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Who's the most underrated Eagle?

Even in a regular offseason, June is a month for lists around the NFL.

Who's the most underrated Eagle?

Is Eagles tight end Brent Celek underrated? (Clem Murray/Staff file photo)
Is Eagles tight end Brent Celek underrated? (Clem Murray/Staff file photo)

Even in a regular offseason, June is a month for lists around the NFL.

There were a couple that came out while I was on vacation that I haven't been able to comment on yet. They focus on the most overrated and underrated players in the league.

Let's start with John Clayton's list on ESPN.com. The Eagles are the only club to notch three players on his All-Underrated Team: LeSean McCoy, Brent Celek and Nate Allen.

Can't say I really agree. The best case of the three is probably for McCoy. He broke out in his first year as a full-time starter, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, fourth in the NFL among backs that had at least 100 carries.

McCoy totaled 1,672 rushing and receiving yards and led all running backs with 78 catches, but didn't make the Pro Bowl. He's only done it for one year, but it's fair to say that McCoy didn't get the league-wide accolades of some of his peers in 2010.

The Celek selection is puzzling. His numbers fell from 76 catches, 971 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2009 to 42 catches, 511 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. Granted, part of the dropoff had to do with Celek being used more as a blocker. Pro Football Focus took a look at this recently and found that Celek was kept in to pass block 127 times last season, fifth-most among tight ends.

Celek was targeted 78 times in 2010, compared to 112 in 2009 so he clearly had fewer opportunities to catch the ball. He was also tied for the seventh-most drops in the league with eight, according to STATS.com. In other words, I think he was probably rated properly by most in 2010.

As for Allen, he started off great, but then had some ups and downs. Don't get me wrong. I think he showed a lot of potential, but it's tough for me to put him on an underrated list after just 13 games in the league.

So who is the most underrated Eagle? My vote goes to defensive tackle Antonio Dixon. He was probably their third-best defensive player in 2010 behind Asante Samuel and Trent Cole, yet Dixon hasn't received a lot of recognition. If he builds on last season in 2011, I think that will change.

Meanwhile, Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com named an overrated and underrated player from each team, and the overrated selection might surprise you. He had Samuel:

I say it every year here: Good player, not great. Big-time gambler. He makes plays, but he also gives up a bunch.

The numbers say otherwise. Back in March, Football Outsiders noted that Samuel ranked first among cornerbacks with a 3.2 yards per pass average on 36 targets. Tough to call that overrated.

Choosing an overrated Eagle is difficult though, especially since the defense is filled with late-round picks and undrafted free agents. If I had to pick one, it might be Stewart Bradley - not only because of the injury issues, but because he didn't play at a consistently high level even when he was healthy.

This is a good one for you all to chime in. Who's the most underrated and overrated Eagle?


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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