American Football

Terry McLaurin announced that he’s leaving Washington Commanders today’ another huge significant issue for the team…

WR Terry McLaurin | ‘We’re Not Going to Quit’

Terry McLaurin used to be underrated. Not anymore.



The first time anyone called Terry McLaurin underrated, at least on the vast ledger of the internet, was Feb. 6, 2014. That day, the Ohio State beat writers at the Columbus Dispatch reviewed a new class of football signees. By position ranking, the recruiting services generally regarded the late bloomer from Indianapolis as roughly the 17th-best prospect out of 23. The class was loaded with more highly touted recruits, including future NFL players Raekwon McMillan, Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, Parris Campbell and Curtis Samuel.



The beat writers seemed to sense McLaurin’s résumé was comparatively disappointing. ranked him as the No. 43 wide receiver, ESPN had him at No. 61, and put him at No. 46. “But [he] is considered to be underrated by some analysts,” the Dispatch story read.

Nearly a decade later, “Underrated” has effectively replaced Leon as McLaurin’s middle name. Several factors — including his humble demeanor, third-round draft status and consistent production despite a carousel of uninspiring quarterbacks — seem to have magnetized the word to the Washington Commanders wide receiver. If McLaurin’s name comes up in articles or on talk shows or in casual conversation, it feels almost inevitable someone will point out there’s a gap between his talent and the appreciation for it. In April 2022, the night of the first round of that year’s NFL draft, wide receiver Jahan Dotson said he was looking forward to meeting McLaurin, “one of the most underrated receivers in the league.” In fact, McLaurin being underrated is one point that unites the data nerds and the retired Hall of Famers.

The people who market McLaurin have leaned in. In January, his agency, Exclusive Sports Group, cut a promotional video with audio clips of TV talking heads making statements such as, “Terry McLaurin may be the most underrated player in the league,” and “If this guy was playing in L.A. or Dallas or New York, he’d be a superstar.”

Terry McLaurin’s storybook trip home

But in the last year or so, things have started to change. Gobs of evidence — anecdotal, statistical, testimonial, contractual — suggest McLaurin’s profile is ascending. No experts are arguing that he is the league’s best wideout, that he is better than Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson or Miami’s Tyreek Hill, but they now regularly rank him in the top 10.

In other words: McLaurin now seems properly rated as very good.

But does that matter? Does recognition mean anything except more followers on social media and juicier endorsement checks? Fame itself didn’t help Odell Beckham Jr. and DK Metcalf become better wide receivers. It has never counted for a catch or a yard or a touchdown.

“Underrated, overrated … it doesn’t really matter,” said Samuel, now a Commanders wideout and a close friend of McLaurin’s. “It’s just about you going out there and doing your job.


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