Sunday, April 8, 2012

Looking back on the 2011 NFL Draft 1st Round Ratings/Attributes (#16 - #20).

This is the 4th blog in my Madden 12 Rookie ratings review series (#16 - #20).  In case you missed the first blog covering picks 1 through 5, you can find it here:  I encourage you to read the first blog, as I won't be repeating the entire introduction in this post.

    My second blog covering picks 6 through 10 can be found here:

    My third blog covering picks 11 through 15 can be found here:

    To give you a short introduction, I am comparing the original rookie ratings to the final rookie ratings in Madden 12.  I will be giving EA a grade on these ratings/attributes.  As the release the of Madden 13 approaches, I believe EA still has plenty of time to make improvements to how they rate player attributes.  There is no reason to stand still and be complacent.  All it takes is a open mind and a willingness to be the best despite the absence of competition.  

** Look past Overall (OVR) rating ***

Blue = increase in ratings/attributes
Red = decrease in ratings/attributes

M12 rating = Madden 12 Player Ratings

Original = First Madden 12 Rating.
Final = Final Madden 12 Rating.

#16 Ryan Kerrigan (OLB) Washington Redskins

    Kerrigan was the 3rd Linebacker taken in the 2011 draft and like the previous two (Miller and Smith), he made an immediate impact.  Kerrigan was a standout DE and TE while in high school, but played solely DE  at Purdue.  Per ESPN article, Kerrigan "set a Big Ten record and tied for the FBS all-time career record in forced fumbles with 14."  He was drafted to play outside linebacker in the Redskins 3-4 system.

    Here are his 2011 regular season statistics per

    16 games (16 starts), 63 total tackles (41 solo), 7.5 sacks, 4 FF, 4 Pdef, 1 Int, 1 IntTD

    He was tied for 4th in the NFL with 4 forced fumbles and was 2nd among fellow rookies.  He had the 4th most sacks for all rookies with 7.5.

    Let's look at how analyzed Kerrigan.  His overall grade of 2.0 ranked Kerrigan 19th out of 28 outside linebackers (3-4 system) who participated in at least 25% of their teams defensive snaps.  His low overall ranking was a result of his poor coverage grade -4.2 (ranked 27th/28) and his grade against the run -3.2 (ranked 23rd/28).  Kerrigan excelled when rushing the passer and received a pass rush grade of +10.8 (ranked 9th/28).  When it comes to tackle efficiency, he was average for 3-4 OLB's with a missed tackle every 10.8 attempts (16th/28).  No other 3-4 OLB played more snaps during the 2011 regular season than Kerrigan (1056).

    If someone just looks at OVR, they would probably say Kerrigan's final rating was a good representation of his rookie year.  Well,  you should know by now that I don't respect OVR in Madden 12 or the formula used to determine it.  I look at attributes and disregard the broken OVR.   

    There are some very accurate attributes for Kerrigan, like:  SPD, AWR, BSH, and STA.  There are also some questionable attributes, like:  TAK, POW, MCV, and ZCV.  A 92 TAK attribute is considered elite, he is not elite when it comes to the act of tackling compared to other OLB's.  We know that POW (hit power) contributes to forcing fumbles in Madden football.  With his college and now NFL success in forcing fumbles, I would argue that he should be elite (90+) in the POW attribute.  One interception returned for a TD should not have resulted in a 8 point MCV increase and a 10 point ZCV increase.  That looks like the  ESPN highlight rating system.  The only other explanation for the MCV/ZCV increases was to raise his OVR rating.  Either way, this is not an accurate way to rate player attributes.  This does not reflect reality.  Kerrigan was horrible in coverage during the 2011 season (per PFF, 105.0 QB rating against and 78.9% completions against).  STOP the ESPN highlight based ratings and make OVR a stand alone number (ranking) that has no connection to player attributes.  The linebacker OVR formula is one of the worst formulas in the entire game.  Remember, while rarely dropping into coverage, Aldon Smith (#7 pick OLB) received increases in MCV and ZCV just to raise his OVR.  

    I give EA a "C" for Kerrigan's final Madden rating/attributes.  

#17 Nate Solder (OT), New England Patriots

* Please note Solder was changed from LT to RT in Madden 12, which caused his OVR to inflate.  There is a significant difference in OVR formula for LT's and RT's.  See my blog on OVR formula for more info:

    Solder was the 2nd Offensive Tackle drafted in 2011 and the Patriots had high expectations for him.  He played in all 16 regular season games (3 at LT, 12 at RT, and 1 as a blocking TE).  He also started all 3 playoff games at right tackle.  The current Patriot depth chart on has Solder listed as the starting RT with Vollmer backing him up.  Solder is a very athletic Offensive Tackle and was recruited as a TE out of high school.  He could be a sneaky goal line option in the NFL and in Madden if lined up as a blocking TE.  Solder was considered by many to have a huge upside coming into the draft and was selected to the All-Rookie Team by Pro Football Weekly and the Sporting News. gave Solder an overall grade of -1.5 (-6.1 Pass blocking, 0.5 Screen blocking, 3.7 Run blocking, and 0.4 penalty).  You can see his pass blocking is what brought down his overall grade.  Per PFF, he gave up 26 QB pressures, 4 QB hits, 3 sacks, and had 5 penalties.  He was graded on 869 snaps (43 offensive tackles had more snaps than Solder).  He received a PBE (Pass blocking efficiency) score of 94.1 from PFF, which ranked T-35th out of 58 offensive tackles (participating in at least 25% of teams snaps).  PBE is a signature statistic from the website.

    While run blocking can be difficult to analyze, the overall team statistics can provide insight.  PFF provides complete team rushing statistics that include the yards gained over each offensive line position.  New England's best YPC average was over the right tackle.  Right tackle was second only to the Center position when looking at total rushing yards gained (excluding TE comparison).  I am not an offensive line expert, but those rushing numbers would support the good run blocking grade that Solder received from PFF.

    When grading EA for Solder's final player rating/attributes, you have to completely disregard the OVR due to position change and the broken OVR formula, it's a double whammy.  When you look at PBK and RBK, you can see that EA was on the right track, but if you look at PBS and PBF you see that EA was confused again.  Why the +2 increase in PBS while giving a -2 in PBF.  I would argue that PBS should have stayed the same and PBF should be in the 76 to 78 range.  Also, his overall strength  (STR) was reduced while increasing PBS, that makes no sense.  I am very happy that EA brought former NFL offensive tackle Clint Oldenburg (@ClintOldenburg on twitter) to help make some sense of the offensive line attributes and game-play interaction for Madden 13.  EA has been confused for years when it comes to the offensive line.

   I give EA a "B-" for Solder's final Madden 12 attribute ratings.

#18 Corey Liuget (LE) San Diego Chargers   

    Liuget came into the draft after playing DT for Illinois.  The Chargers drafted him to play LE in their 3-4 system.  Liuget would play DT if he was drafted by a team that used a 4-3 defensive scheme.  This is another area where the OVR formula is flawed.  The OVR formula does not account for the difference in a 4-3 DE and a 3-4 DE.  It's similar to how the OVR doesn't account for the difference in a 3-4 OLB and a 4-3 OLB.

    A 3-4 DE is a run stopper (gap filler) first and typically the size of a 4-3 DT.  While some 3-4 DE's are good pass rushers as well, they are not utilized the same way as a 4-3 DE.  If you don't believe that, just look at the sack leaders in the NFL every year.  Many of the top pass rushers are either 4-3 DE's or 3-4 OLB's, not 3-4 DE's.

    Back to Liuget.  Here are his 2011 statistics ( LLC):

    15 games (13 starts), 19 tackles (14 solo), 1 sack, 2 Pdef, 1 FFum, 2 stuffs.  While statistics can help in determining several attributes at several positions, they don't tell the whole story when trying to evaluate a 3-4 defensive lineman.  This is when you have to dig deeper into statistics and watch even more game tape to evaluate a player.  Since more time is required to evaluate interior D-linemen, it tends to be a neglected position in Madden ratings.  Those interior D-linemen that do get attention by the ratings team, have their attributes changed primarily to increase/decrease OVR with little emphasis put on accuracy.

    I read several articles reviewing Liuget's rookie season and I couldn't find one that viewed 2011 as a success.  Some writers are calling him a bust already, while others believe he is very talented and just needs more time to develop.  Either way, the general consensus is that he struggled as a rookie.  Many rookies struggle and go on to have very good careers, so Liuget is not doomed.  He missed some time due to injury this year, but many also questioned his conditioning.  If you have NFL rewind, you can watch some of the Charger games and see how over-matched he was during the season.

    If you are Corey Liuget you probably don't like  They wrote an article about 3-4 DE's and their Run Stop % stat ( and Liuget was dead last.  On the bright side, he missed 0 tackles against the run and only 1 missed tackle all season (Yes, it's a small sample size).  PFF gave Liuget an overall grade of -8.7 which ranked 28 out of 32 DE's (3-4 scheme) and he received a -0.9 grade for rushing the passer (16th/32).  

    One thing you may have noticed in the first 18 picks is that EA gave every rookie an increase in AWR regardless of how well they performed.  This makes no sense.  As a matter of fact, only one first rounder received a decrease in AWR, four went unchanged, and the other 27 received increases.  Luiget is a perfect example, he received an increase in AWR and PRC during the season, yet all of my research indicates Luiget had very little impact this season.  The most impressive thing Luiget did was to hang onto his starting job, but that probably speaks more to the lack of depth the Chargers have at the position than his overall performance.  In most cases, AWR is only used to increase or decrease OVR.    

    I give EA a "D" for Luiget's final attributes.  I have said it a thousand times, the actual ability to make a tackle should be a bigger factor in the TAK attribute.  This means you need to factor in missed tackles.  While Luiget didn't make many tackles, he only missed one.

    After a full season, there is no way he should still have an elite BSH of 92 and his PMV must also be questioned.  Let's not forget the horrible increase in AWR, if anything it should have went down.

#19 Prince Amukamara (CB), New York Giants

    Prince was the 2nd CB taken in this draft.  He missed the preseason and the first 9 games of the regular season due to a broken foot.  Right off the bat you can see that EA neglected to adjust his INJ attribute to account for the injury.  Giant fans on twitter, in forums, or commenting on other Madden articles think EA is out to get them.  Based on Prince Amukamara's Madden attributes I don't believe EA is out to get the Giant fans, he is actually overrated in my opinion.

    Prince played in 7 regular season and all 4 playoff games.  He didn't start any games in 2011.

Here are his regular season stats:  14 tackles (12 solo), 3 Pdef, and 1 Int.
                      Post-season stats:   3 tackles (2 solo)

    Per PFF he received a -2.3 overall grade for the regular season which was tied for 140th out of 198 CB's and it was worst among NYG corners.  He had a 122.8 QB rating against, 64.7% completion percentage against, and gave up a whooping 22.1 yards per completion.  He only played 143 snaps during the regular season, but that was good for 3rd among Giant corners.

    He improved slightly during the post season with a 0.5 overall grade on 60 snaps.  He was targeted 3 times and gave up 3 catches, but for only 16 yards and a 88.9 QB rating against.

    Coming into the draft, Amukamara was considered a top prospect.  His foot injury can be blamed for some of his struggles this season.  The question is, will it have any long term effect on his future performance?  EA clearly gave him the benefit of the doubt all year long, even after he took the field.  Some of these attributes can not be ignored.

    Here is how he stacks up against other Madden 12 corners:

65 CIT is T-5th among all M12 corners.

75 SPC is 7th among all M12 corners.  It's also higher than 129 WR's in Madden 12.  In four years of college, he had 5 interceptions--all in his junior year.  So, he has 6 total interceptions if you combine college and NFL statistics.  Are those 6 plays (including some NFL combine tape) enough to justify those attributes?  Hmmmm.

66 FMV is 6th among all M12 corners.

70 BSH - is 5th among all M12 corners.  Get this, his 70 BSH is higher than:  35 ROLB's, 39 MLB's, 28 LOLB's (including Michael Boley, 65 BSH), 15 DTs, 29 RE's (including Peppers and Freeney), 27 LE's (including Mathis and Brock), and Pro Bowl safeties Chancellor and Goldson who have 62 BSH.

    Since Madden currently doesn't take size (physics) into account when it comes to game-play, Prince could shed a block against someone like LT Joe Thomas easier than Peppers, Freeney, Mathis or Brock.  Am I the only one who is confused by this type of player rating system?

87 MCV is T-13th among all M12 corners.

84 ZCV is T-12th among all M12 corners.

85 PRS is T-13th among all M12 corners.

98 INJ is 2nd in the entire game, yet he missed all of the preseason and 9 regular season games.

    While EA did give Prince some subtle decreases, I give them a "D" for his final attribute ratings.  EA has a hard time rating rookie CB's.  They overrate the higher picks and are reluctant to give them decreases that would result in more accurate attributes.  At the same time, they drag their feet with increases to lower draft picks.

    The draft is a crap-shoot, grading a player before they even play in a NFL game is also a crap-shoot.  Hindsight is 20/20, but EA needs to admit when they are wrong and make the appropriate correction to player attributes.  We can only hope that EA has the manpower and desire to review the entire 2011 NFL season so they can produce more accurate player attributes for Madden 13.

#20 Adrian Clayborn (DE), Tampa Buccaneers

    Clayborn was the 4th Defensive End selected in this draft.  He started all 16 games during the regular season and really started putting things together the last 8 games of the season.

Here are his season splits:

Gms 1-8:  15 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 FFum.
Gms 9-16: 27 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 2 FFum.

    For the entire season Clayborn had 42 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 3 FFum.  He led the Buccaneers in sacks and was 4th among all rookies in that category.

    ProFootballFocus gave him a 5.9 overall grade which ranked 32 out of 67 DE's in a 4-3 system.  He really shines when rushing the passer.  PFF gave him a 14.5 for pass rush, which was T-12th out of 67 DE's.  He struggled against the run with a grade of -6.6 (63rd/67 DE's) and he was flagged for 6 penalties which resulted in a -3.0 grade in that category.  According to PFF, he also missed 8 tackles this season (2nd highest total when compared to other 4-3 DE's), resulting in a 5.75 tackle efficiency rating which is below average.  He ended the season with the 12th highest number of snaps for a 4-3 DE at 874.

    Since he was so bad against the run and had a problem with penalties, I don't agree with the 10 point increase in awareness.  While some AWR increase may have been warranted, I think a 10 point increase was too much.  In my opinion, the AWR increase was used to raise his OVR and not to reflect his true performance as a rookie.

   I give EA a "B" for Clayborn's final Madden rating/attributes.  I like most of his attributes aside from the massive AWR increase.  If I was going to be really picky, I would like to see a slight decrease in TAK, while giving him an increase in STA.  Overall, Clayborn has the most accurate attributes out of these five rookies.

    Happy Easter and thank you for following my blog.  I plan to finish this series by next Sunday.  Have a great week.


1 comment:

  1. Great analysis. I like you citing PFF's work.