We all know the names Patrick Mahomes, Nick Bosa, and Derrick Henry. But, quite often, these Championship games are won by the lesser known players on the roster. They may not get all the publicity but their play will be crucial to reaching Super Bowl LIV.
Here are the under-the-radar players you should watch for on Championship Sunday:
Tennesse Titans – OLB Derick Roberson
Kansas City Chiefs – DT Derrick Nnadi
Derrick Nnadi is a player that sticks out to me. With the difficulty of attempting to stop Derrick Henry, as well as, the question of Chris Jones’ availability being there, Nnadi has a real chance to step up. It is hard to get noticed as a defensive tackle, unless you are someone like Aaron Donald. Nnadi was important for the Chiefs in last year’s playoffs, to try and counteract the run. He rotates in and out, so Nnadi is not specifically relegated to run downs or passing downs. His ability to move laterally and swallow ball carriers up is what sticks out for Nnadi.
The Titans also have an underrated offensive line that plays big bully football. If there is a guy who can match that intensity, it is Nnadi. He is a hard worker. Furthermore, Nnadi is yet another guy who brings a fiery energy to this confident defense. While there will be a lot at stake for the Kansas City D, Nnadi is one player who will be up for the challenge. Watch for him to have chances at some TFLs.
Braden Holecek – FPC Chiefs Managing Editor
Green Bay Packers – Corey Linsley
— Full Press NFL (@FPC_NFL) January 13, 2020
San Francisco 49ers – C Ben Garland
While the 49ers have star power in the likes of Richard Sherman, Nick Bosa, George Kittle, and Jimmy Garoppo, the vast majority of the roster is littered with players who remain relatively anonymous. While undervalued by the rest of the league, some of these players are paramount to the success in San Francisco. Perhaps the biggest of these is the starting center, Ben Garland.
Garland is a graduate of the Air Force Academy who was thrust into the starting lineup towards the end of the thrilling victory against New Orleans. The usual starter, Weston Richburg, picked up an injury in the second half. Garland finished the game quite well and has been the man ever since. He is quick on his feet and has the intelligence to match his athleticism. Although slightly undersized, he has shown a knack for getting proper leverage and rarely gets out of position. He has stabilized the center of the offensive line and proved to be a valuable member of the offense. The fact that the offense has not sustained a significant regression since the change, shows how high Garland’s level of play has been.
Against the Packers, Garland will need to call protections against an attacking Mike Pettine defense. Garland will find himself against talented defensive lineman, Kenny Clark. The Green Bay defensive tackle produced six sacks on the year with 5.5 coming over the last five weeks. The 49ers will need another solid performance by Garland if they hope to book their trip to Miami and the Super Bowl.