One of the most anticipated things about each release of Madden is getting to use the fresh batch of rookies entering the league. Madden NFL 15 is obviously no different, with an impressive group of first-year players in virtually every area.
Of course, gamers will be eager to use some more than others. Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are rated highly, but as offensive linemen, their main impact will be helping protect the quarterbacks for people doing long-term progression with a franchise.
The most exciting players to use will be those big names capable of making key plays. Let's check out three rookies who certainly belong in that category. For a look at all of the early ratings releases, visit the video game's official site.
Jadeveon Clowney (Houston Texans, 83 overall)
Clowney is a physically gifted monster with a chance to become one of the league's best rushers off the edge. And just like in real life, getting after the quarterback and making sure he doesn't have a clean pocket to play pitch and catch with his receivers is essential.
Which highly rated rookie are you most looking forward to using?
The only real question mark about him leading up to the draft surrounded his work ethic. Many questions arose after he racked up just three sacks in his junior season at South Carolina. Bryan Fischer of NFL.com provided the rising star's response when asked about those concerns.
"When they say that, I take that as spit in the face, really," Clowney said. "I wouldn't question that about me personally. I love the game and don't think I take plays off. And I wouldn't question how much I love it because I wouldn't be playing this game if I didn't love it."
For Madden, work ethic really isn't a factor. A gamer controlling the outside linebacker can make him go 100 percent on every play. That means there's virtually nothing stopping him from becoming one of the game's most productive players.
Furthermore, with J.J. Watt in the same defensive front, Clowney should be in a situation where he only has to beat one offensive lineman on most occasions. Given his ratings, that should be a mismatch for users to exploit.
Sammy Watkins (Buffalo Bills, 80 overall)
The Bills had so much confidence Watkins could be a game-changing player that they traded up to make sure he ended up in Buffalo. Being viewed as critical piece right away as the team attempts to end a 14-year playoff drought comes with a lot of pressure.
He seems up to the task. The Bills arrived to training camp early to prepare for the Hall of Fame Game, and the wide receiver has been putting on a show. Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 passed along a Vine of a great grab that went viral:
Sammy Watkins with a TERRIFIC one-handed catch after tripping. This just in: he's good. https://t.co/Gcjw29CyVC— Sal Capaccio (@SalSports) July 23, 2014
Watkins possesses an impressive combination of speed and agility, which are a couple of the hallmarks when it comes to great Madden receivers. He was also given a high catch rating to make him the complete package you would expect from a top-five pick.
Watkins is the type of player who will be best used either on short, quick routes where he can turn up field and take off or on deep balls over the top. The Clemson product definitely represents the best all-around offensive rookie in the game.
Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 78 overall)
Evans is another wideout who should have little trouble making an instant Madden impact. His skill set is different than the speedy Watkins, but his combination of size and catching ability is going to make him an elite red-zone target.
He put up nearly 2,500 yards with 17 touchdowns over two seasons with Texas A&M and appears ready to carry that success over to the next level. The Buccaneers provided a look at their prized rookie getting in some camp work:
In many ways, Watkins and Evans would be the ideal combination if they played together. Whereas the Bills star is going to use his speed to beat defenses, Tampa Bay's new offensive weapon is going to earn those tough yards by out-battling smaller cornerbacks.
That's key, because there are always times in Madden when a gamer needs to convert a key third down or get into the end zone late in a contest. Evans will excel in those areas. When all else fails, just throw it up and let him go get it.