Bradley’s Buzz: Three Falcons among decade’s underrated

Say what you want about the Worldwide Leader, but it knows how to start a discussion. On its Insiders Web site, ESPN.com presents the 25 most underrated NFL players of the past decade, and also the 25 most overrated. Being Mr. Merry Sunshine, I’ll begin by accentuating the positive.

The list of the underrated (link requires registration) was compiled by Aaron Schatz of Football Insiders, and since it’s one of those pay-to-view things — and I paid my $39.95 — I’ll take the liberty of quoting liberally. The most undervalued player of the decade is wide receiver Derrick Mason. And three Falcons, present or past, are included:

11. John Abraham: Abraham ranks second in total sacks since 2000, behind Jason Taylor. He’s had five seasons with 10 or more sacks, plus a sixth season with 9½ in 12 games. He was a first-round pick and was later traded for a first-round pick, but he’s oddly under the radar. He hasn’t made the Pro Bowl since 2004, even with 16½ sacks last season.

22. Grady Jackson: Halfway through the 2003 season, the New Orleans Saints suspended Jackson for “conduct detrimental to the team” and then released him. Green Bay picked him up off waivers, and we’ll let the numbers tell the rest of the story. (The Packers’ defense averaged almost a full yard per play less with Grady in the game than with him on the bench.) He hasn’t been quite that important over the last couple years, but there’s no doubt the guy makes an impact.

Which Falcon has been the most underrated?

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24. Brian Finneran: His stats aren’t that impressive until you look at them compared to the rest of his team. Finneran was the best receiver in Atlanta until Roddy White finally developed. Year after year, the Falcons drafted or traded for younger guys, gave them the starting jobs and benched them when Finneran was clearly outplaying them. In 2005, Michael Vick completed 59 percent of his passes to Finneran, 46 percent to his other wideouts. That was nothing compared to 2004 as Vick completed 70 percent of his passes to Finneran and only 45 percent to his other wideouts.

Me, I’d agree about Abraham — pass rushers are supposed to be famous, aren’t they? — and to a lesser extent about Big Ol’ Grady. Finneran? Well, maybe.

Further reading: Mr. Schatz has thoughtfully compiled a companion list of the most overrated players of the past decade. The second name on it is an ex-Falcon. And Nos. 10 and 11 used to play here as well. All three of them made the Pro Bowl more than once.

63 comments Add your comment

No doubt about it...

June 30th, 2009
6:44 am

…MEangelo!

Marcus

June 30th, 2009
6:45 am

up early eh?
For over-reted my guesses, which is kinda hard since in our history, there haven’t been that many to get the volume of accolades to BE overated :) :
No. 2 – MV No. 7
No. 10 – Deangelo Hall (not sure if he made multiple-Pro Bowls, which runs contrary to your clue)
No. 11 – Deion Sanders – this may seen contradictory but Prime was a great player, but his Falcon impact as far as post-season success/team success may put him on this list.

KC

June 30th, 2009
7:03 am

Keith Brooking, D-Hall, and Warrick Dunn. MV7 will likely kick Dunn or KBrooking out. People hate him for winning and celebrate others with terrible stats and worse winning percentage. Winning with Jim Mora and Greg Knapp should count twice as much.

KT

June 30th, 2009
7:23 am

Jamal Anderson, Deion Sanders and of course, Meangelo Hall.

Mark Bradley

June 30th, 2009
7:37 am

Your guesses are on track, folks. But Deion and Jamal aren’t on the list. It only covers the past decade. (Although I realize Mr. Sanders kept dropping in and out of the NFL periodically.)

Sonny Clusters

June 30th, 2009
7:49 am

Jeff and me could have played some football but we was always partial to baseball and we was able to go long ball a lot when the girls would go crazy when we did.

Scott Case

June 30th, 2009
7:49 am

There’s no way that Keith “pile jumper” Brooking isn’t on the overrated list. Even Atlanta fans thought he was.

Alex H.

June 30th, 2009
7:51 am

A Falcons blog??? Mr. Bradley, you just made my Tuesday! Thank you kind sir!! I’d say DeAngelo Hall, Michaal Vick, Ed Hartwell and Brett Favre might all be candidates for that overrated list…although Favre would be a great debate. Hartwell was good in Baltimore, but suffered many injuries later in his career. Peerless Price appeared to be a bust but I don’t know if he made any Pro Bowls. Go Falcons!

Ernest

June 30th, 2009
7:52 am

Could Jesse ‘The Hammer’ Tuggle be one of the players? He had a pretty good career and is a GREAT guy also.

George D.

June 30th, 2009
8:01 am

Gotta be DeAngelo, Vick and Brooking.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

June 30th, 2009
8:07 am

Keith Brooking, DeAngelo Hall, and Lawyer Malloy

willie

June 30th, 2009
8:14 am

If Brroking is listed as one of the most overrated players in last 10 years (and it sounds like he is), please give the Falcons some more “overrated” hard-working LB’s that play all 16 games and have over 100 takles every single year. I’ll take several please.

Zoomie

June 30th, 2009
8:18 am

Not gonna get into the guessing game about overrated; I’ll wait for the blog.

I agree Abraham is underrated. I guess only Falcons fans recognize the true impact he has on our defense. I think he’ll get a little help this year and the rest of the league will finally take notice.

I don’t agree that Grady was underrated. Sure, he made an impact, but he was just a good tackle. I think he’s historically been rated just about right.

I also don’t think Finneran is underrated. When he’s on the field, he’s valuable, but he’s spent a lot of time out of action. Again, the Falcons fans readily recognize his value as the third-down go-to guy, but he hasn’t shown himself to be a consistent play-maker. I think he’s a known quantity as well.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

June 30th, 2009
8:18 am

Didn’t think to just look……Props George…….did you look

Captain Crazy

June 30th, 2009
8:18 am

Vick, Dunn and Brooking…all three of their acts got tired quick

Ryno

June 30th, 2009
8:19 am

Patrick Kerney had 2-3 years where I would rank him as an elite DE in the NFL.

TommyP

June 30th, 2009
8:21 am

Vick will be #2 with Brooking on the list as well.

Mark Bradley

June 30th, 2009
8:23 am

Peerless didn’t make the list, Alex. But he should have.

Check back around 10:45 for the unveiling.

dhunt

June 30th, 2009
8:23 am

Just a microscopically thinly veiled excuse to have yet another discussion about he who shall not be named. Over-rated is how one half of the population prefers to view him, so you probably also just helped ESPN Insider snag some new registrations. The man didn’t fit your box for “prototype” QB, we get it. Let it go.

The Spokester

June 30th, 2009
8:30 am

Quote: “That was nothing compared to 2004 as Vick completed 70 percent of his passes to Finneran and only 45 percent to his other wideouts.”

70% + 45% = Something fishy

That is all.

STL Falcon

June 30th, 2009
8:32 am

Mr. Bradley -

Did I read something wrong, or did M. Vick complete 115% of his passes in 2004 (70% Finn + 45% Other)? If so, Holy Cow!

STL Falcon

June 30th, 2009
8:33 am

Spokester has more nimbal fingers than I do.

Math Genius

June 30th, 2009
8:37 am

Completed 70% of attempts to Finn, only 45% of attempts to others.

Josh M

June 30th, 2009
8:39 am

Finneran caught 70% of the passes thrown his way; the other receivers combined caught only 45% thrown their way. Not a 70+45 situation.

Also, gotta be Brooking.

Sarcastic Blogger

June 30th, 2009
8:40 am

Thanks for the correction. I mispelled “nimble” as well, while we’re at it.

gdg73

June 30th, 2009
8:42 am

Is a guy truly over-rated when he single-handedly carried a franchise on his back in the face of inept coaching and personnel management. Then when he was not with the team for extended periods of time (2003 and 2007), that same franchise goes like 6-23. I was born at night, but not last night.

coastaljim

June 30th, 2009
8:49 am

If I’m not mistaken, what he meant is he completed 70% of the passes he threw towards Finneran and only 45% of the passes he threw towards the other wideouts. Because, you know, Finneran’s a big target and he can actually catch something that doesn’t hit him between the numbers. Try and keep up, would ya!!

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

June 30th, 2009
8:51 am

Right on Josh, the over-rated is worthless info if Roy Williams is not #1,…..which Roy Williams? All of them. The average receiver who was the cover boy for ESPN the Magazine even though he average 816 yards a season with 6 TD’s or the safety who cannot cover my grandmother that no one wants but somehow made 5 Pro Bowls. If these guys are not #1 & #2 then it is all BS

coachdawg 2000

June 30th, 2009
8:58 am

Finneran, are kidding me? How can ever be considered underrated. Don’t have to play every once in while to be consdiered under-rated. The guy probably tweeked something while eating cereal this morning and he has frying pan hands. Underrated Fulton Kuykendall, Bubba Bean, and Billy Rickman.

coachdawg 2000

June 30th, 2009
9:17 am

I went all-time not this decade. as far as this decade I’d say Joey Harrington, Jimmy Williams, Bryan Scott.

Spud Webb

June 30th, 2009
9:35 am

John A is great, but I think sometimes he’s labeled as selfish and the history of injuries doesn’t help him. I think he’s great, when healthy, but lets be honest. We are all “weary” of him getting hurt every year.
We KNOW when healthy he will raise h&ll, but we also know if he isn’t, we have ZERO pass rush!
Go Falcons!!!

Terrell

June 30th, 2009
9:35 am

MB I’m not going to steal your thunder, but I’ve already seen who is on that list. I’ll just let you tell everybody else.

IlliniBrave

June 30th, 2009
9:39 am

Keith (homeboy discount) Brooking, DeAngelo (the team cancer), Jeff George – perhaps the greatest statistical anomaly at QB ever. How in the hell do you pass for that many yards and still have your teams suck so bad?!

Adam

June 30th, 2009
9:41 am

Abe is one of the most underrated players in the history of the NFL. If he stays healthy he is a MONSTER!

Underrated?

Hall is a no-brainer….

How about that interception-dropping MICHAEL BOLEY, who lost his job last year but somehow got a 5-year deal from the Giants!

Adam

June 30th, 2009
9:42 am

I meant overrated for Hall, Boley.

K-Dogg

June 30th, 2009
9:42 am

The Overrated Players will be:

#2: Michael Vick
#10 DeAngelo Hall
#11 Peerless Price

No way does Keith Brooking even sniff this list. The guy was a player, a team leader and a perennial pro-bowler…not to mention he has proven to be quite durable throughout his career.

Kerney is a possibility, because I think he’s had some injury issues throughout his career that limited his effectiveness (although when he is on, it’s hard to turn his motor off…just a fierce pass rusher).

I would never say Joey Harrington was “overrated”…a waste of talent, yes…but not overrated.

IlliniBrave

June 30th, 2009
9:50 am

Regarding Finneran – wonder how good the Falcons would have been this year if Finneran was really healthy and 100% for the entire season. Because after White and Jenkins we had almost nothing – and no real posession receiver like Finneran. I agree that his impact on the team has gone overlooked.

coachdawg 2000

June 30th, 2009
9:53 am

Also Paul Petrino, Bobby Petrino,Jim Mora Jr.

Warden James

June 30th, 2009
10:08 am

Michael Vick will go down as the new Michael Jackson.

Of course, this is as opposed to prison where Michael just went…..

LongTimer

June 30th, 2009
10:10 am

I just scanned the responses, and didn’t see the name of one of Atlanta’s MOST overrated players ever (in my opinion)…. “Give Up a Big Play” Ray Buchanan. The other two are Hall and Price.

I wonder if our current owner will be named as one of the most overrated…

J Smurf

June 30th, 2009
10:17 am

Nothing overrated about Vick. On the field, he was just as effective as advertised. Gotta be D’Angelo, Crumpler, and Bob Whitfield.

Sarah B

June 30th, 2009
10:17 am

Hall, Vick, Brooking… but yeah caochdawg the most overrated is Little Jimmy Mora Jr. AKA on here as Giggles Funtime.

windu

June 30th, 2009
10:17 am

Peerless Price was only overrated by the Falcons management. I think everyone else in the world knew the real deal.

J Smurf

June 30th, 2009
10:17 am

Nice call on Big Play Ray, Longtimer.

Sarah B

June 30th, 2009
10:19 am

Ugg I forgot about offsides Whitfield.

The Spokester, don't be...

June 30th, 2009
10:21 am

…a dumba$$ – “70% + 45% = Something fishy” He meant 70% of the passes he threw to Brian were completed (i.e. – if he threw 60 passes to him, he completed 42, or 70%, of them), and just 45% of the passes he threw to everybody else were completed (if he threw 300 passes toward everyone else, 135 of them, or 45%, were completed).

1991 1st Round Pick Calling

June 30th, 2009
10:21 am

Anybody remember infamous Falcons top pick and holdout Bruce Pickens?

Mark Bradley

June 30th, 2009
10:21 am

I think what Mr. Schatz means is that Vick completed 70 percent of the passes he threw Finneran’s way in 2004, only 45 percent of those he threw in the direction of other receivers. I think.

Sarah B

June 30th, 2009
10:25 am

oops I meant false start Whitfield.

chris

June 30th, 2009
10:26 am

That stat about one yard less per play with Grady in the game is misleading. He played more on running downs and less on third down. I imagine that league-wide the yards per play on third down is higher than on first and second downs.