Yesterday, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller gave us his take on the most overrated and underrated players from each of the 32 teams. Looking at the league through a wide lens can sometimes cloud your view on an individual team, especially one in a small market with little to no media coverage. That is definitely the case for the St. Louis Rams, who rarely see their name on SportsCenter, aside from the occasional “upset victory” or a pity mention as the other team in the NFC West. Since Miller used his “overrated” tag on Janoris Jenkins and his “underrated” mark on Sam Bradford, we will diversify our selections and not include either player in our list. So, who are the Rams most overrated and underrated players?
Overrated: Harvey Dahl
Harvey Dahl came to the Rams in 2011 with the hopes that he would sure-up the interior of the offensive line. His reputation was one of a “mauler,” an interior monster who dominated the point of attack in the run game. He was a key component of Michael Turner’s 1,370 yard season back in 2010, where Dahl was ranked the 5th overall guard in the league (according to Pro Football Focus). However, the Rams’ inside brute has not maintained that level of productivity in St. Louis. In his first season, Dahl played only 10 regular season games as the starting right guard (the other six at right tackle), and finished the season ranked 32nd in run blocking, and 34th overall in the league. In 2012, Dahl graded out negatively in run blocking, finishing 43rd overall among guards, and ending the season on the IR with a torn bicep. To his credit, Dahl has only been tagged with allowing 2 total sacks in the last two season; however, he has given up a higher-than-average amount of hits and hurries on the quarterback. With a $4M/year contract, Dahl should be ranking, at least, Top 20 in the league every season, especially as a run blocker.
Underrated: Lance Kendricks
Last season, Delanie Walker received all the praise from the league as the premier utility tight end. However, Lance Kendricks proved to be just as versatile, taking over fullback responsibilities on the Rams after the release of Brit Miller in the second half of the season. Starting at Week 12 against the Arizona Cardinals, Kendricks averaged 25 snaps per game as a run blocker and 5 snaps per game as a pass blocker. On top of that, he finished the season with a career-high 41 receptions for 500 yards, including 4 touchdowns. He averaged 5.5 yards after the catch, and posted an impressive 71.9% catch rate, the highest on the team in 2012. With all of the hype surrounding Jared Cook, talk of Kendricks is a rarity. However, even though Cook will likely see more targets in the passing game, Kendricks will undoubtedly see more snaps on the field, either being lined up in the backfield, as the in-line tight end, or shifted out into the slot.
Overrated: Robert Quinn
Robert Quinn is a fan favorite among Rams Nation, being young, exciting, and possessing a keen nose for getting to the quarterback. However, at this point in his career, Quinn is essentially a one-trick pony on the outside. As a pass rusher, the sophomore defensive end racked up 11 sacks, 8 hits on the quarterback, and 26 hurries. However, Quinn regularly broke contain on the outside in run defense, either breaking up the field too far or merely getting pinned inside by a larger tackle, fullback, or tight end. As a result, Williams Hayes was inserted in the rotation, which resulted in 7 sacks and 26 defensive stops in only 378 defensive snaps. With a little added weight and some additional experience, Quinn could certainly develop into a top tier, all-around defensive end. However, Quinn graded out positively in only 3 games last season, and is still praised as one of the top players within the Rams defense.
Underrated: Cortland Finnegan
Cortland Finnegan was thought of as an elite cornerback in Tennessee, making the Pro Bowl and solidifying a spot in the Top 100 on an annual basis. However, since coming to St. Louis, Finnegan has dropped out of the spotlight. Last season, the chippy slot-corner led all defensive backs in tackles, allowed under 10.0 yards per reception, and did not allow a single receiving touchdown in coverage. Not only was he stellar in coverage, he was essentially the St. Louis Rams’ outside linebacker for most of the season, being shifted to the inside on the nickel package. Still, most outside of St. Louis would not consider Finnegan to be in any “top tier” of players in the league, even with his high level of production.
Think that we missed someone? Disagree with any of our picks? Leave a comment and let us know!