Madden 15: Most Underrated Competitors in Initial Player Ratings

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 01:  Jerrell Freeman #50 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after he intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter during the NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The creators of Madden NFL 15 took a lot of time to make the player ratings as accurate as possible, but they still overlooked a few quality players.

Obviously, no player is ever happy when he sees his mark at this point in the summer. Even those with a 99 overall have some sort of complaint when it comes to their speed, toughness or some other aspect.

However, a few top performers actually deserve more respect than they are getting. Not counting rookies who could make an impact early on, these are the players who should have the biggest gripes with the initial rankings.

Note: All rankings courtesy of


Jerrell Freeman, MLB, Indianapolis Colts (78)

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The Indianapolis Colts had a great season, but it was not just Andrew Luck who led the squad to the playoffs. The team also had a defense that ranked ninth in points allowed, and a lot of that was thanks to Jerrell Freeman.

After a breakout year in 2012, the linebacker was even better in 2013 as he showcased his versatility. He finished with 126 total tackles to go with 5.5 sacks and two interceptions.

As Pro Football Focus, via Kevin Bowen of, pointed out, Freeman was one of the most efficient pass-rushers from his position:

Over the past two seasons, he has shown great instincts on the field to help him always find a way to get involved in the play. This factor should help him earn a higher awareness rating than a 77 and a better play recognition mark than 78. 

Meanwhile, his hit power rating of 78 seems a bit low considering he ranked third in the NFL with six forced fumbles this past season.

Freeman is not a perfect linebacker, but he has been extremely productive over the past few years and deserves a rating in the high 80s to match him with some of the other top players in the league.


Terron Armstead, LT, New Orleans Saints (75)

Aug 16, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints rookie offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) during the second half of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Raiders 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TO

Although Terron Armstead has only started two regular-season games in his career, this is a name NFL fans should learn quickly.

The New Orleans Saints thought well enough of the rookie to start him at left tackle for the last two games of the year with the season on the line. He then remained at the spot in the playoffs, protecting Drew Brees' blindside for both games.

Saints linebacker Junior Galette has liked what he has seen in practice from Armstead, telling Brett Martel of The Daily Advertiser:

He's a beast. I'm giving him everything I've got. Going into my fifth year in the league, he has the best feet by far [of any offensive tackle]. Obviously, he still has a lot of room for improvement and so do I, but man, it's iron sharpening iron. If I feel like I had a rough day, I could say, 'Hey, this guy is pretty good too. He's one of the better tackles.'

Amstead has also earned the confidence in Brees, who said, "You love everything you see."

The Saints come into the year hoping to once again contend for a division title and possibly a Super Bowl. They would not feel confident throwing out a left tackle who was not up to the task.

It will not take long into the 2014 season for people to realize Armstead is much better than a 75.


Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals (83)

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 29:   Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball against Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers during a game at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 29, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It is easy for people to overlook linemen and defensive players who do not stand out with great statistics. However, Michael Floyd has shown with this numbers that he has become one of the better receivers in the NFL.

In just his second year in the league, the former Notre Dame star finished with 65 receptions and 1,041 yards, averaging 16 yards per catch to rank 10th in the NFL.

He is a dynamic player who is just getting better and will likely be used a lot more in the high-powered passing attack with the Cardinals. Michael Beller of Sports Illustrated believes he is one of the top breakout performers in fantasy football:

Floyd is a big-play receiver. He had 16 catches for at least 20 yards on just 112 total targets last year. ... Floyd turned a whopping 14.3 percent of his targets into gains of at least 20 yards, more than Calvin Johnson (14 percent), Alshon Jeffery (12.7 percent), Demaryius Thomas (12.7 percent) and A.J. Green (9.6 percent).

In 2013, Larry Fitzgerald received 24 more targets than Floyd and finished with 87 fewer yards. As the former superstar gets up there in age, Carson Palmer will start looking toward the younger, more agile target who knows how to make big plays.

It really no longer makes sense that Fitzgerald is 10 rating points higher than Floyd at this point of their respective careers.


Brandon Boykin, CB, Philadelphia Eagles (80)

Michael Perez/Associated Press

While the 5'9" player might not look the part of an elite cornerback, he has proved on the field that he is one.

The Philadelphia Eagles defender was all over the field on defense last season. He was primarily used in the slot and made game-changing plays throughout the year, trailing only Richard Sherman with six interceptions.

Even though he was not an every-down player, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller listed him as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. Ben Stockwell of Pro Football Focus noted Boykin finished just outside of the list of the best 101 players in the league but was still one of the best cover corners around.

His lack of size will prevent him from ever being effective on the outside, but teams pass so often in the NFL now that you need a nickel cornerback to survive. Since Boykin is arguably the best at the position, he should be rated that way with a much better score.


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