The most underrated player for every NFL team

Football is the ultimate team game, and often excellent players don’t receive the attention they deserve. These NFL players are the most underrated on their respective teams heading into 2020.


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Overshadowed on Arizona’s defense by stars Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones, Baker has developed into an excellent playmaker in three seasons. Baker had made two Pro Bowls and led the NFL with 104 solo tackles last season.


Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan, QB

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Ryan has received his due over the years, winning the 2016 MVP and making four Pro Bowls. Still, he’s rarely mentioned among the elite quarterbacks in the league, yet the Falcons have ranked top 10 in yards in seven of the last eight seasons with Ryan under center. At age 35, he still has more time to build his Hall of Fame resume.


Baltimore Ravens: Mark Ingram, RB

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Running back isn’t valued like it used to be in the NFL, and Ingram has never been a star despite his status as a former Heisman Trophy winner and 2011 first-round pick. However, he’s become a late bloomer, with three 1,000 yard seasons in the last four years and two Pro Bowls over that time. He was the lead running back on the most prolific running offense in the league last season.


Buffalo Bills: Micah Hyde, S

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Buffalo’s offense has become one of the top units in the league, but Hyde’s play has been a big contributor over the last three seasons. He’s missed only one game during that time and made the Pro Bowl in 2017 due to his five interceptions. 


Carolina Panthers: Teddy Bridgewater, QB

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Bridgewater is set to get another opportunity to start after signing with the Panthers. Carolina likely saw his past success as an attractive feature. While Bridgewater has rarely produced big numbers, he’s been an excellent game manager with a 22-12 record as an NFL starter since 2014. With major turnover on their roster, the Panthers are counting on that same stability this season.


Chicago Bears: Akiem Hicks, DE

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The drop-off for Chicago’s defense was apparent when Hicks missed 11 games last season due to injury. He started every game for the Bears in the previous three seasons, with a total of 23 sacks while also playing the run extremely well as one of the league’s biggest defensive linemen, listed at 6-foot-4, 352 pounds. The Bears would be relieved to have a healthy Hicks back in 2020.


Cincinnati Bengals: Carlos Dunlap, DE

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Dunlap’s production and consistency has often been overlooked, especially on a Bengals defense that has declined recently. Bengals fans know Dunlap’s contribution well, as he has 81.5 sacks over 10 NFL seasons, along with two Pro Bowl appearances. Despite Cincinnati’s recent struggles, he has accumulated 17 sacks over the last two seasons.


Cleveland Browns: Kareem Hunt, RB

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Hunt is underrated for the simple reason that he’s now a backup for Nick Chubb in Cleveland, but he did lead the league in rushing during 2017 with the Chiefs. He’s also shown himself to be an excellent receiver and fumbled just twice in his career, with the first fumble coming on the first official carry of his career. With a new coaching staff and clean slate entering Week 1, the Browns will likely look for more ways to use Hunt.


Dallas Cowboys: La'el Collins, RT

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Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith gets most of the attention along the team’s offensive line, making seven consecutive Pro Bowls, but several other linemen deserve attention. Collins has developed into one of the game’s top right tackles after moving over from guard early in his career and has missed only one game over the last three seasons.


Denver Broncos: Justin Simmons, S

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Simmons hasn’t received Pro Bowl recognition during his career, but he’s made himself into an excellent safety over four seasons. He’s recorded over 90 tackles to back-to-back seasons and did an excellent job in coverage last year, holding opposing passers to a 53 percent completion rate.


Detroit Lions: Marvin Jones, WR

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Jones has often been overshadowed by other wideouts during his career, but he continues to produce as an outstanding deep and red-zone threat. Since joining the Lions four seasons ago, Jones has averaged 63 yards per game and has a pair of nine touchdown seasons.


Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB

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Alexander hasn’t made a Pro Bowl yet, but that should change soon if he continues to play like he has in his first two seasons. The 2018 first-round pick was terrific last season, holding quarterbacks to a 54 percent competition rate and 85.8 Passer Rating in 16 regular-season starts.


Houston Texans: Will Fuller, WR

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Fuller’s contribution is apparent when he’s on the field, but he’s had trouble staying healthy in four seasons, playing a total of 42 regular-season games. During the last two years, Fuller has averaged an impressive 65 yards per game and 14.5 yards per catch, excellent numbers as the team’s No. 2 wideout behind DeAndre Hopkins. With Hopkins gone, Houston is counting on Fuller to stay healthy in 2020.


Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Castonzo, LT

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Castonzo has been Indy’s starting left tackle since he was drafted in 2011. He’s enabled the organization to forget about the all-important spot and has been consistent, but Castonzo has somehow failed to make the Pro Bowl during his nine-year career.


Jacksonville Jaguars: Taven Bryan, DT

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The Jaguars will be counting on more young players this season after major turnover on defense. Bryan has seen limited snaps in two seasons despite being a first-round pick in 2018, but his contribution has ramped up well on the interior of the defensive line. After recording two sacks and nine quarterback hits last season despite seeing only 46 percent of snaps, Bryan will have a chance to add much more this year.


Kansas City Chiefs: Mitchell Schwartz, RT

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Schwartz has been everything the Chiefs could have hoped for since they signed him from Cleveland in 2016. He never missed an offensive snap in his NFL career until last season and has been one of the league’s elite pass blockers at any position in recent seasons. However, Schwartz has failed to get many accolades, being named an All-Pro in 2018 but failing to make the Pro Bowl in eight seasons.


Las Vegas Raiders: Richie Incognito, OG

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The Raiders surprised many when they signed Incognito in 2019 in spite of his past off-field troubles, but he immediately showed most of his old ability. Incognito played well in 12 games at age 36 despite missing all of 2018 and was rewarded with a two-year, $14 million contract.


Los Angeles Chargers: Austin Ekeler, RB

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Ekeler has served as Melvin Gordon’s backup in three seasons, but he’s set to be the Chargers starter after getting a new contract. He’s been an elite pass-catching back, as he showed last season with 92 catches, but has also averaged an impressive 4.8 yards per carry for his career. It remains to be seen if Ekeler can handle a full workload, but L.A. is counting on it after allowing Gordon to walk in free agency.


Los Angeles Rams: Gerald Everett, TE

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The Rams have been omplimentary of Everett’s ability during his three seasons, but the former second-round pick has had trouble finding the field as a backup tight end. His production has increased, particularly last season with 37 catches for 408 yards in 13 games despite seeing only 40 percent of the team’s offensive snaps for the year. With the loss of Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks, the Rams could be counting on Everett more in 2020.


Miami Dolphins: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB

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Fitzpatrick deserves props not only for his 2019 performance in Miami but also for what he’s done during his entire career. The Harvard alum has played for eight different teams over 15 seasons and led a Dolphins roster lacking talent to a 5-8 record as a starter last season. He will lose his starting job to 2020 draftee Tua Tagovailoa sooner or later, but the Dolphins know they have a veteran quarterback who gives them a chance to win with over 32,000 passing yards for his career.


Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins, QB

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Cousins found a big contract with Minnesota in 2018 and finally erased the narrative that he couldn’t win a big game last year, beating the Saints in the playoffs. He’s been mostly a .500 quarterback during his career, but Cousins has been highly efficient since joining the Vikes, completing 69.7 percent of his passes with a 103.0 Passer Rating. It’s clear Washington should regret allowing Cousins to go elsewhere.


New England Patriots: James White, RB

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White isn’t a traditional running back, but his contribution and role can’t be understated in New England’s offense. He has more than 70 receptions in consecutive seasons and has also produced more than 900 yards from scrimmage in both campaigns. White has also made legendary playoff contributions for the Patriots.


New Orleans Saints: Demario Davis, LB

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The Saints have had an elite run defense over the last two seasons, which has correlated with Davis’ arrival from the Jets. He’s started every game over that time, with 221 total tackles and nine sacks. Davis also played the pass well last year, helping him earn All-Pro honors. Still, he’s never made the Pro Bowl in eight seasons.


New York Giants: Golden Tate, WR

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Tate has had a long a productive 10-yard career that continues with the Giants. Playing in 11 games in New York last season, he averaged 61.5 yards and scored six touchdowns. Tate has only one Pro Bowl during his career, but he’s surpassed 1,000 yards receiving three times.


New York Jets: Marcus Maye, S

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Jamal Adams gets most of the attention in the Jets secondary, but Maye has also been a good contributor over the last three seasons. Returning from an injury-plagued 2018 season, Maye started all 16 games last year and finished with 65 tackles and seven passes defensed while holding quarterbacks to a 50 percent competition rate.


Philadelphia Eagles: Dallas Goedert, TE

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The Eagles found an elite second tight end when they drafted Goedert in 2018. He’s blossomed into a major weapon for Philly, finishing last season with 58 catches for 607 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games last season. Playing behind Zach Ertz, Goedert still isn’t a well known name yet.


Pittsburgh Steelers: Steven Nelson, CB

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Signed as a free agent from Kansas City last offseason, Nelson put in an elite year for a great Steelers defense in 2019. His full contribution wasn’t seen on the stats sheet, but Nelson shut down opposing receivers, allowing just a 50 percent completion rate and 65.8 Passer Rating.


San Francisco 49ers: Jimmie Ward, S

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Injuries have been a big issue for Ward during his six seasons in San Francisco, but he’s a great safety when on the field. During 13 regular -eason games last year, Ward had 65 tackles and eight passes defensed while holding receivers to less than 10 yards per reception. He was rewarded with a contract extension in the offseason.


Seattle Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

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Lockett stepped up as Seattle’s No. 1 wideout last season following the retirement of Doug Baldwin. He surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the first time while catching 82 balls. Over the last two years, Lockett has 18 receiving touchdowns, and he’s also been an outstanding return man during his career.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ryan Jensen, C

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Tom Brady has reason to be comfortable with his new center in Tampa Bay. Jensen has been worthy of his four-year, $42 million contract that he signed in 2018 despite never making a Pro Bowl, performing well in all facets and playing every snap in three consecutive seasons.


Tennessee Titans: Rodger Saffold, OG

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Saffold signed a four-year, $44 million contract with the Titans last offseason and continued to be the mauling blocker that he was with the Rams. He’s never made a Pro Bowl in 10 seasons but has consistently been one of the best guards in football.


Washington Redskins: Matthew Ioannidis, DT

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Washington has a lot of first-round talent on its defensive line so Ioannidis, a former fifth-round pick, gets overlooked. He’s made himself into a top defensive tackle over the last two years with 16 total sacks, and Ioannidis also added 64 tackles last season.

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