There is no more polarizing word in sports than the word overrated. Well, except for maybe Tebow, but you get my point. There are overrated politicians, astronauts, and superheroes, but there are rarely heated arguments about who is more overrated: Hulk or Batman?
(It’s Batman. He has no superpowers. He drives a car. How super can he be? Oh, sorry …)
But in sports, we have these overrated arguments all the time. In the NFL, this argument happens hourly.
We wanted to have a sensible debate about the overrated NFL players, and we think this is it. Go ahead and pummel this list or like it. Just don’t call it overrated.
1. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions: As a rookie, Suh was brilliant. He was Defensive Rookie of the Year, and it seemed he would be an unstoppable force for years. Now, he’s become a stomp-able force. Suh is more known for his dirty play than effective football. The media lap dogs who once supported Suh have long since abandoned him because the dirty play has become impossible to defend. It goes beyond the infamous stomp he inflicted against Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving Day. It goes beyond the dirty stuff the following Thanksgiving for which he earned a $30,000 fine. Suh has been fined by the NFL for three nasty violations in only his first two years in pro football. He has nine personal fouls.
What has happened to Suh is that teams have adjusted to his style of play. Suh has one move — forward like a bull. Smart linemen can deal with that, no matter how strong Suh is. The belief among offensive coaches and players is that Suh has resorted to the dirty stuff to compensate for the fact that teams now know how to play him.
2. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys: Romo is a totally nice dude. If you met him, you would love him. As a player, he at times has astounding accuracy. That accuracy, mostly coming in moments when the pressure is thin and the air is relaxed, can be as good as anyone in the sport. Romo has also, to be charitable, been failed miserably by the team’s general manager, aka, the owner. He has a decent offensive line and great tight end, but his running back is slightly overrated (almost making this list), one of his receivers is a head case and the other gets injured a lot. And unlike the elite quarterbacks like Joe Flacco, he hasn’t had a defense to lean on.
Romo, however, has also massively choked. Numerously, in the worst moments. He has also been passed over by other great throwers. In the division, he has been passed by Eli Manning. In the conference, he’s been passed by Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and possibly Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and RG3. In the Super Bowl, Kaepernick showed the kind of big-game guts Romo hasn’t displayed.
3. Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit: Bush did win a Super Bowl with the Saints and did have his moments, but he has yet to live up to being the second overall pick in the 2006 draft. The Saints realized this, and now Bush is on his third team in four seasons.
4. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears: Cutler is 30 years old and was the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft. In Denver and Chicago, he has had solid weapons around him and good backs. Yet despite a strong arm he has won a solitary playoff game. One. Cutler is Jeff George.
Chicago’s offense has never been ranked higher than 23rd. Blame the previous coaching staff all you want but Cutler’s passer rating was pedantic even after adding the explosive Brandon Marshall.
Again, Cutler has a huge arm and some mobility. That’s good. But so did George.
5. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: If you could take the dedication of Jerry Rice and the brain of Paul Warfield and incorporate them both into the body of Bryant, the Dallas wide receiver would be better than both of them. Physically, he’s that gifted. The NFL hasn’t seen a wide receiver this physically imposing since Randy Moss.
Bryant, however, has the proverbial 10-cent noggin. His attention span on the field is erratic at best and off the field he can be a bit of a jerk. Last year, he was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence against his biological mom (she never pressed charges) and he was sued in 2011 for $861,000 after he allegedly didn’t pay for jewelry.
There are games, like the one against New Orleans, where he had 224 yards on nine catches. He also added two touchdowns. It’s in those moments where Bryant looks like one of the top three players at the position. Then he drops a pass or runs a wrong route. Then he runs another wrong route and you shake your head.
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