The highest level of professional American football in the world, the NFL is an American tradition like no other. The 2018 the Super Bowl – face-off between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles – was viewed by 100.7 million fans on both television and streaming services. Despite that exposure, there are still some Underrated NFL Players.
With high anticipation for the performances – both of the teams as well as the half-time show – the Super Bowl, and the NFL as a league, continues to be successful. But the high-profile status of so many star players means that every season, others go under the radar — avoiding the headlines but still providing results for their team.
Top 5 most underrated NFL players to watch in 2019
Deion Jones — Atlanta Falcons
Deion Jones, otherwise known as “Debo”, was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 2016 draft. His professional debut occurred at the Atlanta season-opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he recorded six combined tackles.
His 2017 Pro Bowl season was particularly successful, during which he recorded 138 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended. Linebackers don’t always get the same glory as quarterbacks — but Jones’s skillset has become invaluable to the Falcons. Since healing from a foot injury in 2018, he’s likely to be a key player in the Falcons’ pursuit of Super Bowl glory.
“I thought we finished strong.” said Jones of the season. “That’s what we preach. I felt like we finished real strong and I appreciate all the guys who [were] out there and fought and anybody that had to do with the preparation. That was dope and I appreciate it.”
“Obstacles happen,” he added. “Ups and downs. It’s how you come back from them.”
Delanie Walker — Tennessee Titans
Delanie Walker’s was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2006. The California-born wide receiver recorded two receptions for 30 yards and had a 25-yard kick-off return during his rookie season.
During his seven-year stint with the 49ers, Walker was overshadowed by tight end football star Vernon Davis. In 2013 he signed with the Tennessee Titans to a four-year $17.5 million contract with $8.6 million guaranteed. It was with the Titans where Walker – out of the spotlight of Davis – has been given space to shine. Considered a Swiss Army Knife option, he has fantastic versatility in his position and has recorded an average of 71 receptions for 831 yards in five seasons thus far.
However, his 2018 season began with a crushing disappointment, in the form of a dislocated ankle and associated fracture. He missed the remainder of the season due to the injury and will be hoping to bounce back for the 2019 season. Fitness could prove his biggest obstacle. Fans of the Titans and fantasy football players will need to be patient with Walker before expecting too much – it might be worth waiting for him to prove his fitness before selecting him in your team!
Devin McCourty — New England Patriots
Free safety Devin McCourty has had quite the journey. McCourty signed with the Patriots in July 2010 with a five-year $10 million contract that included $7.28 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $1.5 million.
In his eight seasons with New England, McCourty led seven top-10 scoring defences. His career coincides with two Super Bowl titles and four AFC championship wins for the Patriots. McCourty’s 2018 season performance was particularly extraordinary, with one interception for 84 yards, 82 tackles and a Super Bowl win.
Kyle Williams — Buffalo Bills
Kyle Williams will definitely be missed by his team; the former defensive tackle retired in 2018 after 13 seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Described by the Associated Press as “the heart and soul” of the team, Williams is a six-time Pro Bowler and has accumulated 43.5 sacks — ranking fifth overall in Bill history in tackles and sacks.
His last game – a season-ending 42-17 win over the Miami Dolphins – finished with a standing ovation from the crowd in honour of his gameplay.
Tyrone Crawford — Dallas Cowboys
Need someone to step up the game?
For the Dallas Cowboys, that’s defensive end player Tyrone Crawford. Born in Windsor, Canada, the 29-year old enrolled at Bakersfield College following high school and was later recruited by Boise State University, where he played for the Broncos as a backup defensive end.
Peter Kwiatkowski, Crawford’s defensive line coach at Boise State, said of him: “He’s extremely reliable, conscientious. Very respectful. He keeps his ego in check, big-time. He’s got a boatload of talent and doesn’t let that go to his head, at all.”
It was this talent and attitude that got Crawford drafted as a rookie to the Dallas Cowboys in 2012; since then, he’s become a strong leader of the defensive line.
An incredibly versatile player, Crawford has always been known to take one for the team and sacrifice his own stats for the betterment of the Cowboys. He’s accumulated a total of 22 sacks during the course of his NFL career and 173 tackles.
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