“Madden season is the reason my hand touched your face!”
NO NO NO not now Kevin Hart, it’s 2020 now, your hand can’t touch my face in these uncertain times!
Normally this is where we’d joke around about how Madden ratings are like a good compromise that leaves everybody upset. But this is 2020 and we have had precious little sports besides the NFL Draft and The Last Dance and the NBA and NHL’s respective bubbles since we were all either scrambling to set up a legit Valentine’s Day or planning on a highly inebriated Single’s Awareness Day, so, as I’ve said a few times: we finally have something to talk about. Just let us tweak.
And hey, since all we got this summer is time, let’s run down the Madden ‘21 rankings like we have in the before times: the 90s, the 80s, the 70s, and, well, everyone else. I’m already excited about everyone being angry about where Mohamed Sanu is ranked, for entirely different reasons.
Shorter list of 90s this year due to a couple old dudes moving to Florida this winter. BOOOOOOOO.
Stephon Gilmore (CB) - 99 overall
That being said, Stephon Gilmore joining the 99 Club is both well-deserved after Gilly’s stellar 2019 DPOY campaign and still might undersell how good he is....both in real life and on the virtual gridiron.
To give you some idea of just how absurdly powerful Gilmore is in this game: remember that one game where Aaron Rodgers didn’t throw to one side of the field for the entire game because Richard Sherman was over there? Richard Sherman at the peak of his LOB powers?
That was in 2014. Sherman’s man coverage rating in Madden was 98 that year, along with 96 in zone. Gilmore one-ups Sherm with a perfect 99 in man-to-man and a svelte 97 in zone coverage.
Translation: you’re going to see a lot of that delightful screen-flipping-around turnover animation.
Devin McCourty (FS) - 92 overall
Perhaps only funny to me: Earl Thomas, who ESPN’s Bill Barnwell argued earlier this week is a borderline lock for the Hall of Fame, going so far as to project his chances of getting in at 70%-99%... Thomas is an 88 overall in this year’s game.
DMac, who is a year older than Earl and spent the first couple years of his career at cornerback, is a 92.
Also an underappreciated McCourty asset: Dev’s borderline superhuman durability in real life despite regularly having some of the most tackles on the team is reflected in his 95 Injury rating and 97 Stamina (save your stamina jokes for the comments).
You know that old “run to set up the pass”-type axiom about how the Patriots regularly rock the best “middle class” in the NFL? Meaning like they either sign or keep enough veteran players that may not be Von Millers or Travis Kelces, but they’re good enough at what they do and easy enough on the cap that New England ends up with one of the deepest, most consistent rosters in football?
In today’s episode of “art imitates life”, the Patriots Madden ‘21 roster features a whopping 13 players ranked in the 80-something range, including at least a couple guys we all have jerseys for.
Let’s start with Mr Postseason himself, who got dangerously close to joining Gilly and DMac in the 90s club:
Dont’a Hightower (MLB) - 88 overall
90 Hit Power and 92 Tackling right up the middle, just like the old Bama days, that’s just what the doc ordered to fulfill the old Chandler-Jones-ism “first we gonna stop the run, then we gonna have some fun”. Now if only he hadn’t opted out of the 2020 season...
Julian Edelman (WR) - 87 overall
Shaq Mason (RG) - 86 overall
Down year for Shaq after he acquired the bag in 2018 and almost everyone agreed he was struggling through some kind of injury in 2019, and still checks in as the 5th-best RG in the game.
Then again, have you seen his workouts?
Jason McCourty (CB) - 85 overall
Joe Thuney (LG) - 85 overall
Seems a tad low for a reigning 2nd-Team All-Pro, but then again, if New England is serious about wanting to keep Thuney around, this interior offensive line is just preposterously strong.
David Andrews (C) - 84 overall
Jonathan Jones (CB) - 83 overall
When you play one of those teams with a burner wide receiver, Jones’ 94 speed will not only come in handy, it’s also tied for highest on the Patriots with hopeful-Phillip-Dorsett-upgrade Damiere Byrd.
Patrick Chung (SS) - 83 overall
Another opt-out this year, Patrick Chung continues to put the strong in strong safety with his 84 Hit Power. D-Mac, for reference, is almost 20 points lower at 67.
James White (HB) - 82 overall
J.C. Jackson (CB) - 82 overall
Obviously PFF grades had nothing to do with the making of this game, cause if so, JC’s man and zone coverage would be criminally low at 83 and 78, respectively.
Lawrence Guy (RE) - 81 overall
A Madden quirk I’ve always loved is how they pick positions for guys that play all over the place in Bill’s defense. Useful in any position on the DL, though, is Guy’s 86 block-shedding. Outta my way!
John Simon (LE) - 80 overall
Sony Michel (HB) - 80 overall
Better stiff-arm than James White, not-quite-as-good spin move, and roughly the same ball carrier vision stats. Deploy this twosome as you see fit.
There’s a few heavy hitters in here, figuratively and literally, but as we go on, there won’t be quite as much to say about a lot of these dudes cause if they’re seeing field action outside of special teams in a Madden game, something has likely gone quite awry.
Isaiah Wynn (LT) - 79 overall
Perhaps as a reflection of his career playing time compared with his first-round pedigree, Wynn’s pretty well-rounded in terms of both run-block and pass-block power and finesse; not Quinton Nelson at any of ‘em, obviously, but you could do a whole lot worse than low 80’s across the board.
Mohamed Sanu (WR) - 79 overall
What’s his deep throw accuracy, though?
Adrian Phillips (FS) - 78 overall
First team All-Pro just a year ago, and checking in at a 78 after a relatively down 2019 campaign.
Cam Newton (QB) - 78 overall
About the only thing we can all agree on: after the first few games of the 2020 NFL season, Cam will most definitely not still be chilling at 78 overall. Whether he’ll be 20 points higher or 20 points lower, well, that’s exactly the wild card his real-life contract would suggest.
Ja’Whaun Bentley (MLB) - 77 overall
Marqise Lee (WR) - 77 overall
Adam Butler (DT) - 76 overall
Marcus Cannon (RT) - 76 overall
Chase Winovich (RE) - 75 overall
Choosing to believe that Wino being rated 85 speed and 89 acceleration is a reference to his...you guessed it....MOTOR.
Rex Burkhead (HB) - 75 overall
Damiere Byrd (WR) - 74 overall
Like we mentioned above, Byrd is tied for highest speed on the team with 94, so, maybe spread ‘em out and go 4-wide with Damiere in one of the slots and see if he can leave a DB choking on dust?
Deatrich Wise Jr. (RE) - 74 overall
N’Keal Harry (WR) - 74 overall
Kyle Dugger (SS) - 73 overall
I know rookie grades in Madden tend to be particularly tough unless they’re, say, top-5 or so, but I can’t tell if Dugger being ranked right next to N’Keal after last year is a testament to N’Keal’s disappointing debut, Madden’s faith in Dugger, or both. (It’s probably both).
Beau Allen (DT) - 72 overall
Brandon Copeland (LOLB) - 72 overall
Jake Bailey (P) - 72 overall
Josh Uche (ROLB) - 72 overall
While the Michigan Bros appear to be destined to be bookends in 2020 in real life, if you can make ‘em work in this game, more power to ya.
Terrence Brooks (SS) - 71 overall
Brandon Bolden (RB) 70 overall
Jakobi Meyers (WR) - 70 overall
Joejuan Williams (CB) - 70 overall
And one of the rest
Ok, I just made this section to include this....
Matthew Slater (WR) - 65 overall
.....which is really also an excuse to post this again.
Deep threat legend.
What do you think about these ratings? Who’s going up or down once the season gets rolling? Sound off in the comments!