Ranking and Grading Our Offensive Starters...Madden Style

As a college student, I deal with grades and ratings daily and nightly (they often appear in my dreams and haunt me), and I love the Madden games. So, I'm gonna combine the two as I give a grade to how we acquired each of our prospected starters (and some important backups) as well as their "Madden" overall player rating that are comprised mainly of my educated opinion. So feel free to disagree. I'll also throw in some of the important attributes (speed, strength, ect.) and all the attributes, including the overall rating, have a max of 99, just like in the Madden games. The post would've been way too long to include all the players, so I just did the offense in this one, and I'll do a separate one for defense. So let's get rolling:

QB: Mark Sanchez

  • Acquisition grade: C-
  • Overall rating: 76
  • Important Attributes: Accuracy -68, Arm Strength -90, Mobility- 80, Mechanics - 87, Awareness: 60
  • Explanation: The acquisition of Sanchez seems to have earned the grade of F, but it doesn't because I believe that the Jets absolutely needed to go out and draft the QB. We had Kellen Clemons as our starter and as much as I was a fan of Brett Ratliff, our preseason star along with David Clowney, it was a necessary move and I solute the Jets for taking a chance. Also, Sanchez had a huge upside, his mechanics were great - fast release, good arm, decent mobility. I still believe had Sanchez been drafted to a quarterback friendly system, he would have flourished. However, he has not. His confidence is very low, he panics when there is a rusher nearby, he forces passes, he makes horrible decisions, and he underestimates the abilities of defensive linemen in altering his passes. All this has resulted in bad accuracy and poor QB play. However I have seen Sanchez just zip passes in to Keller and Holmes while being off balance and escaping multiple sacks and wondered to myself, "my goodness this guy is talented". His awareness received a 60 rating because of horrible decisions and his lack of awareness when defenses try to trick him into throws. He often doesn't see safeties and linebackers in coverage, and is a turnover machine. It did get a 60 however because he has shown a very impressive ability to dodge sacks and miraculously escape tackles. You cannot deny the great plays he has made, it's just that his bad has greatly outshined his good.

QB Geno Smith

  • Acquisition grade: A
  • Overall rating: 75
  • Important Attributes: Accuracy -93, Arm Strength -87, Mobility- 85, Mechanics - 80, Awareness: 70
  • Explanation: The one and only reason Geno has an acquisition grade that's not "A+" is because he was not really a need. We could have picked up Aaron Dobson WR, Arthur Brown ILB, Kevin Minter ILB, Menelik Watson OT, or Robert Woods WR in order to strengthen our talent in the weak wide receiver and linebacker positions, and also we could have added much needed depth to the O-line. This would've allowed us to pick a better QB next year from a deeper QB class, as well as have a more talented roster. However, to get the top rated QB prospect of a draft class in the second round (while having picked twice in the first round), was an amazing display of discipline - bravo Jets. As for Geno's skills - his passes sometimes sail too far off and his inexperience to work under center made me give his mechanics an 80, even though he has a quick good release and great form. He is mobile, but I don't think he is like a Michael Vick, Cam Newton, or a RGIII, I doubt he'll be a major factor rushing the ball just because his tape shows that he is not as capable to break off 40+ yard runs like the other three can. But he is mobile and a 4.57 40 time ain't no joke for a QB. His 71.8 completion percentage couple with a 42-6 TD-INT ratio is a proof of his accuracy. His arm strength could improve a bit since he showed trouble with some deep passes and it seems that some of his balls don't travel as fast as he would want them to, especially while throwing off balance. His overall rating is based mainly off the fact that he is an unproven rookie in the NFL, hopefully he shows he deserves a higher rating, because his abilities are great.
  • RB Chris Ivory

  • Acquisition grade: B+
  • Overall rating: 82
  • Important Attributes: Run Power -90, Speed -89, Elusiveness- 76, Cutting Ability - 87, Vision -88, Catching -75, Pass Blocking -80, Acceleration -88, Ball Security -95
  • Explanation: My favorite acquisition this offseason. He is a dynamic runner and explosive enough to be considered an offensive weapon. We desperately needed an upgrade at the RB position and we definately upgraded but I feel like we had the leverage over the Saints in this deal and Idzik just got impatient. They had no need to keep Ivory, and we had something they desperately needed - defense. Either way, I'm glad we got him, an exceptional young runner with NFL experience and success that hasn't reached his prime for a 4th rounder - not bad. He is a powerful and violent runner with agile cuts and quick decision making, earning him 90 in Run Power and an 87 in cutting ability. However, he doesn't shake and bake defenders from tackling him, he instead tries to stiff arm or just cut around them, and when that doesn't work, the defender takes the toll. He has a total 3 caught passes so the rating is based off of inexperience more than anything else. His speed is rated 89 because he doesn't really display the off the charts "get away" speed that a McFadden has, but he did post a respectable 4.48 40 time and can break off big runs and reach the end-zone with defenders trailing him. His pass blocking appears to be decent as in his limited amount of playing time he hasn't allowed a sack, but it is still unproven due to the small sample size. Ivory seems to accelerate pretty well, but it seems like he's a bit heavy to start flying on full speed right away like a Desean Jackson can, however, he picks up speed rather quickly when he starts his run, allowing him to find holes and get in them quickly. His vision appears to be great, as he always seems to get positive yardage through finding even the smallest of openings and bursting through them, as ell as waiting for blocks to open up those holes, but he's no Rashard Mendenhall, as he sometimes displays a lack of patience because he plays with a "full throttle" mentality the whole game. He has had 0 fumbles in the last 2 seasons combined, and that's 119 total carries, safe to say - homeboy protects the ball.
  • RB Mike Goodson

  • Acquisition grade: C
  • Overall rating: 78
  • Important Attributes: Run Power -75, Speed -92, Elusiveness- 92, Cutting Ability - 87, Vision -90, Catching -83, Pass Blocking -71, Acceleration -95, Ball Security - 80
  • Explanation:Mike Goodson is not a bad back at all, and given a starting role, he could be a very quality back, not a potential all star like Chris Ivory, but a more like a poor man's Lesean McCoy. However, he gets an acquisition grade of B because we could've used free agency money on a decent linebacker, or some O-line/WR depth and allowed Powell to assume the backup role. However, we got a pretty decent, young (26 years old) playmaker, who could be pretty dangerous in the screen and short passing game. He has good speed, nothing close to a Reggie Bush or CJ2K, but a 4.46 40 time is still impressive for a RB, and he has shown he has breakaway speed. He has had fumbling problems before, when he was in Carolina, but seems to have that somewhat fixed. He is not a battling ram power runner, he is much more flashy shake n' bake type of runner, making people miss and look silly that try to tackle him. He hasn't shown much of his strong cuts, but his quickness and acceleration more than compensate for that. On screen passes is where you could see his talent in picking up speed fast, it seems like once the ball is in his hands, he's already in top flight. His catching is decent because he's had a lot of experience with screen passes and short passes, but he has had some struggles with drops especially in Caroline in 2010, although he improved last season - zero drops on 16 balls thrown to him. His 4.5 yards per carry average is very impressive, showing that he is an effective back when he gets his carries, although, like any speedy/elusive back, there are often times where he gets stuffed or knocked over near the line of scrimmage.
  • FB: Tommy Bohanon

  • Acquisition grade: A+
  • Overall rating: 68
  • Important Attributes: Run Power -83, Speed -68, Catching -84, Pass Blocking -72, Run Blocking -74
  • Explanation:Fullbacks are hard to judge. It's as if you never hear of one if they are anything below great , and you will only hear about them if they are great (Tony Richardson, Vonta Leach). Even then, it's hard to predict whether a rookie FB is going to become a great fullback or not, prime example - our 3rd round pick John Connor, Rex's most blatant failure. However, I have researched on Bohanon, and he seems promising. To get a guy in the seventh round that can come in and make an impact on the team right away deserves a great acquisition grade, whether or not he ends up being a bust - because not much was lost if he does, and a lot is gained if he doesn't. It is a concern as to why he was passed up by so many teams, but the draft was heavy with talent in the later rounds, I'm guessing they would rather spend their picks on more crucial positions. This guy is powerful. He had 36 bench press reps of 225, which is monstrous. His amazing upper body power makes me think that he could translate that strength into good blocking, as long as he stays away from the John Connor mentality of hit the first non Green and White jersey you see, and actually follows blocking designs. He is a good pass catcher out of the backfield and that is the main thing highlighted about his abilities coming out of college. Overall, taking into consideration that this guy is a seventh round rookie, and still has to learn the intricacies of the game, I give him a more humbling rating of "68", hopefully he proves me wrong.
  • WR: Santonio Holmes

    • Acquisition grade: A
    • Overall rating: 83
    • Important Attributes: Speed -87, Elusiveness- 85, Route Running - 97, Separation -77, Catching -94, Acceleration -86, Awareness -99
    • Explanation: Santonio's acquisition was a very good one. To give up a fourth rounder for a young, immensely talented, and experienced wide receiver was nothing short of a great trade. You have to feel for Santonio, he loves the game, but Sanchez is throwing him the ball, a man can only handle so much torture. It's like loving to play the guitar and being very talented at it, but the most you can use is a Guitar Hero controller. Santonio was poised to have a great year last year with 272 yards in 4 games, not to mention constantly drawing PI calls and frustrating corners in almost every game. If he kept up that pace, he would have eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark easily. However the foot injury, where he blatantly flailed the ball into the air for the 49ers defender to score, cost him the season, and my liking of him. We get it, you got hurt, but why throw the ball away like a...So he's an excellent route runner, he is incredibly, almost supernaturally aware of his surroundings, for example: he can drag his feet in the tiniest of areas to secure tough catches, he is amazing at drawing PI calls, he can catch in traffic with the best of them. However, recently Holmes has shown trouble going down field and truly creating separation from corners. He seems to have lost a bit of speed, but his veteran savvy helps compensate for that. The overall rating, as well as the speed and acceleration ratings are taking into account his tough lisfranc foot injury, and also that he has not been able to maintain his speediness during the course of healing from the injury.

    WR: Jeremy Kerley

  • Acquisition grade: A+
  • Overall rating: 80
  • Important Attributes: Speed -87, Elusiveness- 93, Route Running - 90, Separation -77, Catching -89, Acceleration -81, Awareness -85
  • Explanation: Kerley is a fifth round pick that showed his worth last season, proving himself to be the only reliable option at WR and a great slot receiver too. His acquisition grade is an A+ because he was a gem in the 5th round. His height at 5'9 limits him greatly, and he's not fast enough to really get away from many defenders. His lack of speed and height makes him a tough target for poor quarterbacks (lol sorry Sanchez) and he can't create enough separation from faster defenders. He is quick, agile, elusive, and a great route runner with great hands. He will never be a consistent outside receiver however, and he doesn't need to be because he's great at the slot. Here is a graphic showing that Kerley is actually top ten in the league in slot receiving according to PFF.
  • Sigslotwr_medium


    WR: Stephen Hill

  • Acquisition grade: D
  • Overall rating: 65
  • Important Attributes: Speed -95, Elusiveness- 65, Route Running - 63, Separation -68, Catching -60, Acceleration -81, Awareness -72
  • Explanation: The opportunity that Stephen Hill had last season when Santonio Holmes went out with an injury does not present itself to many rookie WR. And he failed. Miserably. Hill was as close to a bust as you could get, and with his poor mechanics (body catcher, stone hands, no focus, poor route running) really show me no sign of a better 2nd or third season, and I'm an optimist. He is a physical specimen - 6'4 that runs a 4.3 40 time, attributes comparable to those of the great Calvin Johnson. However, he ended up with terrible drops, where Sanchez would miraculously deliver the ball straight to his hands as he is standing wide open, and the ball would end up on the floor. His most gruesome drop to me was the one in the OT loss to the Patriots last season, had Hill caught the perfectly delivered ball from Sanchez, it would've resulted in a first down that would have brought the Jets significantly closer to a season changing victory. Hill's 4.36 speed seems to be misleading since he doesn't really look fast at all on the field, and he rarely gets open due to his below par route running. He isn't agile, and his movements aren't sharp. If this wasn't enough, he proved to be not durable. The acquisition grade is a flat out D, because we traded UP to make sure we secure a terrible pick. However, I am a fan of an organization that takes risks where risks are due, and we needed to take a risk on a game-changing receiver, so I won't give the Jets an "F". I have hope that through divine intervention Hill will get it together, but even for an optimist like me, the chances look slim.
  • TE: Kellen Winslow

  • Acquisition grade: A
  • Overall rating: 80
  • Important Attributes: Speed -86, Elusiveness- 72, Route Running - 97, Separation -87, Catching -93, Acceleration -79, Awareness -88
  • Explanation: I like Kellen Winslow Jr. He is a born talent, and playing TE comes second nature to him. Every season that he's been healthy enough to play 16 games, he has compiled over 730 yards. That is very impressive considering he's never really had a great QB throwing him the ball, and TE don't usually get many yards anyways. I think he is a huge upgrade over Jeff Cumberland, and will take over the starting role at TE. Cumberland played 15 games and had 359 yards last season. Getting this guy for a cheap one year contract was a great move by John Idzik in my opinion. The only reason this acquisition doesn't get an "A+" is because I really secretely wanted to see Hayden Smith get on the field, but that seems unrealistic now. This guy is fast for a tight end, he has great receiver skills, like creating separation and great route running, has great hands and is a pretty knowledgeable veteran player.
  • LT: D'Brickashaw Ferguson

  • Acquisition grade: A+
  • Overall rating: 96
  • Important Attributes: Pass Blocking -97, Run Blocking- 89, Discipline - 99, Durability -99
  • Explanation: Brick is a phenomenal athlete that is known to be a tough match up for all of the top pass rushers in the league because he is larger, quicker, and stronger than pretty much all of them. Demarcus Ware even mentioned Brick as one of the toughest linemen for him to beat. He is one of the best draft pick selections we've made and has helped the Jets have a great offensive line since the day he was drafted, since he has not missed single game in his career. Not only is his blocking top notch, but his hustle on tackling a defensive player on a interception or fumble return is nothing short of inspirational. He has had some struggles run blocking however, due to his tall and athlete frame, he sometimes has trouble getting low and pushing D-lineman back that have a stronger, lower built frame. However, he has made great strides in run blocking, and is a 3-time pro bowler. One of his most incredible features, alongside his durability, is his discipline. He has gone two straight years without a single holding call, which is absolutely astonishing when considering the talent level of pass rushers he's had to block. Last year he had only one penalty called on him - a false start for 5 yards. Just a great player and a great athlete.
  • Sean Lee interception vs Jets week 1 (via JavierDCowboys)

    LG: Willie Colon

  • Acquisition grade: A
  • Overall rating: 83
  • Important Attributes: Pass Blocking -92, Run Blocking- 80, Discipline - 60, Durability -65
  • Explanation: This was a great signing by John Idzik. He got a very talented veteran guard with Superbowl experience for 1 year, and for fairly cheap. He was considered one of the best tackles in the league before his injury that cause him to miss an entire season in 2010. He also missed 15 games in 2011, along with 5 games in 2012 due to a torn tricep and knee issues, respectively. Now, what he brings to the line is massive amounts of pure strength, aggressiveness, inconsistent technique, and average awareness as to which blocking assignments to pick up. Whenever he gets beat due to poor technique, he muscles the defender down, which could either save the play or draw a flag. He is known to be one of the more penalized O-linemen in the league. However, his strength allows him to be a very good pass blocker, and he continually improves on his run blocking as he gets more comfortable in recognizing his assignments. Here is an example of Colon's aggressiveness:

  • C: Nick Mangold

  • Acquisition grade: A+
  • Overall rating: 96
  • Important Attributes: Pass Blocking -95, Run Blocking- 98, Discipline - 96, Durability -98
  • Explanation: From about 2007 to 2011, Nick Mangold was widely regarded as the best center in the game. One of the best draft picks in Jets history, this acquisition gets an A+ as he was picked late in the first round. Nick's play did drop last year however, as he allowed a career high 5.25 sacks. Mangold, due to Sanchez's mental deficiencies, has taken charge of recognizing blitz schemes, and ordering around the offensive line, kinda like Peyton Manning does. He not only does the job of a center to a hall of fame degree, but he also does some of the QB's duties as well. He is nothing short of spectacular and his absence was greatly felt in the two games he missed in his entire career, where the Jets lost to the Raiders and the Ravens consecutively in 2011. Mangold has one of the highest winning percentages at the point of attack in running plays and usually allows a maximum of 2-3 sacks a year. He gets called for holding here and there, but it's never been an issue. He is one of the best in his position at picking up assignments and blocking linebackers down field on run plays.
  • RG: Stephen Peterman

  • Acquisition grade: B
  • Overall rating: 74
  • Important Attributes: Pass Blocking -77, Run Blocking- 83, Discipline - 78, Durability -77
  • Explanation: Stephen Peterman was claimed by the Jets for a one year deal after the Lions released him, and it was a decent veteran signing by Idzik. We needed to fill the hole left by Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore, and this should be a decent 1 year answer, until we hopefully draft a stud guard or until Brian Winters or Oday Aboushi learn the NFL game. In his 8 years as a pro, Peterman has had only 3 years playing the full 16 games. He has had trouble with penalties, committing no less than 4 in the last 3 seasons. He also gives up about 3 sacks a year in the last 3 years. It seems from his tape that Peterman is slow, but packs a really powerful punch especially when run blocking. In pass blocking he is susceptible to finesse moves, as he is not quick enough to keep up or recover from those moves. In this video, Peterman's weakness is highlighted as he's beaten for a sack with a simple move from the pass rusher. Overall, I believe Peterman begins the season starting, but will later on get replaced by the promising 3rd round pick Brian Winters.
  • RT: Austin Howard

  • Acquisition grade: A
  • Overall rating: 79
  • Important Attributes: Pass Blocking -70, Run Blocking- 94, Discipline - 88, Durability -95
  • Explanation: Austin Howard is a great improvement over Wayne "Revolving Door" Hunter, and he pleasantly surprised many as he quickly filled in the hole that was left by Hunter. He struggled mightily early on in the season with his pass protection, but he kept on improving, becoming a decent NFL starter at RT. He also had the fourth best run block efficiency in the league according to PFF. His strength and size is undeniable, the man is huge and strong, and that plays a huge role in his good run blocking ability. Where he continues to improve is his technique in pass protection. He is not quite there yet, but that was pretty much the man's rookie year. I'm optimistic he'll be much more improved and will finish in the top ten in both pass and run blocking right tackles in the NFL. He didn't make too many disciplinary mistakes last year, finishing with just 3 penalties. But the major learning experience was in his 13.5 sacks allowed last year.
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