Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spotlight - Rookie Cornerback ratings (the current top 10).

    Rookie ratings have been a debatable topic for years.  I decided to take a quick look at the current top 10 rated rookie cornerbacks in Madden 12.  Instead of using pure stats which some claim don't always paint the full picture, I decided to subscribe to  (PFF) and use their ratings.  I thought it was important to see the same stats that EA looks at.  Now I have been openly critical of PFF and don't agree with all of their ratings, especially on the offensive line.  That said, I payed the subscription to get a closer look at their premium statistics (you can only see after paying subscription).

    You might ask, "Why PFF?"  The answer is simple.  EAs top Madden ratings person is Donny Moore and he has tweeted several times about how much he trusts the analysis of PFF.  On December 11th, 2011 Donny tweeted, "Have I ever mentioned to you guys who I trust THE most in the world of NFL player and team analysis...."

Some other tweets from Donny Moore that indicate the use of PFF when it comes to Madden 12 ratings:

Donny Moore
" he was the 3rd worst player in pass coverage on Sunday according to . He had avg day vs run, = 1 pt decrease"

Donny Moore
"If you are interested in the most accurate and detailed NFL analysis out there, look no further than . Nobody is better."
Donny Moore
"Guy has been doing all yr long....Time to give a bump. Picked up 70 of his 99 rush yds after contact. - via "
Donny Moore
" certainly not our only resource, but by far, they one of the best in the football biz = "
    Ok, so I think based on those tweets the common person (like myself) can conclude that the analysis provided by PFF has a big impact on Madden 12 ratings.  I have to admit,  that after looking over the premium stats at PFF, they do some very good work.  I still have a HUGE problem with how they rank offensive lines, but other than that they have some very solid statistics.  I can see why they are a big resource for Madden ratings.
    So, let's get into the top 10 rookie CB ratings.  These ratings and attributes are the most current as of the week 15 rosters update.  The ProFootballFocus ratings are current as of 12/21/11.  I choose to focus on overall and coverage attributes, since PFF actually has a specific coverage ratings as well as an overall rating for cornerbacks.
PFF COV = ProFootballFocus - The cumulative player rating for the players pass coverage only.
PFF OVR = ProFootballFocus - The cumulative player rating for the player at cornerback
Blue = Highest rated
Red = Lowest rated
Peterson, Patrick 85 68 68 89 84 -6.6 -11.0 1 (5)
Amukamara, Prince 81 58 76 87 85 -3.0 -2.4 1(19)
Smith, Jimmy 78 52 64 92 86 0.2 1.6 1(27)
Dowling, Ras-I 74 51 67 84 89 -0.4 0.0 2(1)
Culliver, Chris 73 55 60 83 77 1.0 -0.1 3(16)
Harris, Chris 71 58 63 81 77 3.2 4.9 UD
Williams, Aaron 71 52 43 8776 -6.3 -3.1 2(2)
Sherman, Richard 71 65 51 84 76 12.3 9.3 5(23)
Gilchrist, Marcus 70 53 67 78 84 -2.7 -3.7 2(18)
Harris, Brandon 70 52 52 85 81 0.0 0.4 2(28)

“© 2010 All rights reserved.”
* I just corrected Peterson AWR, I had a typo. 12/21/11 1:38PM

    What should initially jump out at you, is how bad PFF rated Madden's top rookie cornerback.  He has been rated extremely poor by PFF against these rookies and against all NFL cornerbacks.  PFF has ranked Peterson the 104th overall cornerback against all NFL corners who have taken part in a minimum of 25% of their teams snaps. 
    By looking at this table, you can also see that only Denver's Chris Harris and Seattle's Richard Sherman are having success in coverage.  PFF has Sherman rated 10th overall and 1st in coverage against all NFL corners who have taken part in a minimum of 25% of their teams snaps.  Chris Harris is ranked 21st overall and 21st in coverage against those same NFL corners.
    To be far to players like Dowling and Brandon Harris, they have barely seen the field this year so it's hard to know what they really are at this point.  One could argue that with Peterson having the most snaps (1019), his body of work this year is the easiest to analyze, followed by Sherman (640),  Harris (390) and Culliver (377). 

Starts by player:  Peterson (14 starts), Sherman (8 starts, 14 games), Harris (4 starts, 14 games), and Culliver (0 starts, 14 games nickel corner).

*Stats requested from reader, gathered from (11/21/11, 5:02 PM PST).

Peterson:  59 Tak, 1 Sack, 2 Ints, 13 Pdef
Sherman:  44 Tak, 3 Ints, 17 Pdef, 1 FFum
Harris:      61 Tak, 1 Ints, 6 Pdef
Culliver:   32 Tak, 1 Ints, 8 Pdef
    Regardless of snaps, the difference in ratings is too big to ignore.  If we go by PFF ratings, Peterson has not come close to living up to his draft position and all the hype.  Williams and Amukamara are struggling as well, but with fewer snaps.  Remember PFF looks past raw statistics and they claim to watch "Every Game, Every Player, Every Play."  Their analysis looks beyond just the standard line we see in a box score.  It should also be noted that PFF grades each player per game and for the entire season.
    I think it's only natural to use draft position and college performance to help initially rate rookie players coming into Madden.  The problem here is that as the NFL season enters it's 16th week, some of these rookie are still getting too much credit for draft position and others are not getting enough credit for on the field performance.  You may have noticed that while Chris Harris and Richard Sherman are having the most success in this group, they also had the lowest draft position or in the case of Harris, went undrafted.
Final thoughts:
  1. At what point should a players draft position no longer matter in Madden ratings?
  2. What has been the hold up in giving Chris Harris and Richard Sherman a proper ratings increase?  Is it that Harris doesn't have enough snaps? 
  3. Is it OK to just keep giving Harris and Sherman small increases, or would it be better to give them a proper increase regardless?  They had to overcome a very low initial Madden rating, but have shown to be better than originally thought.
  4. We all can acknowledge that Patrick Peterson is a dynamic return man (with the exception of 3 fumbles), but according to PFF he has been horrible as a CB this season.  Peterson has went up in ratings this season while struggling (to say the least) at his primary position. 
  5. It appears that Peterson is getting a pass all the way around.  Even his 3 fumbles on punt return have been overlooked, he still has a 75 carry rating.
  6.  Why does the Madden ratings staff appear to be applying PFF analysis to some players and not others (based on information being put out by Donny Moore)?
    You may have noticed a trend when it comes to my blogs.  I am just asking for consistency for all Madden ratings.  I don't mean to come off as an EA/Donny Moore basher.  It's easy for me to pick apart their ratings, but I don't truly understand or comprehend what it takes for them to do these updates weekly.  They are up to their eyeballs with these stats everyday.  I am sure it's overwhelming at times.  Not to mention, they have to try to keep all of the fans (consumers) happy along the way.  All I ask of the Madden ratings staff, is that when things are brought up by the community that are inconsistent or just overlooked, please correct or explain the reasoning behind these inconsistencies. 
    Why does this interest me so much?  Because, I fell in love with football video games the first time I played Tecmo Bowl.  I use to keep my own stats for Tecmo Bowl, before Super Tecmo Bowl started keeping them.  The first Madden game was a giant leap and I have been hooked ever since.  Madden is the only game I buy annually.  I will always love the stats and believe that the most accurate player ratings will result in having the best quality gameplay and stats within the game. 


  1. Donny, when can we expect you to adjust Peterson's ratings? or is he one of EA's sacred cows at this point?

  2. PFF=great resource. but what good is great info when you don't even use it! this is really'd be one thing if he didnt know any better. but he does. he has access to real info and CHOOSES to rate horribly.