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‘Madden NFL 21’ ratings: Who are the best players in the NFL, according to EA Sports?

It’s officially that time of the year, as sports gamers ready themselves for the release of “Madden NFL 21,” set to hit stores in August 2021.

This year’s game could turn into a hit-or-miss affair for EA Sports, as developers have been concentrating more on the versions of the game that will show up on next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X.

>>RELATED: EA Sports previews Madden NFL 21 with new gameplay trailer, headlined by Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

But, that change in focus didn’t deter the folks at EA Sports from their usual distribution of player ratings. Midway through the month of July, the gaming juggernaut began to release ratings for this year’s installment of the game, starting with the “99 Club.”

Chiefs quarterback and “Madden NFL 20” cover star Patrick Mahomes, fresh off of a 10-year contract extension potentially worth approximately $500 million, was the first player officially named to the “99 Club.”

Then, fourothers were a part of EA Sports’ official announcements: Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gillmore and Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas.

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For specific positions, EA Sports chose the league’s quarterbacks for their first reveals, putting out ratings for the game’s top 10 heading up offenses under center. Mahomes took the top spot with his 99 overall rating, with some notable names behind him.

Top 10 quarterbacks include:

  • Patrick Mahomes – 99
  • Russell Wilson – 97
  • Lamar Jackson – 94
  • Drew Brees – 93
  • Tom Brady – 90
  • Aaron Rodgers – 89
  • Matt Ryan – 87
  • Deshaun Watson – 86
  • Dak Prescott – 84
  • Carson Wentz – 84

Then, the game’s running backs took center stage in an apparent leak from @MaddenSchool on July 13, with another 99 overall in McCaffrey leading the pack.

Top 10 running backs include:

  • Christian McCaffrey – 99
  • Derrick Henry – 93
  • Nick Chubb – 92
  • Ezekiel Elliott – 92
  • Dalvin Cook – 91
  • Aaron Jones – 90
  • Joe Mixon – 89
  • Saquon Barkley – 89
  • Josh Jacobs – 88
  • Alvin Kamara – 88

Thomas’ 99 may have drawn the ire of some football fans when the announcement came out, but the list of the top 10 wide receivers as a whole caused even more of a debate. Ratings include:

  • Michael Thomas – 99
  • DeAndre Hopkins – 98
  • Julio Jones – 97
  • Tyreek Hill – 96
  • Davante Adams – 94
  • Amari Cooper – 93
  • Stefon Diggs – 92
  • Mike Evans – 92
  • Odell Beckham Jr. – 91
  • Keenan Allen – 91

Rounding out the skill positions on offense, EA Sports revealed the top 10 tight ends, highlighted by 49ers star George Kittle. Ratings include:

  • George Kittle – 98
  • Travis Kelce – 97
  • Rob Gronkowski – 95
  • Zach Ertz – 90
  • Austin Hooper – 89
  • Evan Engram – 88
  • Jared Cook – 87
  • Mark Andrews – 86
  • Greg Olsen – 86
  • Darren Waller – 85

Pass rushers got their due next, with Donald’s 99 overall sitting on the list’s peak. Other ratings include:

  • Aaron Donald – 99
  • JJ Watt – 98
  • Khalil Mack – 97
  • Von Miller – 97
  • Fletcher Cox – 96
  • Cameron Jordan – 96
  • Chandler Jones – 95
  • Calais Campbell – 95
  • Myles Garrett – 93
  • Chris Jones – 92

>>RELATED: 10 rookies who can succeed immediately with their new teams after the 2020 NFL Draft

Vikings safety Harrison Smith’s 95 overall rating wins out among his position grouping, with Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu’s 93 leading the AFC’s representatives. Other ratings include:

  • Harrison Smith – 95
  • Tyrann Mathieu – 93
  • Jamal Adams – 92
  • Devin McCourty – 92
  • Kevin Byard – 91
  • Justin Simmons – 90
  • Derwin James Jr. – 89
  • Eddie Jackson – 89
  • Micah Hyde – 88
  • Earl Thomas III – 88

For cornerbacks, Gilmore’s 99 leads the way, with Jalen Ramsey’s 94 overall rating putting him on his own island in the top 10 cornerbacks. Other ratings include:

  • Stephon Gilmore – 99
  • Jalen Ramsey – 94
  • Richard Sherman – 92
  • Jaire Alexander – 90
  • Tre’Davious White – 90
  • Marlon Humphrey – 89
  • Casey Hayward Jr. – 89
  • Byron Jones – 88
  • Darius Slay – 88
  • Patrick Peterson – 88

At quarterback, Joe Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and newest member of the Bengals, comes in with a 76 overall rating, followed by Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa at 73, Packers QB Jordan Love at 71, Chargers QB Justin Herbert at 70, and Eagles QB Jalen Hurts hurting at a 68 overall.

Full rookie quarterback ratings can be found here.

For wide receivers, Henry Ruggs clocks in with a class-high 76 overall, followed by CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy at 75, Justin Jefferson at 74 and Jalen Reagor at 73. Full rookie receiver ratings can be found here.

At running back, Ravens rookie J.K. Dobbins tops out the grouping with a 75 overall rating. Chiefs first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Lions RB D’Andre Swift each sit at 74, with Colts RB Jonathan Taylor and Rams RB Cam Akers at 73.

Through the game’s beta, other players’ ratings have (sort of) been revealed, including what could potentially be each team’s top 10 players, but nothing else has been officially announced. For all of the official ratings and anything you want to know about players’ specific stats, you can head to EA Sports’ complete list here.

>>RELATED: Building a 53-man roster representing every NFL team before the 2020 season

“Madden NFL 21” will be available on August 28, 2020, and fans can access the game early by pre-ordering here.

This article was last refreshed at 10:30 p.m. on July 13, 2020, and will continue to be updated as more information is made official.

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