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Monday, December 17, 2018

15 most overrated NFL players last season

Dak Prescott
From start to finish, the 2017 NFL season was a wild ride with more than a handful of ups-and-downs. It was packed full of surprises, historic moments, feel good stories and, yes, quite a few disappointments. Some of those disappointments loomed larger than others as top-end players failed to deliver.

Here’s a look at the NFL’s 15 most overrated players of 2017:

15. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

After a dismal offensive season in 2016, many expected the Giants to erupt in 2017 and establish themselves as Super Bowl contenders. The belief was a strong defense would get them to the postseason and then two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning would lead them the rest of the way. All of those expectations fell flat and the 37-year-old Manning even found himself benched — controversially — in favor of Geno Smith. Part of Manning’s struggles can undoubtedly be attributed to a terrible offense line and the lack of a ground game, but his Pro Football Focus grade of 75.5 speaks volumes about how far he’s fallen.

14. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Mixon brought some very legitimate off-field issues with him to the NFL, but despite those, the Bengals decided to take a chance on him in the draft. Expectations were quite high for him on the field. With Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard struggling in recent years, Mixon had a heavy weight put on his shoulders; he was expected to come in and fix the ground game. Some even dared to suggest Mixon would be a better NFL running back than Adrian Peterson. Well, if the first year is any indication, that’s not going to be the case. Mixon finished the season with 913 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns, but averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and had three fumbles to nearly cancel out his touchdowns.

13. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

After an impressive rookie campaign in 2016, most experts anticipated a dominant sophomore season for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. The hype was through the roof and Prescott started out relatively strong. However, following the suspension of running back Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott was left without his security blanket and got exposed as a result. Even with the return of Elliott in December, Prescott could not regain his footing. The NFL had caught up to him and he was unable to make the counter-adjustments. The hype surround Prescott deflated as the QB finished the season with fewer passing yards, fewer touchdowns and more interceptions than he had as a rookie. Making matters worse, the Cowboys struggled to a 9-7 record and missed the playoffs.

12. Adrian Peterson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

When Adrian Peterson left Minnesota and signed with the New Orleans Saints, some thought he would return to form alongside Mark Ingram. That never came to fruition as Sean Payton severely limited Peterson’s touches. And when Alvin Kamara erupted, Peterson became expendable, ultimately being traded away to the Cardinals. And after two big games for Arizona, the hype train was again leaving the station for AP. But he promptly fell back down to earth, saw his production decrease as the season wore on, and eventually landed on season-ending injured reserve (IR). When all was said and done, Peterson averaged just 3.4 yards per carry on the season — roughly a yard and a half less than his career average — and ended the season with a dismal PFF grade of 43.5.

11. Darron Lee, LB, New York Jets

Coming out of Ohio State, Darron Lee’s stock was soaring. He was ultimately taken in the first round (No. 20 overall) by the Jets and many had him pegged as eventually taking over as their defensive leader. In 2017, Lee appeared in 15 games, recording 94 tackles (67 solo), three sacks, eight stuffs, three passes defensed and two forced fumbles. And while the statistics look good, there’s much more that goes into the game of football than the numbers. Lee did have a solid three-game stretch midseason which helped rebuild some of his hype, but he ultimately closed out the year with a PFF grade of 34.9, which was far more indicative of his sub-par play.

10. Alec Ogletree, LB, Los Angeles Rams

As a rookie in 2013, Alec Ogletree was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team. In 2016, he appeared to take his game to a new level and was named a Second Team All-Pro. This past season, the Rams’ defense — and really, the team as a whole — surprised many with a rapid ascension. However, Ogletree took a step backwards and wasn’t able to build upon his All-Pro season in 2016, ultimately crushing the hype that has followed him since college. He closed out the year with a PFF grade of just 38.9, which ranked him 76th among all linebackers.

9. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

When the league’s best quarterbacks are discussed, Cam Newton is often included. And after a huge season in 2015 that concluded with a Super Bowl 50 appearance, it was easy to understand why. However, in the two seasons that followed, Newton fell off the map a bit. That hasn’t stopped the lofty expectations or hype, however. Entering 2017, Newton was expected to compete for the NFL MVP award, but he came up well short. He finished the season with 3,302 passing yards, the second-lowest of his career, 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, which were the second-most of his career. Four lost fumbles also brought his turnover tally to 20, paving the way for a 77.7 PFF grade.

8. Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants

The Giants believed they had a real playmaker in Evan Engram when they selected him in the first-round of the 2017 NFL Draft. And in the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris, Engram did shine through a time or two. However, the hype really began to build as the Giants’ ship sunk, and many began likening Engram to Mark Bavaro and Jeremy Shockey. And while the rookie did put up some strong numbers when all was said and done, his blocking was clearly suspect throughout the season. Beyond that, he was near the league lead in dropped passes — several of which were quite damning to the offense throughout the season.

See Nos. 7-1 on Page 2

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