Madden NFL 2023 ratings: Are analysts being fair to Jared Goff, Detroit Lions?

·4 min read

Count the good folks at EA Sports among the skeptics of the 2022 Detroit Lions' talent - especially at quarterback.

Even though ESPN's Bill Barnwell liked the Lions' runing backs, receivers and tight ends enough to bump Detroit 14 spots in his annual playmakers rankings, makers of Madden NFL 2023 threw some cold water on any Honolulu Blue hype.

Jared Goff is one of the lowest-rated starting quarterbacks and just two Lions recieve an 81 overall rating or better.

Lions quarterback Jared Goff, left, and receiver Jameson Williams play walk off the field after playing catch after practice during minicamp on Thursday, June 9, 2022, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff, left, and receiver Jameson Williams play walk off the field after playing catch after practice during minicamp on Thursday, June 9, 2022, in Allen Park.

While Madden is just a video game, the EA Sports-developed franchise has sold more than 100 million copies over nearly three decades. Today's professional athletes grew up playing the game, and the annual ratings release spawns debate from NFL players about how accurate the game is, leading to an ESPN show that marks the occasion.

The Lions appear to have gotten better across the board but is outside of many's playoff projections.

Let's see how they stack up on Madden, which assigns all 2,000-plus NFL players with a rating based on 40 individual categories including speed, strength, catching ability, throwing ability, tackling, run blocking, pass blocking, awareness, toughness and more:

Just Goff-ful

Madden czars aren't feeling the late-season renaissance from Goff.

Goff, who had an 67.2 completion percentage while throwing for 3,245 yards, 19 touchdown and eight interceptions in 14 games, is among the lowest-rated veteran starting QBs in the game. He was averse to risks — and big plays — often opting to check the ball down (6.6 yards per attempt) instead of pushing it downfield to a shaky set of wideouts.

With a 72 overall, only Davis Mills, Mitchell Trubisky, Marcus Mariota and Daniel Jones are worse, in Madden's analysis, among projected starters. Second-year QB Trey Lance, set to take the reins for Jimmy Garoppolo in San Franscico, is also a 72.

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Lions offensive lineman Penei Sewell and quarterback Jared Goff react after offensive lineman Kevin Jarvis successfully fielded a punt during a drill after practice during minicamp on Thursday, June 9, 2022, in Allen Park.
Lions offensive lineman Penei Sewell and quarterback Jared Goff react after offensive lineman Kevin Jarvis successfully fielded a punt during a drill after practice during minicamp on Thursday, June 9, 2022, in Allen Park.

It could be worse, though. Goff could be rated as lowly as the top QB in the 2022 draft, Kenny Picket, who was awarded a 68. That's a far cry from the 78 for top 2021 QB, and top pick overall, Trevor Lawrence (down to a 76 this year).

While the Goff questions are valid, is fair to place him behind Lawrence or Justin Fields, who are talented but only flashed occassional signs of being plus passers? What about Baker Mayfield, who had a better supporting cast in 2021, but had a lower QB rating, worse interception percentage and fewer total yards while playing nearly as much as Goff?

When comparing the ratings, Madden adjustors gave Mayfield better running traits (speed, ball-carrier vision, trucking, agility, etc.), more throwing power, better toughness and better awareness. Goff has the edge in stamina, short-pass accuracy and medium-pass accuracy.

Not a lot behind Hock

Last year the Lions as a team were a 74 overall, one of the lowest in NFC, and this year doesn't figure to be much better.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson is rated the best player on the Lions with an impressive 89 overall, up four points from last year. Center Frank Ragnow lost a point, down to 87, but is still among the Lions', and the position's, elite.

 Lions' Frank Ragnow honors late father with 'Rags Remembered' launch event ]

Detroit Lions offensive line Frank Ragnow (77) talks to quarterback Jared Goff (16) during mini camp at the practice facility in Allen Park on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.
Detroit Lions offensive line Frank Ragnow (77) talks to quarterback Jared Goff (16) during mini camp at the practice facility in Allen Park on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

Running back D'Andre Swift, offensive tackle Taylor Decker and offensive tackle Penei Sewell are all rated at 80, with Decker and Swift rising two points this year. That gives the Lions just five players 80 or higher and none rated 90 or higher (the rival Chicago Bears aren't much better with six players rated 80 or better and linebacker Roquan Smith's 89 topping the team). That's bad, but not as bad as Houston Texans with just three players 80 or higher.

Defensive end Michael Brockers came into the 2021 season as Detroit's highest-rated defender at 82, but fell to 73 in the upcoming edition after just one quarterback hit and four tackles for a loss.

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What about the rookies?

According to Madden, Lions' 2022 first-round draft selections Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams are already among the best players on the team.

Hutchinson, the former Michigan football star who became the No. 2 overall pick, is a 77 while Williams, whom the Lions traded up to draft No. 12, is a 78.

No. 1 pick Travon Walker is a 76 and No. 4 pick Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, a Detroit native, is also a 78 (tied with Williams and Jordan Davis, the No. 13 pick, for the best rookie).

For more about the ratings, tune into ESPN's reveal show Saturday night or pick up (I mean, download) a copy when the game is released Aug. 19.

Follow the Free Press on Facebook and Twitter for more news. Tyler Davis can be contacted at tjdavis@freepress.com or on Twitter @TDavisFreep.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions, Jared Goff get no love in Madden 2023 ratings