Gronkowski’s 8 receptions for 110 yards and 2 scores.
Washington Football Team: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick can be the savior in Washington D.C., but he can also be their downfall — there is no in-between. For his career, which spans 16 years and eight teams, he completed a little over 60% of his throws for 223 touchdowns, 169 interceptions, and 6.9 yards per attempt. I love Fitzmagic as much as the next guy, but believing he can lead Washington to a Lombardi is far-fetched.
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