One of the first signs that the offseason has officially ended is the release of the newest Madden video game. EA Sports always releases the full player ratings a few weeks before, so gamers and fans get a chance to see how their teams look for the new year. Oakland Raiders fans are probably big mad like Keenan Allen at the disrespect the players are getting coming into the year. Some of it is deserved, as the team had a forgettable 2018 season under new head coach Jon Gruden. However, there are a lot of players who should get some rating increases very soon into the season.
Oakland Raiders Madden 20: Five Players Whose Ratings Will Get a Boost By the End of the Year
Gareon Conley – Cornerback – 79 OVR
Gareon Conley just misses out on the top-five on the team with a 79 OVR rating. It also shows the disrespect Oakland is getting in Madden, as only five players were rated over 80. It is even weirder, considering Conley’s final rating in Madden 19 was 81 OVR. Sure, it’s only two spots higher, but anyone who watches the tape can see that Conley was only improving as the season went on.
After missing most of his rookie season due to injury, Conley was basically a rookie last year. It took him time to get the coaching staff’s trust, and there were even rumors that he was on the trade block prior to the deadline. However, by the end of the year, Conley showed that he can be a shutdown corner in the league.
For his strengths, he at least was given 91 speed and acceleration, and 90 agility. This will at least let him run with the fastest receivers in the league, like Tyreek Hill, who he plays twice a year. In fact, look at what he did to “Cheetah” last year:
Tyreek Hill is going to play every game this year, but in his two meetings against the Raiders, Gareon Conley held him to under 50 yards total.
— Raider Review (@RaiderReviewPod) July 19, 2019
Conley then boasts a respectable, but still low play recognition of 82, and awareness of 81. However, things start to look a little off with his coverage ratings. He only has a 75 for both zone and man. These should increase significantly throughout the year, hopefully with the first update.
End of season prediction: 85
Jonathan Abram – Strong Safety – 69 OVR
While it is likely that each of the Raiders’ three first-round picks gets a boost in ratings, Johnathan Abram should get the biggest boost. A 69 OVR rating is simply disrespectful for a first-round pick. Sure, he hasn’t taken a snap, but a 69 rating is a liability to have on the field, and it is likely that Abram comes into the year as Oakland’s starting strong safety.
When looking at other players, it feels like a slap in the face. Even former Raider Obi Melifonwu, who has actually proven to be a bust at this point is rated as a 72. Michael Thomas is rated higher than him at strong safety. No not the New Orleans Saint, the projected backup safety for the New York Giants.
Ever heard of Jordan Richards? Well, he had 27 tackles and three passes defended last season for the Atlanta Falcons and was objectively terrible during three seasons in New England. He is now on the Raiders roster, but he has the same rating as Abram. Yup.
In terms of stats, Abrams gets a 67 rating in strength, awareness and zone coverage, coupled with a 68 in tackling. Be ready for a lot of whiffs if the AI is in charge here. His best trait is speed, rated at 91. At least they gave him 88 power so if he does hit the opposing player, he’ll hit hard.
End of season prediction: 79
Gabe Jackson – Right Guard – 77 OVR
The ratings for guard are overall a little bit weird. But one can’t help but think Gabe Jackson got shafted. Overall the offensive line was terrible for the Silver and Black in 2018. But, Jackson was one of the highlights of the line. Many cried foul when he was disrespected last year with a 79 rating at launch. This year, he drops even lower to a 77, despite increasing his Pro Football Focus grade.
Jackson comes in as the 14th rated right guard in Madden but was rated as the 15th best guard in the league (counting both right and left guards). Again, when looking at the players near him, it just doesn’t make sense. Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was rated a full six points lower than Jackson by PFF, yet, he is rated as a 78 in Madden 20, right above Jackson.
2018's highest-graded guards from the AFC West pic.twitter.com/jxWHssGcxg
— PFF (@PFF) February 17, 2019
Most of Jackson’s specific stats are in the 70s: 79 power, 78 pass block, and a head-scratching 73 for run-blocking. Jackson is a mauler in the run game, so this could be the biggest stat he gets and increase to. His strengths are 86 awareness and impact blocking, 87 lead blocking and 92 strength. The only worry about Jackson is offensive line coach Tom Cable holding him back, but he still performed last year, and should again in 2019.
End of season prediction: 84 OVR
Kolton Miller – Left Tackle – 71 OVR
Sticking to the offensive line, next on the list who will likely receive a stat boost is second-year tackle Kolton Miller. Unlike Jackson, Miller’s rating of 71 OVR is deserved. Miller was terrible last season, giving up a league-high 16 sacks and 65 pressures. It was painful to watch him on the field at times.
However, it is way too early to give up on Miller. As painful as he was to watch, it was undoubtedly even more painful for him to play. He sprained his medial collateral ligament in week four, played through it, and then further injured it Week Nine. However, Miller, knowing the line was dangerously low on bodies, didn’t miss a game, starting all 16 of the season.
Looking at weeks one through four, Miller was actually performing well, as Silver and Black Pride does a great job breaking down. He only gave up one sack and five pressures prior to his injury. He started Madden 19 at 77 OVR, and would have probably at least gotten bumped up to the low 80s by the end of the year. Instead, he will start the year probably giving players fits. At this point, his paltry stats aren’t even worth mentioning. But, if he stays healthy, he is a prime bounce-back candidate.
End of season prediction: 82 OVR
Maurice Hurst – Defensive Tackle – 78
Defensive tackles are usually one of the quieter positions in the NFL. Maurice Hurst had a ton of noise on him last year after his heart condition that surfaced during the draft process caused him to plummet down draft boards. Oakland would scoop him up in the fifth round, and he ended up being one of their better players on defense.
Still, Hurst had a solid, if unspectacular year. He compiled 31 tackles and four sacks, starting in ten games. This was without much help, as Oakland fielded one of the worst defenses in the entire league. Admittedly, it doesn’t get much better for him in 2019, but he at least gets more young bodies on the defensive line, including fourth-overall pick of the 2019 draft, Clelin Ferrell.
His 83 tackle, 82 power, and 80 block shedding are solid, but will probably increase. Hurst’s best stat is surprisingly his stamina, coming in at 86. 74 play recognition leaves a lot to be desired, and his power move of 67 is a slap in the face, even though he only had four sacks.
Hurst might not get to Sheldon Richardson level in year two, who’s rated 84, but something right below that seems within reach at the very least.
End of season prediction: 82
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