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The NFL's most underrated player at each position

Trying to quantify public perception is always a difficult task. We know there will be disagreements with this list, but these are the players who we think are deserving of more public or contractual recognition for their on-field performance.

Quarterback

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

If you’re looking at raw passing totals, Wilson will never ‘wow’ you in a Brian Schottenheimer-coached offense. Despite not missing a single snap last season, Wilson dropped back to pass over 200 times fewer than Ben Roethlisberger as the Seahawks were the run-heaviest team in the NFL. However, any comparison of even Wilson’s passing numbers — which have been superb year in and year out — ignores the fact that Seattle can afford to be the run-heaviest team in the NFL because of Wilson’s legs. They ran more option runs than any other team in the league last season and averaged 4.70 yards per carry on those plays compared to 4.36 yards per carry on all other concepts.

Running back

James White, New England Patriots

With the revolving door of running backs that have come and gone in New England during the Belichick era, the players are often seen as replaceable. But there’s a reason why White is going on Year 6 and is signed through the next two seasons. His ability as a receiver and mismatch weapon is where he — or any running back for that matter — truly adds value to that offense. In an offense predicated on flexibility, White defines the term after racking up 87 catches for 751 yards last season while taking only 94 handoffs for 425 yards. 

Wide receiver

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

Lockett is underrated for a very similar reason to Wilson in that the volume of opportunities he sees in Seattle’s offense pales in comparison to most around the league. So while he didn’t even crack 1,000 yards last season, you’d be surprised to know that he was actually more productive on a per route basis (2.10 yards per route) than Adam Thielen (2.099), JuJu Smith-Schuster (2.08), Brandin Cooks (2.07), Robert Woods (2.05), Antonio Brown (1.94) and Stefon Diggs (1.72). He was also the only receiver we’ve ever seen to have a perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeted over the course of a season.  

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