The 5 most overrated NFL players in 2020

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

October 2nd, 2020

Sometimes the players with the greatest expectations end up falling short in the NFL.

Here are five of the most overrated athletes currently in the league, based on draft position, salary, and overall production.

5. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

OBJ has experienced one winning season since he joined the league in 2016, as a first-round pick out of LSU.

That isn’t all his fault, considering he has been a part of the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns franchises.  

The three-time Pro Bowler and Offensive Rookie of the Year still made headlines in New York on the field with his highlight-reel catches. He also garnered plenty of attention for his polarizing personality.

The hype surrounding Beckham reached a fever pitch in 2019, when the Browns acquired him via trade. Super Bowl or bust became Cleveland’s new mantra, yet the Browns missed the postseason with a 6-10 record, and Beckham finished with his lowest reception and touchdown total (excluding his injury shortened 2017 season).  

His best games in 2019 came against the worst defenses, and he seemed to disappear against Cleveland’s toughest opponents.

In two games against the Ravens, and one each against the 49ers and Patriots, Beckham caught a combined 13 passes on 26 targets for just 143 yards.

4. Jadeveon Clowney, Tennessee Titans

Following an injury-riddled junior season at South Carolina, Clowney was still drafted No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans, who saw promise in the defensive end once considered the next Lawrence Taylor.  

Unfortunately, injuries continued to plague Clowney from the start of his NFL career, as he played just four games as a rookie and missed three games in 2015.

His only fully healthy season came in 2016, when he tallied 9 1/2 sacks, 59 tackles, three fumble recoveries, and one defensive touchdown.

In 2019, Houston traded him away to Seattle, where he registered three sacks, 31 total tackles, four forced fumbles, and one interception.

Clowney has never posted double-digit sacks in a season, yet in 2020 free agency, he wanted a salary worth $20 million per year. He settled for a one-year, $12 million deal in Tennessee.

3. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

Hooper only recently gained overrated status, after his 2019 production banked him a substantial salary with the Browns — a team that clearly overvalues talent.

The third-round pick out of Stanford ranked second in targets (97) on the Falcons last season, behind Julio Jones (157), and racked up a career-best 787 yards and six touchdowns in Atlanta’s pass-happy offense.

However, according to Pro Football Focus, Hooper “gained 75.5% of his receiving production on passes defined as holes in zones or underneath the defense” and has a 58.9 receiving grade against single coverage since 2016.

PFF considered him a dependable, complementary piece but not a mismatch creator, and therefore not worth a hefty price tag. Nonetheless, Cleveland and Hooper agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal, with a $10 million signing bonus.

On a per-year basis, Hooper makes more than every tight end, except for George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Hunter Henry.  

2. Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets

You have to go back to 2014 to find Le’Veon Bell’s best stat line. In his second year in the league, the former Steelers running back rushed for 1,361 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had 854 receiving yards and three more scores.

From there, he missed several games because of injury and drug-related suspensions, then sat out all of 2018, after he refused to sign the Steelers' franchise tag worth $14.5 million.

In Bell’s absence, James Conner performed just fine, with 1,470 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns through 13 games.

In 2019, the Jets made Bell the second-highest paid running back, with a four-year, $52.5 million contract, with $35 million guaranteed.

Bell finished his first season in New York with 789 rushing yards (23rd in the league), three rushing touchdowns, 1,250 yards from scrimmage (19th), one receiving touchdown, and averaged 3.2 yards per carry (46th).

1. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

In Jeff Fisher’s final season as Rams head coach, Los Angeles chose its quarterback of the future, Jared Goff, with the first overall draft pick.

As a rookie, Goff went 0-7 as a starter and completed 54.6% of his passes for 1,089 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

Then, in 2017, Goff found his star on the rise as the leader of new head coach Sean McVay’s revolutionary, high-powered offense. That offense also featured running back Todd Gurley in his prime, plus new pieces Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.

In 2018, the Rams lost just three times in the regular season and earned a Super Bowl berth. Under the pressure of the biggest game of his career, Goff recorded a 57.9 passer rating and completed 50% of his passes, for 229 yards and one interception, in a 13-3 loss.

Despite that performance, in 2019, Los Angeles handed Goff a four-year extension worth $134 million, with $110 million in guaranteed money, a record at the time. That same season, the Rams quarterback tossed 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, as his team went 9-7 and missed the playoffs.

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