In football, there will always be players who fly under the radar, which is why we wanted to share our picks for the most underrated NFL players in 2022.
It’s been relatively easy to pick out the overrated football players this season or some of the most overrated NFL teams. But that’s even more reason to give special mention to some of the most under-appreciated NFL players we’ve seen thus far in 2022.
Underrated NFL players 2022
But who are the most underrated NFL players right now? This took a little bit of digging and research because underrated and under-appreciated players aren’t always going to jump out at you.
But we took a long, hard look at the first six weeks of the season and came up with a list of the 10 most underrated NFL players in 2022.
While the Packers have had a disappointing season, AJ Dillon continues to perform while being overlooked. Obviously, Aaron Jones gets most of the attention in the Green Bay backfield. But Dillon is far more than just a backup running back and deserves to be on equal footing with Jones.
To be fair, Dillon isn’t quite at the same level as a pass-catcher, although he did show improvement in that area last season. During the first part of the season, Jones and Dillon are finally getting equal carries. If only the Packers had better answers at wide receiver and could start living up to their potential, more people would see how important Dillon is to the Green Bay offense.
Even though he’s been to the Pro Bowl in each of the past two years, Quandre Diggs still somehow falls into the underrated category.
Part of the problem is that nobody paid attention to him early in his career when he played for the Lions. Diggs now plays for the Seahawks, who have taken a step back, once again making it hard for him to receive league-wide recognition. But Diggs is truly one of the elite safeties in the NFL who also has experience playing cornerback, making him even more valuable.
Despite steadily improving during the first few seasons of his career, Tony Pollard remains one of the more underrated NFL players in 2022. It’s hard to prevent that from happening when you’re backing up Ezekiel Elliott. However, after gaining 5.5 yards per carry and rushing for over 700 yards last year, Pollard is starting to make more of a dent in Elliott’s playing time.
But one could argue that Pollard still isn’t getting enough touches. After seven games, he’s averaging 5.6 yards per carry, which is noticeably better than Elliott’s 4.1 yards per carry average.
Pollard has also been a bigger factor in the Dallas passing game this season whereas Elliott was used frequently in that role in past years. It shows how far Pollard has come despite not receiving enough attention for his efforts.
The Saints have been one of the better and more consistent defensive teams in the league over the last few years. But while Demario Davis has been a key part of that, he’s rarely named among the best players on the New Orleans defense.
He doesn’t put up big numbers, but Davis is a model of consistency. Davis rarely misses a play, much less a game, and has long been the backbone of the New Orleans defense. In the first seven games of the 2022 season, Davis has matched his career-high in sacks, doing so at age 33, yet he’s a little overlooked and among the most underrated NFL players currently in the league.
With any luck, Darnell Mooney won’t be underrated for that long. But not even a 1,000-yard season on a bad Chicago offense in 2021 was enough to earn him much recognition. We’re talking about a player who was a fifth-round pick in 2020.
Not much was expected of him coming out of Tulane, especially after being drafted by the Bears, who have been dysfunctional offensively in recent years. While that has continued this season, Mooney has been Chicago’s leading receiver. If Justin Fields can develop as a passer, Mooney’s numbers will improve and he will no longer be as underrated as he is now.
If he didn’t play for the Falcons, A.J. Terrell would probably be far more well-known as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Even after just two years in the league, he’s already grading out as one of the top corners in the league thanks to three interceptions and 16 passes defended in 2021.
Unfortunately, his efforts haven’t been enough to make the Falcons a competent defensive team. He hasn’t had any let up early in the 2022 season, as Terrell remains a top-flight cornerback. But because the Atlanta defense has struggled this year, Terrell continues to be overlooked and underrated.
If it hadn’t been for the sensational rookie season by Ja’Marr Chase last season, Tee Higgins might be thought of as one of the premier young receivers in the NFL. He had over 900 yards receiving as a rookie in 2020, and even with Chase getting plenty of targets last year, the Clemson product amassed over 1,000 receiving yards to help Joe Burrow during his breakout season.
As long as Chase is in Cincinnati, it’s a safe bet that Higgins is only going to be the number two receiver for the Bengals. Through seven games in 2022, Higgins is already 30 targets behind Chase for the team lead. But there’s no doubt that Higgins has the skills to be a top-flight receiver, even if he’s consistently overlooked because he plays alongside Chase.
The Bills have a lot of talented players on one of the best defenses in the NFL, which is why Ed Oliver is able to fly under the radar and be a little under-appreciated. Of course, in today’s game, defensive players on the edge tend to get most of the attention.
Meanwhile, someone like Oliver does the dirty work in the trenches. In his case, he was a top-10 pick right around the time that the Bills started to turn things around. Oliver collected 12 sacks during his first three seasons in the league, so he doesn’t have an eye-popping stat line. However, he’ll pop up in key moments with a big play, proving what an important part of Buffalo’s defense he is.
How many 1,000-yard seasons is it going to take for D.J. Moore to go to a Pro Bowl? While his touchdown totals haven’t been particularly high, Moore has put together three straight seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards, amassing that amount in all but his rookie season.
The Panthers have recognized his contributions by giving him a contract extension before the season. But throughout the rest of the league, Moore remains underrated and doesn’t get nearly enough recognition.
Carolina’s lack of success in recent years hasn’t helped, especially early in the 2022 season, as Moore’s numbers are down a little. But he’s still a quality receiver and could still end up collecting 1,000 receiving yards this year.
It’s safe to say that Denico Autry has been undervalued and underrated for most of his career. After signing with the Colts in 2018, he took his game to another level, collecting nine sacks that season and 7.5 sacks in 2020.
Autry once again had nine sacks in 2021 during his first season with the Titans. He’s been even better early in the 2022 season and is on pace for his first season with double-digit sacks. Keep in mind that Autry is doing that at age 32, and unless he finally gets a Pro Bowl selection this year, it’s safe to say he’ll remain underrated.