Ioannidis Underrated? Not Here!
When Matt Ioannidis was drafted out of Temple by the Washington Redskins, I was excited.
For some reason, I had watched a lot of tape on the Owls from the previous year.
I referred to him at the time as the Redskins "best value" because in the fifth-round, I saw Ioannidis as a multi-dimensional, pass rushing 3-4 end who could probably kick inside.
I never could have thought the Redskins would hit the home run that they did.
I don't know if it was Scot McCloughan or Jay Gruden that ultimately deserves more credit for the selection, as I've heard different things but Ioannidis is the type of player that the Redskins just have not had enough of for 25-plus years.
Now, after receiving a well earned three-year contract extension this past winter, he is already smashing the value that the Redskins paid for him. Ioannidis counts $2.525 million against the 2019 salary cap, yet OvertheCap.com (OTC) values him at an overall value of $11.507 million (subscription required) for this season.
That's second on the Redskins this year, only slightly behind Quinton Dunbar's value per OTC.
Now, Ioannidis is being recognized another way. ESPN.com's Bill Barnwell has Ioannidis as one of the 24 players that comprise the 2019 All-Underrated Team.
Barnwell writes of Ioannidis and the only Redskins player on his list: "If you saw the crowd shots from Sunday, you know nobody is paying much attention to Washington right about now. (Predictably, the organization responded by getting angry at Dwayne Haskins for taking selfies with some of the few fans who weren't dressed like empty seats while the clock was at all zeros.) While this has been a disastrous, irrelevant season for the franchise, one of the few smart things the team did was quietly re-sign Ioannidis to a three-year, $21.8 million extension just before the draft.
Ioannidis has responded with his best season, racking up seven sacks and 11 knockdowns with five games to go. It's impressive for a 310-pound interior pass-rusher who the team once played as a nose tackle to hit those marks, but it's another when you consider the players around him. ESPN's automated analysis suggests Ioannidis has been double-teamed on 61.4% of his pass-rush attempts this season, which ranks among the 20 highest rates in football. Despite the attention, he has helped create eight sacks this season. As a sound run defender, Ioannidis is one of the few draft-develop-retain success stories for Washington."
The number about how many double-teams Ioannidis has faced is pretty damn impressive.
Per ProFootballReference.com and NFLGSIS.com (NFL Official Statistical Service), Ioannidis has only 5.5 sacks compared to the referenced amount above but that's not really important. He's damn effective.
He's played between 64% and a max of 86% of the Redskins per game defensive snaps.
To think - the Redskins cut him at first and were able to get him back and develop him.
Now, he's invaluable.
He's not as talented as Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, but it's hard to argue that he's not the best the Redskins have on a talented front line.
He makes their jobs easier by drawing some of those double teams, just like they make his life easier as well.
Maybe it doesn't matter who the best defensive lineman is on the roster, because truth be told, the Redskins need all the talent and depth they can possibly get but it's fun to think the less heralded of the three starters might just be the diamond in the rough that the Redskins desperately need.
Chris Russell is the Publisher of Maven & Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Radio.com. Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at russellmania09@Gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.