St. Louis Rams fans have known for awhile that defensive end James Hall is underrated. Today he gets the official pundit sign-off on that, making the final cut for John Clayton's All-Underrated Team. Hall isn't the only representative from the Rams, MLB James Lauinaitis makes the cut too.
Here's Clayton on Hall:
James Hall of the St. Louis Rams has been performing under the radar his entire career. Because he's played on losing teams in Detroit and St. Louis, few have noticed him. Last year, he had 10.5 sacks, his second double-digit sacks season. Though he isn't particularly known for his pass rush, Hall has 57 sacks during his career.
The presence of Chris Long on the other side was a big boon to Hall's numbers, as offenses would put two blockers on Long many times. We know that this year's first-round pick Robert Quinn will definitely be playing on third downs, which will change the dynamic a little. Hall will probably move inside more, where he can get penetration as a three-technique. Don't be surprised to see Quinn inside some too, but Hall played inside on passing downs last season, usually with C.J. Ah You or George Selvie on the outside. It figures to be quite an impressive mix up front for the Rams this year.
Laurinaitis won't be underrated much longer. Last year was just his second year in the league; it's easy to forget that as well as he played. I expect to see even more from the Ohio State product in his third year, when he should cement his name into the conversation of the league's best linebackers.
Though they didn't make the cut, you have to include the Rams starting corners among the league's most underrated. Both Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher gave the Rams two very reliable corners capable of locking up the best receivers in the league. It was one reason opposing slot receivers were such a problem for the defense, since opposing QBs just exploited the weaknesses away from those two.
Other underrated players from the Rams?