The 2014 season is in full swing. We are now starting to see that some of our preseason predictions are not turning out like we planned. Some teams we expected to not be any good have turned out to be much better than expected. Some teams we expected to dominate have been dominated. The same is true with players.
We always have ideas of who the best players in the NFL are. Many times we are wrong, but for some reason we continue to say they are one of the best because we either are not ready to admit they are not as good as we thought they were or because we are told they are much better than they are performing.
At the end of the day, the NFL is a here today, gone tomorrow league. If players do not perform up to expectations, they will be forced out of the league pretty quickly. Sometimes players will be able to break this rule because of their reputation. They make a name for themselves and then they become too big to get rid of.
This is not a list of players who have not lived up to expectations this season. It is a list of overrated players. Whether or not they are underwhelming this year does not matter. This has to do with how they play the game. These NFLers are all considered to be top notch players, but they all have some problem concerning how they play. Even though these holes are noticed by everyone, we ignore them and continue to say they are of the highest caliber.
10. Reggie Bush – RB – Detroit Lions
Reggie Bush is always considered to be a borderline top-ten running back. The key word here is “borderline”. Nobody can actually decide where to place in him the rankings. He is so unpredictable. One week he looks like an absolute superstar and the next fans wish he was never on the field. The reason behind this is that we still tend to think about his USC days. He may have been one of the most explosive running backs in college, but his professional career has been a different story. Bush is considered one of the best running backs at catching the football out of the backfield. This may be true, but he is not capable of being an every down running back. He struggles at running between the tackles and is constantly missing games due to injuries. It is impossible to say a player is one of the top ten at their position when they cannot be relied upon by their team to play every single down.
9. Michael Oher – OT – Tennessee Titans
If it was not for the movie The Blind Side nobody would even know who Michael Oher is. However, since Sandra Bullock starred in a movie about this guy’s life he is one of the few offensive linemen in the NFL who everyone knows. He was horrible last year for the Baltimore Ravens. This offseason the Tennessee Titans signed the underwhelming offensive tackle to a four-year contract with over $20,000,000 in guaranteed money. The team is actually sitting their 2014 first round pick, Taylor Lewan, because they want Oher to play so badly.
8. Alex Smith – QB – Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith is decent. Everyone knows he is a capable quarterback but not a great quarterback by any means. Everyone, that is, except the Kansas City Chiefs’ front office. The team gave Smith a four-year contract worth $45,000,000 this offseason. He is scheduled to make $17,000,000 this season. That is one of the highest sums for any quarterback in the NFL. He was able to negotiate this deal with the team because he made his first Pro Bowl last season and guided the team to the playoffs. That may sound good until you consider that he was an alternate for Peyton Manning in the Pro Bowl and the Chiefs had the best running back and defense in the AFC. Giving him the salary of an elite player is insanity.
7. Colin Kaepernick – QB – San Francisco 49ers
Like Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick also used his success in order to score a huge contract. The difference between the two is that Kaepernick has helped lift his team to the NFC Championship for the past two years. On the other hand, Kaepernick is a bit more overrated than Smith. Kaepernick is flashy and the media loves him. This makes him more of a fan favorite than the quieter Kansas City quarterback. Even after all his success, Kaepernick is still making many of the same mistakes he made when he was coming off the bench in San Francisco. He still has not developed the ability to put any touch on the ball. He has to throw lasers all the time. This does hurt his ability to complete deep balls down the sidelines or throw a jump ball to the back of the end zone. He is also still not going through his progressions. If his first or second read is not there, he will scramble every time. He should be putting up better passing numbers this season due to his highly talented group of receivers, but that is not happening either.
6. Eddie Lacy – RB – Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy basically carried the Packers on his shoulders after Aaron Rodgers went out with an injury in 2013. Lacy rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those totals gave him the nod to make his first Pro Bowl appearance and even earned him Rookie of the Year honors. However, this season Lacy has not looked the same. He simply is not hitting the holes in the offensive line with the same power or speed he was last year. Even his coach, Mike McCarthy, has come out and stated “Eddie needs to play better.” So far this year Lacy has not scored a touchdown but has been tackled in the end zone for a safety and fumbled a ball that was returned for a touchdown. In reality he has scored more points for the other team than he has for his own. It was definitely too early to call this guy one of the top five best running backs in the NFL. He still has a lot to work on.
5. Jairus Byrd – S – New Orleans Saints
Jairus Byrd generates a lot of headlines. Unfortunately over the past two years those headlines have all been about how he wants to get paid more to play rather than how well he is playing. Byrd finally did get paid this offseason. The Saints signed the former Bills’ safety to a six-year contract worth over $56,000,000. The thought was that he would be the final piece of the puzzle to bring the team back to the Super Bowl. Last season, the Saints had one of the top ten defenses in the NFL due to their amazing secondary. The only difference this year is Byrd and the secondary has underperformed.
4. Keenan Allen – WR – San Diego Chargers
Like Eddie Lacy, it was too early to say Keenan Allen was one of the best players at his position. The Chargers’ wide receiver set multiple franchise records last season, but so far he has not even been a factor. He has been unable to surpass 55 yards in a game despite the fact that Philip Rivers is playing at an extremely high level. It is not like he has not had a chance to contribute. He is just dropping too many passes.
3. Larry Fitzgerald – WR – Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald is overrated, but for a good reason. Someday, we will see his bust in Canton. Even the greats cannot beat out Father Time. Fitzgerald dealt with a string of injuries last season and was unable to hit the 1,000 receiving yard mark. Even when he was completely healthy, it was clear he had lost the ability to beat out the younger defensive backs in the league on deep routes. We still consider him one of the best wide receivers in the NFL today, but this is because the image of him as the most dominant wide receiver in the game is still fresh in our minds. It really looks like those days are behind him though.
2. Richard Sherman – CB – Seattle Seahawks
Richard Sherman is one of those players that you either love or hate. He is definitely very talented. It just seems that part of the reason he has been trumped up as the best cornerback in the league is because he is always in the media. In reality Sherman is a cornerback who only covers one side of the field, not the team’s best wide receiver. He plays in a zone defense, which is much easier to be effective in than in man-to-man coverage. He also struggles with smaller, shifty receivers and underneath routes. So far this year, Kam Chancellor has proved to be the best defensive back on the Seahawks’ roster. Whenever some is said to be the best in the league, they should at least be the best on their team. Sherman is not.
1. Johnny Manziel – QB – Cleveland Browns
Who is more overrated than Johnny Manziel? How could anyone be more overrated? He has got to be the only backup quarterback in the NFL with a nickname. The Cleveland fan base thought that this guy was going to be their franchise’s savior. He was not even able to win the starting job and it is not like Brian Hoyer is Joe Montana. Still, even though he is a backup, he is still the most seen face on ESPN and has the best-selling jersey in the NFL.