The job of the Madden Ratings adjuster is truly a labor of love that requires incredible time, dedication and skill, all the while knowing that none of the players will be happy with their final ratings. For Andre Weingarten, the job is an honor and a privilege and one he takes very seriously, even if it can be thankless at times.
When asked how many players are happy with their ratings, Weingarten flatly responded, "Zero, not even the 99s, but I think that's the fun part."
The Madden 21 ratings start with Madden 20 ratings as a guide, but many tweaks are made as players change teams, teams change schemes and Father Time comes calling.
"New players might have a little bit lower awareness coming onto a team because they've never been in that system before," Weingarten said Monday during an appearance on Cleveland Browns Daily. "For the most part, we bring over what we have from Madden 20, do some tweaks and any adjustments based on gameplay or changes with the game itself and that's usually how we present our roster."
That is a fairly straightforward process for the veterans, but for the rookie class, things are much more labor intensive.
"For this class alone, the two of us (ratings adjusters) spent about 1,200 hours building the rookie class; 1,200 hours across about three months," Weingarten said.
Turning his attention to the Browns, Weingarten noted thatBaker Mayfield presented the biggest challenge in terms of settling on a final ranking, which ended up being 78.
"We as a whole are very high on Baker Mayfield and his skill set," Weingarten said. "Obviously last year was a down year after a historic rookie season, so figuring out which is the real Baker Mayfield going forward is tough. I think that he is going to have a really good year, but we still can't necessarily project that forward."
However, Weingarten expects a much better rating for Baker in Madden 22, especially following the arrival of head coach Kevin Stefanski.
"I think he will fit what Stefanski brings to the table very well and with some better structure around him, both on the coaching staff and system and play calling, I think you're going to see a much better player this upcoming season."
One area that is an unprecedented area of strength for the Browns is the running back spot, where Nick Chubb (92) and Kareem Hunt (87) form the highest rated duo Weingarten has ever seen in his time with the Madden franchise.
"Probably off the top of my head, the last time I can really think of would probably have been Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson with the Raiders (1988-89)," he said. "I think you can make a legitimate case that both (Chubb and Hunt) are top five players at the position."
Weingarten is clearly a fan of both of the Browns talented running backs, as he explained further.
"I think Kareem Hunt is so incredibly well rounded … and Nick Chubb is quite possibly the best pure runner in the entire sport," he said. "They are my favorite backfield to watch because you know that no matter who is in, you're going to see something very, very special."
As noted earlier, rookie rankings require extensive hours, so Weingarten feels very close to the first-year players. He is a huge fan of Browns second-round pick Grant Delpit.
"I think you be hard-pressed to find a better coverage player in terms of ratings in this safety class," Weingarten said. "When it comes to just pure man coverage ability and the ability to just go against somebody else and do his job, I think Grant is probably the cream of the crop in that department. A 73 press coverage rating is almost unprecedentedly high for a rookie safety who didn't actually play corner."
Check out the entire interview by listening to Monday's edition of Cleveland Browns Daily.