Pro Football Focus released their annual list of most underrated players for their teams. While they don't give specifics on their criteria, which is interesting given they are a statistics driven site, the writers did explain how they came up with the selections. "Often, NFL fanbases have an unduly harsh or favorable disposition toward a certain player without the necessary context to properly evaluate them relative to the alternatives," PFF write Sam Monson wrote.
The list is rather eclectic, ranging from some rather obscure players like New England Patriots backup offensive lineman Michael Onwenu, to prolific players who don't get enough credit like Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald.
80 tackles and five interceptions last season for the Broncos
But in the midst of their list, a former Boston College player was selected. Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons was selected as their most under rated player. Here is the staff's rationale:
Simmons is one of the very best safeties in the game. He posted a career-best 90.7 PFF grade in 2019 that really set the bar for how good he could be, and though he hasn’t quite repeated that season, he has been consistently impressive since. Simmons is an excellent free safety with the range to make plays in coverage, but he also impacts the run game far more than most at the position. He is averaging more than 25 defensive stops across the past three seasons, far more than a typical free safety.
Simmons, a third round pick in 2016 is a two time All Pro, and was named a Pro Bowler once in 2020. The Florida native is considered one of the best safeties in the NFL, and was named the top safety in the NFL by PFF going into the 2021 season. But his name isn't brought up by most mainstream media sources when they talk elite defenders.
But regardless of the evaluations, Simmons is getting paid like one of the best. Before the 2021-22 season, he signed a four year, 61 million dollar contract with the Broncos.
Has also been a key community member, with multiple charitable endeavors
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