Four under-the-radar players set to have a big impact on Super Bowl LVII

With the NFL’s top two teams meeting Sunday for a shot at Super Bowl immortality, all eyes are focused on the play of two of the league’s finest signal-callers.

The Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and the Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts head the betting for MVP, followed by superstar pass-catchers Travis Kelce and AJ Brown.
However, whether it's tight end Trey Burton throwing the Philly Special or David Tyree's helmet catch, Super Bowls are often won and lost by players who escaped pre-game attention.
So, we take a look here at four players who could have a much larger impact on the NFL's curtain closer than expected.

TJ Edwards - Philadelphia Eagles LB

An undrafted rookie in 2019, Edwards has been proving doubters wrong his whole football career.
The 26-year-old was moved to off-ball linebacker in his first year at Wisconsin and took to the position with ease, soon finding himself team captain and with levels of production to match any college linebacker.
Despite amassing impressive stats over four years at Wisconsin, fears over Edwards' speed and coverage abilities meant no NFL team was willing to part with a pick for the linebacker's services.
The Doug Pederson-led Eagles swooped in after the draft and Edwards has risen from strength to strength since, this year calling plays for the defence and setting the Eagles' single-season tackle record.
Edwards' 159 tackles have been an underrated part of the Eagles' defensive success this campaign, with the former Wisconsin man consistently mopping up plays behind a stalwart defensive line.
The linebacker, who earned a spot in Pro Football Focus' All-Pro first team, will play a large role on Sunday as he tries to quash the Chiefs' running game and pile the pressure on quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs will also look to exploit Edwards in coverage with mismatches against superstar tight end Travis Kelce. Edwards' ability to tackle cleanly and consistently and limit Kelce's yards after contact may prove to be the deciding factor in the game.

Jerick McKinnon - Kansas City Chiefs RB

Having struggled with injury for most of his NFL career, McKinnon emerged this year as one of the league's most effective third-down backs.
Earning himself second spot on the team's depth chart ahead of former first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire and free agent signing Ronald Jones, McKinnon caught more touchdown passes than any other running back in the league this season and only three accumulated more receiving yards.
The former Georgia Southern talent was also effective on the ground, forcing 11 missed tackles on 73 carries as he served a complimentary role to rookie seventh-rounder Isaiah Pacheco.
However, McKinnon's most important role in this Chiefs offence may be as a blocker.
The 30-year-old is one of the league's most reliable running backs in pass protection and with Mahomes possibly still suffering the lingering effects of a high ankle sprain, McKinnon's ability to help keep the pocket clean and give his quarterback time may prove to be the key to a Chiefs victory.

Isaac Seumalo - Philadelphia Eagles RG

On an offensive line featuring perennial pro-bowler Jason Kelce, rockstar right tackle Lane Johnson and Australian mauler Jordan Mailata, perhaps it's little surprise that the consistent play of Isaac Seumalo has gone unnoticed this season.
Former Oregon State guard Seumalo has struggled with injury since entering the league as a third-round draft pick in 2016 but put it all together to play every offensive snap for the Eagles this year, earning career-best PFF grades in both run and pass blocking.
Seumalo has combined his bludgeoning physicality with play-by-play consistency and the newfound ability to stay on the field at all times, allowing just one sack and three quarterback hits all season long.
The 29-year-old's breakout has helped elevate the Eagles' offensive line to the point where its position as best in the league is beyond doubt.
Such offensive line stability will be crucial to the Eagles' efforts on Sunday. If Seumalo and co. can continue their domination in the trenches, the Kansas City Chiefs will have little joy containing the explosive Eagles' offence both in the air and on the ground.

George Karlaftis - Kansas City Chiefs DE

After a slow start to his career, rookie first-rounder Karlaftis found his NFL feet down the stretch for the Chiefs, earning 6 sacks over the last seven regular-season games having produced none through the first ten.
Greek-born Karlaftis demonstrated flashes of his finishing ability over the year but was poor against the run and failed to produce quick, impact wins on passing downs.
Once a youth member of the Greece men's national water polo team, 2022's 20th overall selection has the physical attributes but needs to improve on the fundamentals demonstrated in his first year in the league.
However, fresh off a sack against the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional Round, Karlaftis' rookie contribution is far from over.
With the attention of the Eagles' formidable offensive line set to be focused on Chris Jones and Frank Clark, there is an opportunity for Karlaftis to make a name for himself on the biggest stage.
If the pass-rushing prowess of Jones and Clark is indeed stifled by the Eagles, the stage will be set for Karlaftis to introduce himself in earnest to the NFL cognoscenti.
Double teams on the other side of the defensive line may open up space for the rookie, who will need to show more pass-rushing refinement to have an impact worthy of justifying his team's decision to select him in the first round.

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