In honor of Madden 17 being released on Tuesday, I wanted to go over the top 6 rated Patriots players and decide if they were overrated, underrated, or fairly rated. These decisions will be based on stats, comparison to ratings of others at their position, and just how I feel they should be rated after watching them play 18 games last season. So let’s jump right into it.
1. Rob Gronkowski, Tight End- 99 Overall
Gronk is without a doubt worthy of being the only offensive player in the game rated a 99 overall. He has continued to torch opposing defenses the way no other tight end has, as he racked up over 1,100 yards and 11 TD’s last season despite missing one full game and parts of a few others due to injuries. Not to mention, when Gronk is on the field it is almost certain that he is getting double or even triple teamed. The next highest rated tight end is the Carolina Panthers Greg Olsen at a 93 overall vs Gronk’s 99. Come on, he’s the cover athlete. Would you expect anything less?
2. Tom Brady, Quarterback- 94 Overall
Obviously with the way we see Tom, anything less than a 99 should be unacceptable. The greatest quarterback of all time should at least be the highest rated QB in the game right? Wrong. Aaron Rodgers is the highest rated QB in the game at a 96 overall. I’m okay with this because Rodgers has the better overall skillset since he is more mobile and throws a better deep ball (Rodgers Deep Throw Accuracy is a 90 compared to Tom’s 84). HOWEVER, Tom has 3 things that Aaron does not. He has super bowl rings numbers 2, 3, and 4. The reason for this being that he has a far superior knowledge for the game and will not cost his team games with bad decisions. At age 39, I’m sure Brady will take his fifth Lombardi Trophy over being the highest Madden rated QB anyway.
3. Devin McCourty, Free Safety- 91 Overall
I was torn on this one. Don’t get me wrong, I love McCourty and I can see why you could argue that McCourty deserves this rating based on what he means to the team. My problem is that so much of what McCourty offers to this team is leadership based. You know he’ll always be the one in the middle of the defensive huddle getting everyone mentally prepared for the game. Despite what his intangibles mean to this team, his stats don’t warrant a 91 rating. Carolina’s Kurt Coleman is only rated an 87 overall despite having 7 interceptions to McCourty’s 1, 9 passes deflected to McCourty’s 6, and 90 combine tackles to McCourty’s 64. Devin has proven to be a huge part of this Pats defense, but I just don’t think his skills are quite at the level of a 91 overall.
4. Dont’a Hightower, Right Outside Linebacker- 90 overall
Over the last couple of seasons, Hightower has proven to be one of the premiere run stopping linebackers in the league. I doubt that any true Pats fan has forgotten his stop of Marshawn Lynch on the 1 yard line setting the stage for Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl XLIX heroics. Hightower had 51 total tackles in 12 games during an injury plagued 2015 season. This fell just 4 tackles short of his entire 2013 season total. This goes to show you how much Hightower was able to contribute to this defense when he was on the field and why he deserves the 90 overall rating that EA Sports has given him.
5. Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver- 89 Overall
Jules may not have the 6’3” frame or blazing speed of other receivers, but he is the human definition of a first down. There’s a reason that Edelman averaged 11.3 yards per catch in 2015, and that’s because he knows exactly where he has to get to keep the chains moving. Edelman plays the game with a sense of recklessness that will land him on the shelf every now and then, but he needs to continue to play this way to remain successful and prove to fans why he’s Tom Brady’s favorite target. An 89 seems about right for a man who hauled in 61 catches in just 9 games last season. If he can stay healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his stats receive a bump up at the first update.
6. Jamie Collins, Middle Linebacker- 88 Overall
Despite only playing 12 games due to an illness, Collins recorded 51 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, and FORCED 5 FUMBLES. Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos is rated a 90 overall even though Collins sacked the opposing QB 4 more times than Marshall, forced 3 more fumbles than Marshall, and deflected 6 passes to Marshall’s 4. Keep in mind that Collins did all of this in 12 games while Marshall did it in 16 and you come to the simple conclusion that the Patriots young pro bowler is terribly underrated. I honestly think that Collins should be rated AT LEAST a 92 overall, and I fully expect his overall to climb as the season goes on and EA Sports realizes how special this kid really is.
James White deserves a rating at least a little higher than a 75 overall after averaging a touch over 10 yards per catch with 40 receptions last season. The role of a pass catching back is huge in this New England offense and White was able to seamlessly take over the role after Dion Lewis’ injury. Martellus Bennett is fairly rated an 85...for now. We’ve seen in his days with the Bears that he has the talent of an elite tight end and could potentially make it up to a 90 overall by the end of the season permitting that the Patriots continue to rely on their 2 tight end set.