The next yearly installment of EA Sports’ Madden series is right around the corner. Madden 19 drops for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 10th. Whether you’re a critic of the series, a fan of it, or neither, the ratings in the game always prove to be contentious among gamers and the NFL players themselves. This year, Leonard Fournette went as far as requesting to be taken out of the game because of his speed rating. While that seems a bit… Excessive, it highlights the importance placed on the in-game ratings. With the additions of Lamar Jackson and a whole new receiving group, the Ravens have the potential to be a viable team in the game for the first time in years. I looked through the entire set of ratings and came away with some notes listed below.
Top Rated Ravens
This year, the team has a solid number of good-to-great players, but aside from Justin Tucker and Marshal Yanda they don’t have a player that’s truly elite (sorry Joe). In the past we may have had a handful of players with a 90+ overall, but recently the game has begun to include less players of that magnitude to stretch the ratings out and make the truly top level players stand out more. Because of that, we have only one: Marshal Yanda, who leads the Ravens with a 92 overall. Much like his real life counterpart, Yanda is a beast in every aspect, and may have been rated even higher if not for a season ending injury last year. He has room for upward mobility as the season goes on for sure, but starting at a 92 should help him dominate on the virtual playing field.
After that, most of our top 10 (11 actually, but we’ll get to that) are on defense and special teams. That’s to be expected though, we have a lot of new pieces on the other side of the ball, but the defense is still what defines the Ravens. Jimmy Smith got some love this year with an 89 overall, he’s tied with Brandon Williams for 2nd highest rated on the team. After that is Michael Pierce with an 87. The combination of Pierce and Williams should make the Ravens a particularly difficult team to block against in the game, as they both excel in strength and shedding blocks. After that is a 3-way tie; Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, and Justin Tucker (more on him later) all come in at an 86 overall.
I intended to highlight our top 10 players here, but there’s a 4 way tie starting at number 8, leading to my top 10 list changing to a top 11. Michael Crabtree, Tony Jefferson, CJ Mosley, and Sam Koch close out the list at an 84 overall. Of that set, Mosley stands out as being a little underrated to me, but the rosters update throughout the year and he should see a bump if he continues his high level of play.
Overall rating is a culmination of every rating weighed with the player’s position. There are dozens of ratings that sometimes don’t affect how a player performs on the field. Because of that you’ll see a guy like Justin Tucker, for example, rated as an 86. Tucker is the best kicker in the league, and he’s represented properly in Madden. He has the highest overall rating, as well as the highest kick power and kick accuracy in the game (98 each). So even though he’s rated at an 86, for his position specifically he’s going to play more like a 98.
Overall can be good for judging a large number of players quickly, but the best Madden players know that focusing on specific ratings will help you find the best players. I won’t go into a whole franchise mode guide here, but I wanted to take the time to look into some specific stats for our team.
Strength: The strongest Raven in the game is Brandon Williams at a 96 rating, with Michael Pierce right behind him at a 94. Though Pierce has some pass rush ability, neither of them are particularly known for getting to the QB; but their combination of size, strength, and block shedding ability should make them a nightmare duo to try running against. With the potential emergence of Willie Henry as a playmaker this year, the Ravens have the potential to be the stingiest team in the run game this year.
Speed: Breshad Perriman is the fastest Raven with a 95 rating. That combined with his 92 acceleration should help make him a better virtual receiver than his real-life counterpart. Rookie cornerback Anthony Averett is a close second with a 94 speed. He also has a 94 acceleration which could make him a viable substitution option against speed receivers (such as John Ross, who plays in the division.)
Elusiveness: John Brown is the most elusive Raven with a 92 rating. He also has top flight speed with a 93 rating and leads the team with 97 agility. John Brown should be a player maker in the pass game, with the ability to break off huge chunks of yardage if left with a little bit of open space. For what it’s worth, he’s also the team leader in the kick return rating at 81 (*some undrafted players don’t have ratings).
Did you really think you’d read a 2018 Ravens article without a mention of Lamar Jackson? Not this time. Much like real life, there’s a quarterback controversy on the team in Madden. In fact, Jackson fairs significantly better in the game than he does in the real world. Dual-threat quarterbacks can be a nightmare to defend in Madden, and Jackson could be the most dangerous them all straight out the gate. His 91 speed is the best among QBs in the whole game, and some of his other ball-carrying ratings are absolutely ludacris (more on that below).
On day one, both Jackson and Flacco will have a 79 overall rating. For Lamar that can be viewed as a great start for an exciting rookie, for Joe it’s looking more like a veteran past his prime on his way out. Jackson is going to make the Ravens a common team to use online, so get ready to see your opponent pause the game and sub him in immediately. He excels over Joe in athleticism (agility 95v67, speed 91v73, acceleration 93v81, jumping 91v54, break sack 89v35) and when he gets running he’s a serious threat (ball carrier vision 93v65, break tackle 81v46, Elusiveness 85v52, spin 86v25, juke 98v54). While Jackson has a strong argument for being more dangerous overall, Joe has an experience factor that comes into play, and is the better pure thrower. (awareness 82v62, throw power 97v94, accuracy short and medium are essentially tied, throw accuracy deep 77v74). In “play now” and online games, Lamar is easily going to be favored. But with the new player archetype system in franchise mode, you could roll with Flacco, who would get a stat boost if you want to run an offense based around a more stationary QB.
Much like real life, after Yanda and Stanley things get a little cluttered at offensive line. Madden sees Orlando brown in a favorable light, ranking him a few points higher than James Hurst and making him our 3rd rated lineman. Both Bradley Bozeman and Matt Skura are rated at an abysmal 65, so it might make sense to try Alex Lewis or even Nico Siragusa there. They both rank in the low 70s. As things clear up through training camp, the preseason, and early in the regular season, one or more players couple emerge as legitimate starters for us and get a ratings boost when deserved. Until then however, this is a position group that’ll be a weakness for us in the game. As if you needed another reason to sub Lamar in.
At this point I think I have everything covered, but it would be against the spirit of the game if I didn’t leave you with something to be upset about. There are plenty of things to be excited about on the team this year for sure, but we could’ve (and honestly should’ve) been even better. I could get nit-picky and make a whole separate article of complaints, but for now I’ll keep it simple: we have some big time snubs on this roster.
First of all, Marshal Yanda is somehow the 4th ranked right guard in the game. Not the 4th ranked O-lineman, not the 4th ranked guard in general, the 4th ranked right guard in the game. Ahead of him are Zack Martin, David Decastro, and Brandon Brooks. That’s flat-out wrong. It’s probably no coincidence that Zack Martin (who of the 3 absolutely deserves the spot) and David Decastro play on the media darling Cowboys and Steelers, and Brandon Brooks is probably getting a little boost from playing on the Superbowl champion Eagles. Some around the league believe Yanda is the best lineman in all of football, so to not even be top 2 at his own position is more than a little surprising. Maybe we can chalk it up to his injury and can hope it gets corrected throughout the year.
CJ Mosley and Eric Weddle are the other big snubs. They have solid ratings and should be great on the field regardless, but Mosley is the 9th ranked MLB and Weddle is the 10th ranked FS. Again, we’re not talking about Mosley among all linebackers inside and out, and we’re not talking about Weddle among all safeties, we’re talking about their positions specifically. They should both be top 5 but barely make the top 10, come on Madden!
Maybe they’ll see the ratings and use them as bulletin board material to gain extra motivation. Or maybe they don’t care at all, both would be fine reactions. So long as the team plays well and wins games, I couldn’t care less about how they’re represented through the eyes of EA Tiburon. That said, I’m an avid player of the game and I’m looking forward to the chance to actually have fun playing with our base roster for the first time in years. Lamar Jackson will be fun to develop in franchise mode and has the makings of an MVP caliber player down the road. Hopefully we can have the same luck in the real world.