With theofficial ratings now released, I am continuing theMadden 21Analytics series. This article covers the secondary unit coverage rankings. The rankings are comprised of the projected starters in the secondary for nickel packages. They are broken out by man and zone coverage, then a composite rankings of the two is presented.
Madden 21 Analytics
Patriots: The Patriots had one of the best coverage units in football last year and it is reflected in their ratings. The best man and zone unit in the game, the Patriots are anchored by two elite players in corner Stephon Gilmore (99 OVR) and free safety Devin McCourty (92 OVR). This team, however, isn’t top-heavy as the rest of the supporting cast would be top guys on many teams, guys such as Jason McCourty (85 OVR) and Jonathan Jones (83 OVR).
Chargers: While injuries crushed the Chargers season last year, it definitely didn’t hurt their secondary’s ratings. Led by emerging superstar safety Derwin James (89 OVR), the Chargers also boast quality depth across the back end. Veteran Casey Heyward( 89 OVR) is still a top-end corner, while former Bronco Chris Harris Jr. (87 OVR) and the talented Desmond King (87 OVR) fill one of the best cornerback groups in the game.
Bills: There were many people upset with the ratings of talented cornerback Tre’Davious White (90 OVR), but in the end, the Bills still came away with one of the best secondaries in the league. Outside of White, the power of this group comes from the backend as free safety Micah Hyde (88 OVR) and strong safety Jordan Poyer (85 OVR) make up one of the vest tandems in the league.
Ravens: For such a highly-touted team, the Ravens secondary feels like the forgotten group at times. Up and coming corner Marlon Humphrey (89 OVR) leads this unit, taking over the top spot from longtime star Earl Thomas (88 OVR). Behind Humprey, two quality corners reside in Marcus Peters (85 OVR) and Jimmy Smith (83 OVR).
Steelers: A team not really known for their secondary, the Steelers make a surprising appearance on the list. The jump into the conversation of best cover units starts with the arrival of standout safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (87 OVR). While not loaded with high overall players, the Steelers secondary is filled with quality cover guys such as Joe Haden (83 OVR), Mike Hilton (81 OVR), and Steven Nelson (81OVR).
Jaguars: The Jaguars have some issues on the backend of their defense. The secondary isn’t just bad it’s old, and that is the worst place to be when you are bad. The one bright spot is rookie first-round corner C.J. Henderson (76 OVR) who should develop into one of the leagues better young corners. Free safety Ronnie Harrison(75 OVR) also has some upside if given long enough to develop.
Falcons: The Falcons’ issues aren’t that they have bad players in their secondary. The Falcons’ issues are they don’t have guys that can actually cover in their secondary. Safeties Keanu Neal (84 OVR) and Ricardo Allen (81 OVR) are mid-tier coverage options, and far from the worst coverage safety tandem in the league. The issues are prevalent however in the cornerback group where none of the three corners possess a single coverage grade higher than 73.
Buccaneers: Whereas the Falcons had a group of solid safeties to rely on for coverage, the Buccaneers have neither safeties nor corners to help. What do the Bucs have going for them though? They have youth and an opportunity to develop this group. Corners Carlton Davis (77 OVR), Sean Murphy-Bunting (77 OVR), and Jamel Dean (76 OVR) are all 25 or under, and safeties Antoine Winfield (75 OVR) Jr and Jordan Whitehead (73 OVR) are 23 and under.
Giants: The Giants have some known players in the secondary, but those players don’t bring a lot in the coverage game. This group is anchored by corner James Bradberry (79 OVR), who is an average cover corner, and safety Jabrill Peppers (80 OVR) who is more of a linebacker than safety in terms of coverage skill.
Panthers: Donte Jackson (82 OVR) is an average cover corner with top-level speed, which may be enticing to many. After Jackson things get rough, as veteran safety Try Boston (79 OVR) is the next best player in an underwhelming secondary. Eli Apple (75 OVR) still is young and could potentially grow into a second corner, but even that is a bit of a stretch based on his current ratings.