The Madden 17 player ratings have begun, God help us all
The NFL 2016 season won’t begin until September 8, not counting the preseason that no one cares about, but it’s never too early to argue things like who the best players are and which rookies are going to have a breakout season.
You can thank fantasy football for that, as the most dedicated fantasy players approach the coming season like they are a damn NFL scout. Those fantasy managers tend to lose in spectacular fashion because of “injury and underperforming and rabble rabble rabble,” never because the NFL is unpredictable. Their work scouting players is the work of the righteous. There is one in every league, and if you don’t know them, then you may be them.
Another good reason to start thinking about football, however, is the annual release of the new Madden.
Madden 17 won’t be out on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One until August 23, but Electronic Arts and EA Tiburon have begun to release the player ratings for this year’s game, starting with the rookies. It’s become something of an annual tradition for the game, as has the reaction to the ratings.
Most NFL noobs take it in stride. Rookies are almost never rated high in the game, and the smart ones know they haven’t earned the right to complain. At the very least they know they need to shut up about it because nothing good can come from griping. It’s not like EA Tiburon will hear a player bitch at them and then say “You know what? Maybe that unproven wide receiver from the University of Whatever is right! Maybe they will take the world by storm! By god, let’s go ahead and bump up their stats to increase their awareness.”
No, EA Tiburon just watches, silently judging the NFL rooks. Then on the next update they adjust the ratings accordingly, possibly lowering their character’s intelligence a few points.
Last year’s top three rookies were Amari Cooper (rated 82), Jameis Winston (81), and Marcus Mariotta (78). All three had decent seasons. Unsurprisingly, Cooper had the best season of the three, no doubt due to the fact he wasn’t forced to start as QB for subpar teams with bad O lines.
This year, the top rookie in Madden 17 is Jacksonville’s newest cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, who rated 82 overall. He is followed by the Cowboys’ new HB Ezekiel Elliot (80), then the Ravens’ rookie LT Ronnie Stanley (79).
Oddly, the top two players taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, did not make the list. In fact, no rookie quarterback cracked the top 10 Madden 17 rookies.
EA Tiburon will release more rankings each day by position (the rookies were followed by the top five QBs), so check back each day – or just wait for the game later in August. Just don’t base your fantasy picks on it. Just don’t.