EA Sports will release Madden 23 on August 19. The release of Madden 23 represents an exciting day for football fans and avid video game players all over the world. With the release roughly four weeks away, news regarding Madden’s ever-popular ratings is starting to trickle through social media. Debates regarding player rankings rage mercilessly on an annual basis.
With Madden 23 marking its arrival shortly, we’ve identified six rookie wide receivers and tight ends whose ratings we’re prepared to debate.
TOO LOW: CHRIS OLAVE (76), WR, SAINTS
New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis made an aggressive draft-day trade in order to move up and select Chris Olave. The Saints arguably fielded one of the league’s least attractive receiving corps last season. Retooling this group was an offseason focus for Loomis. Joining Olave in a new-look receiver room is veteran Jarvis Landry. It’s currently unclear how Landry and Michael Thomas will co-exist given their penchant for the slot, but Olave should immediately step into a starring role on the boundary. Olave is going to be a big part of New Orleans’ passing offense in 2022. His rating could skyrocket in Madden 24.
TOO LOW: DRAKE LONDON (75), WR, FALCONS
From a pure opportunity standpoint, no rookie receiver is walking into a more favorable situation than Falcons wideout Drake London. London is already the unquestioned No. 1 receiver in Atlanta’s in-transition offense. Sophomore tight end Kyle Pitts will see more targets than London, but the former USC product has the clearest of paths to a starting role. Falcons General Manager Terry Fontenot drafted London with a top-10 selection and is expecting an immediate payoff. The towering London will soon be making highlight-reel catches on Sunday. Flirting with a 1,000-yard rookie season is very much in the cards for London. A 75 rating is too low.
TOO HIGH: GARRETT WILSON (76), WR, JETS
Garrett Wilson is walking into an offense with plenty of mouths to feed. It could make his initial rating of 76, among the best of all rookie pass-catchers, feel a tad generous. Wilson certainly has the abilities to make an instant impact in New York’s new-look passing attack, but how offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur distributes his passing-game targets among Wilson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios, C.J. Uzomah, and Tyler Conklin is worth monitoring before we saddle Wilson with such high expectations. An improved rushing attack featuring Breece Hall and Michael Carter also means Wilson’s year-one statistical output probably won’t exceed expectations.
TOO HIGH: GEORGE PICKENS (74), WR, STEELERS
The Steelers have an excellent track record when it comes to drafting wide receivers. Ironically, that’s partially why we feel George Pickens’ rating is slightly favorable. At best, Pickens is Pittsburgh’s No. 3 receiver behind Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson. Tight end Pat Freiermuth should also see more targets than Pickens does on a weekly basis. Furthermore, Pittsburgh’s offense is expected to remain a run-heavy unit with another year of uncertainty under center. Pittsburgh’s offense will revolve around the dual-threat Najee Harris, who also promises to eat into Pickens’ target share. We remain high on Pickens, but his rating is too similar to Olave and London, whose situations are considerably more favorable.
TOO HIGH: TREY MCBRIDE (73), TE, CARDINALS
Trey McBride was arguably the most pro-ready tight end in the 2022 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4 McBride led all tight ends in receptions (90), yards (1,121), and yards per game (93.4) in the nation en route to earning college football’s Mackey Award (given to the nation’s top tight end). McBride’s landing spot may unfortunately prevent him from making a sizable year-one impact, though. McBride was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, who already have Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams at tight end. Furthermore, McBride’s in-line blocking remains a work in progress. The Cardinals have a plan for McBride, but it likely doesn’t include much production or playing time in 2022, making this rating feel slightly generous.
TOO LOW: JELANI WOODS (69), TE, COLTS
Jelani Woods was one of the more impressive tight end prospects throughout the pre-draft process. Woods rose from being a relatively unknown commodity to a top-ranking tight end thanks to favorable showings at the NFL Scouting Combine and East-West Shrine Game. Woods was ultimately drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and there isn’t much standing in the way of him becoming an immediate contributor. Woods is expected to begin the season playing behind veteran Mo Alie-Cox, who has never recorded more than 31 receptions and 394 receiving yards in a single campaign. Colts Head Coach Frank Reich is still searching for difference-makers behind Michael Pittman Jr. in the passing game. Woods can be the answer.
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