First of all, let’s be fair, Smith-Schuster missed Ben Roethlisbergerlike the rest of the Steelers did in 2019. The lack of a solid quarterback under center definitely affected his output. But there remain question marks over whether his skills match his reputation. The wide receiver is now a fourth-year NFL veteran, but the one-time Pro Bowler is yet to fully deliver on his promise. Can he evolve into an elite star player?
He is one of the most marketable players in the league and that definitely has helped his on-field depiction. While he has matured with the Steelers’ remarkable consistency in 2020, he’s not a game-changer in his own right. Overall, Smith-Schuster needs to balance all of his styles with some more substance to banish the overrated label. He has to show his true ability to silence the haters.
Gurley is very good but not great. The Rams let him go for a reason and it hasn’t hurt their offense at all. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons struggled immensely in 2020 with Gurley directly responsible for one defeat. All he had to do was not score a touchdown. However, somehow he still got this wrong. But if we’re fair, that was a freak moment; however, overall he lacks the skills to be a game-defining star.
But that alone isn’t why he is on this list. Mistakes happen of course, but Gurley has a low yards-per-carry average. While his rushing numbers are still good, his overall game isn’t what it once was. There were question marks about Gurley’s ability after suffering knee injuries. The simple answer is that he’s definitely a solid running back with some skills, but isn’t at an elite level anymore.
There’s a reason why the Seattle Seahawks didn’t break the bank for Clowney. That’s because he’s not a mega-money player and they rightfully didn’t make him one. Clowney is capable of delivering dominant performances, but far from in every game. The Titans’ star has a terrible injury record. He only started 11 games in his final season in Seattle while he missed more games of his first year with the Titans whilst on injured reserve.
Meanwhile, Clowney was a three-time Pro Bowler but has never made All-Pro. Clowney needs to stay fit and deliver consistently for a season or two before we can say he’s one of the best in the world. Right now, he isn’t in the top tier and that’s entirely fair to say. It’s not enough just to have the skills if you’re not on the field enough to make an impact.
Tom Brady is 43 and one of the greatest players of all-time, and that should be respected. But reputations are malleable. The fact is that the Tampa Bay edition of Brady is not the same as the early 2010s version of the same person. The New England Patriots were happy to allow him to leave for a reason because he isn’t the same force. But some people don’t realize that and expect him to show the same skills as when he was 30.
In sum, Brady is just older. While he is still performing at a strong level, his overall ability to influence is no longer the same. As we said, he’s 43 so that’s no big shock nor a damning statement. But he isn’t the best quarterback in the game anymore, no matter what anybody thinks. Just enjoy him while he still plays because he won’t be around forever. However, we can’t say that he’s the best in the world anymore.
Firstly there is no doubt that Beckham is a supremely talented player and athlete. However, there’s also no doubt that he has definitely underachieved thus far in his career. Injuries have decimated his ability to make a sustained impact with the Cleveland Browns as seen by the fact that he will miss most of the 2020 season. In sum, he’s one of the most frustrating athletes in the entire NFL.
Beckham still has one of the best reputations in the game yet that time is running out. While he is capable of playing like the best receiver in the league on his day, those days are too few. The former Giants’ star lacks consistency and his body continues to let him down. Maybe one day, he’ll recapture the numbers of 2016 when he lit the league on fire and smashed record after record. But he’s not there right now with his skills or fitness.
Some people will find it strange that Kaepernick is on this list because he isn’t an active player at the time of writing. However, his absence from the field has only enhanced his reputation. In fact, many non-football fans believe that he has the skills of Joe Montana or something. Of course, any self-respecting NFL fan knows that Kaepernick’s final couple of seasons with the Niners were poor.
But many people, who clearly don’t actually watch football, believe that Kaepernick should oust Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson. The reality of course is that he would do well to be a backup at this point in his career because he has missed so much football. In sum, it’s one of the strangest revisionist stories in the sport. By not playing, Kaepernick has created a myth and a mystique that simply doesn’t correlate with what he achieved – or didn’t – on the field.