The NFL offseason will heretofore be known as the "Season of Lists."
NFL.com is currently ranking the most underrated and overrated players in the history of all 32 teams, and posted its Miami Dolphins list yesterday afternoon. None of the "underrated" or "overrated" selections are particularly surprising, though it's weird to see Zach Thomas left off of any list of undercredited Dolphins. Aside from that, I don't have much of a problem with the rankings, save for one selection in the "overrated" category. We'll get to that in a moment, though.
Underrated Dolphins, per NFL.com:
1) Manny Fernandez, DT
2) Don Strock, QB
3) Tony Nathan, RB
4) Jim Jensen, QB/RB/FB/TE/ST
5) Tim Bowens, DT
Right on with the Fernandez and Bowens selections, NFL.com. Fernandez's lack of recognition remains a stupifying concept to this day, and nowhere was he more impressive than in Super Bowl VII, when he helped cement Miami's perfect season by practically eating Washington's running game. Bowens tends to get overlooked because he played with Jason Taylor, Thomas, Sam Madison, Patrick Surtain, Brock Marion, etc., but he was an essential cog in the Dolphins' defense for 10 years. He's also on my list of top 10 Dolphins players, so there's that.
Strock definitely deserves a place on the underrated list, as does Nathan. And before there was Wes Welker, there was Jim "Crash" Jensen. And speaking of Welker ...
Overrated Dolphins, per NFL.com:
1) Bryan Cox, MLB
2) Brandon Marshall, WR
3) Wes Welker, WR
4) Mercury Morris, RB
5) Bill Parcells, Executive VP of football operations, Jackass
Cox was the first player I ever suspected to be criminally insane. Marshall made Cox look like LaDainian Tomlinson. Welker, as the NFL.com article points out, wasn't much to write home about during his time in Miami (funny what playing with Tom Brady can do for a receiver). As for Morris, I don't get his spot on the "overrated" list. He was a key cog in the Dolphins' rushing attack during the early-to-mid 1970s, and averaging 6.3 yards per carry is no joke when you consider the fact that the Dolphins were extremely clear about their intention to run the football early and often in every game. Did Miami's outstanding offensive line have something to do those numbers? Of course, but you never see stories suggesting that Miami's line bailed out Larry Csonka. Morris was simply a great fit in a run-heavy offensive scheme, and that hardly warrants an "overrated" label.
Of course, Parcells' inclusion on the "overrated" list completely redeems the article. No need to dig up all of the atrocities associated with the Tuna regime in Miami, but consider this: If he's still at the helm, the Dolphins don't have Ryan Tannehill, Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller, Dion Jordan, Jelani Jenkins, etc.
You can view the article in its entirety here.