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For better or worse, the football video game Madden has become so engrained in the NFL culture, it's hard to separate one from the other. The magic truly is in the details — where the gameplay, the graphics and the playbooks are all rooted in the actual game.
Every year, Madden releases the player rankings based off of the players' past season, with the ratings acting as a baseline predictor of that player's future impact. And, like every year, we turn to our consoles to see who John Madden, in all his buddha-like greatness, thinks is the definitive best players in the league. Some players make out better than others, and some just flat out get done dirty.
This list is for those guys, because, like some in the past, these players all got shafted with their ratings.
QB: Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders) - Overall Ranking 89
In the 15 games my man played last season, he was a legit MVP Candidate. He completed 63.8 percent of his passes and lead his team to a respectable 12-4 record. He's got the arm strength and poise to continue to grow in 2017 — even after recovering from the fibula fracture that cut last season short. He's a bonafide stud and is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. This guy should be closer to a mid-90 ranking, so let's cut the crap!
WR: Michael Thomas (New Orleans Saints) - Overall Ranking 84
That just ain't right. We're talking about a 24-year-old, 212-pound mismatch lining up on the hash for the Saints. We're talking about a rookie who posted up over 90 receptions, 1,100 yards and nine end zone dances in 15 games. I want to ground us here — he's got a pretty generic name, so it's easy to forget we're talking about that Mikey Thomas. Listen, the numbers don't lie. This dude is a transcendent freak entering his second year, and he's going to have DBs pissing there pants on gameday all year long.
TE: Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings) - Overall Ranking 85
Yo, how you going to do Big Country like that? Kyle Rudolph had a quiet 2016, "only" posting 83 receptions for 840 yards and 7 TDs. What else does he have to do to get some love, Madden? Lead the halftime band? Run for Mayor of the city? Throw and catch the damn ball? He had Sam "been a bum since Oklahoma" Bradford slinging him the rock, and he still posted some of the best TE numbers last season. He's not the flashy option like Jimmy Graham or Gronk, but he's every bit as good as Delaney Walker; who sits at a cool 92.
DT: Grady Jarrett (Atlanta Falcons) - Overall Ranking 82
I know what you're thinking: his season numbers don't jump off the board for you. And that's fair. But this guy was a cog for a very scrappy Atlanta defense that marched it's way through the NFC to the Super Bowl. And, while we're on the subject, yeah he showed up when the lights shined brightest — recording three sacks on the G.O.A.T during the contest. A versatile D-lineman who can play inside and out and shows up for big games deserves more respect than just an 82.
QB:: Tom Brady (New England Patriots) - Overall Ranking 99
If ever there was a player who deserved a perfect Madden ranking, it's Tom Brady. To be as blunt as F'in possible: G.O.A.T. That is all.
Honorable Mention: Snack Harrison (New York Giants), Michael Crabtree (Oakland Raider), Prince Amukamara (Chicago Bears), Kareem Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs)
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