Beyond The Hype: The Most Overrated NFL Players Of The Past Decade

Darren - August 17, 2023

Beyond The Hype: The Most Overrated NFL Players Of The Past Decade

Darren - August 17, 2023

The NFL boasts some of the most physically gifted athletes on the planet. But it also has many overrated stars whose productivity doesn’t match their vaunted reputations. Today we’re going to look at these overrated players who have big names but aren’t quite living up to them. We’ll avoid talking about busts with a couple of exceptions.

Some of these players are still riding on their former glories. Others played for strong teams that masked their inadequacies. Meanwhile, some did amazing things in the regular season but couldn’t put it together in the playoffs. Check out the list below.

AZ Central

DeAndre Hopkins

It may seem crazy to say that a five-time Pro Bowler is an overrated player but that’s unfortunately true right now. Hopkins was fantastic during his time in Houston and early days in Arizona but since then it’s been a different story. Everybody thought that the Cardinals pulled off a coup when they traded for the wideout. It was one of the weirdest deals ever because they had to give the Texans almost nothing in return.

New York Post

But there were no winners in this situation because the Cardinals didn’t deliver. Kyler Murray’s inconsistency didn’t help Hopkins flourish in Phoenix. Some NFL scouts think that he lost his speed while others believe that he brings too much drama. But he devolved from blue-chip superstar to overrated veteran in a few short years (via Sports Illustrated).

Sporting News

Peyton Manning

Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever but was also simultaneously overrated. He had a fairytale ending in Denver but it’s easy to forget that he played terribly for the Broncos in his final season. They won the Super Bowl in 2016 despite Manning not because of him. On paper, he had one of the worst regular seasons of any Lombardi Trophy winner, as well as a shocking display in the final.

AP News

He threw a terrible interception that cost his team points. Meanwhile, he posted a dismal 56.6 rating that surprised nobody because he was the worst regular-season passer in 2015. These days we look back at Manning’s career with rose-tinted glasses but it’s wrong to say he was one hundred percent brilliant in the Mile High City (via USA Today).

CBS Sports

Mac Jones

Most first-round quarterbacks find themselves playing for the worst teams in the league in garbage situations. But Jones landed on his feet when Bill Belichick made him his number-one target in 2021. Jones had the best season out of his class and soon, excited fans already compared him to the legendary Tom Brady (via USA Today Sports).

Mass Live

But he began to struggle toward the tail end of the season and this continued on into 2022. Soon, rumors began that Belichick wasn’t happy with Jones and was considering another option. His immaturity was a problem and some critics even called for the Pats to start Bailey Zappe instead. He has time on his side but he’s still an overrated player.


Justin Herbert

Herbert’s inclusion on this list could be a bit harsh because he hasn’t done much wrong in L.A. But the former Oregon Ducks star hasn’t exactly done anything special yet either. Perhaps we should call him overpraised instead of overrated. Many analysts and fans absolutely adore him. Some publications are calling him a top-five quarterback while one former head coach compared him to Tom Brady.

The reality is that Herbert and the Chargers blew a 27-0 lead in his first postseason appearance. Herbert has massive upside but it may come to nothing in his current situation. He likes to make risky plays and tries to make things happen. He may indeed become an elite quarterback but he’s not there yet (via TWSN).

Green Bay Packers

John Kuhn

Kuhn is a Packers cult hero because of his longevity. The fullback enjoyed a lengthy career in Wisconsin but some people overrate his productivity. There’s no denying that he was a decent player but we often look back with rose-tinted glasses. Bizarrely, he made the top 100 players of 2012 in a weird selection.


Yes, he stuck around for the Cheeseheads for a long time but he was never the most explosive talent. Fans loved him because he did all of the gritty, ugly things very well. It’s also worth noting that he has more Super Bowl rings than Aaron Rodgers. Nonetheless, he wasn’t that good (via Acme Packing Company).

Sports Illustrated

Philip Rivers

Rivers also had an overrated career because he never helped the Chargers to a Super Bowl. The long-serving quarterback had a decent career but he was rarely the difference when it counted. We give him credit for playing a game with a torn ACL but it’s important to remember that they also lost it (via Liberty Voice).

Sports Illustrated

Some people say is underrated because he played at the same time as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees. But he doesn’t belong in the same category as these elite talents. Rivers is the Chargers’ all-time leader in every passing category. But he also had no mobility and only led them to a single AFC Championship appearance.


Russell Wilson

We wouldn’t have written this a few years ago when people were calling Wilson a potential MVP. But the former Seahawks quarterback proved that he’s one of the most overrated players in today’s NFL when he joined Denver. The Broncos gave up the house when they lured him from Seattle in 2022’s biggest blockbuster trade (via Gridiron Heroics).


But he had a horrific first season under Coach Nathaniel Hackett that couldn’t have been worse if it had been scripted. Teammates complained about him while he had the worst statistical season of his career. Furthermore, he inadvertently validated Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who earned the fifth(!) overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. After the trade, the Seattle head coach resurrected longtime vet Geno Smith’s career and inspired the franchise to the playoffs without Wilson.

NBC Sports

Nick Foles

One late-reason run and a Super Bowl win changed the course of Foles’ career and made him of America’s wealthiest athletes. The world jumped onto the hype train after his six-game run that led the Eagles to glory. Then the Jaguars swooped with one of the dumbest contracts in professional sports history. They guaranteed him a cool $50 million in one of the biggest mistakes ever.


Ultimately, Foles played four games for Jacksonville before they traded him to the Bears. Foles failed to oust Mitchell Trubisky as Chicago’s starter and proved what we all knew. The quarterback picked a brilliant time to have a career purple patch. But he couldn’t sustain it and showed that he’s one of the most overrated NFL players of the past decade (via Clutchpoints).

Essentially Sports

Odell Beckham Jr.

There’s no denying that Beckham Jr. is one of the most overrated players of his generation. He excited fans when he emerged for the New York Giants. Everybody thought that he was going to become one of Big Blue’s icons but it didn’t happen. Injuries and a poor attitude cost him dearly before he joined the Cleveland Browns.


But Beckham didn’t achieve anything noteworthy in Cleveland because he spent most of his time on the injury list. It’s a shame because he has undoubted talent but he couldn’t show it. Yes, he won a Super Bowl ring when he joined the Rams on a short-term contract but Beckham is still more of a name than an elite receiver at this point (via Sportsnaut).


Deshaun Watson

Some players can be brilliant but become overrated when it’s clear they’re not at the same level. That’s what happened to Watson after a turbulent couple of seasons. He was excellent in Houston but the franchise was a basket case and he wanted to leave. Then it emerged that he was a serial sexual deviantafter many masseuses accused him of disgusting abuse.


Watson spent the better part of two seasons on the sidelines due to these circumstances. This didn’t stop the Browns from giving him one of the most lopsided contracts ever in the form of a $240 million guaranteed deal because they have no morals. But it didn’t work out in his first season because he was dreadful. Watson spent too much time away from the field and wasn’t the same player (via Akron Beacon Journal).


Kyler Murray

Everybody reading this is probably nodding their heads agreeing because Murray is an obvious inclusion. Firstly, he’s not a bad quarterback but the Cardinals overpaid him. Every time a QB signs a new contract they break records or change the landscape of the market. That’s what happened when Murray agreed to a new deal in 2022.

AP Photo

This came off the back of a decent season in 2021. But the following year his productivity plummeted and injury issues rose their head. Nobody can blame Murray for maximizing his value but it’s clear that he’s an overrated player. They pay him like a top-five quarterback but he’s just not that good (via Sports Illustrated).

Sports Illustrated

Isaiah Wilson

We’ve deliberately avoided filling this list with first-round busts. But it’s impossible to overlook Wilson because everybody thought that the Titans made a great call when they picked the Georgia star in 2021. However, he spent more time behind bars than on the football field because of various offenses.

New York Post

He had all of the physical talent in the world but we never saw it properly because of his extracurricular activities. He led police on high-speed chases and violated health crisis policies as he rained chaos in Nashville. It was one of the wildest seasons ever and it signaled an early end to his career (via Sports Illustrated).


Tua Tagovailoa

Can a player be overrated and underrated at the same time? Few athletes polarize the masses like Tagovailoa. The Hawaiian star joined the Dolphins in 2020 after a horrific hip injury. Some people doubted that he would make it and still think that he was going to fall apart. His concussion woes didn’t help to convince them either.

Kirby Lee

In 2022, he led the NFL in passer rating and yards per pass. But there are issues with his durability and that’s why his critics don’t think he’s the long-term answer. They don’t think that Miami can trust him and that’s an issue because they’ve surrounded him with talent. Only time will tell if he proves them wrong (via Palm Beach Post).

Mandatory Credit:

Tony Romo

Amazingly, Romo survived for 14 seasons with the Cowboys because is one of the most overrated quarterbacks ever. It felt as if ‘America’s Team’ kept waiting for him to become good but he never really did. Romo had one of the NFL’s top defensive lines and access to phenomenal weapons but his teams never won in the postseason.

New York Post

One of his flaws was his capacity for shocking turnovers. Meanwhile, he wasn’t the most mobile quarterback and didn’t have the strongest arm. Romo has decent passing statistics but these mask his weak leadership qualities. The future TV analyst never dragged his team through the toughest situations (via Bleacher Report).

New York Times

Matt Cassel

The Patriots received the worst possible news in Week 1 of 2008 when Tom Brady tore his ACL. But it was a massive opportunity for Cassel because the backup stepped up into the hot seat. He had a 10-5 record as the team’s starting quarterback as he slotted into their system. However, that’s the crucial point because he became an overrated player.

Bleacher Report

Cassel did an effective job as their starter and that’s why Kansas City swooped for him after Brady’s return. But he was a cog in the Patriots’ well-oiled machine. The reality was that Tim Tebow could have looked like the second coming of Joe Montana on that team. In the end, Cassel proved that he wasn’t very good when he moved on (via Seattle Times).

Sports Illustrated

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Some NFL fans think that JuJu is robbing an existence. Yes, he had a couple of good years in Pittsburgh when he established an on-field bond with Ben Roethlisberger. But he flatters to deceive as a true number one receiver. After a couple of injury-plagued seasons, he joined the Chiefs in 2022 (via Yardbreaker).


Smith-Schuster won a Super Bowl and posted 933 yards, but that’s not incredible. Patrick Mahomes was throwing passes to him so it’s amazing that he fell short of a 1,000-yard season. Next, he joined the Patriots as he continued his tour of the NFL’s biggest franchises. He’s a very good wideout but there’s always going to be someone better than him.

Sky Sports

Jay Cutler

Sometimes a player can have all of the physical tools but don’t put it together on the field. Many people thought that Tony Romo was the most overrated quarterback of the past decade but Cutler was even worse. The Bears stuck with him for eight seasons while he never proved he was the answer.

Rolling Stone

He infamously threw 26 interceptions in 2009 and 18 in 2008 as he regularly went into double-figures. His longevity meant that he holds many Chicago QB records but this doesn’t mean much. Remember, Chicago is where quarterbacks go to die and Cutler’s career sums that up (via Bleacher Report).


Baker Mayfield

It feels like a long time since the Browns thought that Mayfield was their savior. Yes, he helped them back to the playoffs after several years of misery but it came to a tearful end in Cleveland. Firstly, we must acknowledge that the franchise treated him horribly. They made it difficult for him to find a new home after they secured Deshaun Watson behind his back.


But Mayfield’s inconsistencies and attitude also rubbed people the wrong way. The former Heisman winner failed to prove that he was the answer when he joined the Panthers. He had an unbelievable opportunity to show the world that he wasn’t finished. Now he’s at last-chance saloon in Tampa Bay (via The Cold Wire).


Khalil Mack

Mack was one of the NFL’s top defensive players for four years but that feels like a long time ago now. The Chargers thought that they made a genius move when they nabbed him from the Bears. But he has yet to prove that he is the same Pro Bowl star he was during his prime years.

NBC Sports

People still talk about him as if he’s a potential MVP but the reality is that he’s not at that level right now. Sure, he’s found himself in tricky situations but his production dipped in Chicago. He had better individual seasons than his entire career in the Windy City. It’s a shame because he was a magnificent talent but he doesn’t seem as good now (via Fansided).

New York Post

Dak Prescott

The Cowboys have had some of the NFL’s most overrated players over the past decade. Their starting quarterback Prescott is one of the most obvious. Once again, he’s not a bad player but he isn’t operating at the top level. In seven years, he didn’t achieve anything spectacular despite enjoying good weapons (via TWSN).

Fox Sports

In 2022, he threw 15 interceptions despite missing multiple games as he displayed a decline. It’s possible that the Cowboys’ coaching situation wasted his best years but he hasn’t delivered. They’ve never played in an NFC Championship game with Prescott in the hot seat. Meanwhile, look at the instant impact of players like Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow in the AFC.

Trevor Lawrence

Few players arrive in the NFL with the same amount of hype as Lawrence. Not even Joe Burrow carried the same levels of expectation as the former Clemson star. We probably have to go back to Andrew Luck joining the Colts. Everybody was saying that Lawrence was a generational talent and a clear number-one pick despite a stacked class (via NBC Sports).

Sporting News

But he had a traumatic rookie season under Urban Meyer. That wasn’t completely his fault because it was a dysfunctional situation. His sophomore year saw him make the playoffs with Doug Pedersen. But Lawrence also had immature and costly moments that showed his overrated level. He has amazing potential but he’s not the full package yet.


Eli Manning

The younger Manning brother has two rings but that doesn’t mean he was an amazing player. Let’s caveat this by saying that he did nothing wrong against the Patriots in both Super Bowls. He had some excellent moments as his team proved that they were Tom Brady’s kryptonite. But it’s important to remember that the Giants had a great defense.


Manning’s highest-ever passer rating was 93.6. Meanwhile, he only won playoff games in the two seasons the Giants picked up rings. There’s no denying his efficiency and that he deserves to be a New York icon. Nonetheless, it’s wrong to pretend that he was a top-tier quarterback because it’s incorrect (via Bleacher Report).

San Francisco 49ers

Trey Lance

Lance has had one of the strangest NFL careers in recent years. First, he’s been very unlucky with injuries. The Niners planned to make him their starter in 2022 but then he broke his ankle and suffered ligament damage. Then Brock Purdy appeared out of nowhere to become the year’s feel-good story and a potential long-term answer.

The Athletic

The problem is that Lance was the third-overall pick in 2022 and carried high expectations. Former Jets scout Daniel Kelly told Sports Illustrated:  “It is absolutely absurd he is even in first-round draft discussions. Lance is the most overrated prospect in my 40 years of watching football (via Sports Illustrated).”


Ezekiel Elliot

Never pay top dollar for a running back because it won’t end well. The Cowboys learned this the hard way when they gave Elliot a foolish six-year, $90 million contract extension. He still had two years on his deal so we don’t know what they were thinking. Anyway, ‘Zeke’ proved over the next few years that he was one of the NFL’s most overrated players.

CBS Sports

He’s indeed had some messy years because of Dak Prescott’s injury woes. But he never stepped up when Prescott had long-term absences. His deal also forced the Cowboys to trade Amari Cooper because they couldn’t afford to keep him and Zeke. It didn’t help that Elliot’s production also declined every season (via Fansided).

New York Times

Aaron Rodgers

Rodger is a four-time MVP but we still think he’s one of the most overrated players in history. The fact that he only has a single Super Bowl ring says everything. His list of postseason failures proves that Green Bay couldn’t depend on him in clutch situations. Yes, he has amazing statistics and a long list of records but that’s not enough.

Green Bay Press-Gazette

This didn’t stop the Jets from splashing on the veteran in 2023. They believe there’s a chance that he will revive their offense and transform them into a contender. Have they watched him play for the past decade? He is barely above .500 in the playoffs and is a weak leader even though he has had brilliant weapons around him (via Sportskeeda).