It's that time of year again. No, not training camps. Madden ratings! It's now time to argue over the hypothetical rankings given to players across the league in a popular video game because what else can we possibly do this time of year, right?
To be fair, the Buccaneers have a bit more to celebrate in this regard than they have in years past. When I think of Bucs Madden ratings, I'm used to feelings of indignation and slight. This year? I'll admit: there isn't as much.
But don't worry, there's some. Let's start with the positives shall we?
You have to start with the fact that as a team, the Bucs are rated a 92 – which is the highest overall team rating in Madden 22. That's, of course, thanks in large part to the Bucs convincing Super Bowl LV win over the once thought to be unstoppable Kansas City Chiefs. Unstoppable, no longer.
The leader of the pack, quarterback Tom Brady, yet again makes the 90 club, coming in at a 97 rating, which is second to only Patrick Mahomes, because that makes sense. Though, the Chiefs' loss in the Super Bowl had little to do with Mahomes. He played pretty well, all things considered. But I still think it'd only be fair to give the Super Bowl MVP a higher rating, don't you?
Joining Brady in the 90 club were three other Buccaneers. Nothing makes me happier than to tell you that Brady's fellow captain and most underrated defensive player in the NFL, Lavonte David, had the second-highest rating on the team at a 93. That was still only good for second among inside linebackers league-wide, with San Francisco's Fred Warner garnering a higher one, but I'll take any recognition I can get for David at this point. Wide receiver Mike Evans came in third on the team with a 91 rating, also good for top 10 among receivers league-wide. And rounding out the bunch was another extraordinarily underrated player in left guard Ali Marpet. Thumbs up for the big guy scoring a 90 rating.
Marpet was followed closely by two of his other linemates: center Ryan Jensen and right tackle Tristan Wirfs, both listed at an 89. I have a gripe with another offensive lineman's ratings but we'll get to that in a bit.
Defensive tackle Vita Vea was rated an 88, despite the fact he missed a majority of the season with injury, returning in dramatic fashion for the NFC Championship in Lambeau. That was a pleasant surprise. He undoubtedly deserves a rating in the 90s but missing 15 weeks and still scoring in the upper 80s will do for now.
And now for the not so good news. I told you I'd have some gripes still, right?
There are two really big misses here for Madden – one on each side of the ball.
First, how do you rate David a 93 and then rate his counterpart, Devin White, an 85? That doesn't even crack the top 10 in linebackers and you cannot tell me there are 10 inside linebackers better than the Get Live Cowboy himself. This is a guy who had 9.0 sacks in the regular season and yet, his strength rating is a 77? Heck, his tackle rating is only an 86 and White had the third-most tackles in the regular season last year. He recorded double-digit tackles eight times in 15 games and then did it again in the postseason – recording 11 OR MORE tackles in every single playoff game he played in. White led the defense with 12 tackles in the Super Bowl, for crying out loud. That's only good for an 86?
Then there's left tackle Donovan Smith and you have got to be kidding me with a 73 OVR? Smith has been an iron giant for the Bucs his entire time here, playing at least 90% of the team's season snaps since he arrived in 2015. That has to cumulatively count for something, doesn't it?
While we're at it, in offensive line-adjacent news, it's hard to believe it but I'm actually putting tight end Rob Gronkowski under the snubs category. Yes, he was again listed among the top 10 tight ends with an 86 rating, but that is down significantly from the 95 rating he had going into last season. And listen, yes, it did take him a little while to get back in the swing of things after taking a year off in a quasi-retirement but he still ended up finishing the 2020 regular season as the Bucs' leading tight end. He had 623 receiving yards and seven touchdowns and played an entire 16-game season for the first time since 2011. That was good enough for a top 10 performance among all tight ends league wide in receiving yards and tied him for sixth in receiving touchdowns among tights ends. Oh yeah, and he also scored not one, but two touchdowns in the Super Bowl in a vintage Brady-Gronk performance. All that meant a nine-point drop? Sorry, but no.
Want to see the full Buccaneer rankings? Click here.