ESPN senior writer John Clayton recently released his 2011 All-Underrated Team and there were a couple of guys that might be members of the Arizona Cardinals for the 2011 season. As a note, I apologize that this has not been written earlier -- who knew that the time off of my regular job and taking care of my kids would be busier than work? But regardless, let's have a look and then you can chime in as to whether they belong or not.
Topping the list (maybe it is just because of the position) is wide receiver Steve Breaston. We know about the production he has had. Clayton says this:
Steve Breaston of the Cardinals played in the shadow of Larry Fitzgerald, but he's had 179 catches over the past three seasons.
Most impressive is he caught 77 passes for 1,006 yards in 2008 as the third receiver behind Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.
We have seen the great and the flawed. He was one of the most sure-handed receivers in the NFL, dropping only two passes in 18 games. However, 2010 was different. He was one who dropped more than his fair share.
You can say that the 77 passes he caught is less impressive because he was playing in the third slot. I am not one of those guys. he is as solid a number two guy as there is if he stays healthy. Add that to the fact that he plays with heart and effort and you have a guy you want on your team.
I'll look it statistically, but based on what I remember, his absence regularly seemed to hurt the Cardinals offense than did the absence of Anquan Boldin when he was here.
The other underrated player that could be a Cardinal in 2011 is Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton. I think he is probably the best guy for the title of underrated quarterback. He has put up good numbers and yet always seems to be overlooked by his team. You might say he is the Jeff Garcia of the present (except that Orton has not led winning teams recently).
Clayton wrote this:
Orton's better than people think. He's smart. He's accurate. He can move an offense. Because he's not mobile and not a big name, he seems the quarterback the front office always wants to replace. He'll never be elite, but you have to special to be elite.
Nevertheless, Orton is good enough to compete with the elite quarterbacks and not be embarrassed. If the Arizona Cardinals can't acquire Kevin Kolb in a trade, they can go after Orton and significantly upgrade their offense.
Your turn now. Do these guys belong on the list? Are there any other players that are more underrated? Check out the link and at the other players and comment away.