The release of Madden NFL 15 on Tuesday, Aug. 26, is the latest chapter in the long history of anticipated Madden debuts, but EA Sports' reveal of top player rankings has only increased the chatter surrounding the game.
The key in the Madden video game series is finding a player with the right combination of physical tools and football IQ, and those players are always rewarded with high ratings at their positions.
Here are the top player ratings for each revealed position and the most underrated player revealed thus far.
|Top Ratings By Position for Madden NFL 15|
|Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||98|
|Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||98|
|Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||96|
|Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks||93|
|Tom Brady||New England Patriots||93|
|John Kuhn||Green Bay Packers||93|
|Mike Tolbert||Carolina Panthers||92|
|Marcel Reece||Oakland Raiders||92|
|Anthony Sherman||Kansas City Chiefs||90|
|Jerome Felton||Minnesota Vikings||88|
|Top Running Backs||Team||Rating|
|Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings||98|
|LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles||97|
|Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs||97|
|Matt Forte||Chicago Bears||95|
|Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks||95|
|Top Tight Ends||Team||Rating|
|Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints||97|
|Rob Gronkowski||New England Patriots||96|
|Vernon Davis||San Francisco 49ers||94|
|Jason Witten||Dallas Cowboys||93|
|Greg Olsen||Carolina Panthers||88|
|Top Wide Receivers||Team||Rating|
|Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions||99|
|Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears||96|
|Andre Johnson||Houston Texans||95|
|A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals||95|
|Dez Bryant||Dallas Cowboys||94|
|Top Offensive Linemen||Team||Rating|
|Joe Thomas||Cleveland Browns||98|
|Evan Mathis||Philadelphia Eagles||97|
|Josh Sitton||Green Bay Packers||97|
|Joe Staley||San Francisco 49ers||94|
|Top Defensive Ends||Team||Rating|
|J.J. Watt||Houston Texans||99|
|Robert Quinn||St. Louis Rams||97|
|Cameron Wake||Miami Dolphins||96|
|Calais Campbell||Arizona Cardinals||96|
|Cameron Jordan||New Orleans Saints||93|
|Muhammad Wilkerson||New York Jets||93|
|Top Defensive Tackles||Team||Rating|
|Ndamukong Suh||Detroit Lions||97|
|Geno Atkins||Cincinnati Bengals||96|
|Gerald McCoy||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||95|
|Kyle Williams||Buffalo Bills||95|
|Jurrell Casey||Tennessee Titans||93|
*All stats via EASports.com.
Most Underrated Player: Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Overall Rating: 93
It is hard to pick an underrated player out of the current crop of names due to all of the immense talent across the board, but one rating could be considered low for his level of production during 2013 and over the last several years.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten should be rated higher than 93 overall.
The 12-year NFL veteran has been arguably the most consistent player at his position in the league, and he has racked up at least 64 receptions in each of the last 10 seasons, including four seasons of over 90 catches.
|Jason Witten's 2013 Offenisve Statistics|
The catching ability and toughness every year is what helped Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson become one of the game's only 99 ratings this year, but Witten finds himself six points lower in the ratings.
When commenting on Witten, Madden Ratings Czar Donny Moore waxed poetic about the longtime staple of the Cowboys offense, saying, “Jason Witten has been Mr. Reliable for the Cowboys offense over the last decade. His 96 Awareness, 87 Route Running, and 94 Catch ratings are all best among tight ends in Madden NFL 15.”
So then why is Witten fourth amongst tight ends in overall rating?
The numbers Madden developers have given Witten are tough to beat offensively, and the official Twitter account of the game franchise broke down exactly what went into his rating:
There is a serious case that can be made for both Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints (97 overall) and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots (96 overall) as being better than Witten, but he should be third on the list and closer to a 96 or 95 rating.
The biggest stunner was Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers coming in ahead of Witten with an overall rating of 94. Davis may have scored more touchdowns, but Witten is the more reliable target and the more effective offensive threat.
With Dallas quarterback Tony Romo refocused and ready to have a playoff-worthy season, gamers and NFL fans alike should be ready for a big season from Witten.
*Stats via NFL.com.