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Every video gaming sports fan is eagerly awaiting the return of EA Sports' College Football 25 later this summer, but don't forget about Madden NFL. The iconic video game is gearing up for its latest iteration and we'll soon get a better grasp of what the game will actually look like, specifically the cover. On Friday, Madden NFL announced on X that they will reveal their newest cover athlete on Tuesday, June 11. 

That got us wondering who it could be. As we await the official announcement from EA Sports, we're going to roll through our top five candidates and make the case why they deserve to grace the cover of Madden NFL 25.  

5. Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

A defensive player hasn't been on the cover since Richard Sherman in Madden NFL 15, so it does seem like that side of the ball is due for a player to land the honor. What better a player than Aaron Donald, who announced his retirement earlier this offseason. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is arguably the greatest defensive player to ever play the game and this would be a fantastic way to send him off into the sunset. EA Sports could even reprise its "G.O.A.T. Edition" with Donald like they did with Tom Brady in Madden NFL 18. 

4. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Justin Jefferson
MIN • WR • #18
REC YDs1074
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Jefferson is widely regarded as the top wide receiver in the NFL and just got a monster extension that makes him the highest-paid non-QB in the league to prove it. The start of his career has been nothing short of historic. The 24-year-old has the most receiving yards (5,899) and 100-yard receiving games (29) through the first four years of a career in league history. Jefferson has the flash, name recognition and production to be a sure-fire candidate for the cover and would be the first wide receiver to land the cover since Antonio Brown in Madden NFL 19. 

3. Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

Christian McCaffrey
SF • RB • #23
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McCaffrey would be an ideal selection. He's one of the more recognizable superstars in the NFL, a fantasy football stud and arguably the best running back in football. That's a recipe for a Madden cover athlete if I've ever seen one. The Niners star is coming off a 2023 season where he won the league's Offensive Player of the Year award after leading the league in total yards from scrimmage (2,023) and total touchdowns (21). That type of season would seem to set the stage to land the Madden NFL 25 cover. If you've played Madden in recent years, you also know that McCaffrey is one of the most fun backs to use. 

He'd be the first running back to score the cover since Adrian Peterson and Barry Sanders donned it in the 25th anniversary edition that came out in 2013.

2. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

C.J. Stroud
HOU • QB • #7
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The Madden NFL cover is a lot like the MVP award -- it's quarterback-driven. Four of the last five covers were headlined by quarterbacks. So, we couldn't go much further through this list without at least highlighting one possible signal-caller who could be the cover athlete. While there are a handful of worthy candidates, C.J. Stroud is the most intriguing. The former No. 2 overall pick is coming off one of the most impressive rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. 

Stroud was the youngest starting quarterback to win a playoff game as he took the Texans to an AFC South title and a win over the Browns during Super Wild Card Weekend in Year 1. During that season, he also set a record for the most passing yards in a single game by a rookie (470) and tied the rookie record for most passing touchdowns (five) in a single game. While it's still very early in his career, Stroud is about as exciting of a quarterback prospect that we have in the NFL and the next step in his ascension to superstardom could very well be the Madden NFL cover.

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Travis Kelce
KC • TE • #87
REC YDs984
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I mean, you've had to have seen this coming, right? Over the last calendar year or so, Travis Kelce went from being one of the NFL's greatest tight ends to bursting into the mainstream as an outright A-list celebrity. That's largely thanks to his relationship with Taylor Swift, but Kelce continues to put himself in the discussion as the greatest tight end of all time and he's hoisting Lombardi Trophies in the process. Kelce and the Chiefs are coming off their second consecutive Super Bowl title and his stock has never been higher. In fact, he's probably the most recognizable non-quarterback in the NFL. Given his level of fame at the moment and his status as a clear-cut Hall of Famer, he's a no-brainer favorite to be the cover athlete.