Every year, the good folks at EA Sports release their $60 roster update, and every year, millions of gullible saps (myself included) rush out to buy it day one. It’s a really expensive fresh coat of paint for a game that hasn’t tried to improve since they muscled 2k out of the picture, but people have to have the newest version of the iconic game franchise (named after one of the best coaches of all time, just saying). Every year, the launch ratings are a little ridiculous, and this year is no exception. The Raiders, who, despite having a bad season, still won six games, have a lower rating than the Cleveland Browns, who have won exactly one game in the last two years. Here are the five best (and worst) launch ratings for members of the Oakland Raiders.
The Five Best (And Five Worst) Oakland Raider Madden Ratings
The Fifth Best- Ryan Switzer, 74 Overall
Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie pulled off the heist of the century when they traded bust defensive tackle Jihad Ward to the Dallas Cowboys for wide receiver, Ryan Switzer. Some of us have been huge fans of Switzer for a while now, and were excited to see the team make a move for him. Switzer gives the Raiders the pure slot receiver they’ve been missing ever since Derek Carr took over the offense as a rookie.
The 74 overall rating isn’t fantastic, but it hardly tells the whole story. Switzer also has 90 speed, 92 acceleration, and 93 agility. His receiver ratings are excellent as well, boasting 83 catching, 78 catch in traffic, and 82 spectacular catch ratings. Switzer also benefits from the new specific route running ratings, scoring 83 short route running, 78 medium route running, and 72 deep route running ratings.
For those who love head-to-head or connected franchise modes, Switzer is going to be a lethal slot weapon, and it’s nice to see that the Madden developers have given him a chance to be a real weapon.
The Fifth Worst- Daryl Worley, 73 Overall
Cornerback Daryl Worley is hardly Nnamdi Asomugha, but he’s far better than the Madden ratings are making him out to be. Worley is the third corner on Oakland’s depth chart (as of 8/8/18), but is the fifth best corner in Madden behind presumed starters Rashaan Melvin, Gareon Conley, Dexter McDonald, and Shareece Wright. You remember Shareece Wright, the corner that Michael Crabtree took to church in Baltimore two years ago?
Worley isn’t particularly fast, but his 86 speed isn’t going to be very useful when tracking the vast majority of receivers, not that his coverage skills are useful anyway. The developers gave him 74 awareness, 70 man coverage, and 76 zone coverage. Worley isn’t an elite corner by any means, but these ratings make him practically useless. You’re better off leaning on Obi Melifonwu’s athleticism.
The Fourth Best- Rashaan Melvin, 86 Overall
The developers may have buried Worley, but they were very generous with incoming free agent corner, Rashaan Melvin. Melvin has just about everything you need in a number one corner. He has 90 speed and acceleration ratings as well as 89 agility. His coverage stats are great as well, the developers gave him 87 man coverage, 88 zone coverage, 87 press, and 88 play recognition ratings.
The Fourth Worst- Gabe Jackson, 79 Overall
While two other interior linemen on this list are still getting plenty of love from the developers, their linemate is not. Gabe Jackson is only a 79 overall, and while he still boasts 92 strength, his running and pass blocking are mediocre at best. They gave him 80 for pass blocking, and only 72 as a run blocker. It’s just weird that Jackson has taken so much blame for Oakland’s struggles with the run game when he hasn’t really fallen off. This is the same guy that once rebuked a J.J. Watt pass rush by himself as a rookie. It’s not the end of the world, but the guard certainly deserves better.
The Third Best- Kelechi Osemele, 90 Overall
Kelechi Osemele was probably the best free agent signing of Reggie McKenzie’s Raider tenure. People like to talk up Donald Penn and another player on this list, but Osemele’s ruthlessness has been such a treat to watch in Oakland. He’s just so good. He doesn’t give up any pressures inside and he bullies defensive linemen on the ground. How Jack Del Rio and Todd Downing managed to mess up the run game with this beast inside is beyond me.
Fortunately, the Madden developers appreciated him more than last year’s coaching staff, and rewarded his digital likeness with 91 impact blocking, 89 pass blocking, and terrifying 93 strength ratings. His run blocking rating could use a little work, which is why he’s only number three on this list, but his physical dominance and 92 awareness are still good enough to make him a must-keep in any connected franchise.
The Third Worst- Bruce Irvin, 81 Overall
Maybe it’s the emotional attachment that I have to linebacker/defensive end Bruce Irvin, but an 81 overall seems ridiculous to me. Irvin is coming off of his best year as a pro, registering eight sacks, four forced fumbles, and three pass deflections, and yet he’s lost three points from last year’s 84 rating? How does that make any sense?
They let him keep his game-breaking 87 speed rating, but they completely nerfed his strength, dropping it to a 70. That’s not a joke. They gave him 70 strength. Only one other Raider had 70 strength, and that’s back-up quarterback, Connor Cook. Someone got paid to put these ratings together folks, somehow.
The Second Best- Rodney Hudson, 95 Overall
Rodney Hudson is one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, and he simply never gets the credit he deserves, though Madden tries really hard here. The former Kansas City Chief has 90 strength, 88 awareness, 94 pass blocking, 82 run blocking, and won’t need to be replaced in Madden any time soon. One of the best centers in football deserves all the love and Madden goes a good time dishing it out here.
The Second Worst- Arden Key, 70 Overall
Okay, it’s not insanely unreasonable to give Arden Key a low rating. He’s a rookie, and he was only taken in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft, so from an objective viewer’s perspective, I can almost understand why he was rated so low.
However. The developers absolutely screwed the promising pass rusher the point where he’s practically useless in the game. 78 speed and 77 strength? Seriously? That means he’s slower than James Cowser and weaker than Doug Martin. And the 76 jump rating doesn’t seem like a fair reflection of a player who had a 31 inch vertical at the combine. His tackle rating is only 72, his block shedding is 73, his finesse move rating is a 79, and his power move rating is only a 71.
They turned a wiry, athletic monster into a rotational run-stopper at best, and based purely on what he did in year three at LSU and what we’ve heard out of training camp, Key is going to have a ton of fun making these developers look really stupid.
Not like they need help.
The Best- Khalil Mack, 98 Overall
Khalil Mack, when he’s around, is the best player on the Oakland Raiders. Carr might be the most valuable, but Mack is the best, based purely on talent. He’s one of, if not the best defensive players in the entire league, and he’s very deserving of his 98 overall. His block shedding, finesse moves, power moves, play recognition, and pursuit ratings are all in the high 80’s/lower 90’s area, and physically, he’s obviously no slouch either. His 87 speed, 89 strength, 89 acceleration, and 88 agility are accurate reflections of his real-life athleticism, and he’ll be a terror for digital and real quarterbacks alike.
The Worst- Derek Carr, 83 Overall
Despite a bad 2017 and a rocky rookie season in 2014, Derek Carr has thrown more touchdown passes through his first four seasons than everyone not-named Dan Marino Peyton Manning, and Russell Wilson. Two of those guys are on the Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks and the other is well on his way, but Carr never gets any respect. This is a guy who threw 32 touchdowns in 2015 and was a bonafide MVP candidate in 2016 before he got hurt, but one bad season leaves him in the company of Jimmy Garoppolo, Jared Goff, and Alex Smith. So it’s okay to say Carr’s success in 2015 and 2016 were flukes but we’re supposed to buy into the world’s greatest game manager, a second year quarterback, and someone with seven career starts?
Derek Carr and Deshaun Watson ran identical 40 times, but Derek’s 82 speed is lower than Deshaun’s 84. Derek Carr made a habit of throwing on the run two years ago, but his accuracy while throwing on the run is less than Garoppolo’s. And in what world does Alex Smith have better deep accuracy than Derek Carr? Seriously, find a highlight of Smith throwing anything like this clip and I’ll eat my shoe.
— 🅟Ⓙ (@RaiderPosts) January 27, 2018
I don’t know how you mess this up, I really don’t. Carr has his critics, and some of them make very good points, but the fact that his Madden rating is so low when he’s accomplished so much is asinine. Simply asinine. It’ll be fun to revisit this one in particular once Gruden unleashes #ClapBackCarr.
Having said that, what do you think? Did the Madden developers get it right? Is there anyone I missed? Is there another team you’d like to see us do? Let us know in the comment section below or come harass me on twitter @RyanSmithNFL.