The ratings for every player in Madden 15 have been released, which means the official release date is coming up soon. Specifically, the game will release on August 26 for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Superstars like the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson and the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson came through with the highest individual ratings at their positions. It's hard to argue with Megatron's 99 overall rating or A.P.'s 98 mark.
Gamers who choose to run with the Lions and the Vikes are sure to get their fill by utilizing those weapons. That said, it's easy to pick the high-rated superstars and shine with them, but it takes an extra special Madden player to find the hidden gems in a team's depth chart.
Every year there are players with relatively low ratings who have an attribute that can make them play above their rating. Usually, that attribute is speed.
Here are three rookies who possess the speed and agility to outperform their ratings.
Dri Archer, HB/WR. Pittsburgh Steelers—68 Overall Rating
The Pittsburgh Steelers tabbed Archer in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He ran a 4.26 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. EA Sports recognized Archer's swiftness and gave him a 98 speed rating.
The Steelers are using Archer in a variety of ways in the preseason. Against the New York Giants, he caught a short pass and took it 44 yards to give a hint of what he can do in the open field. You can see the play in the highlight package below.
In Madden, Archer could be an especially dangerous weapon as a receiver out of the backfield, or in four- and five-receiver sets. If Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gets time to throw the ball, Archer should be able to run past his coverage.
Dri Archer... you're going to be a factor in the NFL. My GAHD that speed is insane. Looked like me playing Madden being ali quick out there.— Patrick Henson Shaw (@Aliquickk) August 10, 2014
At the very least, his presence on the field will have to be accounted for.
Ryan Shazier, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers—74 Overall Rating
The Steelers will have underrated rookies on both sides of the ball. Perhaps the most impressive athlete on defense at the combine was Shazier.
He didn't run the 40-yard dash at the combine, but at his pro day, Shazier clocked in at 4.36. That's only 0.10 second slower than Archer. When you consider Shazier is 6'1" 237 pounds, it puts his freakish athleticism into proper perspective.
In Madden, he has a speed rating of a 92. With that speed, he'll be capable of running stride for stride with any tight end. Shazier will also be a missile against the run game. When you factor in that his hit power is also a 91, the young Steelers' middle linebacker could be a big play waiting to happen on the virtual gridiron.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns—77 Overall Rating
OK, so this one isn't exactly a well-kept secret. Still, Johnny Manziel's overall rating is pretty modest considering his gifts. You'll be hard-pressed to find any gamer who chooses to run with the Cleveland Browns who won't put Manziel in as the starter from day one of their Connected Franchise.
Johnny Football's speed rating is an 82, and his acceleration is a 91. While mobility is what makes him special, don't sleep on the arm.
His throw power is a 91, and his lowest accuracy rating is a 75 on medium-length passes. Manziel's throw-on-the-run rating is a 91, which makes him especially dangerous when he rolls outside of the pocket.
So why is he only rated a 77?
It's because his awareness rating is just a 58. Most rookies have low marks in this category.
Here's the thing to remember about that: If you're controlling him, the awareness rating is irrelevant. The gamer's awareness is all that matters. Thus, you get the opportunity to utilize Manziel's physical gifts, without having to worry about his inexperience.
If you're a good quarterback, you'll be great with Manziel.
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