Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 6/7/12
The San Francisco 49ers went from virtually nothing to one of the most popular teams in the league in 2011, starting with a pre-season confrontation with the Oakland Raiders and finishing with an appearance in the NFC championship game.

A great season resulted in several of their players being named to the Pro Bowl. Some deserving, maybe not so much for others. This article will look at the overrated and underrated players on the San Francisco 49ers.

Overrated: Carlos Rogers
There is no denying that Carlos Rogers had a great year in 2011, but since when does one great year make you a superstar? At the conclusion of the season, Rogers was given a four-year contract worth $29.3 million. Ever since then, San Francisco faithful has viewed him as one of the best corners in the league.

Prior to this season, Rogers had only eight interceptions in six seasons as a member of the Washington Redskins. I am not saying that he is not a good player, but more or less that people should wait another year before deciding that he is a superstar.

Underrated: Kendall Hunter
When it comes to the running game, the first thing most people think about in San Francisco is Frank Gore. Rightfully so, Gore has been great for the 49ers. One thing that has been overlooked, however, is the impact that Kendall Hunter had for them in 2011.

The 49ers finished 8th this past season in rushing offense which is the highest they have finished since Gore’s sophomore season (2006). Ironically, 2006 and 2011 are the only two years that Gore has played in all 16 games.

Why was Gore able to play in all 16 games? He was able to stay healthy because the 49ers finally had a quality back up running back. Hunter did a great job taking some of the load off of Gore and has given the 49ers run game new life.

Overrated: Michael Crabtree
The relationship between the San Francisco 49ers organization and wide receiver Michael Crabtree has been almost laughable ever since they drafted him with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft.

After making the Guinness world record book for longest holdout, Crabtree has been looked at as the 49ers No. 1 receiver while doing absolutely nothing. With a plethora of new receivers around him, he will have to step up this year or he may be looking for a new team.

Underrated: Justin Smith
The question you may be asking yourself right now is “how can a guy that has been to the Pro Bowl three years in a row be underrated?” To answer that, not only is Smith Pro Bowl worthy, he is also one of the best defensive players in the league.

In 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers, Smith has recorded over 700 tackles, 72.5 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. He has also started every game over the past 10 seasons.  

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