Ah, the smell of freshly cut grass, burgers and hot dogs grilling, and the hour-long lines waiting to be seated. Yep, football’s back, and with more surprises than ever. There is no solid pick for the Super Bowl this year, what with all the talented and Cinderella squads. Picking the league’s most underrated players? Now there is a hard category. The level of talent and intelligence in players around the league makes it hard to choose one, or in this case five, great players. But as a reporter at your service, I will be doing that.
5. A.J. Green, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals: Green is a 6’4”, 207-pound monster of a receiver who is arguably one of the best in the league. He gained 1,350 yards last year, on 97 receptions. In addition, while many people don’t realize this, Andy Dalton was not always 100% last year. Therefore, if Dalton stays healthy, Green can have a very good season. Green is a very versatile receiver who will go up and get the ball if you put it near him. He showed just a glimpse of his game last Sunday, getting nine catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns against Chicago. If the stats stay like this all season, Green is sure to be a top 5 receiver. Heck, many analysts already rank him up there. The best part? He’s only 25.
4. LeSean McCoy, running back, Philadelphia Eagles: Now here is one of the best young running backs. McCoy is a 5’11” power back who will run left, right and right over your defense if he has to. McCoy had a not-so-good season last year after a concussion in Week 10, getting just five TDs and averaging 70.0 rushing yards per game after a stellar 20-TD, 87.2-yard-per-game year in 2011. With new coach Chip Kelly, who certainly loves to run, in Philly, McCoy can have a huge breakout season and declare himself one of the best in the business if healthy. And after we saw what Shady did on Monday, there is no doubt as to what he can accomplish.
3. Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina Panthers: Now, I know you are surprised to see that name on this list. But honestly, I don’t think Cam gets the credit he deserves. For a 6’5”, 245-pound beast, Newton is one of the most athletic QBs in the NFL. He threw for 3,689 yards in 2012, and 4,051 yards in 2011. While Newton isn’t the best passer, he did try to lift the Panthers from their hole of shame, and he may be successful this year. With the offense improved, and the defense already good, the Panthers can be a playoff team if they manage to hold on to their leads.
2. Reggie Bush, running back, Detroit Lions: For as long as I have watched football, the name Reggie Bush was a name to be remembered. Bush is a 6-foot, 200-pound power back who is also very quick on his feet. He is agile, and can be in front of you for one second and gone the next. He can also run over you, much like McCoy. However, Bush is 28 and he has been in the NFL for a long time, so he is battered and bruised. Why I picked him for this list was because he still has time for one breakout season, so he needs to step on the gas with his progress and go.
1. Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Washington Redskins: Did you expect anyone else to be first? RGIII just came off an ACL injury and is back already. The amount of strength and courage it took him to come back so quick was crazy. For me, personally, Griffin is an inspiration to people of all ages and should go out and have a great season. If he doesn’t, well, there’s always next year!