You know when females boost each other’s egos in the comments of their friend’s social media feeds, stating things like “OMG you are so beautiful!” and “I simply cannot deal with how skinny you are,” and you know damn well that in real life those same girls have since put on some heavy weight and have been slapped with an ugly stick?
Well, the NFL players on this list remind me of those girls. From NFL experts, to coaches, to fans alike, they have all been boosting the egos and names of the following players going into the 2017 season, and yet this season has revealed (if it hadn’t been revealed already) how extremely overrated they are. We’re not here to say these players are bad by any stretch of the imagination. There’s a difference between saying a player is overrated and a player is just bad. Some players who are overrated could be riding a reputation they established a few years ago but aren’t producing in a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ league.
So without further delay, let’s all do the league a favor and quit the high praise when players quit earning it or seemingly never have.
32. Arizona Cardinals: Andre Ellington
Andre Ellington is no longer on the Cards’ roster, as the team placed him on waivers a few weeks after acquiring Adrian Peterson, but since he was on the team’s 2017 roster, we’ll count him.
Here’s some numbers: 3.3 catches and 29.7 yards a game; Andre Ellington was having a tough 2017 season. After playing eight games this season with the Cardinals, he was averaging 3.3 catches a game and only 29.7 yards along with one measly touchdown. It seems like the transition from running back to wide receiver has been a failure and his next stop may be a plane ride out of the Copper State.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Dontari Poe
When the Atlanta Falcons signed Dontari Poe, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t met without skepticism from some, but the majority of Falcons fans along with the organization reacted with excitement and hope. The large-and-in-charge defensive tackle looked to be a great compliment to an up-and-coming Vic Beasley, and help to Grady Jarrett up the middle of the line. However, Poe’s effectiveness has continued to lessen with this 2017 season, even though he’s on a one-year “prove it” deal.
He is on pace for a career low in tackles. Poe no longer sets the tone in the middle of a defense, but he is not much of a complimentary piece either. The Falcons have tried to change that with having him play on three-offensive snaps against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10 in which he blocked for two goal-line runs. But until he continues to see success as a part of the d-line, he remains in the overrated column for me.
30. Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco
Other than stats, what can be another solid indicator that you are considered an overrated player? A vote from your peers. According to an ESPN survey of 155 NFL players this 2017 season, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was voted the third-most overrated quarterback in the league. The two that topped him were New York Giants’ Eli Manning (surprise, surprise) and the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck. Looking at Flacco’s contract and his mediocre play since winning the Super Bowl (nearly five years ago), it becomes more and more clear why he won the people’s vote.
Since signing a contract that made him among the NFL’s highest paid players, Flacco has returned to the playoffs only once and has a cringeworthy touchdown-to-interception ratio. This season continues to be the same good, but not great Flacco that we have learned to not bet on to rally and carry a team.
29. Buffalo Bills: Jordan Matthews
In three previous seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, he had reached well over 800 total receiving yards each season. Many NFL experts deemed him a “sleeper” going into this 2017 season, and he is doing just that with his snooze worthy on-field performance. Need we be reminded that the Buffalo Bills traded him for Ronald Darby, who is arguably one of the better cover corners in the league? They subsequently also ended up releasing Sammy Watkins, who was one of their top targeted receivers throughout previous years. They must have had some sky-high hopes for Matthews, and it’s clear to see those hopes are being crushed. Perhaps Matthews’ play would pick up with an upgrade at QB in Buffalo, but we’re running out of excuses for him.
28. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton
Heading into the final stretch of the season, Cam Newton’s passing yardage has declined for the Carolina Panthers. Newton’s on pace for throwing for fewer passing yards and passing touchdowns this season than many would have expected, now that he’s healthier than he was a year ago.
Some will argue that the dip in his passing yards is a direct result of being the team’s leading rusher those very same games, however, what’s a running back for if not to run? Cam Newton needs to get back to focusing on what helped name him the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2015 or risk remaining the most overrated player on the Carolina Panthers in 2017.
27. Chicago Bears: No One
No one on this team was ever rated highly enough this 2017 season to be considered overrated, now that they are doing poorly. If there was any candidate for the list, you might have said Mike Glennon, who was given a three-year, $45 million contract with the Bears, but pretty much every pundit and fan knew the move was terrible, which looked even worse once the Bears signed Mitchell Trubisky. Glennon may have been overrated by the front office, but it’s not like Bears fans were screaming ‘Super Bowl!’ once they signed him. The Bears are definitely a team better than the sum of their parts, but no one’s praising anybody in Chicago these days.
26. Cincinnati Bengals: Brandon LaFell
After failing to find the end zone as a New England Patriot in the 2015 season, Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver Brandon LaFell made the organization happy enough in 2016 as an injured AJ Green replacement to re-sign him with a two-year $10 million deal looking to 2018. Since being re-signed, he has brought in a little over 300 yards this season with almost as many touchdowns as fumbles. Although he was never meant to be the team’s star receiver once Green returned, the Bengals hoped that if LaFell managed to turn in a performance like what he did in 2016, then he, Green and the emerging Tyler Boyd had a chance to form one of the best receiving corps in the entire NFL. Better luck next year?
25. Cleveland Browns: Sammie Coates
When looking at the Cleveland Browns, it’s very hard to call anybody overrated, because who would ever praise the Browns? But we have to pick one here.
“We feel good about Sammie Coates and his development,” said Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert during the 2016 season. And then came 2017 and he was traded. “Here’s another big, fast guy that we get a chance to see if he can make the plays I think he can,” Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson said at the start of the 2017 season. And then here we are in December and he has totaled less than 100 receiving yards, and no touchdowns. Who will be the next NFL personnel to predict greatness for Coates and continue to affirm his overrated-ness? Stay tuned.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant
In 2016 Dez Bryant was labelled the most overrated player in the NFL by Fox Sports radio host Colin Cowherd. Now in 2017 that label is still holding much of it’s weight. To clarify, Dez Bryant is not a bad player with a handful of touchdowns, but he’s just not as great as he and fans alike hype himself up to be. He still can’t separate from corners, still drops a lot of passes, and still whines with neediness. He hasn’t been the same since Tony Romo lost his starting job in 2016.
With two years into his most recent impressive five-year, $70 million contract, his production is not living up to the money. Has anyone noticed that those diamond earrings he wears don’t quite shine the same as they used to? Turn that ‘X’ into a check mark for the Cowboy’s most overrated player this 2017 season.
23. Denver Broncos: Brock Osweiler
Brock Osweiler’s last year and a half came full circle with a return to the Broncos for the 2017 season, and I don’t think he cares one bit about being labelled overrated with how much money he picked up along the way. Prior to his return, Osweiler’s post-Broncos career was a hot pile of garbage. He threw more interceptions than touchdowns in 14 starts with the Houston Texans and was benched for Tom Savage. The Texans continue to pay him for that garbage despite trading him to the Cleveland Browns for practically nothing. There he lost the starting position to DeShone Kizer, in which the Browns ate millions to cut him.
And all of that to say, here we are in 2017 and Osweiler is back with the Broncos and barely sees the field as second-string to the erstwhile ineffective Trevor Siemian. Keep in mind that Osweiler is guaranteed $16 million this season. Apparently, there are worse positions to be in than named Brock and overrated.
22. Detroit Lions: Eric Ebron
Eric Ebron has had a lackluster career given the fact that he was a 1st round just pick four years ago. He had been playing so poorly that it was rumored that he had been put on to the trading block, which is a rarity for tight ends since they are so hard to come by and create huge mismatches for defenses. With all that being said, Eric Ebron has all the physical tools to be a dominant tight end, but over the majority of this 2017 season, he has had seven games with two catches or less and has only eclipsed the 50-yard mark once. It’s safe to say Detroit would have liked to have had an overrated Ebron taken off their hands.
21. Green Bay Packers: Martellus Bennett
Much like the Cardinals, the Packers’ most overrated player of 2017 has already left the team.
At a time when the Green Bay Packers were looking for reliable receiving targets, one prospect they looked to as their saving grace was veteran tight end Martellus Bennett. Needless to say, he has saved not a soul from the Packers organization since the start of the 2017 season. His career with Green Bay was off to a very slow start. Even with the slow start, offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett trusted his training and his “really good hands” and blamed the dropped passes to forgetting the fundamentals. It doesn’t seem like his “really good hands” could even put him on the path of redemption because this season he brought in zero touchdowns and less than 300 receiving yards. The Packers released him and Bennett was picked up by New England, only to be placed on IR shortly after.
20. Houston Texans: J.J. Watt
This will ruffle some people’s feathers, however, J.J. Watt may be the Houston Texans most overrated player for the sole fact that he cannot stay healthy. Early in the 2017 season, Watt left with a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg and would not see the field for the remainder of the season. To put things in perspective, in the last two seasons he has played a total of eight games. Eight! He has been paid $2.625 million a game. He is obviously a beast on the field when he is on the field, but the best ability of any athlete is availability and Watt has simply been unavailable this 2017 season. Watt has hinted that he may retire a lot sooner than people think, so hopefully Jadeveon Clowney soon takes another step.
19. Indianapolis Colts: Vontae Davis
Vontae Davis was considered a top corner over the length of his career since his booming career start in 2009 with the Miami Dolphins, but he sure hadn’t played up to his reputation in 2016 with the help of a couple of injuries. Most people were counting on him to play like his old two-time Pro Bowl self going into the 2017 season with a clean bill of health. Well, welcome to 2017 and Davis has recorded a snooze-worthy two defended passes, zero sacks and zero interceptions, and yet people are still talking about him when it comes to the cream of the crop of the secondary. Colts and Colts fans alike, let’s face the music, with eight years in the NFL it’s okay to leave Davis out of these talks. Let it go because it seems that Davis has.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was overrated going into the 2017 season and is most definitely overrated as the season winds down. Why did the Jags eagerly bet $19 million on the belief that Bortles will play well this season? I don’t think the coaching staff even knows the answer to that. After 45 starts leading up to this season, hadn’t they seen enough to know that this will not be money well spent going into 2017? To add, he has almost as many interceptions as touchdowns under his 2017 season’s belt.
If you are still not convinced that Bortles is overrated, just read the advice he gave Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshone Kizer following Week 9: “Try to throw it to your team as much as possible.” Solid advice, Mr. Bortles.
17. Kansas City Chiefs: Tamba Hali
When I’m 34 years old, I want to make as much money as Tamba Hali riding the pine. His age has caught up with him and so far this 2017 season, he has only played Week 9 and recorded one tackle, with injury playing its part. Although his numbers have not been impactful either in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he was in the conversation to return to the field when healthy this season and play an important role on the defensive line. To add, he hasn’t helped himself by using social media leading up to the season to vent his distaste with football operations’ choice to play him less and less going into the 2017 playoffs. Reason being: he’s not done “knocking QB heads off.” Ugh, yeah buddy, from your current state of affairs, it seems like you are. He was once a dominant pass rusher and those days are long gone as he seems to be riding the coat tail of his past success.
16. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams
The Los Angeles Chargers drafted Mike Williams seventh overall in the 2017 NFL Draft and they have yet to reap any benefits from the Clemson star wide receiver. After suffering a herniated disk in his lower back during rookie minicamp in May, he first touched the field against the Oakland Raiders in week six. His debut was bare-boned as he recorded one reception for 15 yards. Despite playing since his debut, he has played the role of Casper the Ghost as a member of the Chargers receiving core.
There seems to be an air of disappointment surrounding Clemson receivers (i.e. Martavis Bryant, Sammy Watkins and up until recently DeAndre Hopkins) that the Chargers believed Mike Williams was worth the gamble. In turn, Williams has represented that stigma loud and true. Tough break, Chargers.
15. Los Angeles Rams: Tavon Austin
When Tavon Austin was drafted eighth overall by the Rams in 2013, he was expected to be a Percy Harvin-type player with the ability to impact the game through the air, on the ground and on returns. He never quite lived up to that expectation since his NFL debut. With a serious need to change plans, during the 2017 off season the coaching staff suggested that they would be looking to use him more as a Julian Edelman-type play-maker. Meaning, he could catch balls on a variety of option routes that take advantage of his skills as an athlete above that of a football player.
Those plans have since fallen through and his production has been lacking by every standard. At the very least Austin has been making every opposing team’s day so far this 2017 season, as his performance includes four fumbles and zilch in the touchdown department.
14. Miami Dolphins: Julius Thomas
There is no doubt about it, Julius Thomas is a strongly gifted athlete. However, up to this point in his NFL career, he has proven to be a major liability as a blocker and has missed extensive field-time due to health issues. From the Broncos to the Jags to now 2017 with the Miami Dolphins, Thomas had good intentions of resurrecting his career with his old buddy head coach Adam Gase, whom he had his best season under with the Denver Broncos. Those intentions have been left at just that as we are well under our way this season and he has had his “best” game in 2017 against the Oakland Raiders. Nowadays, when you think of a Thomas’ “best”, you may break 80 receiving yards with a potential touchdown.
13. Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr
Throughout his first two NFL seasons, linebacker Anthony Barr made a monster play seemingly every other week, and his invite to the Pro Bowl had amplified that he had established himself as one of the top outside linebackers in the league. A disappointing 2016 season has now progressed into 2017, where there has been no more Hollywood-level action. Barr’s production and level of play has stabilized itself at a mediocre (at-best) level. The Vikings had high hopes that a humbled Barr would turn it around to help secure a playoff run, but with one measly sack and nothing to rave about across the rest of the stats board, something tells me that their high hopes are about to come crashing down. The highlight of his year was his hit on Aaron Rodgers that unfortunately, broke A-Rod’s collarbone.
12. New England Patriots: Brandin Cooks
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks left the New Orleans Saints at the end of the 2016 season because of a combination of the following: his unhappiness with his role, his doubts that aging quarterback Drew Brees could get him the ball deep, and the team’s frustrations with Cooks focusing on his numbers and belief that he should be paid like a top receiver.
Now in New England, he is failing to quiet his old teammates’ skepticism. To date this season, he’s on track to produce less receptions and touchdowns than his past two seasons with the Saints. You can’t sit at the table if you aren’t bringing anything to it, Cooks. While he’s become a good deep threat for Brady, his role in New England’s offense has allowed him to play to his strengths, as the Patriots have avoided exposing some of his shortcomings.
11. New Orleans Saints: Ted Ginn Jr.
The New Orleans Saints signed Ted Ginn Jr. to a three-year, $11 million contract this past offseason. Man, it pays to be inconsistent! Going into the season, many expected a strong chemistry to form between him and Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees, which would result in bombs thrown to Ginn Jr. as his quick feet would get him open down field. Yeah, not quite. He has completed a few +40 passes, but it’s always a toss-up as to whether he’ll make the catch or add to his growing list of dropped balls.
The only thing consistent about Ginn Jr. is that he can find himself on the list of most overrated players year-after-year. The team may change, but one thing remains the same; Ted Ginn Jr. is overrated.
10. New York Giants: Eli Manning
Eli Manning may have recently surpassed his GOAT of a brother Peyton for his 210th consecutive start, but with the Giants on track to have one of the worst seasons in Giants’ history, the team has done the unthinkable and benched Eli for Geno Smith to ‘see what they have for 2018’. Yeah, like Geno Smith is the answer…
As for Eli, he’s already been sacked over 20 times this season, which showcases his decrease in agility and ability to perform under pressure (along with a poor offensive line). Give him a pat on the back, thank him for his leadership throughout the years and the two Super Bowl titles, and then let him go. Rebuild and allocate his salary to a younger future. My say? Keep Manning another year, have him mentor a young quarterback and then cut him loose without penalty in 2019. Either way, the New York Giants need to own up to the fact that they can no longer lean on Manning to pave their way to a Super Bowl run.
9. New York Jets: Morris Claiborne
Although it may be a little blurry at this point, you might recall when the Dallas Cowboys moved up in the 2012 NFL draft to take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick. It didn’t work out for Jerry Jones and it’s not working out with the New York Jets. Claiborne cannot be thrilled that despite his immense talent, the image of the cornerback appears next to the definition of injury-prone.
His goal going into the 2017 season was to simply play and to return the Jets investment in him when they snatched him up as a gamble in the off season. His plan to stay healthy: stretch and rest. And stretch, rest, and play he has, but that’s just about it. Game starts don’t equate to good-looking stats just as stretching and rest evidently don’t lead to play-makers. He has a total zero sacks, zero forced fumbles, and one lonely looking interception.
8. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper
Sigh, he probably dropped that pass. Cooper, Cooper, Cooper, you have all the athletic ability in the world and yet after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, it seems you’ve been caught with butter fingers far too many times in 2017. Many believe (me included) that the wide receiver would have at least matched the success of his first two years in the league, if not improve on it. Well, here we are through most the season and with as many completed passes comes nearly as many dropped. His drop rate of 35 percent is second worst in the league among receivers with at least 25 percent of their team’s targets.
To add, with just over 500 receiving yards to date, unless he buckles in for the Raiders’ remaining games and balls out, he will remain top of mind for one of the league’s most overrated players this season.
7. Philadelphia Eagles: LeGarrette Blount
Heading into the 2017 season, the pick-up of LeGarrette Blount by the Philadelphia Eagles had fans swearing that he was the answer to Philly’s backfield woes. I understood the enthusiasm since Blount had carried the ball 299 times last year for the Patriots (the most in his career) and ended the season with an NFL-high 18 touchdowns. However, after we all got sick of watching Blount as an Eagle getting routinely swarmed at or behind the line of scrimmage, head coach Doug Pederson adjusted his offense to capitalize on Blount’s downhill rushing style and unpredictable elusiveness for someone his frame. The result: still a good football player, still playing a necessary role, just not at the level of productivity that would’ve spared him from being listed as Philadelphia’s most overrated 2017 player.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers: Martavis Bryant
Shutting down recent trade rumors, Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II shared with the Pittsburgh Gazette that perhaps many within the the Steelers organization had higher expectations on just how quickly Bryant could get back up to full speed after being a full year out of the game. Ugh, you think? He does make sure to squeeze in mentioning that the big-play receiver is making progress, but as the 2017 season moves on, Steelers fans will likely need to wait until 2018 to see those big plays reappearing. Until then, you can find Bryant on social media, throwing shade at his teammates (rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster) and complaining about the team. Maybe he should take the same time and energy he spends venting behind the computer screen, and apply it to his work on the field.
5. San Francisco 49ers: Pierre Garcon
San Francisco 49ers Pierre Garcon simply isn’t worth the money that the 49ers are giving him. He’s 31 years old and is being paid like he’s one of the best receivers in the game. And 2017 has proved that he can no longer sit at that table. The 49ers dished out a five-year, $47.5 million contract to him during free agency and he’s returned the payout with 0 touchdowns and just one game above 100 receiving yards. Gulp. Dreamers will say that it’s not that Garcon has been playing poorly, but he’s just had his fair share of tough match-ups in 2017. I say highly paid receivers are expected to make highly regarded plays even against the best secondaries in the league. Pierre ‘Overrated’ Garcon.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Running Backs
Seventh-round pick rookie running back Chris Carson fractured his leg coming out of week four of the 2017 NFL season. Well isn’t that the luck of the Seattle Seahawks backfield because now they’d have to look to the likes of Eddie Lacy, McKissic, J.D., and Thomas Rawls to step up. Clearly, being as overrated as most of them are (i.e. Eddie Lacy), they haven’t been able to move the ball so Russell Wilson has taken it upon himself to save the running game! He has rushed for over 400 yards this season, which is more than all other running backs on his roster.
In an effort to save their backfield for the remainder of the season, the Seahawks have brought in running back Mike Davis who picked up 18 yards in Week 11, but it looks like this is going to be one hell of a fixer-upper this offseason.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Doug Martin
In comes Doug Martin as the top overrated player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this 2017 season. The 27-year-old signed a five-year, 35 million dollar contract ($15 million guaranteed) after finishing second in the NFL in rushing in 2015 with 1,402 yards. Since then, he has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s drug policy. Martin served the final three games of his four-game suspension to open the 2017 season. Coming off the suspension and prior to that several health issues (which had him miss 23 games in 5 years as a pro), he has not had a game top 74 rushing yards (Week 5).
If I was a part of that front office, I would be asking for a full refund because a multitude of running backs have been tossed away with a lot less time to rebound than Martin has been gifted. Man, Adderall is a hell of a drug.
2. Tennessee Titans: Eric Decker
Eric Decker had a phenomenal 2015 season, receiving over 500 yards and 12 touchdowns. The following 2016 season was cut short due to a shoulder injury. In a mind boggling move, the Jets released one of their top receivers. In 2016 although his season was cut short and he only played three games, he caught two touchdown passes which was only one shy away from Brandon Marshall who started the entire season.
Now with the Tennessee Titans in 2017, he is on pace for less than 500 yards and only has a single touchdown; averaging 30 yards a game. Keep in mind that in 2016, he was averaging 64.6 yards a game. I am not a mathematician by any means but those numbers don’t seem to be in his or the Titans’ favor this 2017 season.
1. Washington Redskins: Terrelle Pryor
When Terrelle Pryor was picked up by the Washington Redskins, they thought they were filling DeSean Jackson’s shoes. It may be hard to to believe now, but the former Ohio State standout thrived with the Browns; securing 77 receptions for a total of 1,077 yards and four touchdowns.
Pryor has struggled since landing with the Redskins, despite them undeniably having a better offense overall. He has been benched in favor of second year Josh Doctson as the Redskins’ season snores on. For a guy who wanted upwards of $10 million a year when trying to come to terms with the Browns this past offseason, he is putting a smile on their GM’s face for not etching that deal.
Whether or not he and quarterback Kirk Cousin’s chemistry sparks off for the remainder of the 2017 season, Pryor is no longer much of a deep threat and is overrated.
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