Some NFL players receive way too much credit. As organized team activities unfold, here’s a list of the most overrated player on each NFC roster:
Arizona Cardinals: Daryl Washington, LB
After Washington returned from a four-game suspension last season, he resumed his starting role. Washington is highly athletic and moves gracefully around the field. Which is why it came as a surprise that veteran Karlos Dansby was far superior in coverage last season.
San Francisco 49ers: Michael Crabtree, WR
Crabtree is essentially a possession receiver. He’s runs good routes and rarely drops a pass. But Crabtree isn’t much of a deep threat. The receiver’s 13.0 yards per catch average over his career doesn’t exactly instill fear in defenses.
Seattle Seahawks: Russell Okung, OT
As the sixth-overall pick in the 2010 draft, Okung is expected to be a dominant left tackle. Instead, he’s had multiple injury issues, and he didn’t play particularly well against some of the game’s best pass rushers during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl run.
St. Louis Rams: Jake Long, OT
It’s an old NFL cliche: “You can’t help the club from the tub.” Like others on this list, Long’s health has been an issue, particularly the last three seasons. He’s played well while on the field, but he’s been slowed by multiple injuries. The Rams drafted Auburn’s Greg Robinson No. 2 overall to provide insurance at left tackle.
Dallas Cowboys: Morris Claiborne, CB
Two years ago, the Cowboys traded up to the sixth-overall pick to select Claiborne. He was supposed to be the answer to a porous secondary. Claiborne has flashed talent in two seasons, but he’s also been benched several times.
New York Giants: Mathias Kiwanuka, DE
Kiwanuka, a former first-round pick, has struggled to find a definitive role within the Giants’ defense since he became a part of the organization in 2006. Last season, Kiwanuka didn’t generate consistent edge pressure, while his ability to stop the run was subpar.
Philadelphia Eagles: DeMeco Ryans, LB
While there is value in a linebacker that can stay on the field in any situation and provides leadership, Ryans’ overall play dipped in Year 2 with the Eagles. In particular, Ryans isn’t a physical presence against the run.
Washington Redskins: DeAngelo Hall, CB
Very few cornerbacks are as confident or beaten as consistently as Hall. The veteran also has a history of ill-timed penalties that have severely hurt his team’s success.
Chicago Bears: Charles Tillman, CB
The “Peanut punch,” in which Tillman punches the ball out of ball carrier’s hands for fumbles, revived his career in 2012. Injuries put him on the track to retirement in 2013. Tillman is 33 years old and can’t cover to the level he once did. This was evident when Tillman received little interest during free agency.
Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB
Only Giants quarterback Eli Manning has thrown more interceptions than Stafford’s 52 the past three seasons. Stafford has failed to lead the Lions to the playoffs the past two years. And Stafford also benefits greatly from the play of Calvin Johnson, whom the quarterback targets 25 percent of the time.
Green Bay Packers: A.J. Hawk, LB
Hawk has been a stalwart at inside linebacker the past eight seasons — he started all but fives games over that time — but he’s always been average-to-below average in pass coverage. The Packers can be exposed when Hawk is asked to cover tight ends or crossing receivers.
Minnesota Vikings: Chad Greenway, LB
Greenway is what is referred to as a “run and chase linebacker.” He’s at his best when he doesn’t have to work through traffic. Greenway isn’t nearly as effective when he has to take on blocks and be more physical at the point of attack.
Atlanta Falcons: Steven Jackson, RB
Jackson is a three-time Pro Bowler and an eight-time 1,000-yard rusher. However, he isn’t that back anymore. Jackson battled injuries during his first year with the Falcons, and he lacked explosion when he was on the field. His rushing numbers have decreased each of the past four years.
Carolina Panthers: DeAngelo Williams, RB
It’s been five years since Williams ran for more than 1,000 yards in a season — a feat he accomplished only twice in his career. Williams has played in only 16 games once in his career. Yet, Williams carries a $6 million cap hit in 2014, which is the eighth-highest among running backs.
New Orleans Saints: Zach Strief, OT
Strief may not be a household name, but he was graded as the top right tackle in the NFL last season by ProFootballFocus.com. When Strief hit the free-agent market, he wasn’t paid like a top tackle. Why? Because Strief benefits from Drew Brees’ quick release. And the most important linemen in the Saints’ scheme are the guards.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mark Barron, S
When a safety is selected with the seventh-overall pick, he’s expected to be a tremendous all-around player. During his two years with the Buccaneers, Barron has proven to be far stronger against the run than in coverage.