The ever-changing nature of the NFL used to be a major problem for video games. But fortunately for avid gamers who enjoy a realistic experience, that's a thing of the past.
You see it every year. Players who were supposed to spend the season holding a clipboard or handing out Gatorade on the sideline end up taking the NFL—and fantasy football—by storm. Players who were supposed to be Pro Bowlers struggle to inconsistent seasons. Players get injured.
Things change. By October or November, player ratings feel ancient, and the experience is soiled a little bit.
But with online updates now a regularity, we fortunately no longer have to worry about that.
So, with the release of Madden 25's offensive player ratings, let's take a look at players who will quickly warrant an update by outplaying their virtual likenesses.
Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams
Tavon Austin has yet to play a regular-season game in the NFL, but he is already undoubtedly one of the most explosive playmakers in the league.
And for someone with as much speed, agility, quickness, elusiveness and versatility as Austin—he'll be used on runs, passes, kick, punt returns and anything else that gets the ball in his hands—a 76 rating seems simple to surpass.
Austin is still a little raw. He has turned eight preseason targets into just four catches and 28 yards—and has looked fairly quiet and too dance-happy in the process. He has also ballooned up to 242 pounds, apparently.
Still, the 22-year-old rookie is too dangerous not to compile some gaudy highlights and up his rating into at least the 80s.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins
In any other year, Ryan Tannehill would be entering his sophomore campaign with all kinds of hype.
Drafted No. 8 overall by the Miami Dolphins in the 2012 draft—a massive, almost embarrassing reach, according to some at the time—Tanny-Hill, as Jon Gruden would say, started all 16 games as a rookie. He completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 3,294 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Perhaps more impressive than any of his individual stats, he also led a young Dolphins team to a fairly surprising 7-9 record.
How many passing touchdowns will Ryan Tannehill throw in 2013?
But the emergence of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick—even though the former wasn't a rookie—contributed to keeping the former Texas A&M wide receiver under the radar.
That quartet will continue to (deservedly) get most of the attention on a national scale, but don't sleep on Tannehill again.
The Dolphins have beefed up a solid offensive line with the addition of Tyson Clabo. Mike Wallace gives the team a dangerous deep threat, and Tannehill has looked sharp in the preseason.
Improvement is imminent for the youngster in his second year, and his meager rating of 81 is sure to be topped.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Rookie running backs break out almost every year, and there are plenty of candidates this season—including Eddie Lacy, Le'Veon Bell, Montee Ball and Johnathan Franklin.
But I'm keeping my eye on Giovani Bernard.
The rookie out of North Carolina looks to be in the middle of a time share with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but as the season moves on, his talent will eventually make it too difficult for the Cincinnati Bengals to keep him off the field.
Yahoo! Sports' Brad Evans sums it up nicely:
Not a question of if, but when when Bengals staff realizes Gio Bernard deserves at least 60% of touches. So nifty, explosive.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) August 18, 2013
Bernard was dangerous in every aspect of the game during his two seasons with the Tar Heels, and he has already shown a propensity to do the same in the NFL. In two preseason games, he has racked up 65 rushing yards on 17 carries, 38 receiving yards on four catches and two touchdowns.
He's currently rated as a 75, but that will change as long as Marvin Lewis and Co. give him the touches.