The NFL is full of stars and big names, so it is very easy for some consistently dominant performers to be overlooked and forgotten about when talking about the elite players in the league. Many of these players are relatively quiet and therefore don’t make big media splashes, further removing their names from everyday conversation. But heading into the 2019 season, who are some of the most underrated players in the league?
5. Tre’Davious White
White, 24, is just entering his third year in the league, but he already has proven himself to be one of the elite cornerbacks in the NFL. White has proven himself able to essentially shut down any reciever, giving up a total of only two touchdowns last season. He possesses a great mind for the game combined with superb athletic ability, allowing him to be a shut-down cornerback. Despite all of this, do you hear White’s name nearly as much as Stephon Gilmore, Jalen Ramsay, Patrick Peterson, Xavien Howard, or even Trae Waynes? No. But White will continue to do his thing, and perhaps will earn some much-deserved recognition when he makes his first Pro Bowl.
4. Drew Brees
While Brees is often considered to be a top 10 QB of all time, his absurd achievements certainly have not been recognized as they should be. Drew finished last season with a TD:INT of 32:5, a completion percentage of 74.4, and a quarterback rating of 115.7. To put that number into context, Brady managed a 117.2 in 2007, the best season of the best QB of all time. The fact that Brees is getting only 1.5 under this as a 39-year-old is absurd. There have been 11 times in NFL history when a quarterback ended the season with a completion percentage of 70 or higher. Five of these were done by Drew Brees, including each of the last two seasons, where he broke the record and then broke his own record the next season. The accuracy he has managed to show is mind boggling. If only he could get that second ring or FINALLY win MVP, I feel that he could start getting the recognition he deserves. Until then, Brees is not only one of the most underrated players in the league today, but one of the most underrated of all time.
3. Jason Kelce
Not a lot of love ever goes to the big guys up front, but this feels like it’s almost more true for Kelce, who is not even the most famous Kelce in the NFL. Jason has allowed only one sack in three of his last four seasons (the other year he allowed two). Kelce was named a first team all-pro in 2017 and 2018 (and should be poised to do it in 2019 as well). He is equally efficient at run-blocking as he is at protecting his QB. Much of the Eagles recent success has been thanks to their offensive line, who had to play without Lane Johnson last season. Kelce was able to lead an otherwise unimpressive line to the playoffs. While it may sound silly to give credit to an offensive linemen for a team making the playoffs, his superb numbers warrant some credit. Jason Kelce has consistently demonstrated that he is one of the top o-linemen in the league and he deserves to be recognized as such.
2. A.J Green
I don’t know exactly how this happened, but A.J Green is never even brought up anymore when discussing who might be the best receiver in the NFL. Green has topped 1000 yards in 6 of his 8 seasons. The two where he didn’t, he played 9 and 10 games respectively (and in the 10 game season, he was only 36 yards away!). Not to mention that most of these yards have come from the definition-of-mediocrity Andy Dalton or his barrage of backups. Green has some of the best hands, route running, and size of any receiver in the NFL. He’ll come back next season and continue to massively produce with Dalton. If you don’t want to put Green in tier 1 with Brown, Jones, and Hopkins, he at least deserves to be in the 1A tier (with Michael Thomas and OBJ) rather than the second tier (where he is normally being put) along with TY Hilton and Mike Evans (both of whom are also underrated). Green is one of the five best in the NFL. Period end of story. Green is right now WR11 in fantasy mock drafts (FantasyPros). Grab him early in the third, and he’ll prove to you why he’s seriously slept on.
1. Lamar Miller
Unlike the other players on this list, I wouldn’t consider Lamar Miller to be elite. And yet he still tops my list as the most underrated player in the league. Why? Because somehow, despite managing over 1000 scrimmage yards in each of the last 5 seasons, there is talk every offseason about if the Texans are finally ready to replace him. Miller ran for the 11th most yards last season, sandwiched between Nick Chubb and James Conner. While Chubb and Conner are now seen as stars with years of potential, people think Miller should be replaced. Not to mention, Miller had this production with an absolutely abysmal offensive line. If Miller were putting up 500 yards a season, I would still say something along the lines of “who knows how good he is. That’s probably mostly the o-line.” The fact that there is even discussion of Lamar Miller being replaced when he puts up the numbers he does is flat out disrespectful. Like Green, Miller is another fantasy steal, going as RB29 (FantasyPros). Given how many teams run with committees, Miller is a steal. Both in fantasy football and real life, Lamar Miller is blatantly disrespected.