It’s a slow time of the year when it comes to actual football, but the video game world for the NFL is inching closer and closer. Anyone who A) enjoys sports and B) enjoys video games, will be all over EA Sports Madden 20 when it is released on August 2nd. Madden selected Patrick Mahomes as their cover athlete for the 2020 version of the game, so pretty much it was nice knowing you Patrick Mahomes. While that’s good news for the Cowboys who hope to make it to the Super Bowl this season, let’s see how Madden graded out some of Dallas’ key contributors and just how fair they were giving out ratings.
The 90’s Club
The Cowboys saw five of their players given a “90” overall rating or better in Madden 20, which is tied for the most in this years game with the Philadelphia Eagles. For the most part, the players that received a 90+ grade from the Madden evaluators were pretty easy to figure out, but one of the five is a bit of a surprise.
- Zack Martin - RG - 96 OVR - RG1
- Ezekiel Elliott - RB - 94 OVR - RB2
- Travis Frederick - OC - 94 OVR - OC1
- Tyron Smith - LT - 94 OVR - LT3
- Byron Jones - CB - 91 OVR - CB5
As mentioned above, it was probably fairly easy to guess who the first four on this list would be. But seeing Byron Jones on here surprised me quite a bit. Madden is normally pretty harsh with their ratings, so to see Jones, essentially a first-year cornerback, receive such a high grade after the past season at CB is pretty awesome. All five players listed above were ranked in the top five at their respected position, and when comparing each player to the players ranked in front of, and behind them, it seems to be that the Madden talent evaluators did a nice job ranking the Cowboys top five players in Madden 20.
The New Faces
The Cowboys brought in a bunch of new faces this year via free agency to help get this team over the top. Players such as Randall Cobb and Robert Quinn used to be some of the highest-rated players in the game in previous years, but due to age and drop of production, some of these players saw their rating dip in the 2020 version of the game. Here’s how the Cowboys free agency acquisitions were rated according to Madden.
- Randall Cobb - WR - 80 OVR
- Robert Quinn - RE - 78 OVR
- George Iloka - SS - 73 OVR
- Kerry Hyder - LE - 70 OVR
- Devin Smith - WR - 67 OVR
While Randall Cobb was the only player to receive a grade at or above 80 overall, the Cowboys free agent class received an average rating of 73.6. Madden graded Cobb as the team's second-best WR behind Amari Cooper, Quinn as the team's second-best RE behind Tyrone Crawford, and Iloka was given the same rating as Jeff Heath. While Quinn’s grade was probably a little lower than what I would have given, it’s hard to argue with any of these ratings given the players age and production over the last season or two.
I’d imagine one of the hardest things to do when rankings players in the video game is giving rookies ratings before they ever step foot on the football field. NFL Draft evaluators have the gift of time on their side when giving out grades to rookies entering the NFL. Draft grades are given with the idea in mind that in year-one, said player could struggle, but by year three he’ll be this caliber of player. In Madden ratings, video gamers are expecting player ratings to be somewhat close to the caliber of the real life players.
Dallas did not have a first-round pick, so it’d be silly to expect to see any of their draft picks towards the top of the list of grades given out to the rookies. Here’s how Madden viewed the Cowboys draft/UDFAs from a Madden ratings perspective.
- Trysten Hill - DT - 72 OVR
- Tony Pollard - RB - 68 OVR
- Michael Jackson Sr. - CB - 66 OVR
- Joe Jackson - RE - 64 OVR
- Connor McGovern - RG - 64 OVR
- Mike Weber - RB - 64 OVR
- Daniel Wise - DT - 62 OVR
- Jalen Jelks - LE - 61 OVR
- Donovan Wilson - SS - 60 OVR
- Brandon Knight - RT - 53 OVR
For a team that drafted without a first-round pick, these ratings are pretty strong. The Cowboys first pick, Trysten Hill, received a 72 overall rating at the defensive tackle position, which ranked sixth highest out of rookie defensive tackles in Madden 20. Tony Pollard’s grade was also very high for a fourth-round pick running back. Pollard’s 68 overall ranking landed him as the 11th highest-ranked rookie RB in the game.
There aren’t many players this year that I feel were given an unfair grade. The few that may have gotten shafted a little bit were DeMarcus Lawrence at 89 overall, and Xavier Woods at 77 overall. While it’s nothing major, these two players should have been given a slightly higher grade based on their performances in 2018.
Overall, Cowboys fans should be pleased with how Madden 20 rated the players in this years game. In Madden’s eyes, they view the Cowboys as one of the most talented teams in the NFL both at the top of their roster, and depth wise.