The All Overrated Team
I referenced this in another thread. the most overrated at each position. Only one Saint and probably not one for long...
The Sporting News 12/04-
Imagine a football team that included 14 players who were first-round draft picks and 15 players who had been selected to a combined 57 Pro Bowls. With all that talent, you'd think it would be a Super Bowl lock. What we have, instead, is the NFL's all-overrated team.
The Sporting News assembled a panel of eight NFL scouts (one from each division) and two TV analysts and asked them to pick the most overrated players at each position. Some will surprise you, and some won't.
Joey Harrington, Lions. Expectations were high for Harrington, the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, but after almost three seasons he still is inconsistent. "He looks confused and doesn't look like he's playing with confidence," says one NFC scout. You can't argue the Lions haven't improved the talent around him. In the past two years, they've added running back Kevin Jones and receivers Charles Rogers (who has twice broken his collar-bone and played in just six games in two seasons) and Roy Williams.
Kevan Barlow, 49ers. One scout questioned whether the 49ers should have released Garrison Hearst after last season and "passed the torch" to Barlow, an inside power runner with adequate speed. He says Barlow is "terrible" at picking up the blitz. "In the West Coast system, that'll kill you." In Barlow's defense, he has not had much blocking help.
Mike Alstott, Bucs. He has the reputation of a short-yardage, power runner who is an above-average blocker and can catch the ball. But he doesn't do those things as well as he did three years ago. "He's not the same physical, explosive, dominant guy," says an AFC scout.
Keyshawn Johnson's much-hyped "breakaway speed" is more myth than reality. The perception is Johnson is a vertical threat who can outrun corners and make big plays. The reality: He is a possession receiver who can position himself to make catches against smaller defensive backs but has trouble breaking press coverage. "A lot more smoke than fire," says an NFC scout.
Peerless Price, Falcons. To acquire Price in 2003, Atlanta traded a first-round pick to Buffalo and gave Price a big contract. The Falcons have not reaped nearly enough from their investment. Price is fast and quick, but sometimes he runs out of control, and he hasn't made enough big plays for someone who is supposed to be a No. 1 receiver.
Jeremy Shockey, Giants. His production has not matched his athletic ability. One explanation might be he hasn't fully recovered from offseason foot surgery. Another is that he has been asked to do more blocking this season, which limits his chances to make plays.
Chris Samuels, Redskins. Some observers compared Samuels to Jonathan Ogden, Walter Jones and Orlando Pace when he was the third pick overall in 2000. Nobody is grouping him with those elite left tackles now. One scout described Samuels as a heavy-footed guy who gets beat on bull rushes and is lazy at times.
Luke Petitgout, Giants. Back problems have slowed Petitgout, but they don't account entirely for his mediocre play. He gets beat by power moves, and he gets beat by quickness. "Here's a guy who's supposed to be the anchor of that Giants line," says an NFC scout.
Ruben Brown, Bears. Some scouts think Brown, whose season was ended in late November by a neck injury, has been living off his reputation as an eight-time Pro Bowl player. When he pulls and gets out in space, he is an athletic lineman. When he's asked to anchor inside and be physical, he doesn't do as well.
Damien Woody, Lions. Woody, a first-round pick by the Patriots in 1999, has great athletic ability, but he underachieved in New England before getting a big free-agent deal from Detroit after last season. "Once he got the money, he went from being a good, solid, dependable player to just a guy," says an NFC scout.
Kevin Mawae, Jets. The only center who received more than one vote, Mawae is the choice by default. One scout's take: "I think people are enamored with the fact he's athletic and can pull. But when he's got to be man-on-man, the fight is a little different. He doesn't show up as a guy who will anchor and stop a bull rush."
Marcellus Wiley, Cowboys. Jerry Jones paid Wiley big bucks to come in and be a three-down, high-impact end who could both stop the run and rush the passer. It took Wiley 11 weeks to come up with his first sack of the season.
Grant Wistrom, Seahawks. Wistrom, who landed a $14 million bonus when he signed as a free agent with Seattle, plays with intensity and effort, but the production is rarely there. He struggles to get off blocks and most offensive tackles can handle him without help. "You've got to respect him," says an AFC scout, "but you don't have to fear him."
Chris Hovan, Vikings. He made his reputation as a disruptive defender by out-quicking opponents with his initial movement off the snap. Somewhere, he lost that and now teams seem to have figured him out. "He's got all these arms and legs and elbows thrashing around, but he's never really going anywhere," says an NFC scout.
Warren Sapp, Raiders. Sapp's play started declining before he departed Tampa as a free agent after last season. Once the best 3 technique tackle in the league who was a mismatch inside because of his explosiveness and quickness, he is out of place when he lines up at end in the Raiders' 3-4 scheme.
Brian Urlacher, Bears. He gets plenty of hype as one of the best in the game, but here are the facts: he needs to be shielded by defensive tackles who can keep offensive linemen off him and he takes himself out of far too many plays."He hurts (the Bears) as much as he helps them," says one scout.
LaVarr Arrington should concentrate less on celebrating and more on fundamentals. Arrington, who has missed most of this season after knee surgery in September, is a contradiction. He makes plays in areas where he shouldn't be and misses them in areas where he's supposed to be. He'll read one play and close the gap quickly, then misread the next play and take himself out of position. "He free-lances a bit and tries to make the big hit when he just needs to play the position and make tackles," says an AFC scout.
Zach Thomas, Dolphins. A tough, blue-collar player who is undersized (5-11, 230) for a middle linebacker, Thomas can make a ton of tackles when he's protected by his defensive linemen. When he doesn't get that protection, he can become lost in space.
Charles Woodson, Raiders. He's a gambler who tries to bait teams into throwing at him so he can make interceptions. But he gives up a lot more big plays than he makes. Woodson also doesn't show a lot of intensity and isn't big on run support. "His bite isn't as good as his bark," says an AFC scout.
Dre' Bly, Lions. He had six interceptions en route to his first Pro Bowl last season, but Bly is more of a solid No. 2 corner than a dominant No. 1. He gets beat on jump balls by bigger receivers, guesses too often and gives up a lot of plays.
Tebucky Jones, Saints. He can get from Point A to Point B as fast as anyone. But what Jones possesses in speed, he lacks in instincts. "He's all over the place," says an NFC scout. "You just can't trust him."
John Lynch, Broncos. Age and injuries have reduced Lynch to a one-dimensional player. He still can deliver a hit that will rattle your ribs, but he lacks the speed to be a good cover safety and needs to play near the line of scrimmage to be most effective.
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