Last week to much fanfare and controversy, Pete Prisco released his 32 most overrated players in the NFL. Prisco surmised that the most overrated player in the NFL was the Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. This is probably slightly unfair, and skewed by his missing training camp and a few games at the beginning of last season. But anyone who watched Super Bowl 48, or Seahawks vs Panthers in the 2014 playoffs will understand his value.
With that I give you the most over and under rated members of the NFC West. An alternative to the Prisco article if you will, where we will not only focus on the negative but also the positive plays of the under the radar and unappreciated players and staff.
Having always been somewhat of a WWE fan I have followed the career of James Laurinitis quite closely, being of course the son of Animal from the Legion of Doom. Too my surprise the Middle Line Backer was released this off season with Ogletree expected to take his place.
Alec Ogletree has always been the lesser talked about member of the Rams defence with Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn taking most of the plaudits. But with over 100 tackles in each of his first 2 seasons, and well on course to beat those totals before falling to injury in his 3rd, Ogletree appears to be a more than adequate replacement at the heart of the Rams defence.
The fact that Kenny Britt is still playing such a prominent part in the league may be a surprise to many. After disappointing in Tennessee he is still the number 2 receiver in LA.
Britt succeeds mainly because there is very little competition for his place. The Rams will be hoping that rookie Mike Thomas and Pharoh Cooper make a step up this season so that the team can move on from Britt.
Britt can give you top class performances, check out his big play ability in the Rams final game of 2015 against the 49ers. The problem is that it just doesn’t happen enough.
San Francisco 49ers
It may be odd of me to feature a full back in such an article. I honestly don’t believe it is because the 49ers are somewhat short of talent right now but because, for a player in such an unthankful position, he has great play making ability.
Now, I’m not going to tell you that you can expect 100 yards rushing or receiving every week. I will encourage you however to look out for the quarterbacks go to guy when he needs 8 yards on 3rd down. Not only that, he seems to be able to make some excellent yards after contact too. A superstar he is not, but he sure is fun to watch and someone that opposing teams must not forget.
The hype following Hyde in fantasy circles has been growing given that the 49ers now have Chip Kelly and his run heavy offence in town. With no one to really challenge Hyde in his position the future looks brighter for the back.
The problem for Hyde and indeed the 49ers’ roster on the whole is that they just aren’t very good. A massive sweeping statement I grant you but Hyde has not yet set the NFC West alight.
Also counting against Hyde is his ability to stay on the field. He has yet to top 500 yards in a season thanks to injury, missing 11 games already in his 2 seasons.
It can be a thankless task playing on the Seahawks Offensive line. It has been a revolving door of distinctly average players for some time now, with Schneider and Carroll choosing to invest the majority of their cap in other areas of the team.
The Seahawks started 2015 with Drew Novak at centre. A relative unknown and converted defensive lineman. This contributed to the team leading the NFL in sacks against them in the first part of the season.
Patrick Lewis had played in 2014 and looked good so replaced Novak in the side again by mid-2015. Offensive line play improved in correlation to the Seahawks being much more consistent on offense, with Russell Wilson showing some of the best form of his career so far and Baldwin tying for most touchdown catches in the league.
In 2016 Lewis again looks set to be replaced at centre, you have to wonder if he will be back in the side by mid-season.
Going a little off the beaten track here but I am naming coach Tom Cable as the most overrated current Seahawk. Touted by commentators almost every game as the successor to Pete Carroll, I sit and wonder what on earth they know that I don’t.
The Seahawks have made a name for themselves drafting in the late rounds and creating superstars, yet the names Cable has had them drafting will have you baffled. Terry Poole, Kristian Sokoli, Garrett Scott, Michael Bowie and Ryan Seymour will not be making the leap this year. Others such and Britt and Sweezy have made the team but have looked really quite average while doing it.
What Cable has done, and where he has earned is money is to create a unit, while lacking in pass protection skills has opened up running room for the likes of Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls. With the Seahawks suggesting a more Russell Wilson orientated philosophy this season, how will Tom Cables work be judged this year? Perhaps not so favourably.
A personal favourite of mine, Red Bryant has been underrated by fans and teams alike for some time. Big Red’s career took a turn upwards when the Seahawks started using him and a defensive end on running downs and was a massive (literally) reason for excellent performance of their defence. Check out his blocked field goal against the 49ers in December 2012.
His time at the Seahawks ended as a cap casualty but not before he added a Super Bowl ring to his substantial fingers. He went on to Jacksonville and quietly went about his business. He was dominating during their International Series match against Oakland, but again found himself at home without a team in 2015.
This was of course until injury resulted in a phone call from the Cardinals and yet again Bryant played very well to help the Cardinals all the way to the Championship game.
Red Bryant may well find himself in final cuts this year, but not because he isn’t playing well.
This is a really tough call, the Cardinals squad is not only loaded with talent, each player has a role which they fulfil to the best of their ability, be that All Pro Patrick Peterson right down to the 6th wide receiver. So how do you pick out one player and call them overrated?
I may be a little mean to Carson Palmer by naming him as the Cardinals most overrated. It may be a case of who else is there when they all had such a great season. But I am going to defend it.
Palmer was signed by the Cardinals having played some quite mediocre ball in previous seasons with the Raiders. In fact the season just past was his first ever playoff win against the Green Bay Packers.
Palmer had been an MVP candidate until late in the season when with an injured finger his play dropped and Cam Newton accelerated to the award. My point is 2-fold, that this is one of the only seasons in quite a long career that he has been a success. Also, the Cardinal are so talented in the skill positions, it may be possible to put many good quarterbacks in play and achieve the same results.
It could be argued that this second point is false, given the troubles Arizona has at the end of 2014 when Palmer was injured, but I would say that his replacements simply were not good quarterbacks – the theory has limits!
I am very prepared to eat humble pie when he leads the Cardinals to the playoffs again, but at 36 years old, I don’t believe there will be a change to become a model of consistency.
Duncan is a Seahawks fan from Brighton, now living in Glasgow. You can follow Duncan on Twitter at @DuncanJTerry.
Photo credit: SportingNews.com