May 24, 2024

Surprisingly, a former NFL No. 1 overall pick is going unnoticed in the NFC, alongside a Dallas Cowboys defender whose exceptional performance lacks the national recognition it deserves. The Yardbarker NFL writers have identified the most underrated player on each NFC team, and here’s a summary:

**NFC East**

**Dallas Cowboys – Cornerback DaRon Bland:** Stepping in for the injured Trevon Diggs, Bland has become a standout player, leading the team with five interceptions and topping all NFL defensive players with three touchdowns. Despite his impressive rookie season in 2022, where he led the Cowboys in interceptions, Bland is not receiving the recognition he deserves alongside other prominent corners like Sauce Gardner and Darius Slay.

**New York Giants – Linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux:** Thibodeaux, with 8.5 sacks, is gaining appreciation from Giants legend Carl Banks, who resigned from WFAN due to what he deemed unfair criticism of the linebacker. Despite the Giants’ challenges, Thibodeaux stands out as a positive force.

**Philadelphia Eagles – Linebacker Nicholas Morrow:** Despite a modest start to his NFL career, Morrow has become the team’s best linebacker, showcasing his skills with four sacks. His outstanding performance, including a game against Washington with at least 10 tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble, highlights his underestimated value, particularly with the absence of fellow linebacker Nakobe Dean.

**Washington Commanders – Running back Brian Robinson Jr.:** Robinson is not only a top-20 rusher but is showcasing his versatility as a receiver, with a notable performance against the Seahawks in Week 10, where he caught all six targets for 119 yards and a touchdown. As teammate Antonio Gibson approaches free agency, Robinson’s expanding skill set is gaining attention.

**NFC West**

**Arizona Cardinals – Tight end Trey McBride:** Despite playing on a struggling offense, McBride has emerged as one of the league’s top young tight ends. His second-season improvement is evident with 36 catches for 418 yards and a touchdown in 10 games, surpassing his rookie numbers.

**Los Angeles Rams – Outside linebacker Byron Young:** The Rams found a gem in the third-round rookie, addressing their pass-rush needs. With five sacks, two forced fumbles, and 14 quarterback hits, Young has become a key player, standing out even alongside Aaron Donald.

**San Francisco 49ers – Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk:** Amidst a roster filled with notable playmakers, Aiyuk has consistently been one of the team’s top contributors. Since the start of the 2022 season, he boasts 1,690 receiving yards and 11 TD catches, overshadowing even stars like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle.

**Seattle Seahawks – Cornerback Tre Brown:** In a secondary filled with promising young talent, Brown, a fourth-round pick from 2021, has quietly made an impact with two interceptions, including a touchdown, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and a sack.

**NFC North**

**Chicago Bears – Linebacker T.J. Edwards:** Despite leading the NFC champion Eagles in tackles last season, Edwards joining the Bears in free agency didn’t attract much attention. However, he has proven himself worthy with over 110 tackles in the first 10 games of the season, making his offseason contract look like a steal for the Bears.

**Detroit Lions – Running back David Montgomery:** Signed to replace breakout star Jamaal Williams, Montgomery has impressed in Detroit, averaging 83.5 yards per game rushing and scoring seven rushing touchdowns in only six games.

**Green Bay Packers – Wide receiver Jayden Reed:** Surpassing expectations, the rookie has become the leading receiver for the Packers, accumulating 417 yards quietly and outperforming more established starters.

**Minnesota Vikings – Linebacker D.J. Wonnum:** While Danielle Hunter receives most of the attention, Wonnum, a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has quietly excelled with five sacks and five tackles for loss, making him a potential free agency target.

**NFC South**

**Atlanta Falcons – Cornerback Jeff Okudah:** Acquired from the Lions, Okudah has found success with the Falcons, allowing completions on only 50 percent of his targets and holding the lowest passer rating when targeted among players with at least 10 targets.

**Carolina Panthers – Running back Chuba Hubbard:** Initially overlooked during the offseason, Hubbard has earned a more significant role, outperforming Miles Sanders and showcasing his abilities with increased carries.

**New Orleans Saints – Cornerback Paulson Adebo:** Despite his recognition in New Orleans, Adebo remains underappreciated nationally, with the potential to gain more attention during the bye week if Marshon Lattimore misses time. Adebo boasts the second-most passes defended in the league and is graded as the NFL’s best coverage cornerback by Pro Football Focus.

**Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quarterback Baker Mayfield:** Despite being the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, Mayfield is often overshadowed in the NFC South. Nevertheless, he is proving to be a valuable asset, especially in comparison to high-profile quarterbacks like Derek Carr, with a one-year, $4 million deal.

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