Commentary

NFL's most underrated/overrated

Players whose scouting grades simply don't match up with their production

Updated: August 26, 2011, 11:14 AM ET
By Aaron Schatz | Football Outsiders
BenJarvus Green-EllisGreg M. Cooper/US PresswireBenJarvus Green-Ellis may be a product of the Pats, but he deserves more praise for his production.

Plenty of words have been wasted on the dichotomy between stats and scouting.

Stats and scouting work best when used in concert, but one distinction between the two is that scouts are primarily concerned with skills, and statisticians are primarily concerned with production.

There are great athletes who don't necessarily help their teams win a lot of football games, and there are players who have limited skills but have applied those skills so well that they've produced a lot of offense (or stopped a lot of opponent offense).

Now that Scouts Inc. has unveiled its scouting grades for everyone in the NFL for 2011, we thought it would be interesting to go through and identify those players whose production -- as judged by stats -- hasn't quite matched their skills according to the scouting reports.

Underrated

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England Patriots

Per Scouts Inc. grades, Green-Ellis ranks 44th among running backs. The Football Outsiders stats, on the other hand, ranked Green-Ellis second in DVOA (value per play) in 2010 and third in DYAR (total value) behind only Jamaal Charles and Arian Foster.

Yes, a lot of that is due to the offense Green-Ellis plays in, which causes opposing defenses to constantly play back on their heels, expecting the pass.

Still, there's something to be said for good instincts, good vision and the drive to push forward on every run, even after you hit a defender.


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