Player ratings in "Madden NFL 25" are going to be a hot-button topic until "Madden NFL 26" supplants its predecessor on the shelves.
NFL.com's Adam Rank had a chance to talk with EA Sports' Donny Moore on Thursday, and the ratings guru passed along a sneak peek of some of his marks for top players at each offensive position.
Let the debate begin.
Passionate fans and gamers alike will have no problem putting together a substantive argument as to why Player X should be rated higher than Player Y, and vice versa.
In the grand scheme of things, checking out where specific players are ranked among their peers is a huge part of the Madden experience before the game is ever released.
In anticipation of the game's Aug. 27 release, here's a look at three of the league's most explosive playmakers who should have no problem backing up their high player rating both virtually and in the real world.
*Overall player rankings in parenthesis below, via Rank's report.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (98)
It ain't easy being on top.
That's exactly where Aaron Rodgers is with respect to the quarterback position and this year's Madden rankings. The one-time Super Bowl and NFL MVP led the Packers to at least 10 regular season wins for the fourth straight season in 2012, passing for 4,295 yards and 39 touchdowns in the process.
Rodgers is downright clinical in carving up defenses.
He also completed 67.2 percent of his passes last year, good for third in the league. It was the third straight year he finished in the top five of that category. Among active players, Rodgers has the highest career pass completion percentage (65.7) at his position.
Which QB should be the highest-rated Madden QB?
Also a threat to escape the pocket and pick up a first down with his legs, Rodgers added over 250 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns last year. Since taking over as the starter in Green Bay in 2008, he has recorded 18 scores on the ground.
It's no surprise that the "discount double check" took the top QB spot.
Despite justifiable claims that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees command respect as the top video game QB, Rodgers has achieved personal and franchise success in a very short time. Although he's not a true dual-threat QB, Rodgers can make big plays in different ways.
He's also a winner.
Bleacher Report's Aaron Nagler had a quote from Rodgers' former teammate, Charles Woodson, on Twitter, and it was highly representative of the idea that Green Bay's signal-caller deserves respect as the league's top QB on paper and in video games everywhere:
"A couple years ago, we were 15- 1, and if we have any other quarterback other than Aaron Rodgers, we’re 7-9." Charles Woodson.— Aaron Nagler (@Aaron_Nagler) August 16, 2013
Rodgers carries a heavy weight as the positional leader at the NFL's most important position. Luckily, he's shown time and time again that he's up to the task.
Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (Unknown)
McCoy isn't among the top five at his position in the Silver Edition of the game, but what we do know about some of his specific ratings is highly impressive.
EA Sports Madden NFL on Twitter posted this sneak peek of McCoy's speed ratings after his performance against Carolina on Thursday night:
"Shady" is out to prove doubters wrong and appears poised for a rebound season in Philadelphia.
The 25-year-old suffered through injuries en route to playing in just 12 games during the 2012 season, but he is just two seasons removed from leading the NFL in rushing and total touchdowns. With Chip Kelly taking over for Andy Reid, McCoy is in position to return to 2011 form.
McCoy and Michael Vick should make an excellent tandem to run the read-option with, too.
He rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown on Thursday against Carolina, and if Kelly's high-octane offense can take hold in the NFL, he could be in line for double-digit touchdowns and a 1,000-yard rushing season rather quickly in 2013.
We don't yet know where he stacks up against the likes of Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch or Arian Foster, but a healthy McCoy deserves top-tier marks in the speed and quickness departments. Check out his 21-yard scamper against the Panthers above for confirmation.
New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (96)
As Rank points out in his piece for NFL.com, Graham wasn't listed by his peers as one of the top 100 players in the league this offseason.
Moore's rankings seem to disagree.
Tied with Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and two points behind New England Patriots playmaker Rob Gronkowski, only four wide receivers/tight ends were given higher ratings than the former Miami Hurricane.
As noted by Rotoworld's Adam Levitan, Graham produced monster numbers (the top fantasy football TE in 2012) last season despite battling a wrist injury:
Jimmy Graham admits he had serious wrist pain "all season" in 2012. Still had 85/982/9 line. Guy is a freak: http://t.co/ZkLEUFBy1U— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) August 15, 2013
Graham has as many NFL starts (25) as he does touchdowns. He's a monster in the middle of the field and in the red zone. Brees can rest easy on Saturday nights knowing he'll have Graham creating matchup problems all over the field.
A 96 is a generous rating for a tight end, but Graham deserves it. If he stays healthy and New Orleans continues to victimize passing defenses this year, Graham will consistently remind you why playing with the Saints on Madden is a smart choice if scoring points is your objective.
"Madden NFL 25" is almost here, folks. Enjoy every second of the anticipation and relish the beauty of the ratings debate.
Then back up your argument on the virtual gridiron. These three players will do the same throughout the 2013 season.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.