It’s still another month before the latest edition of the Madden video game franchise, Madden 19, hits stores.
That hasn’t stopped the popular football game from its marketing tirade, one in which current players marvel at their player ratings, for better or worse.
In past years the Madden creators had rookie guess their ratings and revealed them, giving way to Madden fans discovering pretty much every player’s rating well before the game even hit the shelves.
That’s the case again this year, as a litany of high-level stars like Aaron Rodgers and others saw their Madden player ratings be released to the public.
It’s all in fun, but it often can also spark serious controversy. On one hand, the Madden 19 creators can pump up certain stars a bit too much, while they can also fail to respect other star players in different ways.
There is a slew of players to call out for both sides. However, I’ve looked over the Madden 19 player ratings to uncover what I feel are the 8 most ridiculous scores in instances where players seem to be disrespected:
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants (76 Overall)
I’m not an Eli Manning apologist, I promise. To be honest, I’ve always felt he was overrated and he kind of lucked into both of his Super Bowl wins.
That being said, Manning’s got a pretty harsh grade here. For one, I think Madden 19 might be a bit too much of a “prisoner of the moment” and giving a knee-jerk reaction on a weak 2017 run.
It’s hard to blame Manning too much for that, seeing as Brandon Marshall was always a free agency bust and Odell Beckham Jr. lasted just four games. Manning also didn’t have much of a running game, while former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was a bit of a joke.
Manning can still ball a bit and even if he can’t, we should give him the benefit of the doubt.
Instead, he’s graded out like some spare, lining up behind a slew of rookies, not to mention a bunch of pedestrian veterans.
Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Joe Flacco, Blake Bortles head that list and I really don’t know why I need to keep listing names here.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Manning is tied for the same rating as Jacoby Brissett. That’s not a typo and none of these were typos. This is just an absurdly low Madden 19 rating Eli has to deal with.
And again, I don’t even like the guy.
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (86 Overall)
This is a less offensive gaffe, but Wentz just got done completely wrecking the league.
Sure, he also ripped up his knee, but he was piecing together an MVP-level season and he put his team in position to go on a title-winning run.
If you look at Eli and the guys he’s hovering around or is trumped by, it’s a quite obvious part of how Madden 19 ratings are created has to do with overall talent and potential.
Wentz literally just proved how good he was and can be, yet his upside seems curbed as 86 overall.
He was every bit as good as guys like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson – a trio in which occupies the only Madden 19 quarterback ratings north of 90 overall.
Andrew Luck, who didn’t play at all in 2017 and may never be the same guy again, is rated as a better player. Matt Ryan, who dropped off considerably last year after what is quickly feeling like a one-year ascension to elite status, is also a few ticks higher than Wentz.
This rating isn’t quite as gut-punching as the Eli Manning player rating, but it’s a different kind of a slap in the face.
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants (82 Overall)
Madden 19 admittedly does a pretty good job with the running back position. Unfortunately, they’re once again selling the G-Men short.
I know Barkley is a rookie, but he’s about as studly as it gets. By all accounts, he is a generational talent and is expected to give a weak New York running game a massive lift.
Barkley has carried a big workload in the past, he’s a freak athlete and he’s got a complete skill-set that should translate to an elite feature back role in the NFL.
He isn’t handed an elite Madden 19 player rating, though.
I’m not saying 82 is terrible for a rookie, but he grades out lower than a slew of scat-back types like Tarik Cohen, Giovani Bernard, Duke Johnson and Chris Thompson.
I’m not sure why. Because they all have proven they can catch the ball? Simply based on them having NFL experience? It doesn’t make sense.
Jerick McKinnon is probably destined for big things in Kyle Shanahan’s system in San Francisco. However, he’s rated three points better than Barkley and truly has not done anything yet in his career to deserve that nod.
An aging Marshawn Lynch, an injured Dalvin Cook, a regressing Lamar Miller and freaking LeGarrette Blount (87 overall) are just a few guys that rank ahead of the beastly Barkley that need to be called out.
You can toss Derrius Guice (78) into the mix here, too. It seems Madden 19 grades rookie passers favorably, yet holds the running backs to a higher standard.
That’s a bit weird, especially considering most would agree that the one position in pro football that has the quickest transition is actually the running back position.
To each their own, I suppose, but Madden seems to have gaffed here, if only slightly.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans (94 Overall)
This is easily the least egregious Madden 19 mistake of the list so far, but I feel Nuk needs someone in his corner, nonetheless.
In every sense of the word, Hopkins is elite.
He’s shown the ability to win jump balls, tracks the ball down the field, has mastered spacing, excels out of cuts, keeps his feet down on the sidelines and makes the tough catch over the middle of the field.
Truly, he may be the best overall wide receiver in the entire league.
Even truer is the fact that he’s put up impressive numbers and looked good doing it – all while heaving pretty bad quarterback play to work with.
That’s something people seem to forget now that Deshaun Watson is in Texas, but for too much of his time with the Texans, Nuk has been wasting away with guys like Brian Hoyer, Brock Osweiler, Brandon Weeden and Ryan Mallett tossing him balls.
Despite producing in the face of inferior play under center, Nuk gets a score of 94?
He still files in as the fourth best receiver per Madden 19, but I wouldn’t even try to separate the elite receivers up top. You just end up looking silly in the process.
Give those four guys 99 overall ratings and distinguish them ever so slightly by grading out their attributes differently, where it makes sense.
Maybe that wouldn’t even work, but it just feels like Nuk is getting overlooked a bit here.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (83 Overall)
Nuk’s questionable rating is nothing compared to Watkins’, who isn’t even 85 overall in the new Madden game.
That’s not exactly fair, considering Watkins is every bit talented enough to garner a better rating and it seems like he’s being judged unfairly for past health woes and the Rams’ inability to properly utilize him in 2017.
In reality, Watkins is one of the most explosive talents in the NFL today, is a legit deep ball artist and can track the ball with the best of them. I know he hasn’t always been able to stay healthy, but he also has never had much to work with even when he was on the field.
His past passing talents that have worked with him included Tyrod Taylor and Jared Goff and in 2018 he’ll be catching passes from Patrick Mahomes. These guys all had upside when paired with them, but they also were developing (and continue to do so) on the fly.
Watkins has really never been graded appropriately and especially considering how we’ve seen Madden 19 grade other guys for their injuries and situations (or in most cases not at all), I feel Watkins is getting hosed here.
If you’re looking at sheer talent and upside, how do Jermaine Kearse, Travis Benjamin, Randall Cobb, Marquise Goodwin and Cameron Meredith (all tied with an 83 overall) measure up to this guy?
Even worse, how does Watkins barely beat out Devin Funchess, Tyler Lockett, and Ted Ginn Jr., while Kenny Stills, Jamison Crowder and Nelson Agholor are all graded as superior wide receivers?
If you want to slam me for boosting Nuk to an elite level he doesn’t belong in necessarily, fine. But you can’t tell me Watkins is rated properly on this game.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (80 Overall)
Honestly, I’ll stop it here, but I could keep going. Madden 19 does not do a great job rating wide receivers this year and to be frank, this has been a problem for whoever calls the shots over there for years.
If you ever play the Madden Franchise Mode, do you notice how player speed ratings drop at absurdly rapid rates the second the dude turns 30 years old? Maybe, in general, that’s acceptable, but if Antonio Brown goes from 96 speed to 87 speed just because he hit an age milestone, we’ve got a problem.
That’s an extreme example, but Smith-Schuster is still getting a bad beat here.
The Steelers let Martavis Bryant go via trade for a few reasons this offseason. Bryant was a head case and couldn’t be trusted, but they also had a better player waiting to take over his old role.
That would be JuJu, who emerged as a big play threat, notching a saliva-inducing 58-917-7 line as a rookie. And that was his first season on the job.
Nobody who followed football last year would scoff at what this guy brought to the table and pretty much everyone would agree he’s in for a way bigger season in 2018.
From a role, production, talent and potential perspective, he’s in for a breakout season and he’s honestly already left a mark.
Yet he’s handed a flat 80, while a seriously regressing Brandon Marshall, a potential bust in DeVante Parker and the guy he’s effectively replacing (Martavis Bryant) all grade out better than him.
I think it’s safe to say I’m not some biased JuJu Smith-Schuster truther, either. The guy is a legit star already and Madden 19 grades him out as a fairly pedestrian talent.
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs (95 Overall)
I’ll keep this one (somewhat) short and sweet. Obviously, The Gronk is the top tight end and until he has some crazy performance drop-off, I won’t knock him being #1 or getting a 99 overall grade.
However, Kelce is the clear #2 tight end in the NFL and some people would argue he’s actually developed into the top option in the game today.
I won’t go that far, but at least from an offensive perspective, Kelce is a pass-catching monster and 100% deserves a couple more points added to his Madden rating. I don’t think 99 overall is quite warranted, but 97 or even 98 is absolutely viable.
Kelce isn’t really close. He’s listed at a relatively fair 95, but he’s got a lot of tight ends very close to him. That’s fine, but I think he should be graded a bit closer to Gronkowski considering his production over the past few years.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Green Bay Packers (86 Overall)
If you think I’m miffed about Kelce’s score, then consider me enraged when it comes to Jimmy Graham.
I know the guy is a little older now and not quite the explosive athlete he once was, but for his red-zone upside alone he needs to be graded a little higher.
It’s not just about Jimmy Graham’s Madden 19 player rating, either. His surroundings aren’t really up to par, which seems to diminish his grade a bit.
How Graham is just one tick above Jared Cook and Jack Doyle is beyond me, while a constantly injured guy like Tyler Eifert (89) is listed way ahead of him.
Overall, I found a few problems when looking over the skill position players in the Madden 19 game, but this is still a promising roster of players and I look forward to playing the next installment.
Besides, as ridiculous as some player ratings might be, you can always edit player ratings as you see fit.
Hopefully, you’re also looking forward to the game, but I wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts on Madden 19 player ratings.
Do you agree/disagree with my picks here or you have some of your own to grip about? Tell me all about it in the comments below!