Last week I gave my predictions for the Madden ratings for the Big 12 football players drafted in rounds one through three. Now it’s time for round four.
As I mentioned last week, I won’t be discussing the players drafted in the fifth and sixth rounds as this would become a considerably long article. Also, it’s pointless to try to guess those players’ ratings since they were drafted so late and will most likely be given pretty low scores anyway.
Minnesota Vikings RB Kene Nwangwu – Rating: 69
Nwangwu spent five seasons at Iowa State acting as kick returner and reserve running back. In limited action backing up Breece Hall, he gained a reputation as a speedster with homerun capabilities. In 2020, his most productive season, he rushed for 339 yards and four touchdowns on 61 carries, but really made his mark in the return game, totaling 2,470 return kick yards after four years.
The Vikings believe they’ve picked up one of the fastest players in the draft in Nwangwu, and it seems likely that they will utilize him mainly as a return specialist. I dropped him to a 69 overall due to the fact that the developers over at Madden might overlook him since he was overshadowed by Hall at Iowa State, but he should have decent speed statistics.
New England Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson – Rating: 69
The second Sooner to be picked up by New England, this time with pick No. 120, Rhamondre Stevenson seriously plummeted his draft stock when he was suspended in 2019 in the same failed drug test ring as teammate Ronnie Perkins. Nonetheless, the Patriots will be more than pleased with their fourth round selection. Stevenson averaged 7.2 yards per carry in two seasons at Oklahoma, rushing for over 500 yards in each season.
Probably one of the most hard to take down backs in the draft, Stevenson’s dominating size and imposing running style made him one of the best in the Big 12 the past two years. He’ll surely crack into the running back rotation in New England sooner rather than later, but for now, a 69 overall will do.
Philadelphia Eagles DB Zech McPhearson – Rating: 67
McPhearson enjoyed two solid seasons at Texas Tech in the secondary, where he recorded 104 total tackles and four interceptions. In 2020, he was an All-Big 12 first team selection at the corner position and was the first corner to be drafted from the Big 12 in this year’s draft.
Philadelphia fills their need for secondary help with one of the best defensive players in the conference. I’ll go with a 67 since I know how everyone outside the Big 12 overlooks Big 12 defenders (Rodarius Williams’ and Caden Sterns’ low selections, for example).
Carolina Panthers RB Chuba Hubbard – Rating: 66
The Canadian Cowboy introduced himself to the college football world when he led the NCAA in rushing yards in 2019 with 2,094. This seemed to impress Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule’s wife, who famously told her husband to draft Hubbard with the 126th pick. Hubbard was a first-team All-American in 2019 and second-team in 2020, as well as a Walter Camp player of the year finalist in 2019.
Hubbard’s breakaway speed and patience made him one of the best backs in the country, and after a disappointing follow-up season in 2020, he’s probably looking at a Madden rating in the ballpark of a 66.
Baltimore Ravens WR Tylan Wallace – Rating: 68
Injuries hurt Wallace’s draft stock as he sustained two major injuries in 2019 and 2020. Despite this, the No. 131 pick became one of the most decorated wide receivers in Oklahoma State history. He was a Biletnikoff finalist in 2018 and semi-finalist in 2020, and some people (me) believe he should have won the award 2018. Potentially one of the biggest steals of the draft, Wallace’s ability to run concise routes and win jump balls showed he is a capable pass catcher at any level. With him, a 50-50 ball became a 80-20 ball. He just knows how to leverage his defender and make the big play.
Despite being picked lower than some of the previous guys on this list, I expect Wallace to splash onto the scene for Baltimore. It is widely believed that he fell lower than he should have, so I think the Madden devs will spot him a nice 68 overall for his rookie campaign.
Seattle Seahawks DB Tre Brown – Rating: 65
Brown was typically a bright spot in a struggling Oklahoma defense over the four years he spent with the Sooners. He led the team in pass breakups (6) and was second in interceptions (3) in 2020, including a game-sealing pick in the Big 12 Championship versus Iowa State. He was also a talented kick returner for the Sooners.
You have to really stand out to be drafted high as a Big 12 defensive back. With Brown, the Seahawks are getting a talented corner who excels at covering teams’ best receivers, as well as a potential weapon in the kick return department.