The release of Madden 15 is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 26, but EA Sports has already released the player ratings for the top rookies in the 2014 draft class.
This year’s draft was widely considered one of the deepest and most talented in years, and the video game developers acknowledged that by awarding five ratings of 80 or more.
Houston Texans No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney and St. Louis Rams No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson are the highest-rated rookies, both being listed at 83 to start the season.
Here is the full list of released rookie player rankings and a focus on the most underrated player on the table.
|Jadeveon Clowney||OLB||Houston Texans||83|
|Greg Robinson||OL||St. Louis Rams||83|
|Khalil Mack||OLB||Oakland Raiders||81|
|Jake Matthews||OL||Atlanta Falcons||81|
|Sammy Watkins||WR||Buffalo Bills||80|
|Calvin Pryor||S||New York Jets||79|
|Aaron Donald||DT||St. Louis Rams||79|
|Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||S||Green Bay Packers||79|
|Taylor Lewan||OL||Tennessee Titans||79|
|Blake Bortles||QB||Jacksonville Jaguars||78|
|Darqueze Dennard||CB||Cincinnati Bengals||78|
|Mike Evans||WR||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||78|
|Zack Martin||OL||Dallas Cowboys||78|
*The official ratings can be found at EASports.com.
Most Underrated Player: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Player Rating: 78
It is hard for a rookie to get a high rating in the Madden series, but the raw size and speed of Tampa Bay Buccaneers No. 7 overall draft pick Mike Evans should have made him one of the top players in the 2014 class.
At 6’5” and 231 pounds, Evans has the height and weight advantage against almost every cornerback he’ll see during his first season in the NFL. His 4.53 40-yard dash time doesn’t sound overly impressive, but it is ideal for a man his size.
On physical tangibles alone, Evans deserved to be rated higher.
As if his size wasn’t enough, his two-year run with Texas A&M resulted in huge statistics that made him the sought-after receiver Tampa Bay took in the first round. In 26 games, Evans racked up 151 receptions for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns.
When asked about the transition from college football to the NFL, Evans told Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times about how he is handling the situation:
I feel good. It's a lot more than we did in college, but I'm getting the hang of it. I'm starting to understand you have to adjust to different blitzes, corner blitz, safety blitz, stuff like that. This offense is pretty complicated, coming from something easy, but it isn't too bad.
While Evans looks to be picking up the NFL style and playbooks fast enough, many Madden fans want to compare Evans to No. 4 overall pick and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
GoMadden.com shared an excellent graphic of the comparison:
Watkins and Evans are two totally different players. While Watkins will use his speed to get past the defenders, Evans utilizes his size and strong hands to make tough catches in traffic, especially in and around the red zone.
Did Mike Evans deserve a higher rating than 78?
There may be a quarterback battle between Josh McCown and Mike Glennon in Tampa Bay—that could stifle Evans’ progress as he tries to build a rapport with the starter—but his skill set will stay the same regardless of who is under center.
Evans clearly deserves better than a 78 rating, but now he has the chance to get on the field and prove the people at EA Sports wrong by making a name for himself.