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Mailbag: Who Is the Most Underrated Starter?

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Who is the most underrated starter on the current roster? I’d say Chidobe Awuzie.. Sometimes I forget he’s on the team because he’s not talked about a lot, but I think he’s a solid player. What do you think? Who do you say? - JOHN PETERSON

Bryan: I believe that Xavier Woods doesn’t get enough credit for how he plays. The numbers don’t tell the entire story here. Pound for pound he’s one of the toughest players on the squad. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in the action and he’s reliable doing it. He sees the field well and reacts accordingly. Big fan of his. 

David: I think Chido and Woods are both really solid answers. If I can’t say either one of them, I’d probably go with La’el Collins. It’s been an up-and-down career for him, and he hasn’t always been great. But he’s tough, resilient and gets the job done far more often than he doesn’t. If I had to predict the future, I think he’s probably going to get paid a lot of money to go play tackle somewhere else next season, and replacing him might not be as easy as we think – very similar to the departure of Doug Free.

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How is Tyron Smith's health and how does he look after OTAs, etc.? Can we still expect him to dominate at the oh-so-important LT spot on the line? What does the backup plan look like for the LT spot? - JOEY ARNEL SAYSON

Bryan: Tyron Smith appears fine but with his various medical concerns you don’t know when those issues will pop up. As far as the back up plan, at this moment it’s Cam Fleming but I have my own concerns there. He wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be in OTAs and minicamp. 

David: I thought Tyron was a lot better than some wanted to give him credit for last year. Those holding penalties left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths, but he was still pretty damn good. I think wear and tear will be a factor with him for the rest of his career. Back and shoulder problems typically don’t get better when you’re slamming into people 50-60 times per game. Having said that, I still think he’s a top-tier tackle and has plenty of quality playing time left in the tank.

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