Madden 16 ratings are of obvious interest to gamers, but they should also have NFL fans starving for the next season, eager to see whom EA Sports’ creators consider the best at each position.
Thursday marked EA Sports’ reveal of the Madden franchise’s latest top-five wide receiver player ratings. Headlining the pack above everyone was Pittsburgh Steelers dynamo Antonio Brown at 97 overall—just ahead of Dallas Cowboys superstar Dez Bryant (96).
Check out the complete list of elite wideouts below, including certain attributes that distinguished them from their peers:
|99 Route Running, 99 Catching, 96 Elusiveness
|98 Catching, 98 Jumping, 98 Spectacular Catch
|98 Release, 97 Catch, 93 Agility
|Odell Beckham Jr.
|New York Giants
|99 Spectacular Catch, 97 Route Running, 92 Speed
|97 Spectacular Catch, 94 Agility, 92 Speed
Brown racked up, well, video game numbers in 2014 with 129 receptions, 1,698 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns for the AFC North champions. The ratings evidently respected Brown’s raw skills and athleticism, which are as good as anyone’s in the NFL despite his more diminutive 5’10”, 186-pound frame.
In response to a Twitter inquiry, Brown recently spoke about the receivers he looked up to on the path to the pros:
Randy moss jerry rice Marvin Harrison Santana moss Andre Johnson chad Johnson https://t.co/RTERzsw6ob
— Antonio Brown (@AntonioBrown84) July 23, 2015
The former sixth-round pick out of Central Michigan has enjoyed quite a meteoric rise to NFL stardom, and his shiftiness allows him to thrive as a punt returner.
Three of the four other top Madden receivers are over 6′ tall and sport thicker bodies than Brown, lacking his special teams appeal but having innate leverage in overall ratings because of their size.
Among them is Bryant, who’s been lighting it up with 41 touchdown catches over the past three seasons. ESPN Stats & Info highlights the unique company Bryant has put himself in since entering the NFL even with off-field issues hampering him early on:
Most Rec TD in 1st 5 Seasons, NFL History
Jerry Rice 66
Randy Moss 60
Dez Bryant 56*
*Most in NFL since 2010
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 16, 2015
However, Bryant was not pleased with his speed rating in the game, voicing his displeasure on Twitter before deleting the comment:
Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson’s blend of size (6’5″, 236 lbs), speed and agility is as rare as anything pro football has seen in recent memory. Last season was a bit of a down year for Megatron, yet he still had 71 catches for 1,077 yards and eight TDs.
One player who went a bit under the radar on a bad 6-10 team was Julio Jones. At least the Atlanta Falcons star earned the respect of Madden raters who recognized his greatness that translated to a career-best 1,593 receiving yards and 104 receptions.
But perhaps no one was quite as exciting or electrifying to behold as New York Giants first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr.
The LSU product dealt with hamstring issues that limited him to 12 games. Beckham was worth the wait en route to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and landing on the Madden 16 cover.
If Beckham can break the infamous Madden curse and stay healthy, perhaps he can supplant his current superiors as the No. 1 receiver in the next edition of the video game. Returning the Giants to the playoffs after a three-year absence could be enough to bolster Beckham to the top, whereas those ahead of him all made the postseason.