CBSSports.com Pete Prisco took Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu to task in his most recent article discussing the leagues most overrated and underrated players. I'm not a big fan of Prisco, but I do like the topic starter. As you may remember, our own DeMarcus Ware recently finished second to Polamalu, the league's defensive player of the year, in an ESPN Power Ranking of best defensive players. Prisco doesn't mention whom he believes the best defensive player in the league is, but he definitely doesn't think Polamalu is it, due to poor, gambling cover skills.
Prisco also takes a look at each of the league's 32 teams and provides one name for each, most underrated and most overrated. For the most overrated Cowboy, Prisco selects a Cowboys in the news recently for his spot in another ranking. C Andre Gurode was recently named the #57 player in NFL Networks' Top 100 players for 2011. Prisco writes the following:
Follow the jump.
Overrated: C Andre Gurode. He went to the Pro Bowl last season. How? He was really bad. Just ask Dallas' scouts and coaches.
Wow. Now, if Prisco has inside information from the Cowboys' staff, then I'd believe that over any advanced stat website. Not saying that the team's evaluations are above reproach, not even close to it. I would say that they are more invested in grading out their own center for their needs. Remember, coaches will take into consideration what they can and can't do because of a player's shortcomings, while an advanced stat site can only speak to how a player performed within a given play. Even in a draft where they selected three offensive lineman including play anywhere Bill Nagy, not too many saw center as a high priority for Dallas.
If Prisco's information is from further down the food chain, then I have my doubts. Advanced stats give us a little better picture of player performance when it comes to trench guys, although each site produces regular anomalies to their evaluation metrics. Pro Football Focus ranks Gurode as the 6th best center in the league. Pro Football Reference Stats gave Gurode an Approximate Value of 8, which isn't elite, but it isn't duck sauce either. I can agree with the overrated moniker, that's not the issue. For Prisco to claim that Cowboys brass feel that Gurode was really bad last year is borderline jumping out there.
If Andre Gurode is actually seen as a liability by the Cowboys, then it's no wonder that three linemen were selected in this past April's draft. Gurode by most accounts is the Cowboys 2nd or 3rd best lineman. It wouldn't be that far of a jump, then, to envision the Cowboys pursuing a starting caliber lineman or two in free agency, whenever that happens. Most of our gazes have been set on the guard position, but should we be considering the Cowboys moving on from Gurode sooner rather than later?
For the record, Prisco's article lists another lineman as the Cowboys most underrated player. Doug Free gets the nod here. The other NFC East teams are represented as follows: NY GIants Under WR Hakeem Nicks, Over S Antrelle Rolle. Philadelphia Under RB LeShaun McCoy Over CB Asante Samuel. Redskins Under RB Ryan Torrain Over CB DeAngelo Hall.