The NFL - just like the NBA - is a money-driven league. The better the players perform, the better their chances of striking gold in their next contract.

Everyone is valued by the numbers they put in each game, while hustles and intangibles are left for the admiration of the few. It’s a mentality that led to the proliferation of overrated players in the NFL – players who are only good at padding stats but lack the components to be a certified winner.

On the other side of the pond are the underrated guys – players who don’t necessarily command attention or often overlooked by the media, but they still deliver the goods in various ways.

Here are the five most underrated players in the NFL.

No. 5 Alex Smith, Quarterback, Washington Redskins

Oh boy, there are times you like him, there are times you really don't. He's a regular-season stat monster. His accuracy is up there with the very best.

But lack of clutch genes - especially in the playoffs - has doomed his career. With the Redskins, Smith will be given a chance to prove he's a winner. It's going to be a make-or-break year for his career.

No. 4 Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots

People always say New England Patriots owe everything to Tom Brady. That’s partly true, but they also forgot Edelman’s contribution to their success, especially in their last two Super Bowl victories. The guy is a winner - he always makes huge plays down the line.

Last year’s Super Bowl proved his value for the Pats when they struggled to find any scoring option in the second half.

Expect a strong season [VIDEO] from him after a one-year knee rehab.

No. 3 Larry Fitzgerald, Wide Receiver, St. Louis Cardinals

Whenever we talk about wideout GOATs, it all boils down to three players: Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, and Jerry Rice. That is nonsense, there should be four.

Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the most efficient receivers of all time. Since joining the league in 2004, he accumulated 1,234 receptions, 15,454 receiving yards, and 110 touchdowns. The most impressive is that he recorded 109, 107 and 109 receptions in the last three seasons in his 30s. Too bad, the only missing silverware in his legendary resume is a Super Bowl ring.

No. 2 Tyrann Mathieu, Free Safety, Houston Texans

The Honey Badger had a solid year (78 tackles) coming off a shoulder injury. Unfortunately, the Cardinals couldn’t match his asking price, leading to his release and arrival in Houston.

With the Texans, he will have a chance to regain his reputation as one of the most electrifying free safety in the game today.

It wouldn’t be surprising if he even ends up as a legit defensive player of the year candidate. He’s a dual-threat who always has that ability to turn interceptions into TDs.

No. 1 Nick Foles, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz may be the one who started the run, but it was Foles who finished the job, giving Philly its first Super Bowl triumph. Let’s be honest here, Foles may never match Wentz’s passing efficiency and production but the guy knows how to win.

His performance against the New England Patriots might be one of the best underdog stories in NFL history. It’s the league’s rendition of the Pop Culture hit ‘The Replacement’ starring Keanu Reeves.

This year, the QB dynamic in Philly is very intriguing indeed. Will Philly hold onto the SB-winning QB [VIDEO]? Or will they be forced to trade Foles elsewhere where he would get a better shot at a starring role?