Michael Thomas, David Onyemata make PFF’s 2021 All-Underrated Team

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·1 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

It feels strange to see a former NFL Offensive Player of the Year and maybe the New Orleans Saints’ best pass rusher each listed on an All-Underrated Team, but Pro Football Focus analyst Anthony Treash makes a compelling argument for it. Treash assembled his 2021 All-Underrated Team after the preseason wound down, and two Saints standouts made the cut in wide receiver Michael Thomas and defensive lineman David Onyemata. It probably helps PFF’s argument that neither player will be available for the first month of the regular season. Here’s what they had to say:

Michael Thomas

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) catches the ball during a drill at NFL football training camp in Metairie, La., Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. (David Grunfeld/Pool Photo via AP)

"Thomas will miss at least the first six weeks of the 2021 season after undergoing offseason ankle surgery, but he will return as one of the best in the game. Thomas’ 2020 season was the worst year of his career from both a grading (78.9 receiving grade) and production (1.93 yards per route run) standpoint, but even with that down year baked in, Thomas still ranks top-three among NFL wide receivers in both receiving grade and yards per route run since entering the league in 2016."

It's starting to feel like Thomas needs to remind everyone just how talented he is. Between the last frustrating 12 months and the social media memes, his reputation has taken some hits -- but he's still a top-tier receiver, and Jameis Winston should be able to tap into some unused aspects of his game. If Thomas remains an effective contested-catch target further downfield, he could become a better version of Mike Evans.

David Onyemata

New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (93) looks over to fans watching practice during NFL football training camp in Metairie, Saturday, July 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

"After signing a three-year contract extension in the 2020 offseason, Onyemata became a far more consistent and impactful player overall. His best single-game performance of 2019 would have been his ninth-best in 2020, according to PFF grade. Onyemata proceeded to finish as the sixth-highest-graded interior defensive lineman of the season (88.8). Due to suspension, he’ll be out the first six games of 2021, but the Saints will be boasting a top-10 defensive line upon his return."

Onyemata has been a force for the Saints these last few years, and there were times last season when he was their best defensive player. But he's still underrated across the league. Hopefully he returns from suspension to reassert himself as one of the game's best interior defensive linemen.

[lawrence-newsletter]

1

1