Neil Reynolds' Countdown to 2020… 10 under-rated players

The NFL is filled with big-name players and outstanding performers. Yet some of them get more of our attention than others. As we roll towards the start of the 2020 season, here are 10 elite players who I think should be getting more plaudits and headlines.

1. Quenton Nelson | G | Indianapolis Colts

I understand that guards don't grab our attention in the same manner as quarterbacks, wide receivers and pass rushers, but I genuinely believe Nelson is one of the five best players in the league. Nelson ranked 29th in the NFL Network's recent Top 100 but should have been much higher. He is the league's best offensive lineman, an old-school mauler and a franchise tone-setter in Indy.

2. Chris Godwin | WR | Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It's time for us to consider Godwin – recently referred to as Goodwin by Keenan Allen – as one of the best receivers in the league. He has emerged from Mike Evans' shadow, catching 86 passes for 1,333 yards in 2019 and could take his game to an even-higher level in 2020 as one half of the best receiving duo in the game.

3. Nick Chubb | RB | Cleveland Browns

When we talk NFL running backs, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott and probably even Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara get more attention than Chubb. But Cleveland's rusher is emerging as a true force in the league, as evidenced by his 1,494 rushing yards at five yards per carry in 2019. Chubb can power past would-be tacklers and has the speed to inflict damage at the second level.

4.  Joey Bosa | DE | Los Angeles Chargers

It's hard to consider Joey as underrated when he just inked a deal worth $135 million that included a $78 million guarantee just for signing on the dotted line. But the hype is all about younger brother, Nick. To that point, I think Joey can feel aggrieved at rating 34th on the NFL's Top 100 list while Nick came in at 17. Bosa recorded 11 ½ sacks last year, giving him 40 in four seasons. That is big-time production.

5. Danielle Hunter | DE | Minnesota Vikings

Hunter got his plaudits in the football world in 2019 as he earned All-Pro honours, but how many pass rushers would fans name ahead of him? Both Bosas, probably both Watts, Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, Von Miller. You get my point. Hunter is explosive and hugely productive and his best years are still ahead of him. That is a scary prospect for somebody with 31 ½ sacks in the past two years.

6. Darius Leonard | LB | Indianapolis Colts

There was an era not all that long ago where line backers were massive stars and hugely valuable to their teams. The value is still there, but linebackers today don't get the same plaudits as greats such as Ray Lewis and Mike Singletary did. Leonard is on the way to being in that conversation and did a little bit of everything last season with 121 tackles, five sacks, five interceptions and two forced fumbles.

7. Jarvis Landry | WR | Cleveland Browns

So many receivers around the league get more attention than Landry, including a certain OBJ on his own team. But you know what you're getting with Landry week in and week out, season in and season out. He has been hugely productive during his NFL career, catching 564 passes in six seasons. He is also dirt tough and a great motivator to have in your locker room.

8. Jason Kelce | C | Philadelphia Eagles

Kelce is a victim of the position he plays. He is probably more famous among casual fans for his hilarious, profanity-laced speech at the Philadelphia Eagles' Super Bowl parade than he is for being an elite blocker. But make no mistake, Kelce is as good as they come on the inside – he shores things up in the passing game and has been the best run-blocking lineman in the NFL for the past five years, according to Pro Football Focus.

9. Tyler Lockett | WR | Seattle Seahawks

Geography may work against Lockett just a little bit and he still has some growing to do, but I feel he is massively overlooked as a receiver. Lockett has become Russell Wilson's favourite target, especially on deep balls. Lockett topped 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his five-year career in 2019 but it won't be the last time he breaks that milestone. Fans around the league will soon know much more about Lockett.

10. Zack Martin | G | Dallas Cowboys

Get into a conversation about Dallas and their number one-ranked offense and you will hear the names of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and now CeeDee Lamb. How far into that chat will you go before discussing Martin – one of the most dominant players in recent NFL history? Martin has been named All-Pro six years in a row and did not surrender a single sack in 2019. He is the best player on Dallas' offense.

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