Madden 19 unveils rookie ratings: Lamar Jackson second-best QB, Quenton Nelson top overall

Here at CBS Sports, we strive to bring you in-depth analysis using a variety of different sources from SportsLine to Pro Football Focus to Football Outsiders to Pro Football Reference to "Madden." Yes, the video game. 

Two years ago, Will Brinson's "Madden" simulation predicted the Falcons would make it to the Super Bowl while my Super Bowl "Madden" sim predicted a come-from-behind Patriots win over the Falcons. The point being, "Madden" isn't always wrong. Plus, while we still have a two-month wait until the NFL season kicks off, "Madden" season is only a month away, which gives us something to write about during the NFL's dead period (or so I thought this morning until the NFL decided to suspend three players -- Reuben Foster, Jamon Brown and Aaron Jones -- in the span of an hour).

On Aug. 10, "Madden NFL 19" will be released. In the meantime, EA Sports is slowly unveiling its new ratings. Last week, we learned about the first "Madden 99" club. On Tuesday, we learned about the ratings for this year's rookie class.

Unsurprisingly, out of all rookies, it's Colts guard Quenton Nelson who leads the way. Selected with the sixth-overall pick, Nelson was considered by many to be the best overall prospect in the draft. He doesn't necessarily play a sexy position, but that doesn't mean he doesn't hold tremendous value in both real life and "Madden."

Here's the list of the top five highest-rated rookies:

  1. Quenton Nelson: 83
  2. Saquon Barkley82
  3. Baker Mayfield: 81
  4. Roquan Smith: 81
  5. Bradley Chubb80 

This might not come as a surprise given the list above, but Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is the game's highest-rated rookie quarterback. What might come as a surprise is that Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who fell to No. 32 in the draft, is slotted right behind Mayfield and ahead of guys like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen

Here's the list of rookie quarterbacks (or, at least, the ones that matter):

  1. Baker Mayfield: 81 
  2. Lamar Jackson: 79
  3. Josh Rosen: 78
  4. Sam Darnold 75
  5. Josh Allen: 74

Let's move on to the rookie running backs. Leading the group, to no one's surprise, is Saquon Barkley. The rest of the list shouldn't cause any controversy:

  1. Saquon Barkley: 82
  2. Derrius Guice: 78
  3. Ronald Jones II: 77
  4. Sony Michel: 77
  5. Nick Chubb: 76

Like the running back group, the list of receivers won't make many upset because it's largely ordered similarly to how the draft played out.

  1. D.J. Moore: 77
  2. Calvin Ridley 77
  3. Dante Pettis: 76
  4. Courtland Sutton75 
  5. Anthony Miller: 74

And that brings us to the defenders. Bears inside linebacker Roquan Smith, who placed fourth overall among all rookies, leads the list and he's followed by Bradley Chubb, who placed fifth overall among all rookies. Somewhat surprisingly, Derwin James placed above Denzel Ward even though Ward got drafted 13 spots higher than James. Then again, James was considered by many to be a top-10 pick and his draft-night fall was one of the biggest surprises.

  1. Roquan Smith: 81
  2. Bradley Chubb: 80
  3. Derwin James: 80
  4. Denzel Ward: 80
  5. Vita Vea79 

So, there you have it. New players will be featured in "Madden NFL 19" and now we know just how good those players will be. That doesn't mean much of anything in terms of what's to come during the upcoming season or the rest of these young players' careers, but it'll have to hold us over until the games actually begin a couple months from now.

In the meantime, enjoy this video of the rookies predicting their ratings and then reacting to their actual rankings:

Bonus points to Josh Rosen for immediately comparing his rating to Jared Goff's.

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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