Apparently, NFL.com made a of the most over- and underrated players in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history exactly one month ago (although it was updated a couple of days ago). The list is....weird, filled with overrated players who aren't actually highly rated, and a couple of underrated players who really, are rated pretty much correctly. At least I think so. And I'm always right, of course.
Anyway, I just thought I'd go through the list player by player, and suggest a few more players who have been underrated. Let's get to it.
Ryan Nece, LB, 2002-2007:
Nece was mainly a special teams player who got to start for two seasons at strongside linebacker. He wasn't a bad player by any means, but is he any different from the dozen or so other strongside linebackers the Bucs have had since Tony Dungy took over the team in 1996? He was a decent starter for two seasons. That's all.
Jimmie Giles, TE, 1977-86
Giles was a great tight end who had the pleasure to play in some absolutely horrid offenses. That's not his fault and he was remarkably productive at a time when tight ends generally weren't. He was inducted into the Ring of Honor two years ago, deservedly so, and certainly deserves to be on this list.
Donnie Abraham, CB, 1996-2001
Abraham was great and certainly one of the very best cornerbacks in Tampa Bay history. He's often forgotten by Bucs fans, but he was the stalwart rock opposite Ronde Barber for many seasons and arguably a better player than Baber for most of his career. He is absolutely one of the most underrated players in Tampa Bay history.
Ricky Reynolds, CB, 1987-93
Now there's a name you don't hear often. Reynolds isn't that different from Donnie Abraham in his career, with one exception: his defenses sucked. That's not really his fault, but it has hurt his legacy.
Connor Barth, PK, 2008-Current
Really? I like Barth, and he sure knows how to hit those accurate field goals (especially so in crunch time), but if anything the man is overrated. His field goal percentage isn't that much higher than league average, and he doesn't handle kickoffs. Underrated, really?
Missing from the list: Mark Carrier, Earnest Graham, Richard "Batman" Wood, James Wilder, Paul Gruber, Tony Mayberry
Keyshawn Johnson, WR, 2000-03
Eh, I'm not so sure about that. Keyshawn Johnson was pretty good with the Buccaneers until his final season and certainly a very important part of the offense. No, he wasn't really a great number one receiver -- but he was a very, very good number two. His clashes with Gruden aside, he wasn't bad -- and I think most people rate him about as highly as he deserves to be.
Dwayne Rudd, LB, 2003
I don't know a single Bucs fan who thinks Rudd was any good for the Bucs. He played for them for a single season and was projected temporary-veteran-fill-in-number-512 at strongside linebacker. It didn't work out. He was brought in with some fanfare (although he was hardly a premium free agent), but he turned out to be a free agency bust. But no one rates him highly now -- so how can he be overrated?
Dexter Jackson, S, 1999-2002, 2004-2005
Eh, I can get behind this selection. Jackson was a solid starter at safety for several seasons, not much more than that, but he got a lot of attention for winning the Super Bowl MVP with two interceptions. He fit the Bucs' system and did his job well, but he perhaps wasn't as good as some people remember him to be.
Alvin Harper, WR, 1995-96
Harper isn't overrated, he's a bust. No one thinks he was any good with the Buccaneers. How can you be overrated if everyone agrees you're awful? This is ridiculous.
Bert Emanuel, WR, 1998-99
And another one of the seemingly infinite list of awful receivers the Bucs trotted out at the end of the '90s. To be fair, Emanuel was probably the best of a bad bunch, but he never lived up to his contract. He's only really remembered for the Bert Emanuel rule, though. And again: another player people don't actually rate highly.