NFL execs pick the most underrated players: Cooper Kupp, Jonnu Smith, Dion Dawkins, more

  • ESPN staff writer
  • Previously a college football reporter for CBSSports.com
  • University of Florida graduate

Discussing the best players in the game with NFL evaluators always elicits a few surprises. There are the obvious superstars, then there are the players who elicit an “oh, really?”

Our summer project ranking the top 10 players at each position — with help from nearly 60 NFL execs, coaches, players and scouts — produced several players who might not be top tier yet but are poised to get there soon.

This is where the strength of rosters truly comes to life. No team can touch the top-end talent of the New Orleans Saints, who have nine top-10 players on our lists, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys trailing with six apiece.

But teams such as the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers dominated the 11-to-15 range, which is an ode to their impressive balance overall.

For every $100 million player, there’s a low-key riser on a rookie deal who doesn’t resonate with the casual fan but is a legitimate weapon in the eyes of the league’s coaches and decision-makers as well as their peers. Here are some of those players.

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