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A Madden-ing Reveal: Critiquing EA's Questionable Player Ratings

As an avid Madden player and someone who has spent a lot of time playing the past few Madden games specifically, I took issue with some of the player ratings revealed ahead of the game's late August release date. As such, I thought that I should take a look at said ratings and correct the many mistakes that I believe EA made. After all, with Madden 21 being less than a month from its release, the developers still have time to read this important blog and correct them accordingly, ensuring us all a more realistic gaming experience.

We'll start off with the "99 Club," which, to be fair, was almost perfect. In my opinion, there was one rating I found to be highly debatable, and that was Michael Thomas. I believe that Thomas should have been a bit lower, maybe a 97 or 98 overall. While I certainly respect the decision to give him a perfect rating of 99, especially following his record-breaking 2019 season, I still think that Julio Jones is a superior player and should replace Thomas as the game's highest rated Wide Receiver. The rest of the 99 Club, however (Patrick Mahomes, Stephon Gilmore, Christian McCaffrey and Aaron Donald) is perfect and each player should be included without question as the best players at their respective positions.

While the 99 Club only needs minor tweaks, the Quarterback position needs to be addressed BADLY, as there are mistakes in several places. Let's start with reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, who was given a 94 overall rating for the upcoming season. Although he's rightfully placed as the third ranked QB in the game, Jackson should be rated higher overall; I think providing him with the same 97 rating that was bestowed upon Russell Wilson is called for in this scenario. EA also rated a pair of aging Quarterbacks too low, as Aaron Rodgers (89 OVR) and Tom Brady (90 OVR) should each carry a rating of 93, respectively. Now, for the Quarterback who was disrespected the most, look no further than Deshaun Watson, who checks an at 86 OVR. In my opinion, Watson is a top 5 NFL QB and should be at 94 or higher overall without question. EA should also up Matt Ryan’s rating up from the high 80's to a 90 and boost Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz (both listed at 84 OVR) to an 87 overall rating.

Next, we'll move down the line to the Running Backs group, which was definitely more accurate as a whole than the QB's, but still had some glaring issues that I just couldn't ignore. EA graded Saquon Barkley at 91 overall, but he should be rated as a 96 overall without a doubt in my mind. Ezekiel Elliott was given a rating of 92 OVR and, while this might be nitpicking a bit on my part, I think he should be a 93, which would align him with Derrick Henry. While they're different players, I think they're on the same level and the ratings should reflect that. Other than those ratings, though, the Running Backs look to be on point.

Next up: the pass rushers, whose ratings were pretty good, but not free of mistakes. Shaquil Barrett not being a top 10 rated pass rusher is flat out wrong; Barrett led the league in sacks last year with 19.5, yet received just an 85 overall ranking. In my opinion, he should have been safely in the 90's, specifically a 93. Chandler Jones, who finished just behind Barrett with 19 sacks last season, came in at 95 overall. While this is a solid rating, I think that he should have been in line with both Von Miller and Khalil Mack (97 OVR). Myles Garrett was also a bit underrated at 93 overall; I'd have ranked him a little higher, I think 95 would have been fair. Meanwhile, EA also put T.J. Watt, who was in the running for DPOY, at just an 86 overall. This man should be a 93 easily and you could argue that it could even be higher than that.

Next, we have the defensive backs. Tre White, one of the better young DB's in all of football, was rated as a 90 overall, but should have been a 96. White had a very impressive season with the Buffalo Bills a year ago, with 6 interceptions and no touchdowns allowed. Opposing QB's posted a passer rating of just 45 when targeting White; I just think the game underrates him a good amount. Next up: Jamal Adams, the best safety in the NFL, who received a rating of just 92 overall. In my opinion, Adams should be a 97 OVR and the highest safety rated. Minkah Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, was rated at just 87 overall. He was one of the best defensive players in football last year and his rating should reflect that. I believe that Minkah should be the third highest-rated safety at 93, which would put him in line with Tyrann Mathieu.

Finally, we have the Wide Receivers and Tight Ends to discuss. The Receivers group is good as a whole, but does need some minor adjustments. As I said at the beginning of this blog, Moving Julio Jones up to 99 and sliding Michael Thomas to 97 or 98 would be perfect. Keenan Allen continues to be underrated as well, with a 91 OVR rating when he should be around 94. Allen had 104 receptions and almost 1200 yards a year ago, along with 6 touchdowns. Now the Tight End ratings were definitely confusing. Rob Gronkowski checks in at 95 overall, which is higher than even reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. This is, of course, the same guy who took a year off and is now down in Tampa Bay with Tom Brady. Gronk is rated way too high at the moment; he should be a 91 max. Mark Andrews, an excellent TE for the Ravens last season, is an 86 overall and is a top 5 Tight End in the NFL; he should be at least a 90.

Besides that, we're good! Thank you for letting me rant about these ratings a bit -- do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments. Happy gaming, everyone!

- Nate


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