Predicting Madden ratings for the top player at each position

The latest release in the Madden video game franchise is set for August 17. On July 26, EA Sports starts revealing their Madden NFL 22 player ratings. With that, every year a few players publicly express their disappointment with their latest Madden rating snub, while others use it as motivation.

The 99 Club is an exclusive group of the best in the game, how many will this year’s game feature? We predict which player will be the top-rated at their position, as well as their overall Madden ratings.

Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes/Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers – 99

The superstar triumvirate of Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers should headline the Madden 99 Club. But it’s unlikely they will be. Despite more individual success from Brady and Rodgers only Mahomes finished the season with a 99. In fairness, all three should be 99s.

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Running back: Derrick Henry – 99

Predicting Madden ratings for the top player at each position
Jan 10, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs onto the field during pregame introductions before a AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

A legend at trucking defenders both in real life and in Madden, Derrick Henry is a strong bet to start with a 99 overall in the newest version of the football video game. 

Fullback: Kyle Juszczyk – 88

There isn’t a better fullback in the NFL today than Kyle Juszczyk, yet he finished with an 87 in the final roster update. Maybe he starts a bit higher to set him apart from the rest.

Wide receiver: Davante Adams/Stefon Diggs/DeAndre Hopkins – 99

Widely considered the three best wide receivers in the game, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, and DeAndre Hopkins started with a 99 in Madden NFL 22.

Tight end: Travis Kelce – 99

Predicting Madden ratings for the top player at each position
Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the last roster update for Madden NFL 21, Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce was a member of the 99 Club, I wouldn’t imagine that will change over the offseason. 

Left tackle: David Bakhtiari – 95

Recently seen chugging beers at the NBA playoffs, David Bakhtiari should receive a stronger rating, but he will likely stay close to the same 96 rating he was at throughout the entirety of Madden NFL 21.

Left guard: Quenton Nelson – 95

Regarded as one of the best offensive linemen in football, Quenton Nelson is a beast. Still just 25, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Achieving a 99 overall in Madden must be tough for players who don’t touch the ball, I can’t imagine what Nelson could improve on but he was just a 95 last season.

Center: Jason Kelce – 91

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce may be the best at his position, but he’s entering a season where he turns 34. Finishing as a 93, it’s possible Kelce slips a few points to start the year.

Right guard – Zack Martin – 98

Predicting Madden ratings for the top player at each position
Jun 12, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive guard Zack Martin (70) and center Joe Looney (73) participate in drills during minicamp at Dallas Cowboys headquarters at The Star. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Despite playing just 10 games last season for the Dallas Cowboys, Zack Martin kept a high rating all year. Martin should start again with the same 98 he ended with.

Right tackle – Tristan Wirfs – 90

Protecting Tom Brady, right tackle Tristan Wirfs allowed just one sack in his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ryan Ramczyk could also threaten Wirfs for the top right tackle in Madden.

4-3 defensive end (LE) – Myles Garrett – 98

Though he may finish the season with a 99 Madden rating, Myles Garrett may not begin the year that high. Whether Garrett’s Madden position is listed as left end or right end is unknown. Typically, they list him as an RE. J.J. Watt would be the next-best up, possibly coming in around a 94.

Defensive tackle – Fletcher Cox – 95

The Philadelphia Eagles have one of the best D-linemen in football with Fletcher Cox. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him be the top-rated DT once again.

3-4 defensive end (RE) – Aaron Donald – 99

Predicting Madden ratings for the top player at each position
Dec 6, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald is a monster on the gridiron. A future Hall of Famer, Donald will have a 99, no doubt about it. Otherwise, Madden ratings are officially broken.

RUSH linebacker (LOLB) – T.J. Watt – 97

After leading the NFL with 15 sacks last season, T.J. Watt really just solidified his already strong status as an elite player. Chicago Bears star Khalil Mack could also challenge to be the top-rated player at this position.

Middle linebacker – Bobby Wagner – 95

Edging out Fred Warner — who just signed a monster contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers — Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner is as good as it gets roaming the middle. Staying at a 95 seems reasonable.

Outside linebacker (ROLB) – Myles Jack – 85

Right outside linebacker is the weakest position in Madden. Myles Jack of the Jacksonville Jaguars is the leading candidate to be the highest-rated, coming in around an 85.

Cornerback – Stephon Gilmore – 99

Predicting Madden ratings for the top player at each position
Dec 1, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) gives a thumbs up before a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

While Stephon Gilmore may be unsure of his status with the New England Patriots in real life, that shouldn’t affect his rating in a video game. Last season Gilmore finished with a 99, so he should pick back up where he left off in Madden NFL 22.

Free safety – Justin Simmons – 92

Devin McCourty wrapped up the last version of Madden as the best free safety, but we’re expecting the Denver Broncos’ Justin Simmons to take that title this year. 

Strong safety – Tyrann Mathieu – 95

After playing so well, Tyrann Mathieu has established himself among the game’s best. The Honey Badger will likely receive the best rating among safeties, because he does so much for the Chiefs on the back end.

Kicker – Justin Tucker – 86

There’s no question the best kicker in football is Justin Tucker. End of story. But kicking is tough, and there have been a few mistakes lately from him. Don’t expect Tucker to be the Madden ratings stalwart of years past, but he should still lead the pack for kickers.

Punter – Johnny Hekker – 86

Predicting Madden ratings for the top player at each position
Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Rams punter Johnny Hekker (6) punts the ball against the New England Patriots in the third quarter in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Over the years, Johnny Hekker has displayed his skills in various ways on the football field, even as an occasional passer on trick plays. He’ll likely be the top-rated punter again. 

Kick returner – Tyreek Hill – 99

Tyreek Hill, or Cheetah, as his Twitter handle suggests, is an avid Madden gamer. He also happens to be a dominant kick and punt returner, though the Chiefs have held him back from those duties since his emergence as their No. 1 wideout. He’ll likely still carry a 99 when it comes to being a kick returner in Madden NFL 22.

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