Most of the time, data on NFL football players back up our prior conceptions of their games. But every so often, the numbers have a contrarian take, and that's one way we can pick out players who might be overrated or underrated.
So who do the numbers like more -- or less -- than consensus thought as we head into the 2021 season? And do those numbers pass the eye test and what shows up on the game film? Football analysis requires a mix of crunching the numbers and pouring over the tape, so we did both here. Analytics writer Seth Walder identified 10 players whom advanced statistics -- various metrics, including those from NFL Next Gen Stats -- suggest might be overrated or underrated, and then we called on NFL analyst Matt Bowen to see if the tape backs it all up. Do the data and film align, or are there some discrepancies?
To close, we then flipped the script: Bowen picked out two additional players who he loves on tape, and Walder broke their games down with the numbers.
Let's get started with six players who shine in the analytics world and perhaps deserve more recognition as impact players, including a QB who outplays his reputation, a running back who could break out in 2021 and some linemen whose blocking prowess has flown beneath the radar.