From Fournette to Trubisky, here's what the 'Madden 18' rookie ratings should be

I'm not sure if you've heard, but EA Sports is planning to release yet another installment of its "Madden" franchise with Tom Brady on the cover. And that means two things:

  1. The Patriots dynasty might actually end at the hand of -- of all things -- the "Madden" curse.
  2. New ratings for every NFL player are going to be distributed.

As much as I've love to write the article that accurately predicts the downfall of the Patriots' empire, we all know that even the "Madden" curse can't bring them down. So, let's stick with the second point. More specifically, let's look at the key incoming rookies -- from Leonard Fournette to Mitch Trubisky to Myles Garrett -- and assess what their ratings should be in the upcoming game.

Below you'll find the most high-profile offensive rookies at quarterback, running back, receiver and tight end, as well as another notable player (hello Myles Garrett). Next to their name will be a number. That number is what their "Madden" rating should be. Below the number, you'll find a brief explanation.

Remember: "Madden" ratings can change as the season goes along. Just because a rookie starts with a rating in the 70s doesn't mean they'll still be stuck there by Week 17. Last year, Ezekiel Elliott began as an 80, but finished as an 88.

With that, let's get to it.

The QBs

Bears' Mitch Trubisky: 76

Trubisky deserves the same rating that Carson Wentz got a year ago. After all, they both entered the game as the No. 2 overall pick. Both of their teams traded a ton of assets to move up to No. 2. Both quarterbacks can be criticized for their lack of experience (Wentz played at North Dakota State while Trubisky has one year of starting experience at North Carolina). It's not like a 76 rating is too low. Last year, Jared Goff -- the top pick -- entered with a 77 rating. 

Trubisky should be the highest-rated rookie QB in 'Madden.' USATSI

Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes: 73

Mahomes features considerable upside, but he's not NFL ready yet, which is why he'll sit behind Alex Smith for at least one season. His rating needs to reflect that, just like Paxton Lynch's rating (73) last year reflected his lack of readiness. 

Texans' Deshaun Watson: 75

I can't shake the feeling that the game creators are going to reward Watson for the success he saw at Clemson. That national championship performance is still ingrained in all of our minds, and I'm guessing that'll lead to a higher rating. I'd argue he's more NFL-ready than Mahomes, too.

Browns' DeShone Kizer: 72

If his accuracy issues in real life are conveyed in the game, then Kizer's rating will suffer in "Madden." Connor Cook entered last year's game with a 72, which seems way too high now.

The RBs

Jaguars' Leonard Fournette: 79

If that seems low, consider that Zeke -- widely considered a better NFL prospect than Fournette -- was given an 80 rating when "Madden 17" launched. It's a fair rating.

Panthers' Christian McCaffrey: 80

McCaffrey might've been selected after Fournette, and he might be facing more durability concerns than any other running back taken in the first two rounds, but he's undeniably the perfect video-game playmaker. As any gamer knows, speed and shiftiness are lethal in "Madden." That's why he'd be my highest rated running back -- and as high as Zeke was last year. 

McCaffrey is a perfect RB for a video game.  USATSI

Vikings' Dalvin Cook: 77

There won't be that significant of a drop-off between Cook and Fournette, because Cook's fall in the draft was more due to his issues away from the field than on it. Using football ability alone to judge players, I'd argue that Cook isn't that far behind Fournette. That's why his rating is similar to Fournette's.

Bengals' Joe Mixon: 76

Same argument as above. Mixon was a first-round talent who fell to the second-round because he punched a female student at Oklahoma. If we're judging solely based on football -- and that's really all that "Madden" cares about -- then he's not going to be too far behind Fournette. 

For some context: Last year, Derrick Henry opened up with a 74 overall rating. Mixon and Cook are better football prospects than Henry.

The WRs

Titans' Corey Davis: 79

He was the first receiver off the board for a reason and he deserves a slightly higher rating (78) than Corey Coleman a year ago. While Coleman's rating was pretty much entirely built on his speed, Davis is a much more polished receiver. He should be a great red-zone threat in real life. "Madden" should reward him for that in the game. 

Chargers' Mike Williams: 77

A year ago, Laquon Treadwell only got a 75 rating, which turned out to be too high for a player who hardly saw the field. Williams is similar to Treadwell in that he's a big-bodied receiver who doesn't need to gain separation to be considered open. He uses his catch radius to solve that issue. I don't see the game boosting his rating too high, but I think he'll score a bit better than Treadwell. Size just isn't as important in "Madden" as speed.

Bengals' John Ross: 78

In terms of video games, Ross compares to Coleman because they're both incredibly fast. Therefore, the same rating makes sense. He's less polished than Davis, but he'll end up being the better video-game player, because speed rules. 

The TEs

Buccaneers' O.J. Howard: 81

The first tight end off the board in a stacked class, Howard deserves a higher rating than the first tight end off the board last year, Hunter Henry (78). I know nobody really cares about blocking in "Madden," but Howard is a capable blocker, which should boost his rating above the other rookie tight ends. 

Giants' Evan Engram: 79

The second tight end taken this year deserves a slightly higher rating than Henry (a really good young player, by the way), because he was a first-round pick. Engram gets dinged for his unreliable blocking, but his speed at tight end should destroy linebackers in "Madden."

Browns' David Njoku: 75

He's a bit more raw than the other prospects, which hurts his rating here. He'll play better than his rating, though, because of his athleticism.

The first pick

Browns' Myles Garrett: 84

Joey Bosa got a 79 and DeForest Buckner got a 78 last year. I think Garrett, because he was the consensus first pick, will get a higher rating. At 84, he'd be the highest-rated player listed in this article. Last year, Connor Barwin began with an 84 and Jaye Howard began with an 83. Those are reasonable expectations for Garrett in his first season.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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