Madden NFL 15 Player Ratings: Predicting Rest of Top 10 Stars at Skill Positions

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJuly 28, 2014

Jun 18, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws a pass at minicamp at Chargers Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

With less than a month remaining before the release of Madden NFL 15, we know the players who have the top-five highest ratings at every skill position, and more.

Like any rankings, there are players who could feel snubbed by their omission from EA Sports' short list.

In light of the release of Madden's elite players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end, let's predict which NFL standouts might occupy spots six through 10 at those positions.

Quarterbacks

  • 1 Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos - 98 Overall
  • 2 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers - 98 Overall
  • 3 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints - 96 Overall
  • 4 Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks - 93 Overall
  • 5 Tom Brady, New England Patriots - 93 Overall

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Rivers was fifth in the NFL in passing yards with 4,478, and his 32 touchdown passes ranked fourth. He also threw just 11 interceptions last year.

He may have the best argument for being included in the top five of any player, regardless of position. His lack of mobility likely cost him when compared to Wilson; but as a thrower, he was certainly elite.

Depending on how you run your offense in the game—and in light of the increased importance of QB accuracy in the game this year—Rivers is probably one of the best quarterbacks you can have in Madden 15. 

I spoke to developers Rex Dickson and Brian Murray about the importance of throwing accuracy and a host of other things in this interview a few weeks back.

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If Rivers isn’t the sixth-highest-rated QB, it’ll be a shock.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Bashing Romo is the en vogue thing to do, but he was solid as a rock in 2013. In 15 games, Romo threw for 3,828 yards, 31 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick didn’t light it up through the air (3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns), but his speed figures to be off the charts, and his arm strength should be even more impressive. Plus, he’s the only player in the game with tattoos. 

That has to count for something.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

It may not seem like it, but Big Ben had 4,261 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes last season. He also completed 64.2 percent of his passes. That’s a higher percentage than Wilson and Brady.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

Don’t be shocked. In just 13 games—only 10 of them as a starter—Foles threw for 2,891 yards and 27 touchdowns. His quarterback rating of 119.2 was the highest in the NFL.

Running Backs

  • 1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings - Overall 98
  • 2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles - Overall 97
  • 3. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs - Overall 97
  • 4. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears - Overall 95
  • 5. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks - Overall 95

Alfred Morris, Washington

A guy like Morris always seems to get overlooked.

There’s growing concern that new Washington offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s scheme will limit Morris’ touches this season. The predictably positive Morris is intent upon maximizing his opportunities. Per Mike Jones of The Washington Post, the 25-year-old running back said: “It doesn’t matter if we, the backs, get 20 carries a game, or 40 carries a game. We just have to make the most of it.”

Perhaps it’s that team-first attitude that helps to push Morris into the background. Don't worry Alfred, we see you man. 

Last season, Morris was fourth in the league in rushing. However, he did have only nine receptions, so that is likely what kept him out of the top five.

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers

image from EA Sports

Though it seems as if Gore is slowing down a bit, he still had 1,128 yards rushing. Because he should have some leftover respect from previous seasons, Gore will get some top-10 love from the Madden ratings makers.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

How could Dallas have a QB with a top-10 ranking, a WR and TE worthy of top-five designation and a running back like Murray and still be awful? It’s called no defense.

Despite the Cowboys’ struggles to stop any 11 men in pads from crossing the goal line, Murray is just another of the team’s offensive weapons.

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

Lacy had a strong rookie season with 1,178 yards rushing for the Packers. His 11 touchdowns were second only to Lynch and Charles.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos 

Did you realize Moreno was fifth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season? Finally healthy, he played all 16 games and should get some recognition for his versatility.

Wide Receivers

  • 1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions - Overall 99
  • 2. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears - Overall 96
  • 3. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans - Overall 95
  • 4. A. J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals - Overall 95
  • 5. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys - Overall 94

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

image from EA Sports

Brown is the only guy with as big a beef—and, perhaps, even bigger than Rivers'—about not landing in the top five. Get this: Brown was second in the NFL in receptions and receiving yards last season. Apparently, there’s a very high premium being placed on touchdowns.

Brown’s eight scores had him tied for 16th. Still, he has to be No. 6.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

Thomas’ case seems to blow the whole touchdown argument out of the water. He was second in the NFL in that category with 14. He was also fourth in receiving yards and eighth in receptions.

With those numbers, Thomas can’t be too far behind Brown.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

Despite the fact that Fitz’s numbers are falling off, he is still one of the 10 best receivers in the game. For the second-straight year, he didn’t crack the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season.

However, he did have 10 touchdown receptions. That should get him into the top 10.

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

As dynamic young receivers go, Jeffery is right at the top of the list. After a good amount of circus catches last season, Jeffery’s spectacular catch rating should be nearly maxed out. 

He was also in the top 10 in the NFL in receptions and receiving yards.

Pierre Garcon, Washington

Leading the league in receptions should be an automatic ticket into the top 10.

Tight Ends

  • 1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints - Overall 97
  • 2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots - Overall 96
  • 3. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers - Overall 94
  • 4. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys - Overall 93
  • 5. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers - Overall 88

Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos

image from EA Sports

It was a tough call between Thomas and the Browns' Jordan Cameron, but because Thomas was featured in the Madden 15 TE rollout image above, he'll probably get the nod.

His 12 touchdown receptions were equal to Megatron and Marshall’s totals. 

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns

The 25-year-old saw sizable growth in all his receiving numbers. His 80 receptions was third amongst tight ends in the league.

  

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers

Yes, Gates is 34 years old and a little chunkier than he used to be, but he still had 77 receptions last season. He only found the end zone four times, so that could hurt. However, his reputation as one of the best pass-catching tight ends in history should make up for it.

Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears

Rather quietly, Bennett had a really solid season for the Bears last season. His 65 receptions, five touchdowns and run-after-the-catch ability should be good for a mid-80s rating. 

Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers/Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

Miller’s reputation, Walker’s touchdown receptions (6) and the closeness of their other stats should make both men top-10-rated players at their position.

All stats per Pro-Football-Reference.com

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