2007 All-Underrated team By Dave Gladow NFL.com (June 19, 2007) -- Last year, like most years, the NFL saw several players post great seasons and yet fail to receive proper recognition for their efforts. It's a common theme. For whatever reason, some players just don't seem to get their due. In an attempt to help change that, I'm presenting my All-Underrated team for public consumption. This is a starting 22 of players who had great seasons in 2006 and yet are still flying under the radar headed into 2007. I'm making no promises that any of these players can repeat what they accomplished last year, let alone improve. What I am saying is that they should be applauded for what they did last year and that folks would be wise to keep an eye on their 2007 performances -- it wouldn't surprise me to see some Pro Bowlers emerge from this group. 2007 All-Underrated team Damon Huard, QB, Chiefs -- Last season, Huard posted an 11-to-1 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio and a 98.0 quarterback rating in relief of the injured Trent Green. He was promptly benched when Green came back. In the offseason, he was rewarded with a new contract and Green was traded, sparking new optimism. Now, the word in Kansas City is that second-year man Brodie Croyle (who has attempted seven passes and been intercepted twice) is the favorite to start. When even your own team underrates you to that degree, you deserve to be on this list. Fred Taylor, RB, Jaguars -- He was overshadowed last year by his teammate Maurice Jones-Drew, but for the sixth time in his career Taylor rushed for at least 1,100 yards while averaging at least 4.6 yards per carry. He's gotten the "Fragile Fred" tag with good reason, but there's no reason this man should be an 0-fer for his career in Pro Bowl nods with that kind of track record. Dan Kreider, FB, Steelers -- Pittsburgh is one of the few teams that still regularly uses a fullback, and Kreider is one of the best. The Steelers averaged a respectable 124.5 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry last year with Kreider paving the way. Laveranues Coles, WR, Jets -- Coles has averaged 85 catches and 1,072 yards over the past five seasons, culminating in a 91-catch season last year, yet he never seems to get the credit he deserves. He gets it here. Mike Furrey, WR, Lions -- Entering his fourth NFL season, Furrey had recorded 21 career catches. In 2006, he notched 98 to go with 1,086 yards and six touchdowns. Furrey has limited explosiveness (as evidenced by his zero catches over 31 yards), but he shined as a possession receiver last year and few people outside the fantasy realm even noticed. Owen Daniels, TE, Texans -- Houston had options at tight end last year, so it was a surprise when a rookie, Daniels, came on to start 12 games and score five touchdowns (on 34 catches for 352 yards). He should continue to be a major factor in the Texans passing attack. Chad Clifton, OT, Packers -- A seven-year veteran, Clifton has done a solid job for the Packers over his career. Last year, he was charged with protecting Brett Favre's blind side and Favre was sacked just 21 times ... which ranked in the bottom third of the league. Justin Smiley, G, 49ers -- Last year, the 49ers improved their rushing average by 20 yards (135.8 from 105.6) and their yards per carry by a whole yard (4.9 from 3.9). Obviously, the addition of Larry Allen was a big factor in that, but equally important was the continued development of Smiley, a third-year player who really played well despite having to fight through injuries. If healthy, he could be even better. Nick Mangold, C, Jets -- As a rookie he stepped right in for the departed Kevin Mawae at center and the team didn't miss a beat. While fellow top pick D'Brickashaw Ferguson had his ups and downs at tackle, Mangold was as solid as a rock in the middle. He looks like a fixture at the spot for at least the next 12 years. Kris Dielman, G, Chargers -- The Chargers wisely came through with a big contract for Dielman this offseason, keeping one of the cornerstones of their offensive line in town for the foreseeable future. Fans will be certain to hear more of his name in the coming seasons. Jason Peters, OT, Bills -- Peters is one of the rising stars in the NFL. A converted tight end who came into the league as a true project, Peters has already blossomed into a solid offensive tackle in Buffalo. The scary part is he may not be done improving -- a rough proposition for opposing defenders. Robert Geathers, DE, Bengals -- A breakout season for Geathers in 2006 went largely unnoticed among fans and media, but the Bengals (like the Chargers with Dielman) paid attention and, more importantly, paid Geathers with a brand-new contract. Geathers notched 10 1/2 sacks in just his third season in the league. More impressively, it was the first double-digit sack performance by a Bengals player since 1992. Kelly Gregg, DT, Ravens -- Four separate players on the Ravens defense recorded at least 9 1/2 sacks last year. That doesn't happen by accident. The space-eating Gregg, who is an expert at occupying multiple blockers, is a big reason why. Allowing the team's athletic pass rushers free reign at the quarterback, Gregg does the dirty work that rarely gets noticed. Except here. Ty Warren, DT, Patriots -- Often a defensive end, other times a tackle, Warren's game is versatility in the Patriots' ever-changing defensive front. And while he can do many things, the important thing to note is that he does all of them very well. Warren had a career year in 2006 with 84 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks, and opposing offenses can no longer simply gameplan for fellow defensive lineman Richard Seymour. Seymour still gets the recognition among fans thanks to his Pro Bowl appearances, but Warren is quickly becoming his equal in on-field accomplishments. He should have been in Hawaii last year. Mark Anderson, DE, Bears -- There's nothing wrong with including a few specialists on this list, and Anderson is certainly that with just 28 total tackles last year. However, the explosive rookie also recorded an impressive 12 sacks as a situational pass rusher on a dominant Bears defense, making him a player to watch in 2007 ... especially with Alex Brown on the trading block. DeMeco Ryans, LB, Texans -- As the less-celebrated defensive rookie on the Texans (behind first-overall pick Mario Williams), Ryans did not play second fiddle to anyone in 2006, leading the NFL in tackles with 125. It wasn't a fluke either. Ryans proved adept at the mundane chore of filling lanes, but he also made his share of big plays with 3 1/2 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. Kirk Morrison, LB, Raiders -- An unheralded player out of San Diego State, Morrison was pressed into immediate action as a rookie for a team weak at linebacker. He quickly made it into a strength, recording 91 tackles in his first season. Last year, he followed that performance up with 101 tackles, a sack, two interceptions, a fumble forced and a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery. There's no reason not to expect even more in 2007. Demorrio Williams, LB, Falcons -- Another player who is thought more of as a specialist, Williams is one of the top nickel linebackers in the league. A young player with great range, Williams' best season came in 2005 when he notched 127 total tackles. Last year, his numbers dipped, but he still recorded two passes defensed and an interception to go along with his 90 total tackles. If he works hard, he could become a special player. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders -- It's hard to ignore eight interceptions, but Pro Bowl voters did just that last year in not awarding Asomugha a trip to Hawaii. The young athlete has gotten better every season since he entered the league in 2003, and among many scouts and coaches he's now regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Terence Newman, CB, Cowboys -- It should be a crime that Newman has yet to be elected to the Pro Bowl, particularly after his masterful 2006 season. In an era when cornerbacks rarely hold their own in downfield coverage, Newman regularly wins one-on-one matchups in the deep sector of the field, so much so that teams rarely even throw at him anymore ... hurting his interception totals. Newman's ability to match up one-on-one with the opposition's best receiver also allows safety Roy Williams to do the freelancing he does (which incidentally gets him voted to the Pro Bowl and keeps Newman out). Newman is simply one of the best in the game and should be regarded as such. Kerry Rhodes, S, Jets -- As a rookie, Rhodes established himself as a steady player in the secondary with his 105 total tackles. Last season, he stepped his game up to an all-pro level, keeping his tackles up (98) while also recording five sacks, four interceptions and nine passes defensed. He's one of the league's bright young stars. Donte Whitner, S, Bills -- He may have been a rookie, but he sure didn't play that way. Despite being derided for taking Whitner as high as they did in the draft (eighth overall), the Bills laughed last as Whitner instantly became the team's top defensive back in '06. The rookie notched 104 total tackles and an interception, and he'll look to improve on those numbers in 2007.