Madden 25: Underrated Rookies Who Will Receive Early Stat Boosts
Madden 25’s official offensive player rankings have been revealed ahead of the game’s August 27 release date.
Like every year, there’s bound to be some fluctuations throughout these rankings as players perform well over or under their preseason expectations.
Perhaps the hardest group of players to peg each season is the rookies. It’s not so much that the developers are taking anything away from their vast potential; it’s that these talented youngsters have yet to prove their worth on an NFL field.
With that in mind, let’s look at three offensive rookies who will undoubtedly earn early stat boosts due to strong early performances in the league.
WR Marquise Goodwin, Buffalo Bills
Overall Rating: 64
Marquise Goodwin isn’t a track athlete trapped in an NFL players’ body. It’s more like the opposite when it comes to the skills the young man has demonstrated since being picked by the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the draft.
Bleacher Report NFL writer and Bills beat writer Chris Trapasso labeled the speedster accordingly after a tremendous showing during training camp and the preseason:
The Madden team got it right by giving him a 98 rating on the speed scale, but significantly underestimated some other aspects of his game. The rankings he’ll undoubtedly improve on include a 64 in route running, 47 in awareness, 74 in catching and a 78 in kick return.
Throughout the offseason he’s proven to be more capable than many think in terms of being a true receiver and not just another flashy track athlete. During Senior Bowl practices, National Football Post’s Matt Bowen marveled at the receiver’s ability to win at the line of scrimmage and get into the route tree.
Sure, he might struggle getting into his routes in press coverage against some of the bigger NFL cornerbacks, but he’s shown a better ability to run crisp routes and catch the football than the Madden team is giving him credit for.
RB Stepfan Taylor, Arizona Cardinals
Overall Rating: 68
NFL.com’s draft profile rated running back Stepfan Taylor as a 72.8 after breaking every rushing record at Stanford during his tenure there. Madden’s ratings team wasn’t too far off that mark for the fifth-round back.
However, Taylor will far exceed the low expectations given to him with these rankings. Getting an increased workload due to the frailty of Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams, the back has emerged this offseason as a legitimate option for the Arizona Cardinals' rushing attack.
And Taylor is far from frail. The 5’9”, 214-pounder never missed a game in college. That reliability is expanded by his ability to hold onto the football. In four seasons at Stanford, he fumbled the ball just seven times while toting the rock over 1,000 times.
The Madden team gave him an 86 rating for carrying. While that’s not too bad, that number will certainly go up as he proves ball security is one of his biggest strengths in the NFL.
Taylor’s biggest slight in his trait ratings is strength. The development team gave him a 67. For comparison’s sake, they designated Mendenall’s strength at 79. During the Cards’ preseason opener, Taylor demonstrated much more in that regard by moving piles and continually earning first-down yardage on short down-and-distance plays.
WR Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers
Overall Rating: 70
Another third-round draft pick not receiving his due by the Madden team is Pittsburgh’s Markus Wheaton. The 5’11”, 189-pound, former Oregon State wideout was rated at 81.8 by the NFL.com draft team.
His speed wasn’t discounted by the game’s 93 rating of his talent, but there were some areas that fall short of capturing just how dangerous he can be at the NFL level.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has had nothing but positive things to say about his new weapon after working with him for a short time, per Sirius XM's Movin' The Chains (via Dave Bryan of SteelersDepot.com):
Markus Wheaton, he’s got very good route savvy. Talk about a guy who has caught over 100 balls last year, worked in the slot, worked outside. He’s showing good route maturity for a young guy. He knows how to create space at break points and work himself open.
Madden’s ratings of 67 in route running and 71 in catch in traffic surely don’t make much sense when hearing those reports and after seeing Wheaton’s performance so far.
Given Ben Roethlisberger’s excellent play behind center and his ability to spread the ball around, Wheaton could be a huge benefactor early on and get the opportunity to make a quick leap on the ratings.
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