As the August 28th release date for Madden 2013 continues to get closer, more and more information is beginning to get leaked.
The ratings for the top 10 wide receivers/tight ends have been released, and some of them are dead-on while others left me scratching my head in confusion. Hint: One of the big themes is going to be the tight end in this year’s game.
Here is my grade for each of the ratings given to who the developers at EA Sports consider the top-10 pass catchers in the NFL for the 2012 season.
1. Calvin Johnson- Detroit Lions: 99
Ok so this was a no-brainer.
He’s on the cover of the game and notched 1,681 receiving yards, which was 112 yards better than what the second best scored. This guy is the ultimate streak option when you need a big play.
2. Rob Gronkoswki- New England Patriots: 97
There is no question that Gronk is the best tight end in the game entering into the new season, but I think a 97 is far too high for a player with only one great season under his belt. He will be the ultimate red-zone threat, but there are better receivers out there.
Who knows if he can come close to the numbers of last year. Then there is the Tom Brady factor.
How good would he be if you traded him to the Jaguars to play with Blaine Gabbert? He certainly would not be a 97.
3. Larry Fitzgerald- Arizona Cardinals: 97
He has been on the cover before and has not slowed down since.
Fitzgerald continues to be the most consistent receiver of the last half decade and deserves to be in the high 90s.
4. Andre Johnson- Houston Texans: 97
He has all of the physical tools (speed, quickness, good hands), but his injury history should knock him down to the low 90s.
5. Vernon Davis- San Francisco 49ers: 95
Ehhh, I am not a huge fan of this pick.
Davis only had 792 yards and six touchdowns last season, including three fumbles lost.
While he’s a terrific blocker and deadly option around the goal line, he seems more like an 88 to me.
6. Jimmy Graham- New Orleans Saints: 95
Graham might be the most athletic tight end in the game, but he is not as polished as Davis.
His numbers (99 receptions, 1,310 yards, 11 TDs) are a product of the Saints system and Drew Brees. Here is another guy that would not be nearly as good as he is if he were on a different team.
It seems like the crew in charge of ratings at EA severely overrated the top tight ends this year.
7. Steve Smith- Carolina Panthers: 95
Smith has some of the best pure speed in the game and now has one of the most exciting QBs in Cam Newton.
Smith is worthy of his rating because of his consistency over the years, coupled with his blazing speed that can be so valuable in the open field, both in Madden and on the real gridiron.
8. Wes Welker- New England Patriots: 95
Does the virtual Welker know he’s in a contract year?
Welker will be looking to have a mega season in order to land a mega pay day next year, and after finishing second in receiving yards last year, it should not be a problem.
I’d argue that he might be the most reliable target in Madden when you are facing a third-and-10 and need a first down on a slant route to survive.
9. Roddy White- Atlanta Falcons: 94
White is a good Madden player because of his versatility.
He has been one of the most productive receivers the last few years because he can be a possession receiver, or he could beat defenders with his pure speed, and he has an incredible vertical that allows him to be a force around the end zone as well.
10. Hakeem Nicks- New York Giants: 94
Nicks is another guy with injury issues, but he has shown the ability to come up big in the most important moments. His clutch rating should be through the roof.
He has everything you look for in a No. 1 receiver who can beat double teams and still catch the ball when you desperately chuck the ball to him, as the pass-rusher engulfs your quarterback.