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Schein's Nine: Most Underrated Stars

#1 User is offline   kobeskool Icon

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 05:44 PM

QUOTE
Adam Schein
Special to FOXSports.com, Updated 1 day ago STORY TOOLS:

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Here are nine stars who still somehow remain under the radar while they have enormous seasons in 2007 ...

Adrian Wilson
It perplexes me to see lists of upper echelon safeties without the Cardinals star somewhere near the very top. Adrian Wilson changes games and gets the ball back for his high-powered offense. He's registered 13 sacks the past 2 years from the safety position. Last season he had four interceptions and forced four fumbles.

Plus, he is the defensive leader and pulse for Arizona. Talking to Wilson this week, he sees big things ahead for the Cardinals this year with the new attitude under Ken Whisenhunt. I agree. And that will get Wilson more recognition.


T.J. Houshmandzadeh
The Bengals receiver seems to get more publicity for fantasy players not being able to pronounce his name. Or for being Chad Johnson's running mate. Or for being one of the good guys in the league whose council is sought by commissioner Roger Goodell. Houshmandzadeh is an elite receiver. He missed the first two games of the season last year with injures and still hauled in 90 catches, nine touchdowns and over 1,000 receiving yards. And there was a stretch of the season where Houshmandzadeh was more reliable than teammate Chad Johnson.


Rashean Mathis

Poll

Finally, the physical, play-making cornerback made the Pro Bowl in 2006. Like so many of his Jacksonville teammates (Mike Peterson), Mathis' brilliance is a bit hidden playing in a smaller market. Mathis told us this week he and his teammates get motivated by that. Mathis is an extension of coach Jack Del Rio. Nobody practices harder and takes his craft more seriously. Mathis, a four-year vet, is a bruiser who jars receivers and has 20 picks, including eight last season. Simply put, we are talking about one of the most well-rounded corners in the NFL.


Willie Parker
Let's get one thing straight; Parker is the straw that stirs the drink for the Pittsburgh offense. I think it is great that Ben Roethlisberger is now healthy and focused. But this talk of the five-receiver sets and Big Ben throwing more is preposterous. And Steelers fans still call my radio show lusting for the bigger back.

Sure, "Fast Willie" isn't in the classic mold of a big, bruising Steelers back. But he is still the latest great back in the Steel city. Parker finished last year with a shade under 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns. Pittsburgh re-signed Najeh Davenport and brought in Kevan Barlow this off-season, but this is Willie Parker's offense.


Ty Warren
We are talking about one of the best and most versatile defensive linemen in the NFL who should be a Pro Bowl shoo-in every year. Just take a look at the impact he made last year against New England's biggest rival, the Jets. In Week 2, Warren flew around the field, pressured the quarterback, stuffed the run, totaled 11 tackles, and New England won in New York.

In the rematch in New England, Warren was hurt and the Jets punished the Pats. Warren was ready to go and the Pats knocked out the Jets in the playoffs in the first round last year. Warren is a typical Bill Belichick player; smart, effective and can do everything.

The Mailbox
Just curious which team you root for come go time? I'm not talking which front-running or dark-horse or unexpected dynamo team I'm talking about the team's jersey you wore before you were able to spell "roughing the passer." My Lions may or may not win 10 games this year. To be honest, I wish the prediction was a 2-14 season so there's no build up at all (I've been a fan for far too long to EVER get my hopes up) BUT you need to grow a pair and just side one way or the other with them.
As fans, we're tired of the wishy-washy crap all writers/commentators/players/coaches/fans throw at our Lions. "Yeah, they're looking like they're going to be tough this year ..." is ALWAYS coupled with, "Too bad history says that's never going to happen ... they're still the league joke ..." Commit to a prediction, man. Just commit.
Christine

Ok Christine. It's June so I am putting this in pencil, but I predict the Lions will finish last in the division with five wins. My favorite team? That's easy. FOXSports.com.



Nathan Vasher
For some reason, there are media members, fans and players (Plaxico Burress) who discount the Bears secondary. Vasher is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFC, who somehow gets overlooked in the galaxy of stars while playing for the high-profile Bears.

Vasher has the knack for making the big play and the big pick at key moments. In talking to the cornerback this week, he was thrilled to re-sign with the Bears. Vasher credits Lovie Smith for a lot of his success.


Nnamdi Asomugha
It took a little while for the Raiders' 2003 first-round pick to round into Pro Bowl form. But Asomugha, like the Oakland defense, exploded in a major way with eight interceptions. And in talking to Asomugha, he gets and embraces his role as a leader and play maker for this defense.


Chris Hope
The Titans safety has long been underappreciated. Some wondered aloud if his success in Pittsburgh was due to the fact that he was Troy Polamalu's running mate at the position. Hope was a key member of the Steelers defense during the 15-1 season in 2004 and the Super Bowl championship run in 2005. In 2006, he debunked all myths about being Polamalu's caddy when he totaled 121 tackles in the Titans' defensive backfield. Hope also had five picks. Hope's play was a main reason for the Tennessee late-season surge in 2006.

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Jerricho Cotchery
The Jets' young stud was the king of the "YAC" in 2006, using his power and speed to create yards after the catch. Cotchery, who was Philip Rivers' go-to receiver at NC State, proved to be Chad Pennington's most clutch target. Cotchery became an "Eric Mangini guy" during the minicamps last year with his hard work.

The receiver told us this week that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is planning on putting even more pressure on the defense with pre-snap movement now that Thomas Jones is in the fold. This will equal even more favorable match-ups for Cotchery.
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#2 User is offline   HarlemHxC814 Icon

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 07:06 PM

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