Rating players is obviously a highly subjective business. Scouts spend time identifying traits that translate and there are a multitude of factors that go into if a player is successful including confidence, situation, scheme, etc. Madden ratings always spark discussion.
For the purposes of rating the Raiders receivers I chose hands, jumping, speed, acceleration and route running as I believe these are the primary “traits” that dictate whether a receiver is a good receiver. I rate these five traits on a Madden-like scale of 100.
I didn’t factor in blocking of any kind. It’s a factor, but a receiver’s primary job is to receive. Some other traits are included in the five I chose.
Hands – Pretty straight forward. You could almost see this as the percentage of time the receiver uses his hands to catch the pass.
Jumping – Does the receiver have leaping ability? Can the receiver jump over a cornerback to make a play on a ball in the air?
Speed – Top end speed. Is the guy fast or just average?
Acceleration – Does he get to top speed quickly? This is quickness.
Route Running – Does the player work back to the ball and use his body to screen off defenders? Can the receiver find soft spots in zone coverage and get off the press? Does the player maintain their speed in and out of their breaks? This is all route running.
The biggest thing to note about this grading process is that I didn’t calculate the overall score until I had finished grading all the players. I didn’t know what order the players would be in until I was done. I did this to see if I could come up with an honest “ranking” of the Raiders receivers.
The rankings came in so close that a slight adjustment to any of the ratings could change the order. For the purposes of this exercise all five attributes are given equal weight. Obviously any shift in these weights would also significantly alter the overall ratings.
Hands: 88 – Ford will occasionally break down and let the ball get into his body, but he is pretty good about using his hands
Jumping: 94 – Ford will go up and fight for the ball. He’s not afraid to leap and is able to beat corners on jump balls despite his stature
Speed: 99 – Ford is one of the fastest players in the entire league.
Acceleration: 99 – Quick and fast. He gets to his top end speed in a flash.
Routes: 89 – Ford is still improving this area, particularly when it comes to working his way back to the quarterback and finding soft spots in zone coverage.
Hands: 92 – Good hands. Rarely breaks down and catches the ball in his chest. Could be a conservative grade because he is a rookie.
Jumping: 96 – Excellent leaping ability. He’s shown this time and again. He showed it Sunday.
Speed: 95 – Moore is real fast, but he’s not Jacoby fast.
Acceleration: 94 – Gets to top end quickly.
Routes: 81 – He’s a rookie, this will come around. Until which time his routes are better he will make plays using his other attributes.
Hands: 95 – Very soft hands.
Jumping: 77 – He’s tall, but not really a leaping grab receiver.
Speed: 90 – Has lost a few steps with all the knee surgeries.
Acceleration: 93 – Still seems to get to his top end within a reasonable time.
Routes: 90 – Runs good routes. Clean. Occasionally rounds off a route.
Hands: 81 – Has his problems with drops at times. Inconsistent.
Jumping: 83 – Average leaping ability.
Speed: 92 – Fast enough to do everything.
Acceleration: 94 – Gets to his top speed quickly. Good quickness to pair with good speed.
Routes: 88 – He’s pretty solid in this area, but he has room to improve. Haven’t seen him play yet this year.
Hands: 77 – Catches way too many balls with his chest. Has improved, but still needs work.
Jumping: 81 – Can leap, but isn’t coming down with many passes or beating the defender in the air.
Speed: 96 – He’s fast, but takes long strides.
Acceleration: 93 – Long strides mean he gets up to speed a little slower than many players as fast as he is.
Routes: 89 – Much improved area. He’s running routes that enable him to gain separation from the defenders.
Hands: 93 – Very solid hands.
Jumping: 78 – Not really a leaping threat.
Speed: 84 – More of a 3rd down weapon
Acceleration: 88 – Will not blow people away off the line
Routes: 83 – Struggles to work his way back to the quarterback, but does find soft spots in zone.
My breakout candidate for 2011 is Darrius Heyward-Bey, but as you can see from this grading he came in as the fifth receiver. The lowest ranked receiver is Derek Hagan with an 85. I’m sure some of you will have fun with this ranking. I’ll reiterate that I like Hagan.
How would you rate the Raiders receivers physical attributes? When you calculate their overall rating (Total/5) do they still rank how you thought they would?