Last week, EA released their player ratings for Madden 20. And much like we have come to expect at this time of year, there was plenty to like and dislike about this year’s player ratings and abilities. However, that is to be expected, especially with the changes that have been made to this year’s ratings system. So let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of this year’s Madden ratings.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes – 97
There’s a reason Patrick Mahomes won NFL MVP and was then later selected to grace the cover of Madden. It’s because he’s that damn good. He also rated as the top QB in this year’s game, and if 2018 is any indication, he may be cemented at the top of this list for many years to come. Mahomes was a problem in Madden 19. But with a new game, comes new features. And Mahomes comes fully equipped with his own set of Superstar X-Factors and abilities. This includes his Bazooka X-Factor that allows him to throw the football 80-yards downfield. There’s no QB in today’s NFL or Madden better than the man they call Showtime.
Dallas Cowboys HB Ezekiel Elliott – 94
The former fourth-overall pick in 2016 has led the NFL in rushing two of his last three seasons. However, when you look at his numbers, 4,048 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns, it may actually appear as though he got snubbed. Nevertheless, Elliott is the second highest-rated HB in this year’s game, and among one of the top-three backs in all of football. In other words, while a 94 is a little less than some may have hoped, I’m confident that before the season concludes — and assuming Elliott plays a majority of the 2019 season — he will see his overall much closer to the prestigious 99 club.
The 99 Club
There are four players in this year’s game who have been awarded the highly coveted 99-overall rating. Those players include Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, DeAndre Hopkins and Bobby Wagner. EA has not ruled out the possibility of other players joining the 99 club, but there’s no evidence who that may be as of yet. Regardless, this feels like a good number for now, and it’s something fun to talk about for the season coming up.
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson – 82
Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the top signal callers in the NFL. And despite his rare mix of size and speed, the folks at EA have given Watson an 82 overall. This means Watson is the 13th-ranked QB, which to me means he’s severely underrated in this year’s game. Now, I will of course say that an overall rating is not everything in Madden. In fact, it can sometimes be downright misleading and creates many dumb arguments for no reason. Attributes in the game are weighted based on position, and certain ratings boosts can make a player’s overall jump more than it would for a player getting a boost in a different attribute category. All that being said, it still feels out of place for Watson to be this far down the QB list.
Indianapolis Colts OLB Darius Leonard – 84
The defensive rookie of the year amassed 163 total tackles, 2 interceptions and 7 sacks in 2018. And yet, despite all of this, Leonard still doesn’t find himself among the top-five outside linebackers in Madden 20. After all, Leonard lit the world on fire and helped transform the Colts’ lackluster defense into one of the better units in football. An 84 is close, but a few more points would not have been disputed. If Leonard can continue to build on his rookie year, he’ll find himself in the 90s sooner than expected.
Baltimore Ravens K Justin Tucker – 87
I truly believe that being an NFL kicker is one of the toughest jobs in all of sports — just ask Cody Parkey. However, it is also one of the easiest to evaluate. The kick either goes through the uprights or it doesn’t. And one player who has consistently been at the top of the list of made field goals is Justin Tucker. And in a year when ratings have been refined and stretched, an 87 overall for a kicker just doesn’t add up.
Saquon Barkley HB New York Giants / Christian McCaffrey HB Carolina – 91
When you look around the league, there only a handful of players who are truly elite at their position. Additionally, when evaluating this year’s running backs, it’s hard not to see Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey at the top of this respected list. Unfortunately, EA doesn’t feel the same, and has rated Barkley fifth and McCaffrey sixth accordingly. And for two players who can do everything asked of them at the highest level possible, a 91 overall rating just seems too low. But in the end, both players bring a unique set of skills to their team. Coupled with their new X-Factors and abilities, Barkley and McCaffrey should be nearly unstoppable in Madden 20.
San Francisco 49ers CB Richard Sherman – 93
The days of Seattle’s Legion of Boom are gone. However, Richard Sherman is still playing some of the best football of his entire career. In fact, many times in 2018, Sherman was still able to completely erase the opposition’s top wide receiver. However, Sherman’s 93-overall rating makes him the third highest-rated CB in Madden. He can play man to man as well as anyone, but to see his name that high on the CB list is a bit absurd. Sherman’s had an amazing career, but there’s some other cornerbacks who have moved past him at this point.
Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker – 92
For years, Delanie Walker has been mentioned along with some of the best tight ends in the league. But as of late, Walker’s play has been hampered by injury and has also slowly declined due to age. Madden may have made Walker a bit too good in this year’s installment. In fact, there are only two TEs rated better than him, and they are Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. In my opinion, George Kittle deserves to be in the top three over Walker, and so do a couple other tight ends as well.
Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard – 83
Howard was tied for first in the NFL with 7 interceptions last season, and proved to be one of the best shutdown CBs in all football. Despite all of this, Howard does not have a Superstar X-Factor. However, he does possess the “pick artist” ability. Worst of all, Howard’s 83-overall rating makes him the 27th-ranked CB in Madden. Unacceptable.
In the end, EA gets a lot of unwarranted criticism for their ratings each and every year. But with a new ratings system in place, it was to be expected in 2020. And as they do every year, Madden developers will continue to update rosters throughout the NFL season. They’re not perfect, but the new ratings system was necessary to divide the elite players from the rest of the bunch. And whether you love them or hate them, these ratings are here to stay.