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Predicting the Madden Ratings of the Top 25 2012 NFL Rookies

Jon DoveContributor IDecember 26, 2016

Predicting the Madden Ratings of the Top 25 2012 NFL Rookies

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    Every year, people across the country closely monitor the release date for Madden. There are even those that schedule vacation days, or conveniently get sick on the day Madden hits stores. One of the most intriguing parts of the new Madden game is having a chance to test drive the rookies.

    Madden comes out months before the actual season begins, so avid fans can get a feel for how the new additions will impact the team.

    Player ratings are an interesting topic to debate. There's always players who feel they aren't accurately portrayed.

Andrew Luck

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    Predicted Rating: 82

    Andrew Luck will be the top-rated rookie in Madden 2013. His rating won't just be based on the fact that he was the No. 1 pick, but also because of his projected play. Luck's time in college helped prepare him for the NFL, and he should find some instant success.

    As a point of reference, Cam Newton received an initial rating of 77 last year. Luck is better prepared to make the jump to the NFL, which is why he'll have a higher rookie rating than Newton.

    It'll be tough for Luck to match Newton's 4,051 passing yards, but that shouldn't impact his initial ranking. If anything, Newton's production will give him a high overall rating.

Robert Griffin III

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    Predicted Rating: 77

    Robert Griffin III is every bit as talented as Andrew Luck, but may need a little more time to adjust to the NFL game. At Baylor, Griffin III ran a spread attack, which doesn't translate very well to the NFL. This is the main reason he is rated a few points lower than Luck.

    Look for Griffin III's speed and deep accuracy to have a higher rating than Luck. These are two strengths of Griffin III's game that should be immediately apparent.

    Because of the talent on the Washington Redskins roster, Griffin III might outperform Luck this season. It's also important to note the presence of Mike Shanahan, who's seen as a quarterback guru.

Trent Richardson

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    Predicted Rating: 81

    Trent Richardson should be considered one of the early contenders for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He's extremely talent and will be a major part of the Cleveland Browns' offensive game plan. His overall rating will be high because of his well-rounded talent.

    Richardson will have good speed, power and carry ratings. The fact that he isn't a one-dimensional back will help him find early success. He's capable of running between the tackles and breaking off a long run.

    Richardson is one of the best running backs to enter the draft in years; it wouldn't be a stretch to compare him to Adrian Peterson.

Matt Kalil

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    Predicted Rating: 79

    The Minnesota Vikings will immediately insert Matt Kalil as the starting left tackle. He's an athletic player who'll do a good job protecting the quarterback. His overall Madden rating receives a boost from his quickness and agility.

    Kalil's run-block rating should be slightly below his pass-block rating. He's a motivated run-blocker, but needs to get stronger and add more bulk to be really effective. Kalil should have a good rookie season, but he isn't at the level of someone like Jake Long (who had an initial rating of 83).

Justin Blackmon

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    Predicted Rating: 77

    Projecting a rookie's rating requires taking a look back at previous rookie ratings. For Justin Blackmon, I looked at A.J. Green's 80 rating as a rookie and compared the players. Blackmon is very talented, but not on the same level as Green.

    Blackmon's strengths include the ability to gain yards after the catch, his nose for finding open zones and his toughness. These three things don't really have a place within the Madden ratings, which is why he's rated a little lower than most top-10 wide receivers.

Morris Claiborne

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    Predicted Rating: 80

    Morris Claiborne is one of the top four players in the entire 2012 draft class. His drop to No. 6 was more about team needs than his level of talent. Claiborne is an exceptional cover corner, which should make for a quick transition into the NFL.

    Claiborne should be rated slightly lower than last year's top corner, Patrick Peterson. Peterson's rating gets a boost because of his elite return abilities. Claiborne has some return skills, but nowhere near the level of Peterson.

Mark Barron

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    Predicted Rating: 80

    The Madden ratings are based on how a player is projected to perform, not on their draft position. Mark Barron should make an immediate impact for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His ability to both support the run and hold up in coverage will help raise his ratings.

    Don't be surprised if Barron is one of the highest-rated rookies. The game developers seem to rate players based more on position than playmaking ability. Someone like Justin Blackmon might have more notable plays, but he doesn't rank has high among his position group.

    Barron should immediately be one of the top safeties in the NFL.

Ryan Tannehill

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    Predicted Rating: 74

    Ryan Tannehill was selected in the top 10 because of his potential, not NFL readiness. His initial rating should be relatively low because of the time he'll need to develop. He can be compared to someone like Jake Locker, who had a rookie rating of 74.

    Miami Dolphins fans shouldn't expect Tannehill to be the top-rated quarterback on the roster. Veterans like Matt Moore and David Garrard should have slightly higher ratings. However, I fully expect to see most fans elevate Tannehill into the starting role.

Luke Kuechly

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    Predicted Rating: 79

    Luke Kuechly's combination of instincts, solid technique and athleticism gives him the opportunity to make an immediate impact in the NFL. Based on his NFL readiness, Kuechly should have a solid rating in his Madden debut.

    Last year's top linebacker, Von Miller, entered the game with an overall rating of 79. Kuechly doesn't possess Miller's game-changing pass-rush ability, but he makes up for it with his ability to hold up in coverage.

Stephon Gilmore

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    Predicted Rating: 76

    There's an obvious drop in talent between the top rookie corner, Morris Claiborne, and someone like Stephon Gilmore. This doesn't mean Gilmore will struggle as a rookie, but it's something that must be represented in the player ratings.

    It's possible that Gilmore is one of the rookies who outperforms his initial rating. He's a smooth athlete with the instincts to play lock-down football. His ball skills make him a threat to register a decent interception total.

Dontari Poe

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    Predicted Rating: 71

    Dontari Poe is a very raw player who needs time to develop. His upside played a major role in him coming off the board at No. 11 to the Kansas City Chiefs. Expect to see Poe's Madden ratings to reflect his rawness by low-balling his rookie rating.

    The one factor that could result in a higher rating is his performance at the combine. His strong 40 time and impressive bench press should help his overall ratings. Poe's speed and strength numbers could help carry him to a much higher overall number.

Fletcher Cox

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    Predicted Rating: 76

    Fletcher Cox's quickness and explosive first step should help give him a solid rookie rating. He could get the highest overall rating between all the defensive tackle prospects. This is because he's more ready for the NFL than Dontari Poe and Michael Brockers, while having more explosiveness than someone like Derek Wolfe.

    There's a possibility that all the defensive line prospects have a slightly lower rating than expected. Last year's overrating of Robert Quinn and Cam Jordan could cause some caution when developing this year's numbers.

Michael Floyd

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    Predicted Rating: 75

    There isn't a major talent gap between Michael Floyd and Justin Blackmon. However, neither really matches up well when compared to last year's top wide receivers. A.J. Green (80 rating) and Julio Jones (78 rating) both fit the mold of an NFL wide receiver better than Floyd and Blackmon.

    Based on those thoughts, Floyd came in below Green, Jones and Blackmon. However, he's another candidate to outperform his initial rating. He should have good rookie numbers based on the one-on-one opportunities he'll receive playing opposite Larry Fitzgerald.

Michael Brockers

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    Predicted Rating: 70

    Michael Brockers is in a similar position as Dontari Poe, in that both players' value comes from their potential. However, Brockers wasn't able to post the same type of workout numbers as Poe. This is why he's rated slightly lower.

    Brockers' strength and anchor should allow him to make an immediate impact as a run defender. Look for his strength and run-stuffing ability to be his highest-rated attributes. It also makes sense for those running Franchise Mode to expect to see his numbers jump from year one to year two.

Bruce Irvin

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    Predicted Rating: 68

    The Madden developers aren't afraid to give a first-round pick a low overall rating. Bruce Irvin is a great candidate to have the lowest rating among the first-round selections.

    The Seattle Seahawks' decision to make him the No. 15 pick came as a surprise to everybody. This is player I had rated as a third-round prospect.

    Irvin's speed, quickness and explosiveness should all have pretty high initial numbers. His ability to generate pressure on the quarterback is what led to his jump into the first round. It's possible that he's rated as the top rookie pass-rusher, but that doesn't mean his overall will be high.

Quinton Coples

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    Predicted Rating: 77

    If Robert Quinn could score a 78 rating last year than Quinton Coples should be able to justify a 77 overall. As I mentioned earlier, I expect to see this year's defensive linemen suffer because of the struggles of last year's class.

    However, Coples' talent level should keep him in the mid-70s.

    It'll be interesting to see if the New York Jets' plans to use Coples as a five-technique will impact his rating. I have him as a better fit as a 4-3 defensive end, he doesn't really fit the basic mold of a five-technique. Most five-techniques aren't top-level pass-rushers, but Coples has the skill set to be very productive in that area.

Dre Kirkpatrick

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    Predicted Rating: 76

    I had Stephon Gilmore rated slightly ahead of Dre Kirkpatrick. Both players have the ability to make an immediate impact, but Gilmore is a little better pure cover corner. However, Kirkpatrick's toughness and length makes him a great fit in a Cover 2 scheme.

    Just because Gilmore might be a better fit in a wider range of systems doesn't mean he should have a high rating in Madden. Kirkpatrick will see plenty of playing time and success early in his career. There's also the possibility that he shifts to free safety, where his ratings could actually get a boost.

Melvin Ingram

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    Predicted Rating: 75

    Melvin Ingram is a multi-talented football player who can make an impact from several different spots on the field. He'll line up at outside linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, and will be expected to bring pressure off the edge. His overall athleticism should have him find some early success.

    Ingram doesn't have the same type of measurables as someone like Quinton Coples. His limited height and shorter arms could impact his ability to generate pressure. These are the main reasons I predict he'll rate slightly below Coples.

Shea McClellin

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    Predicted Rating: 73

    Shea McClellin was one of the late risers in the 2012 draft class. He has good quickness off the edge, which allows him to get after the quarterback. However, I still had him as a second-round prospect and a reach at No. 19. I expect his overall rating to resemble that of a late-first or early-second round prospect.

    His number might also be impacted by the fact that he projects better as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He will need to get stronger versus the run if he wants to succeed at defensive end.

    It will be interesting to see if the Chicago Bears use him as more of a situational pass-rusher.

Kendall Wright

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    Predicted Rating: 71

    The addition of Kendall Wright gives the Tennessee Titans another weapon on the offensive side of the ball. He should help draw double-teams away from Kenny Britt and provide the quarterback with a strong option out of the slot. Wright isn't the same level of talent as Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd, thus his lower rating.

    However, he should have a strong rookie campaign for a team in need of more big plays out of the wide receiving corps. Wright's draft position and overall talent level can match up with Jon Baldwin, who had a 71 rating in his rookie year.

Chandler Jones

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    Predicted Rating: 75

    The New England Patriots desperately need Chandler Jones to help create pressure on the quarterback. His quickness off the ball and non-stop motor is what makes him a potentially dominant player. He'll play a combination of defensive end and linebacker for the Patriots.

    I've compared Jones to Aldon Smith because of their raw abilities and upside. Smith entered his rookie year with a 76 overall rating. New England would be happy to get half the 14 sacks Smith compiled in his rookie season. Jones absolutely has the ability to put up that type of sack total.

Brandon Weeden

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    Predicted Rating: 74

    Brandon Weeden may be 29 years old when the season begins, but that doesn't guarantee he'll find instant success. His time at Oklahoma State didn't make him any more prepared to be an NFL quarterback than the time Robert Griffin III spent at Baylor.

    It would have made more sense for Weeden to come off the board in the second round, which is where I had him rated. He's going to need time to develop, and because of his age he has less upside than the other quarterbacks in this draft. The projection of 74 overall might actually be a little generous.

Riley Reiff

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    Predicted Rating: 75

    Riley Reiff enters the NFL with sound technique and a strong work ethic. These are two things that help offensive linemen transition into the league. His awareness and quickness ratings should help carry his overall rating into the mid-70s.

    I'll be interested to see if Reiff is able to crack the starting lineup. He will be squaring off against Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus. It seems like his best chance to make an early impact is by beating out Cherilus for the right tackle spot.

David DeCastro

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    Predicted Rating: 79

    The guard position isn't as highly valued as the other positions on the field. This is a reason why a player like David DeCastro was available for the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 24. DeCastro's draft position shouldn't impact his rookie rating. He'll be one of the higher-rated rookies on this year's version of Madden.

    DeCastro is on a similar talent level as Mike Pouncey, who received a 79 rating as a rookie. The Pittsburgh Steelers' need at the guard position should allow DeCastro to start as a rookie. He'll help the Steelers get back some of their power running game.

Dont'a Hightower

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    Predicted Rating: 77

    Dont'a Hightower's versatility should help his overall Madden rating. His combination of size, quickness and toughness will allow him to make an early impact. The New England Patriots could use him at inside linebacker, outside linebacker and defensive end. He'll play all over the field in Bill Belichick's multiple-front defensive attack.

    Look for Hightower's pass-rushing ability to be one of the attributes that boosts his overall rating. The overwhelming respect for Belichick as a talent evaluator could also play a role the Madden guys view Hightower.

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