First things first: I would like to congratulate the Madden team for a job well done.
Quite often there are a lot of players who the Madden staff simply get wrong. In fact, I'm looking right now at my copy of Madden '08, which had its cover player, quarterback Vince Young, rated at 87 overall with 90 speed.
That one made me laugh.
Anyway, in my humble opinion, the Madden team really stepped up their game. Even on teams that are "over-hyped" like the Cowboys and Colts, the Madden team has the vast majority of players right about where they belong.
With that said, however, the guys from Maitland, Florida, and I disagree on some things. Here are my 12 most overrated players in Madden '12.
Whoops, looks like the cover boy forgot the ball.
I understand. I do. Peyton Hillis is the Cover Boy—he has to be in the 90's. That's why he's the least egregious of the overrated players on this list. Still, as a fan, I have to ask: What does he do that makes him a 91 overall player?
Is he fast? Not especially. Is he really agile? No. Does he have exceptional vision? Meh.
Madden designers gave Hillis 99 trucking and toughness and 92 awareness. Is that so? Is Hillis the strongest, toughest runner in the league, or is he just the workhorse back on a team that has a bad quarterback and a strong offensive line? Jerome Harrison looked great for the Browns last year, and now he's somebody's third-string running back somewhere else.
I believe that at this point Hillis' ratings outweigh his actual skills. He has only had one successful season. The Browns offense used two tight ends last year more often than they used three receivers. The extra beef contributed a lot to Hillis' rushing totals.
If we're being fair, he's probably an 84. If we're predicting his performance for the upcoming season, he won't look nearly as overpowering as he did in 2010.
How many catches would you guess that DeSean Jackson made in 2010? 75 catches? 70?
DeSean Jackson had only 49 catches in 14 games. That's 3.5 catches per game. Yes, he had a magical 22.5 yards per catch and made spectacular play after spectacular play running deep, but is he a complete wide receiver? That's why I see Jackson as the 11th most overrated player in Madden '12.
Serious question: Can you recall seeing Jackson take some punishment but still make a catch coming over the middle? Have you seen him drag his toes and snag a difficult, sideline pass? I haven't, because he does those things rarely, if ever. What he does is catch passes on the run and earn yards after the catch with his great speed and agility.
All in all, I'm OK with the attributes assigned to DeSean Jackson, and he's great fun to watch. He should have 99 speed, and he should have 99 agility. He should not, however, have 96 route running.
DeSean Jackson runs three routes very well: "go deep," "go deep and cut left," and "go deep and cut right." Believe me, I love it just as much as the next guy. The thing is, if I had to think of what an appropriate rating for Jackson would be, it would be about 86.
He's flashy, he's a star, but he is not a complete enough player to be a 91 overall.
Joseph Addai playing his usual position: Right benchwarmer.
Way to kick a man when he's down, right? Still, in my mind, even 82 overall is too high for Joseph Addai. That's why he's my No. 10 most overrated player in Madden '12.
To be honest, I thought Addai was overrated when he came into the league, and he has been since. You could call it a "vendetta," but I don't think so. He doesn't have great vision, he doesn't fight for extra yards, and if he breaks one tackle, you can bet that he surely won't break the second.
Teams played the Colts with six-man fronts for the entire game often over the last three years, and Addai still only managed 1,867 yards in 34 starts. For all the English majors (myself included), that's 54 yards per start. He started 15 games in '09 and had a long run of 21 yards for the season. He started 12 games in '08 and averaged 3.5 yards per carry!
No one showed interest in Addai when he was a free agent this offseason. And when I say no one, I mean NO ONE.
Even the Colts and their 32nd ranked rushing offense only re-signed him out of desperation when they couldn't find anyone else. Madden '12 is very brave in that even on the hyped up teams, they are not afraid to leave a team with starters in the range of 73 to 77 overall. A rating of 82 suggests that Addai is a player of enough skill to be a decent starter, and that is just flat out not the case.
I'm from Jacksonville, so when Maurkice Pouncey was drafted by the Steelers, I was happy for the Florida player. Then ESPN started talking about how much he added to the team, how great he was in the Steelers' offensive line...
Then I actually watched the Steelers offensive line, and let me tell you, they are terrible.
Pouncey was supposedly a huge upgrade for the Steelers at center, and I have to admit, he looked great in the Super Bowl...
What's that? He didn't play in the Super Bowl?
I couldn't tell, because the Steelers replacement center played about the same as Pouncey would have, and that replacement center, Doug Legursky, is rated 70 overall in Madden '12.
Sure, Pouncey went to the Pro Bowl, but let's be honest: Pro Bowl voting for offensive linemen is a popularity contest. I think Pouncey is overrated in real life, placing him at ninth most overrated slot.
In his prime, LaDainian Tomlinson was one of the greatest running backs I've ever seen. That prime period, however, ended about two years ago. Tomlinson's Madden ratings have fallen a good bit since his days in San Diego, to an 84 overall, but that's not enough.
In his prime, LT would break an incredible long run every few games. Fifty- and 60-yard runs weren't uncommon. Last year, his season-long breakaway was 31 yards behind a really strong Jets offensive line. Still, he was given a 90 speed rating. That would make LT as fast as Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens.
I think not.
LT only had one 100-yard game last year, and that came against the horrendous Buffalo Bills run defense. If you remove that one game from his statistics, LT had 200 rushes for 781 yards, or less than four yards per carry over 14 games. He also managed to score only six times, the first time he had scored fewer than 10 touchdowns since entering the league in 2001.
That brings me to another point: LT is 32 years old. Running backs age like goldfish—one week they're great, the next week they're gone. If he's one offseason older than he was last year, rating LT as though he were a solid starter is overrating him.
I hate to do it to one of the greatest backs of my childhood, but LT is done. He should be a 77 overall, and he should have 86 speed.
This one should be self-explanatory.
First things first, Randy Moss retired. He should not be in the game at all. He was listed on the ESPN site where team rosters were released, and when he was on the roster, he was an 84 overall player.
I thought Madden was supposed to use last year's performance to grade players? Based on his performance in 2010, Moss, in no way, deserved to be an 84. He managed 28 catches for 398 yards on three different teams. Moss was beyond a waste of space, especially on the Titans, where he managed six catches in eight games.
And I digress. I'm not interested in beating a retired horse.
Speaking of retired horses...Derrick Mason is back. After a pretty good 2010 year, Derrick Mason retired from the NFL at the age of 37. Apparently, he was made in the game before his retirement and rated at 86 overall for the Ravens.
He came out of retirement when he was offered a contract with the Jets, so now the team has one of the oldest receivers in the league in Mason, who is rated 86, playing across from Santonio Holmes, who is rated...87?!
To clarify, Mason, the 37-year-old player who briefly retired this offseason, is designed to be as talented as the young, playmaking, Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes. Something is going to have to change there, because there is no way that Mason is the same quality of player that Holmes is.
I'm assuming Mason's stats will be changed when his team change is processed with the first roster upgrade, but until then, Derrick Mason is my No. 6 most overrated player.
"Man, how did I get here?"
Braylon Edwards was a good get for the Jets when the team traded for him in October of 2009. At that point he was regarded as a solid, physical receiver who could help improve the Jets passing game. This offseason, however, he was not re-signed by the team.
Why not? Because he was not a consistent target.
Edwards managed only 88 catches in his two years despite starting 26 games. He also had more drops than a team would like to see for a receiver with Edwards' level of skill. He provided some big plays for the Jets but had four or fewer catches 12 times and only broke 100 yards receiving once all year.
After the Jets didn't want him back, Edwards sat on the waiver wire for a while. Eventually, he signed a one-year deal with the San Fransisco 49ers. It's worth $1 million, but jumps up to $3.5 million if he has a 90-catch or Pro Bowl year...like that's going to happen.
So basically, if Braylon Edwards has the best season of his career, he'll make almost as much as Mike Sims-Walker will get in a one-year deal with the St. Louis Rams.
Edwards has fallen a long way in a very short amount of time, and it would be tough for the Madden rosters to adapt to that. I certainly think that Braylon Edwards should be rated lower than 85 overall.
I saw too much of this last year to believe that Brandon Marshall has 96 catching.
The Miami Dolphins certainly made the right football choice to trade for Brandon Marshall. I think he has excellent physical skills. However, he's a made-for-Madden player. He shows all the signs of being great, except for when it counts on the field.
I'm not going to argue against Marshall's productivity, but to rate a player who struggled with drops as much as Marshall did, 96-catching is just plain wrong. Why you might ask? Google "Brandon Marshall drops" and you'll see.
All last year, Marshall struggled with holding onto the ball. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, Marshall led the league in drops in 2010 and was third in 2008.
Basically, Marshall would be a 92 overall player if you were looking only at statistics. Still, a player in the 90's is expected to be reliable and supremely talented, the kind of player who is unquestionably great. I certainly have questions about Brandon Marshall. I see the man as an 84 or an 85.
He's still a good player, but not that good.
Antione Bethea getting burned by Early Doucet... Not too uncommon a sight for members of the Colts secondary.
To be honest, I expected to find a whole lot of overrated players on the Colts' defense.
The AFC South is the division I follow most closely, and over the years it's become painfully obvious that the offense is carried by Peyton Manning, and the defense is carried by Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
Without those three players, the Colts are likely a perennial cellar dweller because they can't play without getting ahead early in games and forcing opponents to pass.
As it turns out, Antoine Bethea is the only Colts defensive player who is simply just plain overrated.
In 2010, Bethea had one interception and one forced fumble. That's it. He played in a cover two defense behind an excellent pass rush and that's all he could manage. Out of all of the lame duck passes quarterbacks threw while being sacked by Freeney and Mathis 40-plus times, Bethea only managed one pick.
He comes straight from the Bob Sanders' "dive at the opponent's knees and hope that he falls over" school of tackling, and like most Colts players, is entirely interchangeable. I'd rate Bethea in the mid-80's, but nowhere near 93 overall.
He's just a guy—a guy who is my No. 3 most overrated player.
This is a great picture.
Ray Edwards had a nine-sack season last year and was, by no means, a bad player, but there is a good reason he played as well as he did—he was on the Vikings.
Let me explain.
The Vikings, over the past few years, have put together a truly exceptional defensive line. The Williams' (Pat and Kevin) are both extremely talented, double-team eating defensive tackles. Jared Allen is consistently one of the most dangerous pass rushers in the league. The Williams' take up the center and guards (one of them is double teamed), Allen gets the left tackle and a chip from a running back or tight end, and some joker on the other side is left one-on-one with the offenses right tackle.
The better pass blocking tackle plays on the left side, and the better run blocker plays right tackle. If you can't get nine sacks when you're left one-on-one against a guy who is not paid to pass block for an entire season, the trainers should be checking your pulse on the sidelines.
The way I see it, Ray Edwards fed off of the plays that the other three more talented players on his D-line couldn't make. He was the fourth best player on the Vikings' D-line last year! I think he is an average starter, who I would rate personally between 78 and 82 overall.
In Madden '12, I've seen him rated at 88 overall.
First off, let me say I am a huge fan of Wes Welker.
Since way back in the days when he returned a kickoff for a touchdown, then kicked the extra point, then kicked off in the same game with the Dolphins. Still, his talents as a wide receiver are entirely overblown.
If there were a way to design a slot receiver in the NFL, that player would be Wes Welker. He's quick, he has good hands and he's smart. He is not, however, a game-changing receiver who will demand double coverage.
After all, he catches slants and bubble screens. And players that catch slants and bubble screens should not be 90 overall. Welker's high awareness and catching ratings bump him up to unrealistic levels. By the way, the next best receiver on the Patriots is a 78 overall. That just doesn't seem right to me.
I love Wes Welker, but he should be somewhere in the range of 78 to 80, not a 90. A difference of 10 whole points overall makes him the most overrated player in Madden '12.
Now if you'll excuse me, all this negativity is killing me. I'm going to go tell a stranger that they look pretty. Have a wonderful day, everybody.