Grading the NFL Draft for Madden 11

Posted April 27th, 2010 at 9:41 am

With the NFL Draft complete teams have begun to take shape for the coming season. How they will perform in Madden 11 can be examined based on the early ratings out for rookies and other draft deals that were made. I’ve gone though and graded each team based on their drafts and expected impact in Madden 11.

Taken into consideration are the base ratings for the rookies from the first three rounds, the importance of their positions, and potential improvement at those positions compared to last year. Also factored into the grades are any players that were traded for using draft picks. Continue on to check out the analysis for every team and leave your thoughts in the comments!

Buffalo Bills
Drafted: CJ Spiller (79), Torell Troup (57), Alex Carrington (62)
Analysis: With Spiller the Bills get a dynamic player on offense and someone that could be used for returning also. Still, with Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson already in place, RB was not a position of need. The other two pick-ups will have little to no influence on Madden 11.
Grade: C+

Miami Dolphins
Drafted: Jared Odrick (76), Koa Misi (67), John Jerry (65)
Also acquired using picks: Brandon Marshall
Analysis: Of course the big name out of all this is Brandon Marshall, one of the best receivers in the NFL. Odrick was great value as some thought he wouldn’t last that deep into the first round. The three don’t offer much though for this first year in Madden given their positions.
Grade: B

New England Patriots
Drafted: Devin McCourty (74), Rob Gronkowski (77), Jermaine Cunningham (53), Brandon Spikes (72), Taylor Price (55)
Analysis: McCourty should make for a decent nickle or dime back, Gronkowski will be an excellent weapon in the passing game, and Price could become another Wes Welker type. Spikes has a solid overall rating, but his 70 speed rating will hurt his effectiveness.
Grade: B+

New York Jets
Drafted: Kyle Wilson (76), Vladimir Ducasse (75)
Also acquired using picks: Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie
Analysis: The Jets look to be one of the most well balanced teams for Madden thanks to their offseason additions. Wilson was thought to be grabbed by a team earlier in the first round, possibly even with the Browns considering him at #7. Two mid-70 rated rookies from late slots in both rounds is an impressive take.
Grade: A

Baltimore Ravens
Drafted: Sergio Kindle (78), Terrence Cody (72), Ed Dickson (65)
Also acquired using picks: Anquan Boldin
Analysis: When it looked like the Ravens could end up with Dez Bryant falling into their laps that was a scary thought. This team is loaded now on both sides of the ball though adding the pass rusher in Kindle and another big body for the front of their 3-4 defense. Dickson won’t be an upgrade over Todd Heap, but in 2TE sets he would make for a very nice compliment given his receiving skills.
Grade: A

Cincinnati Bengals
Drafted: Jermaine Gresham (78), Carlos Dunlap (74), Jordan Shipley (68), Brandon Ghee (68)
Analysis: Those are very solid ratings stretched through three rounds. Gresham especially could be a weapon in the passing game, though Shipley will fit well as a 4th WR. Without an “effort” or “motor” rating in Madden, Dunlap has an advantage given his physical skills and could be a good pass rusher in the game.
Grade: B+

Cleveland Browns
Drafted: Joe Haden (79) , TJ Ward (65), Montario Hardesty (70), Colt McCoy (72), Shawn Lauvau (63)
Analysis: Joe Haden comes in as the highest rated corner, but still in Madden you can’t fully trust a 79 rated DB. The team got a steal with McCoy, but he probably won’t see the field for most players in Madden as Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme will probably have better ratings. Hardesty could be a really nice fit spelling Jerome Harrison. However the team took one of the lowest rated second round picks with Ward.
Grade: B

Pittsburgh Steelers
Drafted: Maurkice Pouncey (76), Jason Worilds (63), Emmanuel Sanders (66)
Analysis: These are all good pick-ups that will help the team but they won’t offer much in Madden. Pouncey will be a very good interior lineman but his rating does not allow him to standout compared to whoever he replaced. With Ben Roethlisberger suspended for the first 4-6 games and Santonio Holmes gone, this team will be worse in Madden this year than last.
Grade: C+

Houston Texans
Drafted: Kareem Jackson (70), Ben Tate (69), Earl Mitchell (57)
Analysis: Jackson was one of the lowest rated first round selection, though he makes a lot of sense for the team which lost Dunta Robinson. Jackson though comes in six points lower than Kyle Wilson who was taken late in the first by the Jets. Tate will be a good back in a rotation with Arian Foster or Steve Slaton, but both of those guys come in higher rated.
Grade: B-

Indianapolis Colts
Drafted: Jerry Hughes (74), Pat Angerer (61), Kevin Thomas (65)
Analysis: The Colts got a good pass rusher in Hughes and decent value in Thomas late in the third. Angerer doesn’t look to provide much value in the game though.
Grade: B-

Jacksonville Jaguars
Drafted: Tyson Alualu (69), D’Anthony Smith (68)
Also acquired using picks: Kirk Morrison
Analysis: There couldn’t have been a worse draft for the upcoming Madden. A dominant DT can have an impact in the game, but neither of these guys will provide that level performance. Alualu was drafted way earlier than anyone expected at #10…a lower rated rookie was not taken until the several picks into the second round. Morrison is a decent pickup for the team but not enough to offset what else took place.
Grade: F

Tennessee Titans
Drafted: Derrick Morgan (79), Damian Williams (74)
Analysis: The highest rated third round pick went to the Titans in Damian Williams. He could be a solid third option in the passing game. Morgan was the highest rated defensive end (tied with JPP). Though they only had the two picks they got great value out of them that should help the team in Madden.
Grade: A-

Denver Broncos
Drafted: Demaryius Thomas (74), Tim Tebow (70), Zane Beadles (68), JD Walton (64), Eric Decker (66)
Also acquired using picks: Brady Quinn
Analysis: The team now has three QBs who are mediocre at best, which means most people will be putting Tebow in. He is in good shape in some categories but his accuracy will be troublesome. Thomas will be a good deep threat in the game, but the two offensive lineman (needed in real life) don’t offer ratings that will provide much help in Madden.
Grade: C

Kansas City Chiefs
Drafted: Eric Berry (85), Dexter McCluster (70), Javier Arenas (71), Jon Asamoah (77), Tony Moeaki (65)
Analysis: Tied for the highest rated rookie, Berry will be a difference-maker in Madden. McCluster will be able to be utilized in different ways, slot receiver appears to be his set position though. The Chiefs got four players rated 70 or higher.
Grade: A-

Oakland Raiders
Drafted: Rolando McClain (79), Lamaar Houston (70), Jared Veldheer (68)
Also acquired using picks: Jason Campbell
Analysis: A very solid draft for the Raiders but the picks don’t offer much vs last year. What seals this as such an improvement for the team is the acqusition of Jason Campbell. The Raiders were a playoff-caliber team last year that went down because they stuck with JaMarcus Russell for too long. In the game Campbell is very average, but his skill set can be better utilized.
Grade: B+

San Diego Chargers
Drafted: Ryan Mathews (77), Donald Butler (72)
Analysis: As good as Mathews could be in Madden, the trade up to get him cost the Chargers #40 which could have been another very good player. Mathews will probably see his ratings boosted throughout the season given the number of carries he will get. I like Butler a lot but I don’t see him being much help in the game this year.
Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys
Drafted: Dez Bryant (80), Sean Lee (69)
Analysis: The Cowboys come away with the biggest impact receiver, remarkable considering where they were picking late in the first. They had to trade up a few spots but it was worth it. The problems with Bryant, stemming with his maturity, mean nothing in Madden. He will provide yet another threat on that offense.
Grade: A-

New York Giants
Drafted: Jason Pierre-Paul (79), Linval Joseph (66), Chad Jones (65)
Analysis: JPP got a 79 rating, which I think is too high given his lack of experience. He will be a situational pass rusher and probably not a starter in Madden. The other two picks are decent but don’t offer much for the game either.
Grade: C+

Philadelphia Eagles
Drafted: Brandon Graham (78), Nate Allen (75), Daniel Te’o Nesheim (54)
Analysis: The Eagles were looking for a defensive end and safety and they got that, actually coming away from the draft with a bunch of DEs. Graham comes in as the second highest rated end, while Allen is the third highest rated safety.
Grade: B

Washington Redskins
Drafted: Trent Williams (79)
Also acquired using picks: Donovan McNabb
Analysis: The Skins picked up the LT that the team desperately needed, however they took Williams instead of Okung, which cost them three ratings points. The big addition of Donovan McNabb also factors in here, as he is the 8th highest rated QB in the game.
Grade: B-

Chicago Bears
Drafted: Major Wright (67)
Analysis: Got the same number of impact players as the Jaguars did. Of course the lack of picks was due to the Jay Cutler deal, but having been in the game all last year he isn’t a consideration in this. Despite not having a first rounder, with Wright the Bears got someone that could be a decent contributor in Madden this year.
Grade: D

Detroit Lions
Drafted: Ndamukong Suh (85), Jahvid Best (74), Armai Spievey (68)
Analysis: Suh comes in as the highest rated rookie tied with Berry, but at a lower impact position. Jahvid Best was a nice grab for the team and adds a quicker back that could be utilized in a few ways. Have to like what they did when pairing them with the current roster.
Grade: A-

Green Bay Packers
Drafted: Bryan Bulaga (78), Mike Neal (65), Morgan Burnett (70)
Analysis: It was luck that had Bulaga fall to the Packers, he fills an immediate need with the team and was rated as top-15 caliber. That 78 rating will be solid but it will take some time to see an upgrade out of it. Burnett is a nice safety pickup.
Grade: B-

Minnesota Vikings
Drafted: Chris Cook (70), Toby Gerhart (71)
Analysis: The Vikings grabbed the power runner in Toby Gerhart to pair with Adrian Peterson. The problem with Gerhart is he won’t be the change of pace type that Chester Taylor was…Gerhart isn’t suited for screen plays for example. Cook is a tall corner that should be a solid third or fourth on the team.
Grade: C

Atlanta Falcons
Drafted: Sean Weatherspoon (75), Corey Peters (50)
Analysis: Weatherspoon was a good pick that fills a need on the team, but Peters is almost a throwaway considering his rating. Not much help overall considering the current roster and who they will be replacing.
Grade: C+

Carolina Panthers
Drafted: Jimmy Clausen (76), Brandon LaFell (71), Armanti Edwards (60)
Analysis: Matt Moore may end up being the highest rated QB on the roster, but snagging Clausen is still noteworthy. He will need to play this season though in order to get ratings upgrades. LaFell could turn out to be a #1 type receiver but early on he will be a decent #3 option. Who knows what ratings Edwards will get considering he’s being converted to receiver.
Grade: B

New Orleans Saints
Drafted: Patrick Robinson (75), Charles Brown (76), Jimmy Graham (64)
Analysis: Considering they were picking at the end of each round these are great value selections. Robinson could contribute in the nickle or dime, and Brown was expected to go much higher in the draft so getting him to play LT or RT was a steal. He probably won’t crack the starting lineup though unless a move is made with one of the current lineman. Graham is more of a project but has athleticism that could be taken advantage of in the passing game.
Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Drafted: Gerald McCoy (84), Brian Price (75), Arrelious Benn (72), Myron Lewis (64)
Analysis: Drafting at number three meant getting the highly rated McCoy, though taking another DT in the second round was a head scratcher. McCoy has the ratings to be a factor but Price may not see the field much in the game. Benn is an interesting pick, he has the make-up to be a threat on the outside.
Grade: B+

Arizona Cardinals
Drafted: Dan Williams (76), Daryl Washington (70), Andre Roberts (64)
Also acquired using picks: Kerry Rhodes
Analysis: Dan Williams could have gone much higher so he is good value that late in round one. Washington is a nice pass rusher, though with his rating how much he will be used is in question. Roberts is a very intriguing receiver but with that group he probably won’t crack the top four and see the field much.
Grade: B

St. Louis Rams
Drafted: Sam Bradford (80), Rodger Saffold (71), Jerome Murphy (70)
Analysis: Bradford, the top pick in the draft, will certainly be an upgrade over anyone on the Rams roster. However an 80 rated QB is still very mediocre for Madden. Saffold and Murphy were solid picks that will help the team but less so in the game.
Grade: C+

San Francisco 49ers
Drafted: Anthony Davis (75), Mike Iupati (84), Taylor Mays (75), Navorro Bowman (73)
Also acquired using picks: Ted Ginn
Analysis: What makes a lot of sense for the team in real life doesn’t translate quite as well to Madden. Having the two first rounders be offensive lineman, there are just so many players in those positions already rated in that same range. Iupati though stands out as an 84 and that could make him a very good starter in the game. The others may not provide as much of an upgrade. Taylor Mays will be a fun to user-control, but could end up being a liability in coverage. Four players with the lowest rated being 73 is impressive.
Grade: B+

Seattle Seahawks
Drafted: Russell Okung (82), Earl Thomas (81), Golden Tate (77)
Also acquired using picks: Charlie Whitehurst, LenDale White, Leon Washington
Analysis: What before the draft looked to be one of the most flat and boring teams in Madden got so much better in a span of three days. Nearly every hole in the roster was filled and with instant impact players. Okung will help the o-line, Thomas will be a playmaker that the defense has lacked, and Tate is a dynamic player for the offense. The two new running backs add a lot as well, with White being the bruiser and Washington taking on the multi-purpose role. The Seahawks were able to add two of the top six rated rookies and the second highest rated rookie drafted in the second round.
Grade: A