Steve Slaton (Jeff Gentner/AP)
Everyone already knows about the Mannings (NFL royalty), Johnson’s, Peterson’s, and Fitzgerald’s. Scout.com contributor J.D. Bernstein decided to enlighten us about some of the stellar NFL players which aren’t household names, at least not yet.
QB Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals- 4582 yards, 30 TD’s 14 picks; awesome season but no one mentions him when talking about the best. There’s no such thing a truly underrated QB because they get talked about so much, but Warner should make the Hall of Fame due to what he’s done to turn around two nearly dead franchises.
RB Steve Slaton, Houston Texans-1282 rushing yards, 4.8 ypc, 10 TD’s and he didn’t make the Pro Bowl. Egregious.
RB Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions- 975 yards, 4.1 ypc, 8 TD’s, while playing on the worst team in NFL history with a terrible offensive line.
WR Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs- 1022 yards and 7 TD’s without a quarterback.
WR Kevin Walter, Houston Texans- 899 yards and 8 TD’s while playing second fiddle to Andre Johnson.
TE Anthony Fasano, Dallas Cowboys- only 34 receptions, but made them count averaging 13.4 a catch and scoring seven times, also a very solid blocker.
LT Mike Gandy, Arizona Cardinals
LG Rich Seubert, New York Giants
C Dominic Raiola, Detroit Lions
RG Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints
RT Eric Winston, Houston Texans
LE Aaron Smith, Pittsburgh Steelers- Harrison, Polamalu, and Farrior get most of the pub, but they wouldn’t have nearly the success they do without Smith.
RE Trent Cole, Philadelphia Eagles- This little known Eagle recorded nine sacks a year ago and was one of the main reasons why the birds went to yet another NFC Championship game.
NT Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh Steelers- He’s a household name in Pittsburgh, but not in a lot of other places. Hampton is your classic nose tackle, as he sucks up blockers so the guys behind him can make the plays and take the credit.
MLB D'Qwell Jackson, Cleveland Browns- His Cleveland team may have had a disappointing season, but Jackson certainly didn’t. 154 tackles from the tackling machine.
MLB David Harris, New York Jets- Harris has been more than solid ever since landing in the Big Apple, and although his team struggled down the stretch, it was due to no fault of Harris.
OLB Zac Diles, Houston Texans- Diles is the epitome of underrated, as few outside of the lone-star state know his name. Diles simply makes plays all over the field and will be a force to be reckoned with for the next several years.
OLB Ernie Sims, Detroit Lions- There wasn’t much to cheer about for the Lions defense, but when there was something to cheer for, Sims was usually the reason for it.
CB Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee Titans- He made a Pro Bowl, but still nobody knows who the heck he is.
CB Terrence McGee, Buffalo Bills- Great cover guy, great return guy.
FS O.J. Atogwe, St. Louis Rams- Another great player on a terrible defense. The few Rams fans that aren’t completely engrossed with the baseball season would’ve jumped off bridges if the Rams hadn’t retained Atogwe.
SS Yeremiah Bell, Miami Dolphins- He is more than solid, and he could start and be a star on just about any team in the NFL.