Football has arrived. Training camp looms and with it, Madden ratings assessed by EA Sports! The finalized list sparks endless debate as placement given to players around the NFL fosters analyzation to an extreme. Football enthusiasts impatiently wait every year for the prestigious ratings from the popular video game franchise to be released. With it, hope of a new season dawns.
Coming off a 13-4 season as the defending NFC South Champions, the Buccaneers have several players celebrated in the Madden ratings. In years past, Tampa Bay was usually an afterthought, conjuring up feelings of indignation by many. But since winning Super Bowl LV following the 2020 season, along with Tom Brady at the helm, the Bucs are now a crown jewel in the NFC with countless teams seeking to dethrone them. Here is a breakdown of the ratings.
Overall, the Buccaneers scored a team rating of 90 and sit atop the hierarchy in the NFL. As Super Bowl 57 contenders, the Bucs and Buffalo Bills (89 overall) lead the way. The defending Super Bowl champ Los Angeles Rams rank third (88 overall). For the Buccaneers, the team leader is Brady, the ageless quarterback, yet again making the 90 club at 97 overall. He is the highest ranked quarterback for the fifth time in his illustrious career, snapping Patrick Mahomes' three-year run at the top.
Joining Brady in the coveted yet elusive 90 club were five other Buccaneers. Vita Vea, the anchor in Tampa Bay's formidable front and the second-highest rated player on the team, landed at No. 93 overall. Vea dominates at the point of attack and stays on the field for passing downs, a rarity for a nose tackle. Wide receiver Mike Evans came in at 92 overall, tying with cornerstone inside linebacker Lavonte David. Evans came in seventh among receivers, sporting a No. 2 grade in the 'Catch in Traffic' category for his physicality in jump-ball situations. As a catalyst in the Bucs' passing attack with rare high-point ability, Evans is the only player in NFL history to start his career with eight consecutive seasons eclipsing the 1,000-yard marker.
David, arguably the most underrated player in the league, logged a 92 overall score for his contributions on the gridiron. David rarely receives the credit he undoubtably deserves for his route recognition, understanding of leverage and textbook pursuit angles. He consistently neutralizes screens and swing passes, cementing his place among the league's elite.
Rounding out the bunch is right tackle Tristan Wirfs, garnering a 91 rating (No. 2 right tackle). Fellow linemate Ryan Jensen was close behind at 90 overall (third center). Both were among the Top-10 ratings for offensive linemen. Wirfs exceeds 'holding his own' against the league's most domineering edge rushers, fostering a clean pocket for Brady. He makes pulls and lead blocks look effortless which solidifies the unit. Jensen's grit sets the tone for one of the best offensive lines in football. After Brady ended his short-lived retirement, Jensen's return quickly followed suit. During Jensen's four years in the lineup, the Bucs led the NFL in passing yards, and finished second in total yards, points, yards per play, first downs and third-down percentage.
No team in the league has a higher rating for a No. 2 receiver than Chris Godwin, who comes in at 89 overall. With his yards-after-catch prowess, Godwin is an integral piece of the Bucs' aerial assault. He consistently beats defenders on intermediate routes and can win deep. In the 'Short Route Running' category, Godwin landed at No. 9 for wide receivers with a 91 rating. Godwin was followed closely by running back Leonard Fournette, right guard Shaq Mason and free safety Antoine Winfield Jr. all landing at 87 overall in Madden. Inside linebacker and David's counterpart, Devin White, logged an 85 overall rating, cracking the Top-10 compilation for linebackers (No. 10). His placement is likely due to a dip in sack numbers in 2021, however, White received Pro Bowl recognition last season and registered a career-high 18 quarterback hits. With explosion out of his stance and blazing downhill range, White complements David's coverage ability – creating arguably the most lethal linebacker tandem in football.