Which Madden ratings are head scratchers?
By Calvin K (Twitter: @Calvin_SGF)
Madden 22’s release date is right around the corner, and the standard edition of the game is set to come out this Friday. As usual, there are a host of changes in the new game, but this article is focusing on the player ratings in the game. Every year, there’s lots of debate about who should be rated where when EA Sports releases the rosters in midsummer. The ratings are generally accurate, but every year, there are some that are just clearly incorrect. This article summarizes the five worst ratings in the game.
5. Jonathan Allen (DT, 88 overall)
Allen is a solid player, but it just doesn’t make logical sense that, aside from cornerback Kendall Fuller, the 26-year-old is the highest rated player on Washington’s entire defense. You could argue that this is partially due to disrespect of the team as a whole, but the fact remains that Allen is not the centerpiece of the defensive line, and therefore should not be ranked as such.
Last year, the Washington defense received several upgrades in personnel, and new coaching staff along with loads of young talent allowed this defense to soar into the elite category. Led by Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Allen, and others, Washington finished fifth in sacks and allowed the eighth-fewest points per game in the NFL. Allen, while productive, still finished fourth on the team in tackles, and he was a distant tenth in sacks, with only the third-highest total at his position of defensive tackle. Granted, Allen is probably better as a run stopper than as a sack artist, but even so, playmakers like Sweat and Young were the ones who changed the dynamic of the defense as a whole. This isn’t to say that Allen is a bad player, but it just isn’t logical to argue that he’s the best player on this defensive line.
4. Saquon Barkley (RB, 90 overall)
Barkley has had more than his share of injury struggles over the past couple of years, but that doesn’t mean we can forget about his generational talent. Barkley deserves to be around a 93 overall, given that Saints running back Alvin Kamara is a 94, and he could be rated even higher if it wasn’t for his injuries. There is an argument to be made for a higher rating than 93, given that his 2018 numbers equaled or surpassed the career years of many RBs ahead of him.
In 2018 (his last fully healthy year), Barkley piled up 2,028 yards from scrimmage, an incredible number that he accumulated due to his freakish athleticism and big-play ability. For context, Kamara’s best season accumulated just 1,688 yards from scrimmage. Dalvin Cook, who is a 95 overall, had 1,918 in his best year, while 96 overall Nick Chubb had 1,772. In fact, the only players to surpass Saquon’s best season were 96 Derrick Henry (2,141) and 97 Christian McCaffrey (2,392), meaning Barkley’s numbers match up well to just about anyone’s. Using only these numbers for context would imply that Barkley should be rated a 96, but accounting for injuries and other factors means that it’s sensible to move him down a couple of notches. However, a 90 overall rating implies that Barkley is no longer an elite RB, and when he sees the field again, he’ll prove that assumption incorrect.
3. Minkah Fitzpatrick (FS, 89 overall)
Fitzpatrick is considered by many to be a top-three safety in the NFL, but in Madden, he’s tied for eighth, rated 89 overall alongside Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson. While those two players are good, they just aren’t at the level that Minkah is, and Minkah’s consistent high-level play should give him a rating in the 90s.
Fitzpatrick’s nine interceptions are tied for the second-highest total among safeties over the last two years, with only Tyrann Mathieu (10) and Justin Simmons (9) stacking up against him in that category. Fitzpatrick was also tied for fourth in passes defended in 2020, with 11. There’s no doubt that Fitzpatrick is a lethal force on defense, and his arrival in Pittsburgh single-handedly took their defense to another level. His level of star status deserves a rating in the 90s along with an X-Factor ability, two things he doesn’t have but has certainly earned.
2. Kyler Murray (QB, 82 overall)
Murray was practically playing at MVP level for most of last season, so to have him at just an 82 overall is beyond silly. Murray has a great arm, but his dual-threat ability is what truly makes him a game-changing weapon for Arizona.
Murray threw for 3,971 yards with a 67.2% completion percentage last year, and he would’ve easily topped 4,000 if it wasn’t for the shoulder injury that hobbled him late in the year. Those numbers alone are good, but Murray also piled up 819 yards on 133 rushing attempts last year, scoring 11 touchdowns and picking up 52 first downs with his legs. Murray’s 6.2 yards per carry was behind only Lamar Jackson in 2020, and his completion percentage was higher than Patrick Mahomes. His athletic ability far exceeds his 82 ratings, and it’s ridiculous that he isn’t at least a 90 overall. His rating may not be accurate right now, but once Murray lights the world on fire again this year, Madden raters will have no choice but to give him a major boost.
1. A.J. Brown (WR, 86 overall)
I had trouble deciding whether Murray or Brown’s rating was worse, but I ended up ranking it this way because I believe that Brown truly has a case as the league’s number one wide receiver. Madden ratings wouldn’t have you believe that, though, as they shockingly rank Brown outside of the top 20 receivers in the league. Brown is ranked lower than Robby Anderson and Robert Woods, and his 86 overall rating is the same as Cole Beasley’s. It’s mind-boggling how low Brown is given what he did last year.
Brown tore up both of his knees after Week 1, and the initial doctor diagnosis was that he’d be done for the whole season. However, he ended up missing just two games and went on to have a 1,075 yard and 11 touchdown season. Brown had to get offseason surgery on each knee after the season, but he still played like an elite receiver. His after-the-catch ability is unmatched by any WR in the NFL, and at 6’0″, 227 pounds, he has the ability to dominate defenders on contested receptions.
In my opinion, Brown is deserving of a 93-96 overall rating, which would put him where he belongs: in the elite tier of wide receivers. However, even Brown skeptics wouldn’t argue that he should be an 86, as there’s no fathomable argument for ranking him that low. Brown is a great athlete, and he should be incredible this season, as he’s now back to full health for the first time since Week 1 of last year. When he explodes, his overall rating should skyrocket, proving that Madden ratings developers completely overlooked a wide receiver who is truly a dominant game-changer.