Madden Draft Analysis

Posted April 27th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

With the 2008 NFL Draft now complete it is time to look at which teams improved their rosters the most for Madden 09. Continue on to view my breakdown of each team’s potential instant impact picks for this year. Be sure to vote in the poll at the end for which team had the best Madden Draft.

Arizona: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Calais Campbell, Early Doucet

The Cards needed a corner and Rodgers-Cromartie will have the skills to do well in Madden possibly even better than Leodis McKelvin given his edge in height and speed. Expect a rating of 80-82 for him. Campbell and Doucet will have the opportunity to contribute as well. (Grade: B+)

Atlanta: Matt Ryan, Sam Baker, Curtis Lofton, Chevis Jackson

Ryan was a necessary choice but most rookie QB’s don’t contribute right away as his rating will be only slightly higher than those already on the roster. These are all basically players who’ll improve the Falcons but aren’t going to help all that much right away in Madden. (GRADE: B-)

Baltimore: Joe Flacco, Ray Rice

The Ravens obviously needed to get their QB of the future, but QB’s of the future aren’t going to help right away in the game. Ray Rice is a nice addition to get some carries and give Willis McGahee a rest. They also got Fabian Washington. Just don’t see this weekend as having made them that much better for Madden this year. (GRADE: B-)

Buffalo: Leodis McKelvin, James Hardy

These are two significant additions for the Bills. They get the CB they needed who can also contribute in the return game and they get Hardy who is the type of receiver that can outplay his overall rating thanks to his height. For a duo of draft picks the Bills couldn’t have done any better given their needs and draft positioning. (GRADE: A)

Carolina: Jonathan Stewart, Jeff Otah, Dan Connor

The Panthers really solidified their running game by picking up Stewart to match with DeAngelo Williams while getting one of the top level tackles. Connor is a guy that slipped but should have a higher rating than his draft spot suggests. But they still have a big weakness at QB for Madden. (GRADE: A-)

Chicago: Chris Williams, Matt Forte

The Bears have now upgraded the running game and the pick of Chris Williams gives them what will be one of the best rated tackles this year. Biggest problem is they still don’t have a QB although Grossman is manageable as a starter in Madden and they have weakness at WR. (GRADE: B-)

Cincinnati: Keith Rivers, Jerome Simpson

These two players address their need at LB and at WR. Rivers will be in the starting lineup and should have a rating of 80-82. Simpson can fill in now at WR and should get a lot of action but there were ones still on the board such as DeSean Jackson and Limas Sweed that will be better in the game. (GRADE: B+)

Cleveland: None

The Browns added no one that will make an instant impact in Madden. They weren’t expected to given the lack of picks but nonetheless the draft will not have given them any sort of boost so they get the worst grade out of it. (GRADE: F)

Dallas: Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins

Felix Jones being taken over Rashard Mendenhall is what causes the minus here but overall the Cowboys did what they had to do. They needed a RB to mix in with Marion Barber and they needed another CB even if Pacman Jones is cleared to play this year. Jones should be rated around an 80 and Jenkins an 82. (GRADE: A-)

Denver: Ryan Clady, Eddie Royal

It never hurts to draft one of the better tackles although they don’t instantly upgrade the offensive line in Madden. Royal was a curious selection but his 4.39 40 means he’ll be one of the fastest rookies so he’ll be an asset as a returner as well as for potential big plays. (GRADE: B)

Detroit: Gosder Cherilus, Jordon Dizon, Kevin Smith, Cliff Avril

I really liked Detroit’s draft for how well it’ll play into this year’s Madden. As mentioned several times now offensive tackles are highly desired and the Lions needed one on the right side immediately. Dizon could be a real sleeper at LB and Kevin Smith is going to be able to be used splitting time with Tatum Bell or possibly even as the featured back. (GRADE: A)

Green Bay: Patrick Lee, Jermichael Finley

The Packers didn’t end up with a first round pick so considering that they got some guys who will still do pretty well in the game. I don’t expect Jordy Nelson to have as much influence in the game as Lee and Finley do. There was a big need for a nickel CB and a TE and those two should be rated in the upper 70s but have the potential to make plays. (GRADE: B)

Houston: Duane Brown, Steve Slaton

While Brown isn’t going to provide all that much he still merits being mentioned. Slaton is an interesting selection and could be a great change-of-pace type although he’ll be behind both Ahman Green and Chris Brown in ratings. (GRADE: C+)

Indianapolis: Phillip Wheeler

The Colts don’t have much to show from this draft for Madden. Wheeler could play enough that he’ll be somewhat of a factor but I wouldn’t expect much there for how it’ll make them better in the game. (GRADE: D)

Jacksonville: Derrick Harvey

This was really an underrated Madden team last year and after the success they had I’d expect them to be one of the best this year. Moving up to get Harvey meant he was their only big selection but he will pay off with the pass rush boost that he will provide. (GRADE: B)

Kansas City: Glenn Dorsey, Branden Albert, Brandon Flowers, Jamaal Charles

There is no way you can’t love the Chiefs’ draft. All four of those players can be utilized right away. Dorsey and Albert will be right at the top of the rookie ratings for their positions, Flowers will make for a solid contributor in the secondary, and Charles was much needed to spell Larry Johnson at times. (GRADE: A)

Miami: Jake Long, Phillip Merling, Chad Henne

Jake Long will be the best rated offensive lineman for obvious reasons and having Merling slip to them was a pleasant surprise. Those two will be seen on the field right away. Henne could end up being a decent option starting over John Beck depending on how the ratings play out. (GRADE: B+)

Minnesota: Tyrell Johnson

Johnson may have actually been the best safety in the draft and he fills an immediate need for the Vikings. But really they also got Jared Allen in this draft I just can’t include that in the grade. John David Booty was a good selection as well but Tavares Jackson will still clearly be the best QB to use. Vikings fans should look forward to how their team is going to shape up in Madden. (GRADE: B)

New England: Jerod Mayo, Terrence Wheatley

The Patriots needed to draft for CB and LB and that is what they did. Mayo should have a rating in the low 80s which will be good enough to contribute there. Wheatley is not going to replace Asante Samuel but he has good speed which should help him as a rookie and make him a good option as a returner. (GRADE: B+)

New Orleans: Sedrick Ellis, Tracy Porter, Taylor Mehlhaff

The Saints needed help at DT and Ellis should provide that with a rating around an 81. Porter is a good pickup to add depth to their secondary. Mehlhaff is also a good selection and should be rated pretty well for a rookie kicker. (GRADE: B+)

New York Giants: Kenny Phillips, Terrell Thomas, Mario Manningham

The Giants filled needs in their secondary and picked up Manningham who slid due to various off-the-field reasons but will probably have a solid rating. They could’ve also used some help at LB. (GRADE: B+)

New York Jets: Vernon Gholston, Dustin Keller

These two for the Jets will pay dividends immediately. Gholston will fit into the Jets scheme and provide an upgrade in pass rush. Keller is the type of tight end that can really be a factor in Madden as a receiving threat. (GRADE: A)

Oakland: Darren McFadden

The Raiders get the guy who’ll have the highest overall rating as a rookie. Despite that how much can he provide that they wouldn’t have gotten already with Justin Fargas, Michael Bush, and Lamont Jordan? (GRADE: B)

Philadelphia: Trevor Laws, DeSean Jackson

As the Madden Mock Draft went DeSean Jackson could end up as the best rookie WR in Madden. His speed and explosiveness will be useful both as a returner and as a big play receiver. Laws isn’t going to be all that important in Madden but does add to their line rotation which is a plus. (GRADE: A-)

Pittsburgh: Rashard Mendenhall, Limus Sweed, Dennis Dixon

The Steelers may have had the best draft of any team. Mendenhall will have a very good rating possibly an 83. He really shouldn’t have fallen this far. Same goes for Sweed who’s makeup means he’ll outplay his overall rating. Dixon makes for a great option if Roethlisberger gets injured in the game. He will be able to make plays with his arm or legs which is about as good as you can have out of a backup. (GRADE: A)

San Diego: Antoine Cason, Jacob Hester

The Chargers had two needs for Madden. Improving the secondary and adding someone to replace Michael Turner. They did both although safety may have been a bigger need for them. Can’t go wrong with Cason though who should have a rating right around 82. They did already have Darren Sproles though which makes the RB pickups not as much of a factor. (Grade: B+)

San Francisco: Kentwan Balmer, Reggie Smith

Balmer is a good addition here although is impact in Madden is questionable. Reggie Smith will get on the field and be a decent nickel or dime CB. Just not a very exciting draft or one that will be significant for anyone using them in Madden. (GRADE: C)

Seattle: John Carlson, Red Bryant, Brandon Coutu

While Lawrence Jackson and Owen Schmitt will be big contributors to the team they aren’t going to be much of a benefit in the game given their initial roles on the team. Carlson though will be important in adding a receiving threat at TE. Coutu should fill in for Josh Brown and will possibly be the highest rated rookie kicker. (GRADE: B)

St. Louis: Chris Long, Donnie Avery, Justin King

Taking Donnie Avery as the first WR off the board was certainly a head-scratcher, however in Madden it isn’t as much of one. He’ll be able to make plays thanks to his speed. King is extremely fast and may have a speed rating of 97 so that is the type that can do well as a rmid-round rookie in the secondary. It goes without saying that Chris Long will be very good and will have a rating of 84 or 85. The Rams defensive line should be formidable in the game. (GRADE: B+)

Tampa Bay: Aqib Talib, Dexter Jackson

I like what Tampa did here although they may get flak for the Jackson pick. He makes for a perfect rookie WR that will outplay his overall rating due to his speed and acceleration. They needed to grab a corner and Talib should have a rating of 82 which is going to make for a solid addition. (GRADE: A-)

Tennessee: Chris Johnson, Jason Jones

Chris Johnson will be the fastest rookie in the game with a 97 or 98 speed rating likely and that is invaluable. He and LenDale White should really work well together. Jones isn’t going to be a huge upgrade as they did grab the traditionally overrated Jevon Kearse in free agency who’ll do that. (GRADE: B+)

Washington: Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, Malcolm Kelly

Three weapons in the passing game have been added. With Santana Moss and Chris Cooley there that makes them a dynamic offense. Those are three players who at times had been discussed as potential first rounders so their ratings should reflect that somewhat. They really needed to upgrade their pass rush though and that will have gone unaided. (GRADE A-)