The Philadelphia Eagles failed to meet high expectations in 2011, some of which were set when backup quarterback Vince Young called them the "Dream Team" prior to the season. So it's fair to say they were an overrated team heading into a lockout shortened campaign, and 2012 brings an opportunity to rebound.
Here are my picks for the most underrated and overrated players on the Philadelphia Eagles' roster for 2012.
Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver
Maclin entered 2011 looking to build upon a solid 2010 campaign (70 receptions, 964 yards, 10 touchdowns), but a preseason illness followed by shoulder and hamstring issues that caused him to miss three games and be limited late in the season kept his production down (63 catches, 859 yards, five touchdowns).
Maclin does not get the headlines, good or bad, that fellow wide receiver DeSean Jackson gets but he had more receptions than Jackson in each of the last two season and may be poised for a big breakout in 2012 now that he is completely healthy. His consistency and reliability when healthy should make him a popular target for quarterback Michael Vick.
On a team with big star power on both sides of the ball, Maclin is likely to fall below the radar but people around the league and surely Eagles' fans know who he is.
Honorable Mention: Demeco Ryans, Linebacker
DeSean Jackson, Wide Receiver
Speaking of Jackson, his own 2011 season got off on the wrong foot with his public desire for a contract extension and was later further plagued by concerns over his lack of effort on the field. He got the contract he was looking for his offseason as the Eagles signed him to a five-year, $47 million deal ($15 million guaranteed), though looking at the contract details suggests the team can get out of the deal after the 2013 season and paying Jackson $17.9 million total over those two seasons.
Despite his obvious ability and importance to Philadelphia's offense as a deep threat (17.8 career yards per catch), there has to be concern about how motivated Jackson will be if things don't go his way early in the season now that he has gotten a big contract. That alone gives him the potential to be one of the most overrated players in the league, along with drawing the ire of teammates, coaches and the media.