Follow us:

Seahawks Blog

The latest news and analysis from all angles on the Seahawks.

June 27, 2014 at 7:38 PM

Is Brandon Mebane the most underrated player in the NFL?

To answer the question posed above, at least one person thinks so — Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com.

Prisco, in a story today on the most underrated and overrated players for each team, leads off with an item saying Mebane, Seattle’s nose tackle, is the most underrated player in the entire NFL.

Writes Prisco:

“He doesn’t pile up big numbers, but Mebane is a key to the Seattle defense. His ability to choke off the run allows the Seattle pass rush to be so effective. When it’s third­-and-­long, you can do a lot of different things on defense.

Mebane is a 320-­pounder who also occupies blockers inside to help free up the Seattle linebackers in the run game. One of the most overlooked things about the Seattle defense is the speed of the linebackers. Mebane’s ability to occupy blockers is a big reason why a linebacker like Bobby Wagner can get to so many tackles.

You look at Mebane’s sack numbers from a year ago, and you’d think I am nuts for putting him on this list. He didn’t get one. But that’s not his game. He is a run stuffer, who makes it tough on first and second downs.

He had some really impressive games doing just that last season, including against Houston and a late game against the Rams in Seattle.”

Hard to argue with any of that, though as Prisco notes, Mebane did not have any sacks last year. One reason is that he usually came off the field on third downs or other obvious passing downs as part of Seattle’s seven-man rotation up front. But working within what Seattle asked him to do last year, the stats back up Mebane did it about as well as could be expected.

Prisco, meanwhile, looked at the player that is essentially Mebane’s opposite on the other side of the ball as the team’s most overrated player — center Max Unger.

Writes Prisco:

”Overrated: C Max Unger ­­ So it’s not (Russell) Wilson or (Marshawn) Lynch, although case could be made for either. It’s Unger, who was named to the Pro Bowl, but didn’t play that well in an injury­-plagued season. That’s why the Seattle line struggled in 2013.”

Prisco, of course, has to write his explanations within the confines of his format here, which is one or two sentences on each player. So that means he has no choice but to over-simplify things here. Obviously, the OL issues last year were far greater than Unger — Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini each missed eight games, forcing a re-shuffling of the line and more-than-expected use of rookie Michael Bowie. As we’ve noted often, Seattle’s preferred OL played just seven games together last year. So it’s hard to pin it all on Unger. But the point about Unger’s health last year is more than valid, and a return to health of Unger — who had a series of nagging issues last season — as well as Okung would go a long way toward solving the inconsistency of 2013.

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►