Overview of Madden - Fantasy Draft Results
I have received a request to overview a different kind of roster. My friend Dylan sent me the results of his fantasy draft, told me his plan on using them, and asked for my opinion on the team. I gladly accepted it, and decided to sort them by positions, like I usually do.
Offensively: Speed Run Game
Quarterbacks - David Fales, Aaron Murray
His Plan: Use David Fales and his (82) short and (81) medium accuracies to hold over this offense until Murray is ready.
Overview: Fales has the potential to be a franchise quarterback himself. His 69 speed (and 64 agility) give him the ability to maneuver out of tight spots to make the throw. His 83 throw power is worrisome, unable to throw the deep ball. His accuracy, however, make him very underrated as a short-mid range passer. Murray is even quicker than Fales (75 speed, 73 agility), and his accuracy is pretty good too (77 short, 82 medium), but Murray doesn't have any arm strength significantly better than Fales'. Also, Murray's 79 injury rating put him at risk every play.
My Take: I would roll with Fales as "my guy". He has everything you want in a franchise quarterback (other than great throw power) and he can escape the pocket, and even take a hit. With the right supporting cast, Fales can be very dangerous. I would also look to acquire a veteran backup, should Fales go down.
Running Backs - Dennard Robinson, Kenjon Barner, Damien Williams, Daryl Richardson, Chris Rainey
His Plan: Upgrade Robinson's trucking, carrying, and stiff arm. Use Barner and Williams as role players, and use Richardson and Rainey as return men.
Overview: Robinson is definitely a game-changer with the ball in his hands. His speed and quickness (93 speed, 96 agility) make him very hard to take down. However, his 74 carrying does concern me, and I would rather have him in a rotation. Kenjon Barner is more of the same, but even more of a concern, as he is not nearly as quick, and Barner only has a carry rating of 69. Williams can contribute as well, and his carrying (79) is the best of the group.
My Take: I would have a two back system, with Robinson and Williams. Barner wouldn't carry the ball much, and he and Rainey would be my return guys. I would place Richardson as my third running back on the depth chart. Finding a consistent runner would be one of my main priorities during the next offseason.
Fullbacks - Henry Hynoski
His Plan: Start Hynoski due to his run blocking.
Overview: With a run block rating of 82, Hynoski can clear lanes for this rotation of runners. His 75 trucking and 70 carrying make him a good choice to get the ball on short yardage and goal line situations.
My Take: He is a solid starter, and at only 25 years old, Henry Hynoski has even more time to develop and improve upon his blocking stats even more.
Wide Receivers - Nick Toon, David Nelson, Mike Thomas, Mario Manningham, Brandon Gibson
His Plan: Start Toon and Nelson on the boundaries, because of their size and hands. Start Thomas in the slot due to his route running and speed, and use Manningham and Gibson as reserves.
Overview: Toon doesn't have great speed, but his hands are solid (77 catch, 78 catch in traffic) and his route running is serviceable (70). The main reason he's such a fit on the outside is his size (6'4", 218) and release (81). He can escape the press well against bigger cornerbacks and take a hit. Nelson is in the exact same mold as Toon (6'5", 215), and even has slightly better hands (78 catch, 85 catch in traffic). Nelson is another good fit on the outside, and can also use his size to his advantage. Mike Thomas is small (5'8", 198), but quick (93 speed, 92 agility). He can use his hands and route running abilities (80 catch, 74 catch in traffic, and 77 route running) to work the middle of the field, and catch the third down passes to move the chains. Both Manningham and Gibson are solid targets, and create great depth for this group.
My Take: I would start Nick Toon and Nelson, with Thomas in the slot (like he already has), but I would place Gibson in the fourth receiver spot. I like him, and I think he can make plays more than Manningham. I like this young receiving core, but adding another veteran to start over Nelson would make it that much better.
Tight Ends - Michael Palmer, Mike Cox (fullback), Josh Harris
His Plan: He wants good run blockers, so he has two tight ends (and a fullback) who can do the job.
Overview: Michael Palmer is much more of a blocker than a receiver. His 83 blocking is good, and he is still young, at 26 years old. While he isn't much of a downfield threat, Palmer does have decent hands (72 catch, 75 catch in traffic), so he can be thrown to on shorter routes. Fullback Mike Cox has been placed as the number two tight end. He can't catch, but Cox does have 81 run blocking, so he is solid in that department. Harris is in the same mold as Palmer - only he cannot catch. His 83 run blocking match Palmer's, but he shouldn't go out for passes - plain and simple.
My Take: For this offense, I think Palmer is a good fit to start here. In the next offseason, I would look for another blocking tight end who can also catch the football to replace Josh Harris (and maybe even Mike Cox).
Offensive Linemen - Chris Hairston, Kelechi Osemele, Corey Linsley, John Greco, Rick Wagner, Demar Dotson, Jack Mewhort, Daniel Kilgore, Trai Turner, Justin Pugh
His Plan: Start Chris Hairston (left tackle), Kelechi Osemele (left guard), Corey Linsley (center), John Greco (right guard), and Rick Wagner (right tackle) while developing Trai Turner (right guard) into a starter.
Overview: Hairston is a good blocker at left tackle, with good run (81) and pass (85) blocking. Osemele is a great starter at guard - especially in this offense (84 pass blocking, 93 run blocking). His injury rating (80) is a little concerning, he is definitely worth the risk. Linsley can be a cornerstone to this offense for years to come, as he is in his first year, and has good blocking ratings (82 pass block, 85 run block). Greco is a solid veteran starter, with good skills (82 pass block, 86 run block). Rick Wagner is only one of two offensive line starters who have better pass blocking ratings than they do run blocking. His 89 pass blocking and 83 run blocking ratings make him balanced all around.
My Take: I really like this line - as a run blocking line. Even in the pass blocking category, this line can hold up against good pass rushers. I really like the idea of Trai Turner taking over for John Greco. If Turner develops his impact blocking little more, then he could become the cornerstone of this group, along with Corey Linsley.
Defensively: Colts Hybrid Defense (Base 3-4)
Defensive Linemen- Akiem Hicks, John Hughes, Dontari Poe, Damon Harrison, Daquan Jones, Jonathon Freeney, John Jenkins, Jerrell Powe
His Plan: Start Akiem Hicks (left end), John Hughes (right end), and Dontari Poe (nose tackle)
Overview: Hicks is a good run stopper on the left side. His tackle ratings (85 tackle, 88hit power) pair nicely with his block shedding (86 power move, 83 block shed), and his pursuit (85) helps him chase down the ball carrier. Hughes is in the same boat as Hicks - good tackle (86 tackle), block shedding (84 finesse move, 85 block shed), and pursuit (84) ratings. Together, they make a very good run stopping duo on the outsides of the line. Poe is a scary beast on the inside at nose tackle. His tackle ratings (89 tackle, 87 hit power), block shedding (89 power moves, 92 block shed), and pursuit (89) only look more impressive by his 97 strength (only behind Jason Peters, Stephen Paea, and Ndamukong Suh, with 98).
My Take: This is a great front three for the defense to start with. In the 4-3, the beastly Damon Harrison (97 tackle, 97 block shed) will pair with Poe to make this line even more fearsome. John Jenkins will rotate in should Poe or Harrison get hurt, or fatigued. This front line could become the best in the league with no adjustments to it in either the 4-3 or 3-4 schemes.
Linebackers - Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo, CJ Mosley, Lavonte David, JT Thomas, Tyler Starr
His Plan: Start Collins and David on the edges, and utilize their impressive pursuit, tackling, speed, and other ratings. Since it's mostly a 3-4 defense, both Mayo and Mosley start in the middle. Both have good ratings as well, and Thomas can fill in on passing downs when needed.
Overview: Jamie Collins has decent speed (83 speed, 76 agility), great tackling skills (92 tackle, 86 hit power), solid block shedding (93 power moves, 76 block shed), and great pursuit (93). In other words, he is exactly what you want as an outside linebacker. Coverage isn't an issue either, as his 84 rating in that category is above average for a linebacker. Lavonte David has pretty much the same ratings as Hightower, only is a little less of a big hitter (81 hit power), and can't shed blocks quite as well (73 finesse moves, 75 block shed). His 97 tackling is elite, he has very good speed (88 speed, 87 agility), and David has great zone coverage (88). In the middle, both Jerod Mayo and CJ Mosley will rule the field. Mayo has very good speed (87 speed, 85 agility), great tackling (93 tackle, 92 hit power), good block shedding (81 power moves, 86 block shed), elite pursuit (97), and good zone coverage (81). Mosley has decent speed (83 speed, 87 agility), great tackling (94 tackling, 83 hit power), good block shedding (80 power moves, 82 block shed), great pursuit (96), and serviceable zone coverage (74).
My Take: Keep these linebackers the way they are. Another great group of guys on defense. Although I may consider acquiring one more veteran linebacker who can step in should an injury happen to any of these starters. Wesley Woodyard can play all positions well, and if he's available, I would try to pick him up.
Cornerbacks - Rasheen Mathis, Charles Tillman, Asante Samuel, EJ Gaines
His Plan: Start Mathis and Tillman on the outsides, and Samuel in the slot with Gaines as the dime back.
Overview: Rasheen Mathis is 34 years old and still has solid coverage ratings. His 81 man and 92 zone coverages are still good in madden, and his 88 speed is decent enough. I definitely worry about his age, as he could retire at any moment. Charles Tillman lining up across from him is interesting, as he is 33 years old with 81 man and 86 zone coverage. His press (88), tackling (74 tackle, 77 hit power), and jumping (95) could be very useful in certain situations. His 75 injury is also something to be concerned about, however. Asante Samuel is another ageing cornerback at age 33, who has better zone coverage (93) than man (82). He is a gambler who would start as the nickel back. His catching is dangerous (79), as is his inability to tackle (33 tackle). Samuel has lost a step in the speed department as well (86 speed), and is susceptible to get burned multiple times a game, if he lines up in man coverage, or leaves his zone. EJ Gaines has a lot of potential, as he is only 23 years old, and has nearly better coverage ratings than the starting veterans (82 man, 85 zone coverages). His press rating is solid (79), and he has decent speed (88). I like his upside, and I would like to see him get a lot of playing time.
My Take: This is the weak spot of the defense. I personally don't like the idea of having three of four starting cornerbacks age 33 or older. I think Gaines should at least start in the slot, if not take over for Mathis (or Tillman). Should one of those two veterans go down to injury, I would insert Gaines in immediately. Cornerback is probably this team's biggest need for the upcoming offseason.
Free Safeties - Champ Bailey (converted from cornerback), Ed Reed, and Terrance Brooks
His Plan: Develop Brooks behind two sure-fire (albeit past their prime) defensive backs
Overview: Ed Reed is 35 years old, yet still has decent speed (87 speed, 86 agility), great hands (76 catch), decent hit power (74), and good zone coverage (80). However, his poor tackling (52 tackle) is a reason to be concerned, as safety is the last line of defense against a big play. Champ Bailey is also ageing, but he could start at free safety too. Terrance Brooks has potential, but will need at least a full season to develop before he sees extensive playing time.
My Take: Again, I don't like having to rely on veterans, but if you have to, you can't rely on many veterans better than Bailey and Reed. They should be able to hold the job for another season or two before Brooks is ready to take over. However, in the offseason, I would look for another veteran free safety (who isn't quite as advanced in age) to hold down the job, should Bailey or Reed retire or get seriously injured, or just to take the starting role completely.
Strong Safeties - Duron Harmon, Aaron Williams
His Plan: Both are good in coverage
Overview: Harmon has good speed (88 speed, 85 agility), pretty good hands (67 catch), serviceable tackling (69 tackle, 75 hit power), and good zone coverage (82). Williams also has good speed (87 speed, 86 agility) and zone coverage (81), but his catching (61) and tackling (66 tackle, 68 hit power) need a little more work.
My Take: I would start Duron Harmon, with Williams seeing the field in quarter and dime packages, as his coverage would come in handy. Both men are young (Harmon is 23, Williams is 24), and have time to improve. I may even consider a move for Williams to free safety.
Kicker - Cody Parkey
Overview: A good, young kicker with good leg strength (94 kick power) and accuracy (89 kick accuracy), who can make almost any kick asked of him.
Punter - Randy Bullock (converted from kicker)
Overview: Bullock has a strong leg (95 kick power) and solid accuracy (84 kick accuracy), which makes for a great punter.
Next Offseason's Needs - Veteran quarterback (backup), balanced and consistent running back, veteran receiver, balanced tight end (backup), veteran linebacker (backup), young cornerbacks, and another free safety.
Summary - This team has a ton of potential, as their offense is young, and can develop together. This could be the best offensive line in the league, and the defensive front seven is without a doubt in the top five in the NFL. However, a lack of youth in the secondary (besides strong safety) may hinder this defense in the end. I really like this team, and they can absolutely win a Super Bowl this season, but every team has needs, and this one is no different.