If I asked you which player on the Falcons' roster is the most overrated guy on the field on any given Sunday, it wouldn't take you long to come up with an answer. But the most underrated player--that's a matter that requires a little more consideration.
First of all, last season was terrible, so you have to really think about individual performances, because the collective team performance was so poor overall. No player seems underrated when a team loses that many games. Secondly, we need to define "underrated." For me, "underrated" means that the player is performing at a level that is higher than their pay grade.
By those standards, I have to exclude Matt Bryant. Bryant was my first choice when I came up with the idea for this article, but Bryant's cap hit for the coming season is $3,312,500. That places him sixth in the league among kickers in terms of compensation. Bryant came to mind for me because I am an unapologetic Matt Bryant fan and the idea that I've seen perpetuated lately that Atlanta should cut Bryant and move on with a new kicker is such an affront to my sensibilities, but while the majesty of Matt Bryant's leg may not be fully appreciated among Internet GMs, I can't say that his contributions on the field far exceed his level of compensation. Matt Bryant's not underrated.
With that criteria in mind, let's look at some other players who might be considered underrated.
Yeah, I'm an unapologetic Matt Bosher fan, also, but the kid's salary counts $668,950 against the cap this season and he is absolutely a tremendous asset for the Falcons. He tackles everyone, including assistant coaches if he has to, and he even recovered his own onside kick. Who does that?
I'm just going to throw Worrilow out here because there's a small contingent of folks who don't think he's good, and he also makes almost no money in an NFL context. Worrilow's pay will count $495,666 against the cap next season. He played approximately 75% of defensive snaps and led the team in tackles with 91. He also led the team in stops with 47, and had three sacks, four hits and 11 quarterback hurries on top of that.
Antone Smith isn't necessarily underrated by fans, but it seems that he may be underrated by the coaching staff. He showed in limited opportunities in 2013 that very good things can happen when he touches the ball. Smith's cap hit for 2014 is just about half of what Jacquizz Rodgers' cap hit will be, $762,500, and he racked up 145 yards and two touchdowns last season on just five carries.
Who do you think is the most underrated player on the Falcons' roster?