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The NFL’s secret superstars on offense

Regardless, let’s see how many of these guys on our list of top NFL secret superstars on offense are better known at the end of the season than at the start – and known for all the right reasons.
With one of the best left tackles in the game down, Dawkins was left as his fill in.
He performed better than should be expected of any rookie, grading a solid 72.4 (26th overall) up to Week 8.
Ranked 22nd overall in our grading with a mark of 77.1 in 2017, he could have been much higher had it not been for six drops.
He ranked fourth by grade (89.4 receiving grade) and fourth in yards per route run (2.05) despite some of the worst quarterback play in the NFL so expect to see him become a key component of a Browns offense revitalized by their new signal-callers.
The archetypal slot receiver, Kupp burst on to the scene as rookie last year in a way that may belie the term “secret.” So why include him here?
10 tackles broken or avoided was good for eighth-best among wide receivers and that led to a yards-after-catch per reception of 5.9 (good for 10th in the NFL).
Sometimes “Secret Superstars” aren’t just new guys with limited snaps to get their ability across.
Andrews is one such player, joining New England in 2015 as an undrafted free agent, he’s been a study of solidity, playing 3,345 snaps and improving each year.
He still did well, rating an incredibly credible 79.9 at the new position before getting injured.

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Nov 19, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins (73) looks on during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Often the hardest part of creating a list like this, is defining what we mean by “Secret Superstar.” Is it secret to a reasonably versed generalist? Maybe secret to a hardcore fan of that team? You get the picture.

Then we come to the term “superstar.” In this context, what does that mean? Outside of it’s alliterative properties, it means underrated or undervalued.

Regardless, let’s see how many of these guys on our list of top NFL secret superstars on offense are better known at the end of the season than at the start – and known for all the right reasons.

Trading a player of the caliber of Cordy Glenn to the Cincinnati Bengals was a bit of a surprise, but the reason the Bills felt comfortable doing so has been the play of Dawkins. A second-round rookie out of Temple, last year he was thrust prematurely into the spotlight because of an ankle injury to Glenn just 56 snaps into the season. With one of the best left tackles in the game down, Dawkins was left as his fill in. He performed better than should be expected of any rookie, grading a solid 72.4 (26th overall) up to Week 8. However, from the halfway point, things only got better. From Week 10 of 2017 onwards, he was our fourth-ranked player with a 84.6 grade behind only Joe Staley, Nate Solder and Ryan Ramczyk.

Pundits are saying a key weakness in San Francisco this year could be their receivers, but maybe they are neglecting Goodwin? Ranked 22nd overall in our grading with a mark of 77.1 in 2017, he could have been much higher had it not been for six drops. Perhaps a better measure of his effectiveness is looking at yards per route run (this is a great measure for wide receivers, tight ends and pass-catching running backs). He averaged 1.94 yards per route run, good enough for 14th among the league’s receivers, ahead of players like Golden Tate, Stefon Diggs and Doug Baldwin.

It may not be as high profile as some of the other positions mentioned in this article but the role of the second tight end in “12 personnel” packages (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR offensive sets) is increasingly important as teams look more and more towards this as “the” base package. Morgan is the ideal fit, a guy who makes the most of his limited receiving opportunities behind Kyle Rudolph…

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