The Cleveland Browns most underrated player is …


Cleveland Browns nickel back K’Waun Williams has made one analyst’s list of the most underrated players in the NFL.

A day after selecting cornerback Joe Haden as the most overrated player on the Cleveland Browns roster, Pete Prisco at CBS Sports published his list of the most underrated player on each NFL team.

Prisco compiled the companion list to recognize those players who, for one reason or another, don’t receive the recognition that their play may warrant:

"There are so many players in the NFL who, for some reason or another, just don’t get the attention they deserve — which includes going to Pro Bowls."

"That’s why that game has become a joke in terms of evaluating a player’s career. There are too many misses and there is too much popularity involved."

Prisco returned to the Cleveland secondary to select third-year cornerback K’Waun Williams as the Browns most underrated player:

"While Joe Haden has struggled, this second-year player has impressed as a slot corner. Although only 5-9, this undrafted player has done a nice job inside as the nickel corner."

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It’s a bit strange that Prisco would nick Haden for missing time due to injuries, but not hold Williams to the same criteria even though he has missed games in each of his first two seasons after suffering at least three concussions.

Be that as it may, Williams is a solid choice. Since joining the Browns as an undrafted free agent out of Pitt, Williams has consistently outplayed former first-round draft pick Justin Gilbert and become an invaluable member of the secondary as a nickel back. He made a quick impression in 2014, finishing the year as the Pro Football Focus’ 13th-best cornerback.

While it certainly hurt the Browns to see Haden miss 11 games last season, Williams’ absence was just as profound as it forced the coaching staff to rely far too often on players with less experience and/or less ability than Williams.

“K’Waun’s a guy that was undrafted, so he works super-hard,” Haden said last fall. “He goes out there, goes hard, knows his assignment, alignment, and he locks up the slot guys. That’s his thing.”

Next: Browns offensive line better than expected

If both he and Haden can get healthy and return to form this fall – especially with the Browns breaking in two new starters at safety – it can only help a secondary that failed to live up to expectations in 2015.