The NFL’s All-Overrated Team: The Defense and Special Teams

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SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 28: Free safety Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with strong safety Kam Chancellor #31 of the Seattle Seahawks after making a play during the first quarter of the game against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The word overrated is a funny one. To some, it means a player that is being paid more than he deserves. To others, it means a player that is not good at all, but receives praise anyway. The truth is different. The truth is that an overrated player is simply one that is good, but perhaps not as good as everyone says they are. Here’s the NFL’s All-Overrated Team for 2017, starting with the defense and special teams.

The NFL’s All-Overrated Team: The Defense and Special Teams

Defensive End: Muhammad Wilkerson

Muhammad Wilkerson should be an elite defensive lineman. He’s got all the physical tools and ability you could possible ask for. He just doesn’t bring it. 2016 was his worst year since his rookie season, and on the NFL’s worst roster, it’s hard to imagine him bouncing back in 2017.

Defensive Tackle: Ndamukong Suh

Since signing his massive deal with the Miami Dolphins, what has Suh actually done? He’s registered 11 sacks in two seasons, which wouldn’t be bad for a defensive tackle, had he not signed a contract with over $60,000,000 guaranteed. Suh burst onto the scene as a rookie, but he hasn’t sniffed the same production since.

Defensive End: Jadeveon Clowney

This is one of the most obnoxious topics in the NFL today. People want to keep praising Jadeveon Clowney for his development in the NFL, talking about how he’s finally arrived. But where’s the production? He has 10.5 sacks in his career to this point and he was the first overall pick. If you were the first overall pick, you shouldn’t be receiving praise for “being great against the run” in your third season. Especially not when you were taken ahead of Khalil Mack.

Outside Linebacker: Clay Matthews

This pick is a little unfair, but still justified. Clay Matthews was once one of the NFL’s best players. He was a serious stud on defense. Matthews registered ten sacks in each of his first two seasons. Since then? He’s only achieved that feat in two of the last six seasons. People talk about Matthews like he is a future Hall of Famer, but frankly, the numbers aren’t there. Maybe need wasn’t the only reason the Packers moved him inside.

Inside Linebacker: Ryan Shazier

Ryan Shazier has it. He has that magical thing that scouts and coaches all over the NFL are looking for year in and year out. Maybe it’s his blazing 40 time, or how good he looks when he’s on, but Shazier is just one of those guys that isn’t as good in practice as he is in theory. He can’t stay on the field, and he has yet to make a significant impact for the team, despite receiving heaps of praise.

Inside Linebacker: C.J. Mosley

C.J. Mosley of the Baltimore Ravens was hailed by many in birdland as the second coming of Ray Lewis. He seemed to fly all over the field, laying big hits and helping carry the Ravens back into the playoffs. In his rookie year, he had 99 tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble. He had more defensive rookie of the year votes than Khalil Mack did. However, since then? He hasn’t really developed. When healthy, former teammate Zach Orr actually outshined him.

Outside Linebacker: Anthony Barr

Anthony Barr is a confusing player. At times, he looks like he’s one of the best downhill linebackers in the NFL. Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy” should play when he’s chasing down rushers. But other times, he just doesn’t stand out. He was absolutely pedestrian in 2016, and yet people give him a ton of credit for Minnesota’s elite defense. A defense that stars Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, and Danielle Hunter, mind you.

Cornerback: Stephon Gilmore

There’s one thing you can’t be when you play corner, and that’s inconsistent. You don’t always need to make the big plays, but you can’t give up the big ones either. Stephon Gilmore just gives up too many plays. Why did Bill Belichick sign him to such a big deal after seeing what Chris Hogan did to him last year?

Cornerback: Marcus Peters

Marcus Peters has made quite the name for himself in the short time he’s been in the NFL, and people are already calling him one of the game’s best corners. Unfortunately, these people are wrong. He’s the most targeted corner in football over the last two years, and is limited by his good-not-great athleticism. Don’t buy it? Go back and watch film of him desperately trying to cover the likes of Julian Edelman or Amari Cooper.

Safety: Reggie Nelson

Reggie Nelson made the Pro Bowl in 2016, and many believe this is because he was a key part of Oakland’s defense. A defense that gave up several huge plays through the air, and couldn’t stop a leaky faucet. Go back and watch just about any highlight against the Raiders defense last year, and you’ll see Reggie Nelson’s dreadlocks desperately trailing a receiver.

Safety: Kam Chancellor

Kam Chancellor is a key part of Seattle’s Legion of Boom. He, Earl Thomas, and Richard Sherman help make up one of the NFL’s fiercest secondaries, and they’ve all got a part to play. Unfortunately, “Bam Bam Kam” is the Ringo Star of the L.O.B. He’s basically a super athletic linebacker, and doesn’t belong in the same conversation as Eric Weddle, Harrison Smith, or even his teammate.

Kicker: Sebastian Janikowski

Okay Raider Nation, put down your pitchforks. Yes, he’s the team’s all-time leading scorer. Yes, he was there when the team was bad. And yes, he had a monster leg once upon a time. But that’s just it. He had a monster leg. Time waits for no man, and Janikowski was miserable from 50+ last year. It might be time to retire the polish cannon.

Punter: Johnny Hekker

Can a punter be overrated? It’s really impossible to say. But considering that Johnny Hekker is the only punter receiving praise for his play, and not post-punt celebrations, he catches the bill here. Hekker gets credit for his record-setting net punt yardage, but absolutely nobody references just how good Los Angeles’ punt team really is. So there, consider the straw grasped.

If you’ve got the stomach for it, we’ve also done the all-overrated offense! Go check it out.

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