Few people are given coined names by celebrities, however, when someone is given the honor, it is normally warranted. Meet Donny Moore, EA Sports Madden 15 NFL Live Content Producer, better known as the “Ratings Czar.” Donny is the man behind every rating put into the Madden 15 engine, and through his ratings, the game comes to life.
With the 2014 NFL Draft just coming to a conclusion just a short time ago, the biggest intrigue for Madden fans, is finding out what their highly anticipated rookie will perform like in the game. Whether a first overall pick like Jadeveon Clowney, or the 32nd overall pick like Teddy Bridgewater, Madden fans want to know who will be the stars.
With names like Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles popping up in the first round of this years NFL Draft, Moore had the task of projecting rookies ability in what will perhaps be the most talented draft in quite some time.
I had the opportunity to speak with the Ratings Czar, Donny Moore, himself and uncovered quite a bit of what to expect for rookies in Madden 15.
Looking at Madden 15, Moore said, “The emphasis is on the ratings more as a whole.” With the positional battles this year, it won’t be just the overall numbers that matter for the players. The underlying ratings will determine who gets to the quarterback and who catches a jump ball.
As far as preparation goes, not everything is all fun and games when it comes to player creation in Madden 15. Moore mentioned that he definitely does his homework, consulting between 10 to 15 different resources, and utilizing everything from film, to scouting, and even the NFL Combine.
Following the NFL Draft, Moore has to go back in and tweak ratings as well. Moore mentioned the scenario, “If a team drafts a guy with a sixth round grade in the third or fourth round, we have to go back in and evaluate how to make the reflective in Madden as well.”
Comparing the big name rookie quarterbacks, Moore broke them down individually. He noted that Blake Bortles reminded him of a “Mini Andrew Luck.” With a strong arm (92 throw power) and good feet (73 speed) he can beat teams in multiple ways. Johnny Manziel will showcase both his strong arms and quick legs, while Teddy Bridgewater will be adept in the intermediate passing game.
When I asked Moore to pick out specific rookies that he was excited about, two came to mind. On the defensive side of the ball Khalil Mack is a star (87 speed and 90 power with a 74 zone rating). Mack will terrorize opposing offenses. On the flip side, Sammy Watkins is someone Moore said, “is an athletic beast with great catching ability” (88 catch, 93 speed, 95 agility, and 95 acceleration). Watkins will help the bills and EJ Manuel immensely.
We talked about player progression in Madden 15 and discussed how that has evolved as well. Guys with injuries in college will see a slower developmental arc, Moore mentioned Zach Mettenberger being a reflection of this, and someone he likes in the Connected Franchise mode. To represent a quicker progression, a guy like Clowney (88 speed, 92 acceleration, 94 power, 95 hit power) will be able to compete with some of the best immediately.
As Moore provided some great insight into how the ratings play into Madden 15 as a whole, now it’s time for the reveal of the top 13 rookies in Madden 15 (there is a four-way tie for tenth); we’ll let them introduce themselves.