Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Jun 2009

ESPN INSIDER: 25 Most Overrated/Underrated Players Of The Decade

For ESPN Insider members today, we've posted our lists of the 25 Most Overrated Players and 25 Most Underrated Players of the past decade.

We'll tease with the top ten for each side:

Overrated
1. DeShaun Foster
2. Michael Vick
3. Chris Chambers
4. Jamal Lewis
5. Adam Vinatieri
6. Reggie Bush
7. Ty Law
8. Stephen Alexander
9. Dante Hall
10. DeAngelo Hall

Underrated
1. Derrick Mason
2. Matt Lepsis
3. Adrian Wilson
4. Aaron Smith
5. Shaun O'Hara
6. Dan Koppen
7. Bobby Engram
8. Keith Bulluck
9. Shawn Springs
10. London Fletcher

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Jun 2009

110 comments, Last at 08 Aug 2009, 5:35am by yankeescum

Comments

1
by BywaterBrat (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 12:44pm

Wow! Im usually okay and even impressed with your lists but this is terrible:

3. Chris Chambers - seriously, he is not bad and I don't think anyone sees him as anything more than above-average (carried me to FF championship in 2007)

7. Ty Law - was he not a beast and Mr. Big Game (albeit 5+ years ago)?

Thanks for omitting BrittFarr but he obviously tops the list.

Nice calls on the Underrated, but I'd like to see a FB on there even if there peak doesn't usualyl last mroe than a coupel years (L. Neal?) or even a blocker-devouring machine like Casey Hampton. And maybe I'm biased from reading this site too much but B. Engram and A. Wilson get plenty of attention given the relative frequency of players of their caliber at their positions.

7
by Joe T. :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 1:55pm

It all depends on how you interpret "overrated." I'd say it includes players who are good, but might not be as good as they were initially or even presently touted, as well as guys who came out with much fanfare and stunk up the joint (like Foster).

Is FO going to post the articles in full at a later date so us poor enthusiasts can read them?

13
by tuluse :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:11pm

This is of the decade, not right now.

For a few years in Miami, he was considered an elite receiver, when he never was one.

16
by drobviousso :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:37pm

even a blocker-devouring machine like Casey Hampton
If you'll direct your attention stage left, you'll see Aaron Smith, a block-devouring machine who plays on the same line listed as #4. Hampton is pretty highly rated, but I think Smith is holding up in his old age better than ol' baby face. He's a one gap end (usually) that often gets double teamed.

20
by BywaterBrat (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 3:00pm

duly noted...and you are right that Smith gets even less cred than Casey ever did

43
by Kibbles :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 9:21pm

John Clayton once wrote an article on ESPN.com claiming that Chris Chambers was one of the 10 best WRs in the NFL, and that he was only going to be shooting up that list in coming years, and almost nobody raised an eyebrow because that was common thought at the time. What had he done to deserve such lofty praise? He'd posted 1100 yards, 11 TDs, and a 49% catch rate. And yet, for YEARS, people would argue until they were blue in the face if anyone had the audacity to suggest that Chambers was anything other than an elite WR1 who was held back by poor quarterback play. As a bonus, if you mentioned that poor QB play wasn't stopping Wes Welker from posting good numbers, you'd get laughed at and informed that Welker was a scrub.

2
by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 1:17pm

I love Fo, I hope they are making lots of money selling out to ESPN (who wouldn't sell out for the right price?), but goddamn, this teaser BS sucks. "Hey look! Here is another interesting article THAT YOU CAN'T READ!"

Not only that, but I don't even get to buy a PFP this year! I used to love bringing that big ol' thing into the office through the preseason...

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

3
by KyleW :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 1:22pm

I totally agree, and am probably gonna have to have a long think about my no disney policy the more and more integrated FO gets.

Is there no way to allow us non insider types to view these articles after a period of time, especially in the offseason now that FO are not doing strategy minicamps or any other old offseason stuff anymore?

6
by billsfan :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 1:44pm

It bothers me, too, but not that much.

I don't like ESPN, for a number of reasons, including their tendency to broadcast less S and more E, and the way they started acting like hockey didn't exist once they stopped broadcasting it. Their internet presence throws all kinds of flash animation, video, and noise at me when all I really want is a place where I can get a score, a recap of a game, an indication of when/where a game is going to be televised (or radioed), etc. The existence of ESPN Insider itself is also among my problems with them. Having a website like FO that provided quality content for free was an excellent alternative to EI. The internet is all about the free exchange of information, and I'm not a fan of any website that puts its content behind a pay-wall. Many newspapers wised up to that quickly, charging only for archives.

As for Outsiders as Insiders, well, they gotta pay the bills somehow, and I can't fault them for that. I've enjoyed the all the free content provided by FO while it was available, pretty much since the beginning, and willing plunked down $ for PFP and occasionally KUBIAK. But I do find the continual links to something we can't read a little bothersome. If that's part of their contractual agreement with ESPN, then fine. Regardless, I'm still happy with what you do provide for free.

(I also like the Eagles)

10
by Phil (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:02pm

I don't want to turn this into a long debate about print journalism and how it relates to technology, but as someone who works at a newspaper, trust me, the business has not "wised up" to anything internet-related.

If anything, all newspapers should have made the decision long ago to put most of their content behind a pay-wall.

But I'm totally with you on the ESPN stuff when it comes to the actual network. Since I get the NFL, NHL and MLB networks, SportsCenter is nearly obsolete to me.

82
by b-rick (not verified) :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 1:08am

Craigslist has done much more to kill the newspaper industry than free content ever could.

As for the list, I was glad to see Matt Lepsis rate as an under-rated player. His injuries and related decline were the beginning of the end of Denver as an elite rushing team.

Ty Law is not an over-rated player, unless he was somehow rated as the best CB of the decade. He was a solid contributor that played well in big games and was good in run support.

21
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 3:03pm

Agreed. My beef with this is not with FO, but ESPN. The Insider stuff is extremely annoying, especially since it encompasses most of what I would like to read. Unfortunately, I refuse to pay for content when the page is already covered in obnoxious flash ads, just on general principle.

I will second the poster who disagreed about newspapers wising up though. I think they just didn't have a choice. There are too many free sources of news out there to be the only one asking for money. They could all agree among themselves to start charging, but A) that would be illegal, B) it would be impossible to organize, and C) someone would renege on the deal anyway.

28
by billsfan :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:02pm

In retrospect, I don't know why I threw that newspaper line in there. Oh well, at least I'm glad to see that I'm not the only person who despises ESPN's website. I get most of my sports news from Yahoo!.

(I also like the Eagles)

40
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 6:58pm

I understand that it's a little out of the ordinary to find pay content on the web, but I don't understand why people get so offended by this. Just because it's on the internet does not mean businesses should not reasonably expect people to pay for their services.

Now I'm certainly not going to pay for Insider, but it really doesn't bother me that FO puts some articles on it. I think many of these articles would not exist if it were not for Insider. And of course the whole point in putting appealing content behind that wall is to give people an incentive to purchase it. There are plenty of things in the world I wouldn't mind having but don't find worth the expense. It doesn't bother me that they exist though.

50
by tuluse :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 4:31am

The first complaint was because he had to pay and see ads. Paying for the privilege of watching ads is something that can legitimately be complained about.

53
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 8:34am

But you pay to see ads if you have cable TV or buy a magazine. I only imagine you'd see more ads if you didn't pay for it.

54
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 9:16am

I have a DVR, and the ads in magazines don't run around on the screen and make noises.

57
by billsfan :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 1:27pm

The short version is that information on the internet was free before it cost money. Some of us remember that.

My main problem with ESPN's internet presence is that for the so-called "worldwide leader in sports," they provide a sub-par experience on the internet. Pages load slowly, and are poorly optimized for view on a mobile device. Flash ads and videos featuring "analysis" by their "personalities" assault me noisily the moment many pages load. And yes, many articles are behind pay-walls, which isn't necessarily a problem in itself, but comparable analysis is available elsewhere for free (SI, Yahoo!, Sportsline, Sporting News, various team- and sport-specific sites, &c.).

Does Insider access at least provide an ad-free site?

I am aware the ESPN is a business and needs to make money, but, true to parent company Disney's form, they seem determined to shake out every possible loose cent, regardless of how it affects the experience of their customers.

(I also like the Eagles)

59
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 3:12pm

As I recall, ESPN was one of the earliest to charge for content. They did when I first went to their site in the late nineties. Anyway, they suck, and as you suggest, provide no reasons to go to their site except for FO content. I can't begrudge them for actually putting something worthwhile on the site and trying to use it to help turn a profit (I'm really not sure how greedy they are about this--it seems like it's pretty hard to maintain a vast web operation supported by ad revenue. Ads do not appear to be enough to support newspapers. Certainly, some companies, Disney in particular, are greedy, but the web has had such devastating effects that I don't think it's so easy to chalk this up to greed). I wish stuff was free, and I hate ads, but I respect that companies, good and bad, need to find a way to support their operations.

60
by MilkmanDanimal :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 3:24pm

Of course, if you use Firefox with things like Adblock and NoScript, all the annoying ads and blinking flash crap vanishes.

86
by dmb :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 11:06am

Insider access does not provide an ad-free site, but the analysis there definitely isn't "comparable" to SI, Yahoo!, or any of the team or league sites. (I don't know about Sportsline or Sporting News, because I've never been to those.) To me, Insider has most of the analysis that's actually worthwhile on a "mainstream" site -- rather than the fluff that you get from MMQB or Michael Silver, you get things like pieces by Football Outsiders and John Hollinger (who is also into advanced stats) as well as pieces from Scouts Inc, which certainly aren't perfect, but again, are better than most of the fluff on other high-profile sites. If you're going to compare it to content, I would actually say FO and 82games are more comparable.

To me, it's somewhat reasonable to pay for the stronger analysis; I think of it like a subscription to a sports magazine, but with more insightful articles. Ironically, in this case, a subscription to ESPN's magazine is also included with Insider, although to me that's really not much of a bonus...

The thing I might actually dislike most about ESPN's site is that it seems like it may be starting to bring worse commenters over here. To me, FO has usually been "come for the analysis, stay for the comments!" but it seems like the quality of comments has been dropping lately in virtually every respect, whether it's the strength of the argument or the way it's presented (chat spelling, etc.).

11
by Aaron Schatz :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:07pm

Just to quickly respond to this one mention...

The reason we didn't have Strategy Minicamps this offseason is that they were generally written by Michael David Smith and Mike Tanier. As you know, MDS is no longer part of our staff, and Mr. Tanier had some family responsibilities that took precedence over his FO writing for most of the offseason. (Walkthrough will be starting back up in a week or two.)

38
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 6:05pm

I Wish Tanier's family well far more than I wish for good, quality fodder with depth to get me through a few months of football wasteland.

39
by Yaguar :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 6:37pm

I'm sorry to hear that. He's a very likeable dude.

36
by Independent George :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 5:05pm

probably gonna have to have a long think about my no disney policy the more and more integrated FO gets.

This brings up an interesting question: can you buy an Insider subscription with Disney dollars? If not, why not?

87
by MCS :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 12:40pm

I seem to recall that when FO first announced that they would be posting on ESPN, they did say that the information would be made available on FO.com after a certain period of time. The implication was with a few days or even a week or two.

Perhaps my memory fails me in my old age.

Apparently, that changed. There is probably some agreement made in the contract that does not allow FO to give for free what the folks at ESPN are profiting from.

It's disappointing, but it's reality of the world today. The Outsiders have the right to sell their services to the highest bidder.

-------------------------

On another note, I see these posts as mere advertisement for ESPN Insider. Here's more stuff for you to read, just sign up, pay and we'll let you see it. Without the analysis, it's hard to debate the accuracy/validity of a list such as this.

5
by Jimmy :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 1:26pm

To be fair to FO on this, I did ask them to put the lists up even if they didn't put up the analysis. Not the whole list but I would rather see this than just the teaser headline.

If they get the discount for FO Premium and ESPN insider combo I might even sign up to insider (not that I really want to but I do like reading the FO stuff).

4
by Keith (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 1:25pm

If Willis McGahee is not on the list of overrated, something is wrong.

8
by Duke :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 1:59pm

Jamal Lewis seems too high. He was a good back early in the decade, and he's been adequate since the injury--and I think his reputation mostly tracked that.

I dunno, maybe this is a bigger problem in AFC North towns, but I haven't heard a lot of gushing over Lewis for awhile.

23
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 3:05pm

Jamal Lewis is not high. That case was years ago, and there was no proof that he every actually did any drugs.

9
by Birdman (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 1:59pm

I saw the title and thought "I hope London Fletcher is included as underrated." I am glad he is.

I generally don't like underrated and overrated lists, unless it focuses on awards and acknowledgments (Pro Bowl appearances, All-Pro, MVP, etc.). Without those, you are just creating a straw man out of "sports media" or "average fan."

12
by rageon (can't remember his login) (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:11pm

I like the inclusion of Matt Lepsis at underrated. I'm curious if Tom Nalen is on the remainder of the list, as I think he'd fit as well. Sure, he made 5 pro bowls, but I don't think most people appreciate he was at the top of his position for the entire decade. That's a lot time to be among the best at something -- even if it's center.

42
by Dave0 :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 8:28pm

Perhaps douchebags who dive at knees on QB kneels weren't eligible for the list.

14
by Dan :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:20pm

I wasn't aware that journeyman tight end Stephen Alexander was highly rated (although apparently he did make a Pro Bowl with the Redskins in 2000).

44
by Kibbles :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 9:27pm

He was highly rated enough to earn actual NFL contracts worth substantially more than the veteran minimum, which seems pretty overrated to me.

15
by Bobman :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:23pm

Yes, yes, I know, it's a ten-year span and technically a decade. But even if you start with a zero, you have to end with a nine.... And the 2009 season is not even in diapers yet.
Is the demand for content so great and the offseason hole of suck so vast that we really need this shit? Will there be another set of all-decade mumbo-juumbo in a year's time? And then, correctly, in two years' time? And after that, insanely, from 2002-2011?

Not an "Insider" member, but not exactly plucking my eyes out that I missed THIS. I'm curius, sure, and the teaser list looks okay, but it's enough for me right now.

Interesting that two ex-Pats are high on the overrated list. Numerous possible reasons, including (A) They actually are over-rated (but why?); (B) the Pats brain trust has perfect timing and instincts to wring the most out of a player and ditch him when his production is about to tail off, but get another team to pay a lot for him; (C) Pats fans and media are so loud and forceful that the whole world has to hear about how great their guys are and eventually believe it, so nobody can live up to the hype once the guys are no longer in Foxboro and the hype from that region stops; (D) Circular logic: If the Pats ditched them, the guys must be over-rated. If we credit the Pats for this, then the Pats will be seen as more astute than they currently are, making these guys seem even worse (because they were jettisoned) and the Pats smarter. And so on.

Finally, if I, a moderately well-informed NFL fan had to Google Stephen Alexander to find out who on earth he is, can he really be overrated? A retired/unsigned former Denver TE? I could see if he made the pro bowl recently based on rep alone, but a guy who spent one year in Det and one year in SD is probably not being touted to the heavens by the masses, is he? His numbers are quite modest and Dan "my wallet spilleth over" Snyder didn't think enough to retain his services (not sure if Snyder was the Skins owner in 2001), so why would anybody over-rate him? Is there another SA that Google and I missed?

19
by J.D. (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:57pm

Regarding the ex-Pats, Larry Brown and Desmond Howard would like to remind you that players can quickly become overrated by making a highly visible play or two in the Super Bowl.

26
by CaffeineMan :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 3:34pm

Actually, I figured Vinatieri was on there because of FO's general view that FG's/XP's are overrated and KO's are underrated.

73
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 8:45pm

I've heard people say Vinateri is a first ballot hall of famer.

Hes clearly very overrated. Hes an average kicker for god sakes.

24
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 3:08pm

I vote for C.

37
by steve (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 5:50pm

I think it's supposed to be Shaun Alexander.

56
by dmb :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 1:14pm

No, it's definitely Stephen; their argument is that he was a receiving tight end who had an extremely low catch rate, yet kept finding employment as a starter. So this one wasn't so much "overrated by the masses," but "overrated by the front offices."

17
by drobviousso :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:38pm

Is Keith Bulluck still underrated? I thought he was pretty highly thought of.

32
by Greg Trippiedi (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:19pm

I just don't think people realize how good Bulluck was/is. Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Derrick Brooks, and Keith Bulluck. Probably the best 4-3 linebackers of the last decade (we can throw Fletcher in there). Bulluck hasn't been to a pro bowl since 2003. The others go basically every year.

18
by Keith (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 2:52pm

I think Stephen Alexander was supposed to be Shaun Alexander.

22
by BigDerf :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 3:04pm

Anyone have a location on video of the antonio pierce screen play mentioned in the underrated section? I remember the play distinctly and wanted to see it again.

25
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 3:13pm

Vick is an excellent call. He was terrible when he played and his highlights made everyone think he was awesome. He was always one year away from being a great QB in the media's eyes. People made it seem like when he went to jail that the Falcons lost their awesome QB and their season was over, but I don't think they were especially good even if they'd kept Vick.

I don't think Foster was ever that overrated. FO has been down on him since forever, and even the sports media only loved him for a couple of seasons before giving up on him. Overrated, yes, but I don't know if so drastically overrated that he deserves the top spot.

So yes, my criticism is that you're overrating Deshaun Foster's overratedness.

27
by Tim Wilson :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 3:51pm

You've got Terence Newman on the wrong list. He should be on Underrated (only one Pro Bowl due to low INT totals), but you've placed him on overrated using extremely poor criteria (INTs and passes defensed? The CBs who get those are guys who are targeted a lot!)

Newman had the lowest YPA average of any NFL CB over the 4 season span 2004-2008. He is a top tier CB this decade.

29
by Tim Wilson :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:04pm

The mistake is compounded by the fact that you praise Shawn Springs for the same reason you ding Newman:

"...and [Springs] is much better at coverage than at making big plays (only 19 interceptions since 2000)."

47
by Arson55 :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 11:30pm

I'm not an insider so I can't see it...but really?

They have Terence Newman, a guy who has been to one Pro Bowl while playing excellent defense far more often than that, on the overrated list?

Come on FO, I'm generally a fan, but really? Maybe (Okay, definitely) I'm biased since Newman is my favorite player, but there is a reason for that. He's a fantastic player.

48
by Key19 :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 1:23am

Newman is only overrated amongst Dallas fans. Otherwise, he's rated about right. He is not the "shutdown" guy that many Dallas fans think he is. No one really talks about him on ESPN or mentions him in top CB conversations (outside the Dallas area) because he has no reason to be mentioned in either. He is a solid CB who made the Pro Bowl during a season in which his team was very electrifying and the Pro Bowl voters massively overrated them. Patrick Crayton probably almost made the Pro Bowl that year, for what that's worth.

Dallas' main defensive shortcomings are in the secondary, and it has been that way for a while. Newman is a part of that. He has been for years. He has yet to step up in an Asomugha-type manner. I'm not asking for Asomugha play, but something at least close would be nice from such a highly touted prospect who is just about on the decline of his career without really making that big of an impact. And the way his proneness to injuries has been increasing, he might be done sooner than we think.

To sum it up, I cannot honestly say that I have ever thought "thank god we have Newman, he is just tearing it up out there." The secondary is always the problem, and Newman is always in the mix (Hello, Santonio Holmes' huge game changing/chemistry crushing/QB under the bus throwing/#81 whining/snatching defeat from the jaws of victory (as usual in December) play). Seriously, if Terence does his job on that play, Dallas makes the Playoffs because they don't end up throwing that game away. The rest is an unfortunate repeat of the history that precluded it (aka December slump).

To sum this Newman rant up, he is overrated by Dallas fans, but not by the media and general fan population (because no one really talks about him, which is about what he deserves... not great enough to talk about, not bad enough to talk about).

62
by Arson55 :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 5:54pm

The secondary is always the problem, but the biggest part of that is god-awful safety play more so than the corners. When Ken Hamlin can come in and be pretty average but have Cowboys fans talking about how great he is, that is not a good sign. The Cowboys, at least during the time Henry was there (and healthy) had two solid to very good starting corners and then warmed over shit otherwise. No depth at corner, and no good players at all at safety. I think it is generally asking a bit much for Newman to make up for all of that on his own.

85
by Tim Wilson :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 10:34am

As much as I enjoy anecdote-based arguments, I'm gonna stick to statistics and repeat this truth about Newman:

He had the lowest Yards-Per-Attempt average of any NFL cornerback over the 4 season span 2004-2008.

To me, that unquestionably makes him a top tier CB this decade. Picking individual bad games (or individual bad plays, as you have done) from the 2009 season, when he played injured because the team needed him to and he was a shadow of his former self, doesn't affect the debate, in my opinion.

(For the record, the Steelers did not score on the drive which includes Holmes' big catch against Newman. That was the drive where the defense made its goal line stand. So that Newman/Holmes play was not the reason for that loss.)

89
by Kibbles :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 4:25pm

I don't know that top YPA over a 4-year span immediately makes him a top tier CB this decade, especially not "unquestionably" so. I can certainly raise several questions about it. For instance, how many different CBs led the league in ypa-allowed over a 4-year span? How many CBs came close to his ypa-allowed while posting dramatically higher "big plays"? Was his great ypa-allowed accompanied by a great success rate, or did Terrence Newman do nothing but give up 4 yard passes on 3rd and 3? What kind of coverage help did Newman receive, and how did that relate to the other supposed top-tier CBs? What kind of coverage responsibilities did Newman draw, and how did that relate to other supposed top-tier CBs? How did Newman do in the years outside of that 4-year span? How much did opposing offenses actually respect him? Was he a liability in run support? How many games did Newman miss and how does that compare to his peers?

Personally, I think there's no way in hell that Newman is a "top-tier" CB this decade. In my opinion, "top tier" means Nnamdi Asomugha (whose peak value dwarfed Newman's), Ronde Barber (whose peak value probably mirrored Newman's, but who had twice the longevity), and Champ Bailey (who combined Barber's longevity with Nnamdi's peak value). If you want to argue that Newman belongs in the second tier... well, then I agree with you wholeheartedly. Of course, as I already mentioned, this past decade has been characterized by the surprising weakness and inconsistency of its second tier CBs. Newman never made a single first or second team AP All Pro (although I can think of one season where he deserved at least a second-team bid), only made one pro bowl, and has left his audience decisively split on the question of his greatness. Ty Law has been a liability ever since the "point of emphasis" on illegal contact. Aeneas Williams only played a few years this decade. Chris McAlister has missed a lot of time to injuries. Charles Woodson has been a paradigm of inconsistency. Al Harris had an amazing season and has shown just enough since then to frustrate us with what he could be. Ditto that for Samuel and Cromarte (one great season each, and a handful of other frustratingly good seasons). Shawn Springs has been great when he's been on the field, but he's missed a ridiculous 43 starts this decade and hasn't started all 16 games since 2000. Troy Vincent's on-field reputation is probably helped by his off-field reputation. Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain were both great CBs who never had elite peak production. Newman without question belongs in that second tier with those players, but as I said, they're all awfully flawed for "elite" players.

90
by TheMattstapiece (not verified) :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 5:11pm

As a huge 'skins fan, I'd have to say Newman is my second favorite player after Roy Williams (defense) to suit up in a Dallas jersey this decade and bite on pump fakes

91
by vinyltoupee (not verified) :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 11:06pm

Wow, longest reply doesn't equal most intelligent reply.

He had the lowest Yards-Per-Attempt average of any NFL cornerback over the 4 season span 2004-2008.

That's a five-year span.

That argument remains stronger than your huge filibuster.

For more fun reading on the subject:

http://www.blueandsilverreport.com/2008/07/14/who-is-the-best-cornerback...

94
by Kibbles :: Tue, 06/30/2009 - 3:55am

Yes, 2004-2008 is five calendar years... but it's only four football seasons (04-05, 05-06, 06-07, and 07-08- count them), which is why I called it 4 years. Calling it 5 years is asinine. Would you also like to change the name of the "All Decade" teams to the "All Eleven Year" teams, since they span 11 calendar years?

Of course, as asinine as that is, it's even more asinine to continually base your argument on the fact that he had the best YPA-allowed over a 4-year span... and then support that with a link that shows that Shawn Springs had a better YPA-allowed over the 4-year span in question. Whoops.

I already said there are a lot of mitigating circumstances. For one thing, even *IF* ypa-allowed correlated directly with CB greatness, (and, newsflash- it doesn't. Not by a long shot), we're talking about a 4-season span. You don't make an all-decade team by being the best in a 4-year span. What if Ronde Barber had the best YPA allowed from 2000-2004, Champ Bailey had the best from 2001-2005, Shawn Springs had the best from 2002-2006, Chris McAlister had the best from 2003-2007, Terence Newman had the best from 2004-2008, and Asomugha had the best from 2005-2009? Would you recommend putting 6 CBs on the all-decade team? As I said, YPA is a useful tool, but it's only one small part of the overall equation. In addition to YPA, it's important to have a good success rate (perhaps more important than having a good YPA). Big play numbers are also very valuable. In addition, there's circumstance- allowing 6.0 yards per attempt against Randy Moss with no safety help all game is a hell of a lot more impressive than allowing 5.0 yards per attempt against Ike Hilliard with a safety over top on 75% of the plays, as I'm sure you'd agree.

Finally, if Terence Newman really is that great, how come so many opposing fans were glad to face him? I can see someone being one of the best in the league and the public perceiving him as merely good, and I can see someone being merely good and the public perceiving him as poor, but I have a hard time believing that Newman is one of the two best CBs of the past decade, yet a large portion of the population thinks he's a bad player.

30
by gmc (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:05pm

How can Tom Brady not make the overrated list? His backup steps in and the team hardly misses a beat, and yet he still gets deified? Odd.

Just kidding (and trying to start a flame war).

Seriously, I'd like to see Donovan McNabb on the underrated list, Leigh Bodden on the overrated list. Brett Favre should probably make the all-time overrated list, and certainly he's the most overrated player this decade. He's been even a league average starting quarterback one year out of four since 2005. David Carr and Joey Harrington have been fired multiple times each for playing better football than Brett Favre.

Pacman Jones anyone?

The entire Chicago Bears defense other than Tommie Harris?

Jeff Garcia may be the most underrated quarterback, if not player. He plays good football every year, even though he's on a new team every year. A real pro.

Reggie Bush isn't overrated; everyone except Sean Payton knows he's basically useless in the NFL.

33
by tuluse :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:24pm

Brett Favre played for some terrible Packers teams, and he tried his best to makes things happen. That usually lead to looking worse than he was. This is coming from a Bears fan, btw.

The entire Chicago Bears defense other than Tommie Harris?

Now you're trying to start 2 flame wars.

41
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 7:01pm

As annoying as he's been the last couple years, HRH BF was NOT overrated for the first half of this decade. He was the Packers offense, turning WRs like Bill Schroeder into 1000 yard/season targets. He was still an excellent QB for most of the season until last year, and probably among the top 2-3 QBs in the NFC for that time frame. (I admit the competition for top 3 QBs in the NFC was not nearly as tough as in the AFC.)

I will agree that Urlacher is overrated though not the entire defense. I think Briggs is a better LB and they keep coming up with decent CBs.

46
by RickD :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 10:38pm

The Pats hardly missed a beat?
They went from a 16-0 Super Bowl team to an 11-5 team that missed the playoffs.

74
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 8:48pm

That, and their offensive DVOA dropped 25 points.

31
by billsfan :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:18pm

I'm not sure if Olin Kreutz made the over-rated list, but I saw that he's on ESPN's all-decade team (yes, in 2009). Presumably his abilities to fumble the snap with any arbitrary QB under center and take bad penalties at an above-average rate didn't factor into it. Actually, I can't support the latter statement for lack of good individual OL stats. Anyone have a good source for those?

(I also like the Eagles)

34
by tuluse :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:25pm

Only Grossman had consistent problems handling the snap. Every other QB had 2 or less mishandled snaps in a given year.

58
by billsfan :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 1:39pm

Searching elsewhere on the web indicates that Kreutz came in at 16th on the overrated list. Good enough for me.

Grossman also played more games than the others. It's possible that QB CHI just has problems with the snap, but it's also possible that the center is to blame, like the time he rocketed the snap between the legs of an unsuspecting Brian Griese for a false start. As for the bad penalties, my search for a good source of individual offensive lineman statistics continues.

(I also like the Eagles)

65
by tuluse :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 6:37pm

In the past 4 years, Kyle Orton has played more games than any other QB. He has not had a problem fumbling snaps.

If you want to argue that Kreutz is overrated that's fine, he's seemed like a good center to me, but I don't spend enough time watching line play to make an objective statement about it. However, the whole fumbling snaps thing has been way overblown, and is 80% Rex's fault.

35
by Pete (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:31pm

At least Lewis was somewhat productive. An almost record breaking year once and per PFP2007 increased yardage if given the ball on consecutive plays. Still underrated top 10 or 25?

45
by Theo :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 9:54pm

I'm happy to see there is no Steeler on your list.
Steelers play football from jul to feb.

83
by bengt (not verified) :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 3:39am

Now I do agree that 'Aaron Smith' is not the most unique name, but is there really one of them in the league who is not a starting DE for the Steelers?
James Farrior, Ryan Clark, Heath Miller and Jeff Reed are other Steelers I would propose for the 'underrated' list.

49
by ChiTown11111 (not verified) :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 3:04am

I don't see Urlacher and McNabb.

I'm sorry, I guess it isn't an Overpaid list, but neither of them are that good and the media thinks they are Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning.

51
by deep64blue :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 4:34am

I thought McNabb might have made the underrated list - seriously people don't appreciate how good he has been.

55
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 12:01pm

The media definately does not think McNabb is Peyton Manning. I don't know if there's a more criticized Top 10 QB in football than McNabb.

52
by JQ (not verified) :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 4:59am

"Lepsis anchored the fabulous Denver offensive line for five years at starting right tackle, starting left tackle for another four, but never made a Pro Bowl. Honestly, that's a little mind blowing."

How is it mind blowing. Lespsis clearly was not better than Ogden and Roaf who we would have been competing against and those are just the 1st 2 that popped into my head

61
by Kibbles :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 3:56pm

The fact that you think it's clear that Lepsis was not better than Ogden and Roaf demonstrates just how underrated he was. The likely reason why you think it's so clear is because the media spent so long telling us how good Ogden and Roaf were, and both luminaries made so many pro bowls and all pro teams, that we think they surely must have been head and shoulders above some no-name like Lepsis who never made a pro bowl. I know that Dr. Z, who actually breaks down game tape and grades offensive lineman, said that Matt Lepsis was better than Walter freaking Jones back in 2005, back when people were arguing that Jones was the best offensive player in the entire NFL (iirc, Lepsis and Nalen wound up grading out as the two highest-rated offensive linemen that season, and neither made the pro bowl).

To use a more statistical and less anecdotal argument... in 2005, Lepsis's offensive line allowed a lower sack rate than Jones's, Ogden's, Roaf's, or Pace's, and RBs averaged more yards running to the left in Denver than anywhere but Indianapolis (despite Lepsis playing with Mike Anderson/Tatum Bell instead of Shaun Alexander, Jamal Lewis, Priest Holmes, and Steven Jackson). In 2004, Denver's offensive line ranked 3rd in adjusted sack rate, rating ahead of Jones's, Ogden's, Roaf's, or Pace's, and RBs averaged more yards running to the left in Denver than anywhere else in the league (replacing Mike Anderson with Reuben Droughns in that RB list). In 2003, Lepsis's line allowed a lower sack rate than Jones's, Ogden's, or Pace's, although Roaf's line finally beat out Lepsis's. Denver also finished above Baltimore and St. Louis in yards running to the left, although KC and Seattle both beat Denver that year. That's pretty forgivable, in my opinion, given that Matt Lepsis had never played left tackle in his entire football career prior to the 2003 season.

In 2002, when Lepsis was at Right Tackle, Denver ranked 2nd in the NFL on runs to the right... which isn't that impressive, because Denver actually had a good RB that year and ranked in the top 4 no matter which direction they were running. In 2001, however, Denver didn't rank higher than 12th in any direction... except on runs to the right, where they were second in the league.

Basically, Lepsis was near-elite in pass protection (just below Pace and Jones and on par with Roaf and Ogden, imo), and possibly the best run-blocker of the past decade (yes, over Roaf and Ogden, mostly because he was so far above everyone else in space, even if he lacked their raw power at the point of attack), and yet he never received so much as a pro bowl invitation. He had everything that the Ogdens, Roafs, Joneses, and Paces of the world had except for the pedigree and the recognition (and one could argue that the second usually follows the first). I honestly believe that if he'd been a top 10 draft pick coming out of college instead of an undrafted TE making the conversion to offensive line, we'd be talking about his hall of fame credentials right now instead of discussing how he never received so much as a single pro bowl invite.

70
by Jimmy :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 9:58am

I would say the reason that Roaf and Ogden are considered to tbe better players than Lepsis would be that Roaf and Ogden could have played any system and be asked to do just about anything on any given play and still be dominant players. If you took Lepsis out of the Denver line scheme he would probably not have been as effective. As you say he had great feet in the passing game and was very effective in space in the running game, I suspect that one of the (unofficial) requirements for the offensive tackle beatification process is that they can also just blow the guy in front of them out of their gap.

77
by Kibbles :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 10:32pm

It may be true that this is why Roaf/Ogden are considered significantly better players than Lepsis (I personally still subscribe to the "pedigree" theory), but I think it's a stupid reason. Put Joe Montana on the Steelers instead of the Niners and you might get a Matt Hasselbeck career out of him instead of a Joe Montana career... yet that doesn't stop Joe Montana from being considered the greatest QB of all time. Put Jerry Rice in a vertical passing game and you might wind up with an Ed McCaffrey-type career out of him, yet he's still the GOAT. And don't even start with the 3-4- Shawn Merriman, Demarcus Ware, Casey Hampton, Kelly Gregg, Jerry Porter, etc, etc, etc- put these guys in a different scheme and they're backups or situational players. Doesn't mean we hold that against them when discussing their relative greatness. It would seem silly if that's what people are really holding against Lepsis.

63
by firesnake (not verified) :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 6:02pm

Ty Law = overrated?

Had the Pats had him on the roster in 2005/06, they would have won another Lombardi trophy, at least they would have been much closer.

Sure he is past his prime, but implying Law is a product of the system and other players are just great players is about as dumb as it gets.

Underrated: Steven Neal, OG, Patriots. Look at last season: The OL was a disaster when the season began and was much better afterwards. Happiest moment of the season for me when I spotted his jersey when he came from PUP. He was undrafted. Mankins is also underrated.

64
by firesnake (not verified) :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 6:05pm

Vinatieri, underrated? Hullo?

Are you trying to reproduce Florio's PFT style by posting rubbish which at least generates clicks?

Sorry, but look at that FG in the snow against the Raiders. Money.

67
by An Ominous (not verified) :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 4:52am

Vinatieri appears on the overrated list, not the underrated list. Based on the rest of your post, I'm assuming you knew this and just accidentally posted "underrated" instead of "overrated", so I'm responding based on this assumption.

You argue that Vinatieri isn't overrated because one field goal he made was money. Vinatieri just made ESPN's all-decade team despite the fact that Jason Elam converts field goals at a better clip in almost any situation imaginable. 0-20 yards- Elam. 20-30 yards- Elam. 30-40 yards- Elam. 40-50 yards- Vinatieri. 50+ yards- Elam. Extra points- Elam. Playoffs- Elam. "Clutch" situations- Elam, who converts 89% compared to Vinatieri's 80%. Yes, you read that right- Vinatieri's FG percentage actually goes DOWN in the clutch, at least compared to his career average, and while the small sample size means we can't say he's worse in the clutch, the fact that his conversion rate goes down makes it pretty ludicrous to suggest that he's actually BETTER in the clutch.

Anyway, arguing that Vinatieri is the best PK of the decade based on the strength of one kick is sort of akin to arguing that David Tyree is the best WR of the decade based on the strength of his one catch. And Eli Manning is the QB of the decade, and Dexter Jackson should be the all-decade safety because he was MVP of SB37, and Deion Branch can be the other all-decade WR. You could say that these guys were all the best at their position over the past decade and it'd be rubbish to call them overrated as a result, because did you see that one play that they made?

97
by steelberger (not verified) :: Wed, 07/01/2009 - 7:56am

I find it funny that Vinatieri was considered by Pats fans to be the third coming of Jesus Christ (Brady was the 2nd, obviously) while he was with the Pats.

However, he almost instantaneously became overrated when he left for the Colts.

106
by Briguy :: Sat, 07/11/2009 - 11:43am

That's exactly *why* he's so overrated. Everyone thought he was, as you put it, the Third Coming, but FO's metrics always put him about where he really is--an above-average-but-not-great kicker who got a rep for being "clutch" just because he had the opportunity. Nothing about that changed when he went to the Colts.

66
by Mr. Anderson, welcome back, we missed you (not verified) :: Sat, 06/27/2009 - 11:32pm

Brett Favre should be at the top of the list (the Overrated list) all he does is throw INT's, better than anyone ever has.

Why is Bryant Young not on the underrated list?

68
by An Ominous (not verified) :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 5:03am

This has already been mentioned, but the most likely reason why Brett Favre isn't one of the most overrated players of the decade is pretty implicit in the title- it's the most overrated players of the past DECADE, not the past 3 years. Favre has 6 top-10 DYAR finishes this decade (tied with Tom Brady for the most by anyone not named Peyton Manning). He's also got 3 top-5 finishes, which I'm pretty sure is the most by any non-Brady, non-Manning entity this decade. And he did this despite a revolving door at WR, RB, and Offensive Line throughout the decade (something Manning never had to deal with, for sure). Heck, he was a legitimate MVP candidate as recently as 2007. And, despite how it sometimes seems, he hasn't been contemplating retirement every offseason since 2000.

69
by Matt W (not verified) :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 8:58am

ESPN seems to have a free "Rank 'Em" feature that allows you to reorder the "most overrated" list for yourself; it allows you to see the FO commentary, though not the original order. The comment on Roy Williams is pretty funny. Link in my name. [FO guys, hope it's OK to post this; if not, delete it with my compliments.]

71
by TruFalcon (not verified) :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 5:46pm

The guy who became the first QB in history to rush for 1000+ yards and didn't make the pro bowl is overrated?

78
by Kibbles :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 10:58pm

Why is rushing for 1,000 yards such a special feat? Heck, in 2005 Denver almost got as many rushing yards out of Mike Anderson *AND* Tatum Bell as Vick got in 2006, and neither of those guys made the pro bowl. Sure, Vick was the first QB to accomplish the feat, but that doesn't mean anything- if Seneca Wallace becomes the first QB with 500 yards receiving, would you argue that he should make the pro bowl as a QB?

If you added Vick's rushing DYAR to his passing DYAR in 2005, he totaled 172 DYAR. 21 different QBs had more DYAR than that just passing (ignoring their rushing totals completely), yet Vick made the pro bowl. In 2004, Vick had the 3rd lowest passing DYAR in the entire NFL (sandwiched between A.J. Feeley and Jay Fiedler on that BRUTAL 4-12 Dolphins offense, and just a notch above Craig Krenzel). His combined passing and rushing DYAR that year (-236) would have ranked THIRTY FIFTH, right between Ken Dorsey in San Francisco and Luke McCown in Cleveland... and yet Vick made the pro bowl. If Ken Dorsey was a pro bowler, he'd be the #1 most overrated player of the decade, and yet Vick made the pro bowl despite similar offensive contributions (or lack thereof) and people are arguing that the real injustice is that Vick didn't make the pro bowl a FOURTH time (for what it's worth, add Vick's rushing DYAR to his passing DYAR in 2006 and he would have ranked 30th among QBs, just behind Rex Grossman). That's the essence of overrated.

The one argument I will make with respect to Michael Vick being underrated pertains to the NFL as a business. In terms of business impact, Michael Vick was definitely underrated. He was probably the single greatest revenue stream in the entire NFL, and had he not been jailed for dogfighting, he would have earned every penny of his massive contract from a business standpoint. However, in terms of the NFL as a sport in which the purpose is to win rather than make money, Vick was ludicrously overrated. If I were an owner looking to make a buck, I would have loved to have Vick as my QB. If I were a fan looking to cheer on a champion, I would have loathed to have Vick as my QB.

104
by TruFalcon (not verified) :: Sun, 07/05/2009 - 6:39am

Because no other QB in league history has ever done it. He also set the record for YPC the same year and threw for 20 TDs with Michael Jenkins as his #1 receiver (I don't think Tatum Bell did that), yet was overlooked for the Pro Bowl in favour of Tony Romo.
Vick is a unique player who teams have to gameplan against - the opposing front offices in the NFCS brought in personnel specifically as a response to the threat he provided.
If Seneca Wallace lines up at QB all year and gains 500 receiving yards he should be considered for MVP.

72
by Tim R :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 6:45pm

Did Michael Vick not make multiple pro bowls? I think he's on the overated list because he was widely regarded as one of the better QBs in the league when in reality he was a below average one even including his rushing ability. I think the reason its hard to judge Vick is because it's hard to tell how much is presence helped the rest of the running game which was one of the best in the league when he was playing.

105
by TruFalcon (not verified) :: Sun, 07/05/2009 - 6:41am

Vick was one of the better QBs in the league. He was widely regarded as garbage by people who read box scores.
I think he should be on the other list.

75
by Bring Back the Coffin Corner! (not verified) :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 10:08pm

Within 2 years, FO will merge with ESPN, and all/most of the content will cost money. You heard it here first.

84
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 7:03am

cold be true, only time will tell, if so then we all will become more famous, but might have to pay momey to post, so in the end you win some and lose some

76
by Jason Trek (not verified) :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 10:09pm

Now before everyone goes "you just defending Vick cause he a brother!" whole bit, Reggie Bust...oh I mean Bush is waaay too low on that list he should be #2, Adam Vinatieri is a HOF with nerves of steel you can't name any other kicker who has won countless playoff/Super Bowls; how dare they put him on the overrated list? We share the same opinion on the Hall's..waay overrated.

But on to Vick...who was the whole show for the Atlanta Falcons and the sole primary reason we still have a NFL team in Atlanta. Not going to compare numbers with Ryan (I love Ryan he is the future) but Vick didn't have these versions of White/Jenkins nor the running game of Turner/Noorwood, nor Sam Baker, nor a good O-line, All Vick had was Crumpler whom Vick made into a star (cause Crumpler is riding the pine with the Titians and hasn;t done anything since Vick)

The Falcons never really believed in Mike Vick as far as being a passer, The Falcons was always 2nd to last in pass attempts but one of the top leaders in drop passes. The play section was predictable, 1st two plays were running and and 3rd and long we would put Vick in a jam cause the defense knew what was going to happen; 1. Vick would scramble or the WR's would drop anything.

Yes, we did led the league in rushing a few years but that was because of Vick numbers as well. I could go on and on..but I won't cause all I have to say this list is coming from a basis group....how can I prove this......

WHERE THE F*** IS JOEY HARRINGTON NAME ON THIS LIST

79
by Kibbles :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 11:19pm

Re: Vinatieri- Adam Vinatieri's shank-fest early against Carolina was the reason that SB came down to a game-winner in the first place.

Look, if Adam Vinatieri really has "nerves of steel", explain to me why his lifetime field goal percentage in clutch situations (80%) is lower than his lifetime field goal percentage in non-clutch situations (82%)? Let me repeat that- Adam Vinatieri has made a LOWER percentage of field goals in high-pressure situations than he has in low-pressure situations. That's sort of the OPPOSITE of clutch, isn't it?

Meanwhile, there's a kicker out there like Jason Elam, who has exactly as many game-tying or game-winning FGs as Vinatieri (24) on fewer attempts (27 for Elam, 30 for Vinatieri), despite his average game-winning or game-tying attempt coming from five yards further out than Adam Vin's. Jason Elam's career conversion rate on high-pressure kicks (89%) is a full EIGHT PERCENT HIGHER than his conversion rate on low-pressure kicks (81%). Historically, Adam Vinatieri has been almost twice as likely to miss "clutch" kicks as Jason Elam despite Jason Elam historically attempting tougher kicks in the clutch. Elam also has a better conversion percentage than Adam Vinatieri from 0-20 yards, 20-30 yards, 30-40 yards, 50+ yards, and on extra points (Adam has a better percentage from 40-50 yards), meaning Elam's the more accurate kicker from almost any distance whether it's a clutch situation or not. And Elam is in the middle of racking up the most obscene volume stats any kicker has ever posted in NFL history. Elam's posted 16 straight seasons of 100+ points (an NFL record), has posted 120+ points in 8 seasons (an NFL record- Morten Andersen had 5 in 25 seasons, Vinatieri has 3 in 13 seasons), averages 120 points a year (an NFL record- Andersen averaged 102, Vinatieri averages 115), has 38 career 50+ yarders (2 shy of Andersen's record... on 21 fewer attempts), and also has the record for longest made field goal (63 yards). Vinatieri is just a poor-man's Jason Elam, and yet he made ESPN's all-decade team, is seriously discussed as a future hall of famer, and is considered "Mr. Clutch" despite a worse conversion rate in the clutch than he has out of it.

Basically, Vinatieri is so overrated it hurts my teeth to think about. Saying that Vinatieri is one of the greatest kickers ever because of two incredibly clutch kicks is sort of like calling Eli Manning one of the greatest Quarterbacks ever because of two incredibly clutch plays at the end of the Superbowl. Or saying that David Tyree belongs on the all-decade team (presumably alongside Deion Branch and Dexter Jackson, those bastions of clutchness).

102
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 07/02/2009 - 7:05am

I'm absolutely with you on the over-ratedness of Vinatieri, but I do think it's only fair to make some allowances for the conditions in which people played, and Elam spent the vast majority of his career in the uber kicker-friendly surrounds of Mile High, with two out of three division opponents being warm weather teams, and then moved to a dome in a Southern division. He was also not terribly good at kick-offs, at least for a good chunk of the decade.

The trouble is, I really don't think there's an easy answer to the question "Who was the best kicker of the 2000s?". Neil Rackers had the highest peak, in 2005, and has always been a good kick-off man (don't let Arizona's horrendous coverage teams fool you on that score), but he also had several seasons of absolutely terrible goal kicking. Matt Stover's probably been the best FG/XP man of the decade, taking conditions into account, but he's never been a good kick-off artist. Akers had several years of excellent all-around play in the early to middle years of the decade, but has declined severely since. Gostkowski's been excellent since he entered the league, but that's not very long. For the overall prize, and with some reluctance, I think I would have to go with Jeff Wilkins. That is another way of saying that I don't think there is any kicker whose performance this decade could legitimately be called "great" - not even close.

80
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Sun, 06/28/2009 - 11:46pm

Although "overrated" is obviously hard to define, not many people would say it applies to Harrington. Most people pretty much agreed he was a disappointment early on. Likewise, Rex Grossman isn't on the list, nor Ashley Lelie. It's not a list of busts. I think you'd probably have to at least make a Pro Bowl to be on the list, or at least have announcers going nuts over your "once-in-a-lifetime" talents every time you appear on screen. And you can pretty much expect any player to qualify as overrated on this site if he's getting labeled an HOFer over a handful of (not "countless") clutch kicks.

I think this list does a pretty good job of avoiding most of those names that are very often called overrated, guys like Favre and Urlacher. Vick and Bush are often given that label, but you can't make nearly the case for their ability that you can for Favre and Urlacher, so I can see their inclusion.

81
by Seahawker (not verified) :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 12:27am

WHERE IS SHAUN ALEXANDER ??? OVER RATED PUSS Who gave his team mates crap about stabbing him in the back when he came up just short for the rushing title by a couple of yards. This big girl was running behind Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, and when Hutch left he fell apart. HE NEVER TRIED HARD AND ISN'T MISSED HERE

88
by witless chum :: Mon, 06/29/2009 - 2:29pm

He never played center during his mediocre stint in Detroit. Dominic Raiola started every game at center during that period. Woody actually ended up at RT where the was least bad option in 2007, before leaving town.

Raiola is underrated, because he once offered to fight DeAngelo Hall.

92
by b-rick (not verified) :: Tue, 06/30/2009 - 1:59am

Craigslist and its free classified format has done MUCH more to kill the newspaper industry than free content ever will.

It is good to see Lepsis rated as high as he should be. It is funny to think how in Denver's heydey when they were consistently the best rushing team in football that no one on the OL, none of the RBs (except Portis) and even Shanahan never got any respect.

Over-rated players not on the list...John Lynch, Dallas Clark.

Under-rated Players not on the list...Trent Green, Mike Anderson.

93
by Kibbles :: Tue, 06/30/2009 - 3:31am

John Lynch circa 2008? Overrated. John Lynch circa 2002? Legitimately great. Maybe one of the 25 most overrated players of the half-decade, but not of the decade. Dallas Clark... I don't know that he's that highly rated in the first place. He's been considered worse than Gonzalez, Gates, Witten, Heap, Sharpe, Shockey, and Sgt. Winslow this decade, which I think is fair. He's posted DVOA values of 18%, 30%, 24%, and 10% as a TE, and even in the year he played mostly at WR he wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination (0% DVOA). He really only had one below-average year this decade (-5% DVOA in 2006). I'd say he's pretty accurately rated- a very good but not elite receiving TE with no blocking skills to speak of.

Trent Green, though? Seriously underrated.

95
by bbb (not verified) :: Tue, 06/30/2009 - 9:21am

Its kinda hard to call Vick overrated that high he was an tremndous talent, his teammates let him down alot plus the guy made alot of great play...Now MR reggie bush should be 1 or 2 on this he is nothing but espn hype he does nothing but Kim Kardashein enought said way over rated..

Now someone mentioned Shaun Alexzander come on he had skills till he'd got hurt look at the tape plus he tied or broke Emmitts record of tds or came close that something in its self he was an beast for an time their...
deshawn foster its hard to say thats #1 when you only heard that name in the beginig of 2000's you all know its true here is one how about brett farve yeah whats he done for an tean or chad ouco uno cinco demio was always the # 2 in cincy till tj just left but he was espn hype all the way.. or tiki barbers bro ronday he's another espn hype i am sure they r gonna do another story on him , and to call the boys t newman overrated no way he makes plays the only one to make him look silly was randy moss but thats moss who the cowboys picked greg ellis over him? now greg ellis overrated or those three backs in NY overrated we saw how big and bad brandon jacobs was till ray lewis hit his ass...

96
by Dave0 :: Tue, 06/30/2009 - 8:07pm

raiderjoe is great but we probably only need one of him

98
by b-rick (not verified) :: Wed, 07/01/2009 - 9:47am

Shaun Alexander had a two or three year window when he was absolutely an elite RB. The problem with Alexander is that his production dropped sharply without him suffering a major injury to explain it.

With the exception of Seahawk fans, Crimson Tide fans and fantasy football geeks, I don't think Alexander ever got that much respect in the first place, so how could he be over-rated.

Perhaps those calling him out on this board were fantasy football players that drafted him with an early pick the year his production dropped like a stone.

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by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 07/01/2009 - 11:36am

ESPN recently named Alexander one of the top 25 players of the decade. How's that for respect and "ratedness"? Here are some guys who did not make the list (named in the article, based on Pro-Bowls):

Alan Faneca, John Lynch, Brian Dawkins, La'Roi Glover, Kevin Mawae, Olin Kreutz, Matt Birk, Larry Allen, Chris Samuels, Zach Thomas, Ronde Barber, Keith Brooking, Al Wilson, Julian Peterson, Donovan McNabb, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten and Chad Ochocinco.

Here are the running backs who didn't make the list:

Priest Holmes, Clinton Portis, Brian Westbrook, Corey Dillon, Jamal Lewis, Edgerrin James, Fred Taylor, Warrick Dunn, Tiki Barber, Ahman Green.

You could make the argument that every single one of those guys was better than Alexander. At the least, most of them were. So yeah, I'd say he's pretty clearly overrated.

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/nfcwest/0-9-301/Best-of-the-best--Top-25-play...

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by b-rick (not verified) :: Wed, 07/01/2009 - 10:33pm

Didn't see the list you speak of until now. McNabb and Larry Allen should be placed ahead of Alexander (if there was no quota per position), after that I disagree.

Over a five year span, Alexander averaged 1500 yds and 17 TDs per season. Priest Holmes is the only RB on your list that could make the argument of being better than Alexander in the decade.

I have a serious issue with Brett Favre being on this list at the expense of McNabb. Favre was never the same after the SuperBowl loss to Denver. McNabb may be the most disrespected QB I can remember, except perhaps Stabler.

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by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 07/01/2009 - 11:46pm

Alexander lead the league in rushing yards once. He lead the league in TDs twice. He made 3 Pro Bowls. Most of the other RBs I mentioned had similar achievements.

However, Alexander did that while running behind one of the best lines in the league (as did some but not all the others). Note also that his performance plummeted when his line weakened. Alexander was a poor receiver, unlike most of the other RBs. He wasn't a good pass-blocker either. Alexander was also a soft runner who avoided contact (sacrificing yards) unlike many of the other RBs. He also played his entire career in the NFC West which is famous for having poor defenses during that period.

When you consider that the only stat which really stands out for Alexander is his TDs (only 5 seasons worth, the other seasons he was poor), and that all the intangible and/or overlooked factors work against him (o-line, receiving, blocking, running style, opposing defenses), and that in 2006 and 2007 he was outperformed by Maurice Morris, I don't think it's a stretch to say that a lot of the other guys were better.

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by b-rick (not verified) :: Fri, 07/03/2009 - 7:27pm

The RBs you mentioned either benefited, just as Alexander did, from an elite OL (Holmes, Portis-DEN, Lewis) or were not as accomplished (Westbrook, James, Dunn, et al). If Alexander had similar numbers to these guys or better, then why does he not have more pro-bowls? Perhaps because he did not get that much respect, which makes it difficult for me to think of him as over-rated even with his appearance on the top 25 list.

If I had to pick one of these guys in their prime to run for my favorite team (Denver), I would probably pick Priest Holmes because he was also a great receiver and blocker. However I can understand why Alexander made the list over the others.

The greatest injustices on the list were the appearance of Favre over McNabb and in the order of which defensive players were ranked. Ray Lewis not being the highest rated defensive player of the decade is a travesty.

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by yankeescum :: Thu, 08/06/2009 - 4:13am

Alot of people have been talking about what a "mediocre" quarterback Michael Vick was. I strongly disagree. A key number that the Vick detractors trot out is his 52.6 completion percentage. I think that using this stat alone vastly undervalues what Vick does for a team, and isn't even an accurate measure of the percentage of positive plays that Vick creates on passing downs. How many of his 123 rushing attempts in 2006 were on plays that were supposed to be passes? What impact does that have on his completion percentage? Remember the man rushed for over 1,000 yards. To put into perspective what he does: here are some stats from both his and Tom Brady's 2006 season (the last season that
both of them played).

Vick 204/388 (completions/attempts) 52.6% 2,474 (passing yards) 6.37 (YPA) 20/13 (TD/INT)123 (first downs) Rushing 123 (attempts) 1,029 (yards) 8.4 (YPA) 2 (TD) 55 (first downs) 9 fumbles 3 lost

Brady 319/516 (completions/attempts) 61.8% 3,529 (passing yards) 6.83 (YPA) 24/12 (TD/INT) 211 (first downs) Rushing 49 (attempts) 102 (yards) 2.1 (YPA) 0 (TD) 16 (first downs) 12 fumbles 4 lost

(note the equal number of turnovers)

During the season Brady controlled the ball 565 times for 3,631 yards for a 6.42 yards per play average. Vick controlled the ball 511 times for 3,513 yards and an average of 6.87 yards per play. Their percentage of positive plays was 65% for Brady and 63% for Vick. So if Vick averages .45 yards per play better than Brady, then who is the better signal caller?

This doesn't take into account what Vick did for the entire Falcons team's
rushing offense. They led the league in rushing for (I think) three years in a row. Vick is a game changer, and I love to watch him (I am a Raiders fan, not a Falcons fan) and I think that to call him mediocre is to give him a raw deal. He was absolute lightning every time he touched the ball, and I hope to see him out there kicking ass again.

Some day soon, some owner is going to have the balls to let his coach implement a true spread offense and the league will be much more fun to watch.  15 years from now we will see 60% of the leagues QB's be black, and 30 years from now, 75%.  I think that it is an overt act of racism that so few black QB's get a chance, and that so many sportswriters want to disregard their skill set. It is an absolute disgrace.

What kind of "innovative statistics" are totally unable to account for the effectiveness of an innovative player? Vick is possibly the second most UNDERRATED QB of all time (to Peyton Manning because there are so many halfwits out there who think that Brady could sniff his ass).

But it doesn't matter what Schatz think, because we have been lucky enough to see the
future of the NFL and it is Michael Vick.

Keep on truckin'

Andrew Foley

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by yankeescum :: Thu, 08/06/2009 - 4:16am

If only 50 of Vick's 123 rushing attempts came on broken down passing plays, that alone would boost his completion percentage to 65%.

Keep on truckin'

Andrew Foley

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by tuluse :: Thu, 08/06/2009 - 12:34pm

You're assuming all his running plays were positive. Which they were not. You are also ignoring sacks. If a positive run counts as a completed pass, a sack should count as an incomplete pass.

Finally, you are ignoring that Vick makes a team very one-sided. Sometimes you have to pass to win, and Vick was just not a good passer. So you were in trouble in those situations.

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by yankeescum :: Sat, 08/08/2009 - 5:35am

We are also assuming that all of Brady's passing plays were positive and Vick's plays as well. Sacks are taken out of the passing yardage. We are also assuming that all of Brady's running plays are positive. With QB's any time they are tackled behind the line it goes down as a sack. So it is a fact that any time that Vick was credited with rushing yardage on a passing play, it was positive yardage. And I think that we are safe in assuming that any time he was tackled behind the line it was counted as a sack. I watched Vick play, and no, he was no Peyton Manning passing the football but, we was better than a heck of a lot of starting quarterbacks in this league. He wasn't putrid at it. And you can read all you want about "innovative" statistics, but they don't tell you a hell of a lot about football. It's like the year that whoever the douchebag is who does the plus minus for basketball players and came up with Jarron Collins being the most effective player in the NBA.