Madden is always the #1 selling game when it’s released, and this year it comes out on August 10th. So we thought it would be fun to play a game called “Too High, Too Low, or Just Right”.
We will look at most of the stars and role players on the Falcons and determine which player ratings are too high, too low, or just right for each of their positions, and we will take a look at how the six rookies from the 2018 draft class rank. We will also see how the Falcon’s players compare to some other players at their respected position from other teams.
Quarterback- Matt Ryan 89 overall
Matt Ryan, 2016 NFL MVP, earned an 89 overall rating due to his play last season. The 89 ranks him 5th among QBs only behind Brady, Rodgers, Wilson, and Brees. Ryan’s numbers weren’t eye-popping with only 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, however, 7 of his interceptions were ruled “unlucky” meaning they weren’t his fault. We all know the type of QB Ryan is, and that’s a winning QB with a mentality to get the ball down the field, and he definitely has the weapons to do so this year.
Matt Ryan 89- Just Right
Running Back- Devonta Freeman 91 overall, Tevin Coleman 86 overall, Ito Smith (Rookie), 72 overall
Devonta Freeman was one of 5 Falcons to earn a 90+ rating in Madden 19. He ranks 5th among RBs behind Bell, Johnson, Elliott, and Gurley. That’s right, he ranked higher than Kamara, McCoy, Fournette, and Hunt. Some may understandably question his 91 because he splits so much time with Coleman and his numbers were down last season…but then again so we’re most player’s numbers on offense.
He is a great back, however, he needs to bounce back and stay healthy, plus he didn’t have as good of a season as a some of the backs behind him. Freeman will likely be the lead back for Atlanta this year but it’s reported Coleman will get even more snaps than last season. I believe his 91 is based on potential and his 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Tevin Coleman is steadily improving every year on the ground, becoming more versatile in the pass-catching game as well. He had nearly 50 more carries and 100 more yards in 2017 than he did in 2016. His 86 rating has him rated as the 15th ranked RB in Madden, and I believe depending on how many snaps he takes from Freeman, he should rank 10-15 among RBs.
Ito Smith is the young rookie running back on the team and will likely take a couple years behind Freeman and Coleman to start learning the NFL game. He will more than likely see snaps on special teams and is in contention to be the punt/kick returner.
Devonta Freeman 91- Too High
Tevin Coleman 86- Just Right
Ito Smith 72- Just Right
Wide Receiver- Julio Jones 98, Mohamed Sanu Jr 82 overall, Calvin Ridley (Rookie) 77 overall, Justin Hardy 74 overall, Russell Gage (Rookie) 60 overall
There’s no question Julio Jones is a top 3…or top 2….maybe even the best wide receiver in the NFL. His 98 overall seems about right despite his lack of touchdowns in 2017, having a total of 3. Yards have never been a problem for Julio in his career, having over 1,400 yards in each of the last 4 seasons. He is a weapon whether he is catching the ball or running with it. The only person who may be better than him is Antonio Brown who is the only receiver ranked higher than Julio at 99. Look for Julio to have another breakout season of over 1,500 yards.
Mohamed Sanu is an 82 overall. Sure, he’s not the best in the game, but he’s also not the 52nd best wide receiver, which is where Madden 19 ranks him. Sanu’s height and hands give him a huge advantage over defensive backs. He has shown to be a huge compliment to Julio as well and has shown up many times where Julio hasn’t. Sanu will only improve in another season with Atlanta with a better offensive.
The 2nd receiver to go off the board in the 2018 NFL Draft was Calvin Ridley, who is ranked a 77 in Madden along with DJ Moore who was the first receiver taken in the draft. Those 2 are the highest ranked rookie receivers. Ridley should have a field day in Atlanta with Julio, Sanu, Hooper, Freeman, and Coleman all around him. He will be able to play his game, run his routes, and use his explosiveness. I believe he will be a top 3 candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year and have by far the best season among rookie wideouts.
Justin Hardy is a receiver that Atlanta has really liked ever since drafting him a few years ago. He has some of the best hands in the game and at one point was the all-time receiving leader in NCAA history. He has potential to be a role slot receiver with Atlanta or an excellent backup at worst.
Russell Gage was Atlanta’s 6th round pick in 2018, one of 2 receivers they drafted. They are reportedly trying him out at CB, but it appears he will start with special teams as the potential punt/kick returner. He has excellent route running, and his speed is already among tops on the team.
Julio Jones 98- Just Right
Mohamed Sanu Jr. 82- Too Low
Calvin Ridley 77- Too Low
Justin Hardy 74- Just Right
Russell Gage 60- Just Right
Tight End- Austin Hooper 80 overall
This is a guy everyone in Atlanta wants to see get going. It could be because he came right after Tony Gonzalez, or it could be because we all know his potential. Austin Hooper finished 2017 with 49 catches, 526 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
He improved his rookie season by 30 catches and almost 300 yards. Hooper’s 80 overall makes him the 26th best tight end in Madden 19….that’s right 26th. I can name 5 tight ends better than Hooper, I can even name 10 better than him.
But I can’t name 25 better than Hooper, especially with the offense around him and his potential. I’m not mad that he’s an 80, but I’m mad that there are 25 tight ends ranked higher than 80 who aren’t as good as Hooper. He showed flashes last season of what is yet to come and his future looks as bright as anyone’s, especially with Ryan taking snaps.
Austin Hooper 80- Too Low
Offensive Line- Alex Mack 90 overall, Ryan Schraeder 83 overall, Jake Matthews 81 overall
When looking at the Falcon’s offensive line ratings, the one that stands out is Alex Mack’s 90 overall. He has been one of, if not the best, center in the league for the last 10 years. He has done an excellent job at protecting Ryan the past few years and keeping him from getting sacked. Yes, he’s 32 but he’s still producing at a high level. Madden 19 ranks him the 4th best center and 14th best offensive lineman overall. In 2017 he was ranked the 2nd best center behind Travis Fredrick.
Ryan Schraeder was one of the best right tackles in 2016. He had one of the highest blocking ratings and was top 5 in QB protection. That did slip a little in 2017, however, he is still ranked the 8th best right tackle in Madden 19
Jake Matthews has had eyes on him ever since entering the league due to his family history, and with being picked in the top 10. He hasn’t been pro-bowl material, but he has been doing his job effectively. He isn’t the best by any means and he has been battling injuries throughout his career, but his tough mindset earned him the 13th best left tackle rating in Madden 19.
Alex Mack- Too Low
Ryan Schraeder- Just Right
Jake Matthews- Just Right
Defensive Line- Grady Jarrett 86 overall, Vic Beasley Jr 82 overall, Takk McKinley 82 overall, Deadrin Senat (Rookie) 71 overall
Atlanta had a top 10 defense last year for the first time in many years, and a big part of that was thanks to Grady Jarrett, the man who sacked Brady 5 times in the Super Bowl. Jarrett’s 86 overall makes him the 11th best defensive tackle in Madden 19 and 35th best defensive lineman overall. It’s hard to pick 34 tackles who have played better and tougher than Jarrett in the last 2 season, but another great season from him might get him to the Pro Bowl. He has improved every year so far and will only get better.
Vic Beasley led the league in sacks as a defensive end in 2016. Then Dan Quinn moved him to linebacker in 2017 and his production decreased from 15.5 sacks down to 5. He will be back at DE in 2018 most likely on the right side. He will look to have the same production as 2016. It makes sense he is an 82 rating, 21st best defensive end in Madden because we saw what he can do at that position. He will be one of the fastest defensive ends in the whole league
Takk McKinley wasn’t the starting defensive end going into the season, but he definitely earned the starting job finishing his rookie season with 6 sacks. He will most likely start on the right side, opposite Vic Beasley, and those two will look to be the fastest, most explosive pair of defensive ends in the NFL. Takk, like Vic, is an 82 overall in the game and rated the 22nd best defensive end in the league. I believe Takk will show how much he has worked this offseason and has a chance to be a top 10 in sacks leaders this season.
Rookie defensive tackle Deadrin Senat is looking to be a replica of Grady Jarrett. Those 2 have reportedly been working together and they are exact comparisons. The interior line could be a huge force with Senat in there, and he is working hard to compete for that starting job.
Grady Jarret 86- Too Low
Vic Beasley Jr 82- Just Right
Takk McKinley 82- Just Right
Deadrin Senat 71- Just Right
Linebackers- Deion Jones 90 overall, Devondre Campbell 81 overall, Duke Riley 71 overall, Foyesade Oluokun (Rookie) 66 overall
Deion Jones is quickly becoming one of the NFL’s best linebackers. In only his second season he was selected to the Pro Bowl after having 91 tackles and 3 interceptions. In his first 2 seasons, he has shown he is one of the quickest linebackers, along with some of the best hands. Most importantly, he is able to use his speed and agility to get around defenders and make the tackle. His 90 overall ranks him 3rd among middle linebackers, behind Keuchly (99) and Wagner (97). He is the 8th ranked linebacker in the whole game as well.
Devondre Campbell is among fan favorites on the Falcon’s defense, and that could be because he plays with all his heart and plays like an animal out there. His toughness and grit on the field got him to 61 tackles and 2 sacks last season, good enough for an 81 rating overall. He’s been a great role player on the defense and seems to improve every year.
Duke Riley had a very injury prone rookie season and it took away from him being able to showcase himself. From what we saw in college, Riley will be a perfect compliment on the outside next to Jones because of how quick he is and how tough he is when tackling. He will most likely start at outside linebacker with Campbell, and I see Riley really excelling this season. He is the type of linebacker who you would expect 70+ tackles and 5+ sacks from each year.
Foyesade Oluokun was the Falcons 6th round pick along with Gage. He will play linebacker or DB but earned a 66 overall rating in Madden 19. He will more than likely start on special teams and work his way up into the rotation on defense.
Deion Jones 90- Just Right
Devondre Campbell 81- Just Right
Duke Riley 71- Too Low
Foyesade Oluokun 66- Just Right
Defensive Backs- Desmond Trufant 93 overall, Keanu Neal 89 overall, Ricardo Allen 84 overall, Isaiah Oliver (Rookie) 73 overall
Desmond Trufant is one of the most interesting guys on the Falcons defense. In his first few years in the league, he was known as a lockdown defender. In fact, he was such a good defender, quarterbacks stopped throwing to his side (which is why his numbers aren’t off the chart). In 2017 he finished with 2 INT’s and 4 fumble recoveries. Trufant is great at coverage and keeping his man away from the ball. His height has been a disadvantage in allowing receivers to jump over him. Also, he had been injured a lot during the last couple of years. As much as I live Trufant, Madden ranks him a 93 which is 8th among DB’s and 3rd among Cornerbacks (behind Ramsey and Bouye). Over the last 2 years, I can probably name 5-10 corners who are on Trufant’s level or better than him.
One of, if not, the toughest hitter in the NFL Keanu Neal earned an 89 rating after his 2nd year in the league. The Pro Bowl strong safety is ranked the 7th best SS and 22nd best DB in Madden. Neal’s toughness and hands put him in the contention for top defensive players in the league. There are some great DBs in the NFL, but are there really 21 better than him?
Ricardo Allen is showing he belongs in the NFL as a starter. He has an 84 rating in Madden which is 12th for free safety’s. He is improving every year and continues to learn from fellow teammates. He couple be looking at a future Pro Bowl appearance in his near future as well thanks to excellent coverage skills.
Isiah Oliver, Atlanta’s 2nd round pick, earned a 73 overall for his rookie rating. He is already competing for a starting job in camp. Dan Quinn loved what he saw from Oliver in college and knew he fit his scheme. Oliver should be able to succeed in the pro game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he stole a starting spot in his rookie season
Desmond Trufant 93- Too High
Keanu Neal 89- Too Low
Ricardo Allen 84- Just Right
Isiah Oliver 73- Just Right
Special Teams- Matt Bryant 85 overall, Matt Bosher 81 overall
Money Matt Bryant is entering his 17th NFL season in 2018 and is still going strong. Although he has battled some leg injuries the last couple seasons, he is still producing at a high level. His play has earned him the 2nd best kicker rating at 85 overall, behind Tucker who is rightfully an 86 overall. Bryant has been a top 3 kicker in the league for years now and he has definitely earned his Madden 19 rating.
Matt Bosher is ranked as the 8th best punter in the league. He had a rough start to his career shanking some kicks and not getting them into the end zone, but he has improved the last 3 seasons emerging as one of the best punters in the league. He is one of the more solid, all around punters a team can rely on in 2018.
Matt Bryant 85- Just Right
Matt Bosher 81- Just Right
Those are some of the Falcon’s player ratings and what we think of them! Feel free to leave a comment with your opinions on the ratings as well!
Ryan Andrews | @Ry_And1
If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a writer for ATLSportsHQ please DM Phil Veasley (@_ATLPhil) on Twitter or send a sample article to firstname.lastname@example.org.