EA Sports unveiled its player ratings for "Madden NFL 20" on Monday, days before teams around the league begin to report for training camp and nearly two months before the start of the regular season.
The 49ers checked off the last task of their offseason to-do-list by agreeing to a two-year contract with kicker Robbie Gould on Monday, but still won't start camp until July 26. That means the time is ripe to ask who isn't getting enough digital love from the Madden ratings team ahead of the game's release on Aug. 2, as well as who is getting the right amount and who is receiving too much.
Yes, it's the Goldilocks approach to Madden's player ratings.
Underrated: RB Matt Breida
Rated 82 overall, Breida isn't the highest-rated 49ers running back. Free-agent signing Tevin Coleman is an 83, which is fair because he did account for one (1) more yard from scrimmage than his new teammate.
Comparing the two running backs' ratings is the definition of splitting hairs -- as is, in general, assessing video-game ratings of professional athletes -- but Breida's rating as the 26th-best running back feels low. Just last season, he finished fourth among qualifying running backs in yards per carry (5.4), according to Pro Football Reference, and matched versatile Carolina Panthers star Christian McCaffrey in yards per touch (6.0).
With a returning Jerick McKinnon also set to compete in a crowded backfield and Kyle Shanahan's track record of coaching up running backs, Breida's rating certainly reflects his circumstances in San Francisco. But should he really be rated below New England Patriots running back Sony Michel -- who rushed for 117 more yards than Breida on 56 more carries -- or Tennessee Titans back Dion Lewis? Perhaps what Breida needs is the Bill Belichick Bump.
Properly Rated: QB Jimmy Garoppolo
"Garoppolo as the No. 21 overall QB," you keenly observe. "A 78 rating?"
Consider the following:
Quarterback A (eight starts): 64.53 percent completion percentage, 8.53 yards per attempt, 2,260 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 92.6 passer rating
Quarterback B (eight starts): 64.2 percent completion percentage, 8.3 yards per attempt, 2,277 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 90.8 passer rating
Quarterback A? Garoppolo in his first eight starts -- over two seasons -- with the 49ers. Quarterback B? Nick Mullens (68 overall) in his first eight starts with the 49ers last year.
You can quibble with some of the QBs ranked ahead of Garoppolo, and you probably will if you're reading this. But Garoppolo tore his ACL last season, has made eight starts since the 2017 season and thus rightfully sits within a tier of quarterbacks that will continue to fluctuate throughout 2019. For many outside of the Bay Area, the jury still is out on Garoppolo, even if the faithful already are true believers.
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Overrated: CB Richard Sherman
Sherman (93 overall) will go down as one of the greatest cornerbacks in NFL history, with a surefire case for induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (at least) five years after retirement. But can you currently say he is one of the three best at his position?
Opposing QBs treated Sherman like he was last season, practically avoiding throwing his way at all costs. Yet, Sherman rated out as just the fifth-best cornerback in the NFC West last season by Pro Football Focus' metrics.
The 31-year-old admitted in May that he "was kind of out there on one leg" during his first season with San Francisco, and the 49ers expect him to bounce back accordingly this season. He is more than capable of living up to his rating in his ninth NFL season, but time isn't necessarily on the veteran's side.