Pro Football Weekly saluted Seattle DE Chris Clemons as the NFL's most underrated player today, continuing a trend of grudging but increasing respect from the national media as they slowly realize that Pete Carroll is NOT, in fact, just signing every USC alumi he can find.
I'm usually one of those annoying posers who dismisses production that doesn't appear to be sustainable, and indeed the Clemons' label as "NFL's most underrated" has a few people cocking their heads. Clemons gets a lot of his sacks on blitzes and on specific but seemingly random third downs (and against the Rams), gets shut down a lot on double teams, and has a rather limited toolbox (quick first step, great closing speed amongst them) that doesn't remind one of a complete DE. He also rarely does anything besides rush the passer, which might lead to inflated results and the question of whether Clemons is a true talent or merely benefiting from Seattle's defensive scheme.
But this is where I keep ending up with that question: who cares? At some point, arguing with results becomes churlish. Clemons has produced 11 sacks for each of the last two seasons since being traded from Philly for peanuts. He's accomplished this as the team's sole dedicated pass rusher. The horrifying gash people predicted in our run defense's left side due to Clemons' middling weight, has never really materialized. Getting double teamed isn't a failure for a DE - it's a success that opens up blitzing lanes and opportunities for the interior rushers. He's either talented enough to overcome his limits and create value, or he's being enabled by the one-on-one matchups the scheme affords him, which isn't necessarily a red alert.
Now, insert another dedicated pass rusher in Bruce Irvin (and some grease for the wheels of Clemons' new contract) and see what happens.
If you want a vote for most OVERRATED player on the Seahawks, I'd have to go with Ricardo Lockette. It says great things about this team that its most overrated player is only a backup WR, but it's mind-boggling the goodwill that Lockette has gotten by catching 2 passes on go routes. Most UDFA fliers could probably do that in two NFL games, and what it says about that WR is not significantly different from nothing. Add that Hawk Blogger has hinted that he's still dropping too many passes to assure a roster spot, and I'm astonished that people are (already) projecting him as an NFL starter. John Schneider must be pretty confident with someone in this group.