Most Underrated Players In The NFL Right Now

Most NFL fans will have heard of at least some of these guys. However, it might take a diehard to recognize all of the names in this list. If you do know who these guys are then you should know they are underappreciated for what they bring to the field every Sunday. These are the most underrated players in the NFL right now.

20. Christian Kirksey, ILB, Cleveland Browns
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Last season he finished third in the NFL with 148 total tackles. He is always around the ball. However, chances are you never heard of him because he is overshadowed by the mess that has been the Cleveland Browns the last few seasons. He is one of the best linebackers in the game and it’s a shame most people outside of Cleveland have never heard of him.

19. David Bakhtiari, OT, Green Bay Packers
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He hardly ever gets mentioned among the better left tackles which is strange because he was winner of Pro Football Focus’ Best Pass Protector Award last season. Protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blind side is a thankless job and won’t win you fame but there is no doubt that he is one of the best at his position right now. Most NFL fans have never heard of him.

18. Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets
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It might seem strange to put a Jets’ offensive player on this list but Anderson is a lot better than he gets credit for. The second-year receiver from Temple caught 42 passes last season for 587 yards and two touchdowns. This season he is being asked to take a huge step up and help lead the Jets’ passing attack. He might not be ready to break out as a top receiver in the NFL but he will show he is more than capable in his position. He is still learning but he is a reliable weapon in an offense that is almost completely devoid of them.

17. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
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Hard to imagine a quarterback being undervalued but that’s what Taylor is. There was talk Buffalo wasn’t going to bring him back this season but they were smart to do so. Then they traded away Sammy Watkins, his best receiver. Taylor has never had a lot of talent around him but still went to a Pro Bowl in 2015. Coming into the 2017 season he had thrown 37 touchdowns compared to just 14 interceptions. Two of those interceptions came when he wasn’t even the starter. It would be interesting to see what he can do with a really good team around him.

16. Ryan Kerrigan, OLB, Washington Redskins
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He has been in the league since 2011 but he has never gotten full recognition for what he does on the field. He is kind of in that Justin Smith mold, he does a lot of things really well but his stats don’t jump out at you. Still, he has averaged just under 10 sacks a year since coming into the league and has been solid against the run, in coverage and in rushing the passer. He is the kind of player John Madden would love to talk up every Sunday.

15. Brent Grimes, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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To put it bluntly, Grimes is given a bad rap because of his wife’s outspoken nature. The truth is he is one of the best corners in the game. He put up nearly identical numbers to Richard Sherman last season. He has 30 interceptions in his 11-year career and even though he has appeared in four Pro Bowls he never gets mentioned among the top corners. He is probably entering the twilight of his career at 34 but he is still underrated for what he does and has done.

14. Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins
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Slot receivers don’t tend to get a lot of love but Crowder deserves it. He is one of the best slot receivers in the game and a favorite target of Kirk Cousins in an offense with a lot of weapons. Last season he had 847 yards receiving on 67 catches and had seven touchdowns. The Redskins’ offense is built around the run and spreading the ball around which limits Crowder a bit. He has the speed to take advantage of defenses with the ball in his hands and is a solid punt returner, something he excelled at while at Duke.

13. Chris Harris, Jr., CB, Denver Broncos
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He is overshadowed by Aqib Talib but Harris is consistently good from game to game. He is also one of the rare corners who can defend the slot well. It is easy to overlook him with Talib and Von Miller on the same defense but Harris should get a lot more credit than he does. He was named First-team All-Pro last season and has made the Pro Bowl each of the last three years but still flies under the radar except in Denver.

12. Cameron Jordan, DE, New Orleans Saints
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Most folks get him confused with tight end Jordan Cameron. However, Jordan has been a staple of the Saints’ defense for years. He gets overlooked because he doesn’t have eye-popping numbers and the Saints’ defense has not been good in forever. He has two Pro Bowls under his belt and if he had a little more help he would have more.

11. Danielle Hunter, DE, Minnesota Vikings
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This will be the last year he appears on an underrated list. He will soon be known alongside other great pass rushers. Last year, his second in the NFL, he had 12.5 sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown. Still, he got overlooked. He teams with Everson Griffen to form a formidable pass rush duo. He should continue to improve and could very well become a household name.

10. Damon Harrison, DT, New York Giants
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Pro Football Focus named him the best run defender in football last year. Last year was a small step down from his performance with the New York Jets in 2015. He didn’t even make the Pro Bowl. Harrison is the perfect fit in a 4-3 defense and does everything that is asked of him in the middle. For some reason, guys in the trenches never get respect and Harrison is a perfect example.

9. Kyle Juszczyk, FB, San Francisco 49ers
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NFL teams went on a spending spree this offseason on fullbacks and Juszczyk was the prime beneficiary, inking a deal with the 49ers for $5.25 million per year. It was the largest contract to a fullback in history. On the field, he is an outstanding blocker and capable pass catcher. With the 49ers in a rebuild, Juszczyk could be just what the 49ers need to keep their quarterback alive and stimulate Carlos Hyde and the run game. He is arguably the best at what he does.

8. Michael Pierce, DT, Baltimore Ravens
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Pierce was undrafted as a rookie and split time with Brandon Williams but he is a force against the run and seems to get no recognition outside of Baltimore. Even after ranking as the second-best run-stopper in the NFL last season many fans haven’t heard of him and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

7. Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
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Goff seemed to be written off by a large chunk of NFL fans after a painful rookie season. Some even called him a bust after less than a year under center but Goff is showing folks what he can do this season with more weapons around him and more time learning the position. Goff was always a project coming out of college but people seem to forget that and expect big things from first rounders. Goff has a chance to be a very good quarterback in this league and he is certainly better than what he showed last season.

6. Rishard Matthews, WR, Tennessee Titans
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Matthews finally got some attention last season after posting nine touchdowns and 945 yards on 65 catches last season. He is off to a healthy start in 2017 as well and could emerge among the top wide receivers very soon. Not bad for a seventh round pick.

5. Yannick Ngakoue, OLB, Jacksonville Jaguars
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With so many high-profile defensive players that were taken with high draft picks, Ngakoue flies under the radar. Last season, his rookie year, he had eight sacks, forced four fumbles, picked off a pass, and defensed two more passes. The third rounder was a huge surprise and could be Jacksonville’s best young defender in time.

4. D.J. Reader, DT, Houston Texans
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The Texans picked Reader in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and Reader wound up starting seven games. He was impressive against the run and gave the Texans confidence in him moving forward. Vince Wilfork is gone and Reader is the starter now and the Texans defense depends on him disrupting up the middle and crushing the hopes and dreams of their opponent’s run game. Reader doesn’t disappoint.

3. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota Vikings
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Some will argue that Rhodes was the top corner in football last year while others probably never heard of him. Last season, quarterbacks had a 39.2 passer rating when throwing in his direction. He was targeted a total of 79 times in 14 games and he allowed an NFL-low 41.8 percent catch rate for opposing wide receivers. He ended the year with five interceptions and led a surprisingly good Vikings defense.

2. James Bradberry, CB, Carolina Panthers
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Josh Norman was let go before last season and Bradberry stepped right up. The second round pick held quarterbacks to a 69.9 passer rating and held receivers to just 10.7 yards per catch. He should get better from his rookie year showing and Carolina certainly has pinned their hopes on that. Not a lot of fans know who Bradberry is but opposing offenses do and they try to avoid throwing in his direction.

1. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
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Every football fan knows the name. But after coming out of Alabama and sitting behind DeMarco Murray last season, Henry faded a little in people’s minds. The truth is, he is the best running back on the Titans’ roster right now and the coaching staff is splitting the carries between Henry and Murray at an almost even split so far in 2017. Henry is big at 6’3” and 247 pounds and he is fast for his size, running a 4.54 40-yard dash at the combine. He should soon be known as one of the better running backs in the NFL, especially running behind that offensive line.