Facebook Pixel

    Who Are the Most Underrated Players in the NFL? One Underappreciated Player for All 32 Teams

    The NFL has a plethora of superstars, but there are 32 names ahead of the upcoming season who've earned the underrated label.

    Published on

    Each NFL franchise has their mix of cornerstone and star talents. But there’s also that one player on each team who quietly delivers production, earning them the underrated label.

    These names below may not be considered household names, but they fit the narrative.

    Most Underrated Players in the NFL

    Arizona Cardinals: Trey McBride, Tight End

    Trey McBride witnessed one of the best production jumps of 2023. He went from catching 29 passes for 265 yards in his rookie 2022 season to tallying 81 catches for 825 yards last season.

    Even with Marvin Harrison Jr. now on board, McBride figures to still have a significant role in the Cards’ air attack.

    Atlanta Falcons: Richie Grant, Safety

    While Richie Grant mysteriously lost his starting spot for the final two games, he’s still established himself as a 100-tackle threat on defense. Grant additionally delivered a career-best three sacks last season and forced two fumbles.

    He could flourish with Raheem Morris now coaching him.

    Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Mekari, Tackle

    As integral Lamar Jackson is to the Ravens’ offense, there’s no way he can stand upright if it weren’t for the versatile presence of Patrick Mekari.

    He’s one of the few linemen in the league who’s logged starts at all five spots across his five seasons. And he’s never allowed more than five sacks on his side in each season.

    Buffalo Bills: Dawson Knox, Tight End

    Dawson Knox was limited to 11 starts last season and witnessed a production dip. Make no mistake about it, though, the 6’4″, 254-pound target is a valuable presence for Josh Allen. Knox combined for 15 touchdowns in 2021 and 2022 — the latter also a Pro Bowl season.

    And with Stefon Diggs gone, Knox could have even more opportunities for targets from Allen this coming season.

    Carolina Panthers: Chuba Hubbard, Running Back

    Chuba Hubbard is overshadowed by the fact that he played for a 2-15 team last season. But he quietly put together his best season yet: 1,135 yards from scrimmage with five touchdowns.

    Expect new head coach Dave Canales to feed Hubbard the ball often, especially since he turned Rachaad White into a nine-touchdown RB last year.

    Chicago Bears: Cole Kmet, Tight End

    Cole Kmet may not be a popular TE name across the league, but he’s beloved by Bears fans. All he’s done is surpass 50 catches and 500 yards the last three seasons.

    But Kmet also has combined to score 13 touchdowns the last two years. Now he’ll have first overall pick Caleb Williams throwing him the football.

    Cincinnati Bengals: Logan Wilson, Linebacker

    As offensive-minded the Bengals have become, Logan Wilson is the tackling machine few know about. Wilson has scaled the 100-tackle threshold the last three seasons, including snatching a career-best 135 in ’23.

    MORE: Who’s Under the Most Pressure? One Player on the Hot Seat for Each Team

    But he’s an established ball hawk at LB too — as evidenced by his two four-interception seasons. He’s the heart of the Bengals defense.

    Cleveland Browns: Martin Emerson, Cornerback

    Fans immediately identify Denzel Ward and Grant Delpit when looking at the Browns’ secondary. But looks like it’s time to take Martin Emerson more seriously. He swooped up four interceptions while swatting 14 passes last year.

    The third-year CB pulled off both numbers playing mostly single coverage opposite of the All-Pro Ward. Cleveland could have a new Pro Bowler on its hands here.

    Dallas Cowboys: Osa Odighizuwa, Defensive Tackle

    Even a Dallas defense flooded with Pro Bowlers has guys who are underrated. That’s where Osa Odighizuwa enters the picture. His deadly combination of snap explosion and strength frees up Micah Parsons, Sam Williams, and others to wreck havoc.

    Despite being overshadowed by his fellow front-seven stars, Odighizuwa has improved his tackle for loss numbers each season (career-high nine TFLs last year).

    Denver Broncos: Quinn Meinerz, Guard

    As inconsistent as the Broncos offense has been the last two seasons, Quinn Meinerz has established himself as a violent force Denver trusts for pass and run blocking. He’s been seen burying Maxx Crosby and eliminating Chris Jones away from plays twice a year while becoming a steady starting presence.

    Detroit Lions: Alex Anzalone, Linebacker

    Alex Anzalone likely gets voted as having the best hair on the Lions by fans. But he plays like his hair is on fire. The fiery linebacker has delivered back-to-back 120-tackle seasons in the Motor City. Additionally, Anzalone has produced consecutive seasons of seven tackles for loss and six pass breakups.

    Green Bay Packers: Zach Tom, Tackle

    While the Packers have a strong lineage of stout quarterback play, few mention how consistent they are with producing star tackles. Zach Tom is the latest example. He only surrendered two sacks his side in 2023. But it’s his reach blocking, which has cleared significant running room for AJ Dillon, that shows Tom at his best.

    Houston Texans: Dalton Schultz, Tight End

    Over the last four years, Dalton Schultz has established himself as a 50-catch threat for two All-Pro quarterbacks: Dak Prescott, and C.J. Stroud last year. The latter helped Schultz earn a career-high 10.8 yards per catch.

    Indianapolis Colts: Samson Ebukam, EDGE

    Samson Ebukam was once a reliable rotational piece for a deep San Francisco 49ers defensive line. But once he joined the Colts, he broke out with 9.5 sacks and 10 total TFLs.

    The eight-year defender has accumulated 33 career sacks but he’s now just 19 tackles away from 300 for his career.

    Jacksonville Jaguars: Travis Etienne, Running Back

    Travis Etienne is already an established 1,000-yard rusher. But going into his third season, Etienne could soon see the words “Pro Bowler” attached to his name with continued production. While Trevor Lawrence is the heart of the Jags’ offense, Etienne has become the soul.

    Kansas City Chiefs: Justin Reid, Safety

    The Super Bowl champs were solid at cornerback during their title run. Justin Reid, though, was the enforcer at safety with 95 tackles, including 74 solo stops and three sacks off blitzes.

    MORE: One Potential Breakout Player to Watch for All 32 NFL Teams

    He’s one of Kansas City’s go-to guys when the Chiefs need a blitz from the secondary. Reid has also swatted seven passes the last two years.

    Las Vegas Raiders: Tre’Von Moehrig, Safety

    The 2021 second-round pick has become a cerebral, physical presence for the Raiders. But his coverage ability rose toward the end of 2023. Tre’Von Moehrig didn’t surrender anything past two completions or more than 14 yards on his side in the final six games. That includes the Christmas Day upset of the champion Chiefs, as he surrendered zero yards in coverage that day.

    Los Angeles Chargers: Tuli Tuipulotu, EDGE

    The 2023 second-rounder became the top rookie for the Chargers. Playing opposite of the more heralded Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, Tuli Tuipulotu snatched 4.5 sacks and eight stops behind the line of scrimmage. Now, multi-time Pro Bowl linebacker Navarro Bowman gets to help coach him up alongside head coach Jim Harbaugh.

    Los Angeles Rams: Ernest Jones, Linebacker

    Ernest Jones has done two things so far in his career: Learn from two future Hall of Famers in Von Miller and Bobby Wagner, then improve his tackle numbers every season. But 2023 proved he was beyond ready to lead the LB crew — piling 145 tackles with 14 behind the LOS. With Aaron Donald retired, it’s officially Jones’ defense now.

    Miami Dolphins: De’Von Achane, Running Back

    Even as a non-RB1, De’Von Achane still produced impressive rookie numbers with 800 yards and eight touchdowns. But he’s in an offensive room featuring Pro Bowlers Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert, and Tua Tagovailoa — giving Achane leverage for the underrated label.

    Minnesota Vikings: Cam Bynum, Safety/Cornerback

    Cam Bynum is becoming one of the best defensive backs few have heard of. He’s yet to surrender 90 yards his side over the course of 37 starts. The Vikings have grown to trust him at both safety and as a man-coverage CB.

    New England Patriots: Jahlani Tavai, Linebacker

    One of the last imprints Bill Belichick had in Foxborough was turning Jahlani Tavai into a 110-tackle LB last season. Tavai’s numbers, however, rose the moment he joined the Patriots in 2022, as he broke out of a patter of 50-tackle seasons. He’s likely to lead the new era of Pats football under former LB Jerod Mayo.

    New Orleans Saints: Paulson Adebo, Cornerback

    Marshon Lattimore is the established Pro Bowler in the Saints secondary. But Paulson Adebo’s trajectory is definitely on the rise. Adebo combined patience and playmaking into a breakthrough four-interception campaign in ’23. And across three seasons, he’s hit or surpassed 60 tackles in each.

    New York Giants: Darius Slayton, Wide Receiver

    While the Giants have struggled with offensive consistency, Darius Slayton is a reliable offensive presence. The fifth-round find has averaged 15.1 yards per catch throughout his first five NFL seasons. He’s boasts four 700-yard seasons on his resume as well.

    New York Jets: D.J. Reed, Cornerback

    Sauce Gardner gets all the pub, but D.J. Reed has put together a formidable resume over the years. He’s entering 2024 with a streak of three straight 70-tackle seasons, a sample in which he’s also broken up at least nine passes each year. Despite checking in at 5’9″, Reed is a trusted man coverage defender next to Gardner.

    Philadelphia Eagles: Dallas Goedert, Tight End

    On an offense with explosive elements in DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown, Dallas Goedert is still capable of setting a physical tone. Philadelphia has trusted him to punish edge rushers and linebackers in the run game, then bury his shoulders into them after the catch. Goedert has a current streak of three 50-catch campaigns.

    Pittsburgh Steelers: George Pickens, Wide Receiver

    Despite playing with multiple QBs, Pickens still surpassed 1,000 yards for Pittsburgh in 2023. That production also came amid an offensive coordinator change. More astonishing is that his average yards per catch skyrocketed to 18.1 in ’23.

    San Francisco 49ers: Deommodore Lenoir, Cornerback

    The “hyena” gets recognition for being one of the prized fifth-round finds by the 49ers’ scouting department alongside Pro Bowlers Talanoa Hufanga and George Kittle. Deommodore Lenoir has only allowed one touchdown on his side in the last two regular seasons. He could be due for a huge payday soon, as he’s entering the final year of his rookie deal.

    Seattle Seahawks: Zach Charbonnet, Running Back

    As loaded the Seahawks are at wide receiver, Zach Charbonnet showed his versatility as a powerful running/receiving threat in 2023. He led the RBs with 33 catches for 209 yards, while tacking on 462 rushing yards to finish second behind Kenneth Walker III.

    MORE: NFL Pre-Camp Power Rankings: Breaking Down Every Team By Tiers

    He proved to be an important additional weapon for the ‘Hawks in his rookie year, but he has the makings of becoming a future workhorse back.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rachaad White, Running Back

    The talk of Tampa last season was the renaissance of Baker Mayfield. But Rachaad White was equally effective as his backfield threat, compiling 1,539 all-purpose yards. With continued production, he could be poised for his first 1,000-yard rushing season.

    Tennessee Titans: Tyjae Spears, Running Back

    Tyjae Spears showed he was more than capable of spelling franchise icon Derrick Henry — producing 838 total yards while sharing the load with “King Henry” in 2023. Even with Tony Pollard now on board, Spears figures to still see plenty of opportunities out of the backfield.

    Washington Commanders: Samuel Cosmi, Guard/Tackle

    Jayden Daniels has a security blanket up front in the form of Samuel Cosmi. Once the natural tackle moved inside, Cosmi only allowed four QB hits on 777 pass blocking plays, per Pro Football Focus. Cosmi gives the rookie QB a versatile, reliable pass protector to start his career.

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

    Related Articles