There is more arbitrary ranking news for Houston Texans fans today as the Madden NFL 12 ratings for your pre-free agency Texans roster has been released. I won't go over the entire rankings, but you can see those here. After the jump, I'll touch on my issues with the rankings.
- All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson a mere 97? What a tragedy! Clearly, the best receiver in the league should be an unstoppable 99. What? I'm making a mountain out of a 2-point molehill? Fine, well how about...
- No love for Kevin Walter or Joel Dresseen. Both toil in the 70s. I don't see why Walter's a 78 overall when most of his stats are in the 80s. Given his few drops, Walter's hands are probably underrated. Dresseen at 70 overall over is a shame when he showed himself to be a starting-caliber tight end last year. Given the similarity in stats to Indianapolis back-up tight end Jacob Tamme (631 yards and four touchdowns for Tamme to Dresseen's 518 yards and four touchdowns), Dresseen should be significantly higher than what he currently is.
- The All-Pro backfield represents properly as Arian Foster and Vonta Leach rate in at 92 and 91 respectively. It's a very nice show of respect for Foster who dominated in 2010. As for those who are wondering what it looks like with a roster update, Lawrence Vickers has a 90 rating and will keep the fullback position as a strength on the team.
- The starting line chimes in with two starters below 80. Chris Myers (79) and Mike Brisiel (75) are the two culprits who are hampered by speed and pass blocking. It's probably more unfair to Myers who had an outstanding season last year as the centerpiece to one of the league's best lines.
- Aside from the strongside linebackers, Mario Williams, Brian Cushing, and DeMeco Ryans average a near-88 rating. They'll be the strength of this virtual defense despite all the real life questions about health and position transitions.
- For a rookie, J.J. Watt's 80 overall rating is an impressive stat. His team-leading 91 in block shedding also sounds spot on according to his eye-opening start to camp.
- With no cornerback above 75 (Kareem Jackson and Jason Allen), Johnathan Joseph will be a welcome addition with his 89 overall rating and 95 speed and acceleration. Danieal Manning, whose rating is unrevealed as of today, should be better than Bernard Pollard's 80 rating at safety.
Overall, The Texans are a force on offense and players who choose them will be looking to put up the points. Unlike seasons past, there aren't too many gripes about the ratings. For every underrated player (like Myers) we have someone who was spotted some generous points (like Kareem Jackson at 75). When the rosters get updated online, the Texans should come out looking much stronger than they sit now.
As in real life, the only questionable spots are at nose tackle, strongside linebacker, and second starting cornerback where Houston is depending on the improvement of young Earl Mitchell, Connor Barwin, and the preveriously mentioned Jackson.
Madden NFL 12 will be available in stores on August 30, 2011.