- CLUTCH Summary: In the NFL, guys like Amari Cooper and DeAndre Hopkins, while appreciated, are still somehow underrated by the general public.
- With the NFL Top 100 List out there, it’s time to acknowledge how guys like Amari Cooper and DeAndre Hopkins are actually underrated.
- It’s not just the skill position guys not receiving the proper amount of love.
The NFL Top 100 List is a chance for players to be given the admiration and respect they deserve from their peers and members of the media. So it’s a shame when a player sees his place on the list lower than he would expect — in other words, being underrated.
Some players are given a little bit of a leniently higher grade offered when they were a part of a great team in 2018. Some others put up big numbers in terms of higher usage and volume of play. And for these players, they weren’t given that luxury.
These players were severely underrated to the point that it’s almost criminal. And each of these five players should feel the need to outperform above and beyond in their 2019 campaign.
QB Matt Ryan: No. 69
QB A: 452 completions on 675 passing attempts (67 completion percentage) for 5,129 passing yards and 34 touchdowns to 16 interceptions (passer rating 96.5).
QB B: 422 completions on 608 passing attempts (69.4 completion percentage) for 4,924 passing yards and 35 touchdowns to seven interceptions (passer rating 108.1).
To add onto the comparisons, the second QB had a higher touchdown percentage and yards per attempt average (both ranking him in the top ten) as well as a lower interception percentage than the first QB.
The first quarterback is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who threw more passes and interceptions than anyone else in the league. The second is Matt Ryan, who put together nearly identical numbers to what he put up in his 2016 MVP season.
The Falcons starting quarterback continues to fall in the top 100 list after making the top ten after the 2016 season. And the quarterback that was compared to him being ranked 25 spots ahead of him.
To add more insult to Ryan, two other quarterbacks ranked ahead of him as well. It’s a lot considering his team didn’t lose as often to deserve that low of a ranking. He should bounce back with an improved Falcons team going into the 2019 season.
WR Amari Cooper: No. 64
Amari Cooper was more responsible for Dallas’ success in the second half of the 2018 season than anyone on the Cowboys offense. And the statistics prove it more than anything else for what he did for Dak Prescott once he was traded to the Cowboys.
- Dak Prescott pre-Cooper trade: completing 59.2 percent of his passes for 1,417 yards, eight touchdowns, and four interceptions while going 3-4 with a passer rating of 85.0.
- Prescott with Cooper: completing 72.1 percent of his passes for 1,920 yards, nine touchdowns, and four interceptions and going 7-2 with a passer rating of 94.0.
It was a major turnaround for everyone involved as Cooper provided the young Dallas offense a spark of what they needed. Prescott has never had a better receiving option before and it opened the door for Ezekiel Elliott to get more production with a threat like Cooper out wide.
To have Amari Cooper outside of the top 50 is blasphemous in too many ways. Especially with the way that he turned around an entire offense with his presence.
DL Calais Campbell: No. 54
Campbell is a product of an elite player on a bad team. He put together another double-digit sack season for himself as he put up one of the most under the radar performances of the 2018 season.
The Jaguars pass rusher was graded as one of the best run defenders out of all defenders with a 93.8 run defense grade by PFF. In fact, Pro Football Focus shows that he had the best performance by an edge defender in 2018.
His season went so unnoticed that he wasn’t awarded a Pro Bowl nod at all. He’s one of the most well-rounded defenders in the league with his play and he finds himself outside of the top 50 once again in his career. All of these players on this list are underappreciated. And Campbell is just another sign of this.
DL Fletcher Cox: No. 28
If it weren’t for Aaron Donald putting together one of the best seasons by a defensive tackle ever, then we would be talking more about how dominant Cox was in 2018.
The 28-year-old pass rusher put together his first double-digit sack season with 10.5 sacks and came away with 34 QB hits. To add onto these already impressive stats is the fact that Cox put up 101 QB pressures. That’s the second-most to only Donald again.
He still finds himself out of the top 25 for this list even though he’s been one of the best pieces to the Eagles team since coming to Philadelphia’s organization. And if it weren’t for Aaron Donald’s above and beyond performance in 2018 then we would be talking more about Cox and his performance.
WR DeAndre Hopkins: No. 11
No receiver had a better season than DeAndre Hopkins catching the ball. Yet Julio Jones and Antonio Brown both ranked higher than the Texans wide receiver. And looking at what he put together with his 115 catches for 1,572 receiving yards (both career-highs) and 11 touchdowns it’s ridiculous to see him outside of the top ten. Especially with the fact that he didn’t drop a single catchable ball. Not one.
It’s fair to have Antonio Brown in the top ten with leading the league in touchdown catches with 15. And Julio Jones led the league in receiving yards. But Hopkins didn’t drop a single catch. And he caught 115 passes that were catchable. I don’t even know if that’s ever happened before.
And to put it into better terms, here is what PFF had to say about his season.
It clearly didn’t matter where he lined up, where he was targeted or whether he had to fight for the ball or not, Hopkins was in a class of his own this season, and it all led to the NFL’s highest overall (92.0) and receiving grade (92.2) at the position. His 115 catchable targets without a drop not only set the PFF record, but it also crushed the previous record of 60 held by Randall Cobb that he set back in 2016.
Yes, being ranked 11th isn’t bad. But DeAndre Hopkins is underrated by a mile after what he did in 2018.