Here’s part 5 of our “Top 25 Offensive & Defensive Players of Madden 13″ feature. We check out #13-11 today.
13. WR – Andre Johnson (6’3 226)
Key Ratings: 98 AWR/98 CTH/97 RTE/98 CIT/97 BPR
Both the Madden 13 and real life versions of Andre aren’t quite as explosive and athletic as what they used to be, and a big reason for that is injuries. With Madden however, and in a single game against your friends or online, you typically don’t need to worry about that, and instead force your opponents to deal with one of the most reliable receivers in the game. He can still leap with the best of them and show off Megatron-like skills in the endzone, but he also has what it takes to go through the middle.
12. TE – Jimmy Graham (6’7 265)
Key Ratings: 93 CTH/95 CIT/91 RTE/92 JMP/92 SPC
The players at the #12 and #11 spots on this rankings list may as well call it a tie, as there’s not that much that separate the two. As an elite player at his position, Graham shows off his basketball skills in Madden 13 whenever the ball is thrown to him. Though New Orleans didn’t see the type of popularity that they’ve seen in recent years of Madden, Graham was a true #1 option and had to always be accounted for.
11. TE – Rob Gronkowski (6’6 265)
Key Ratings: 91 TRK/87 RTE/92 CTH/98 CIT/92 BPR/
Gronk narrowly beats out Jimmy Graham for the #11 spot and as the best tight end on our list this year. Graham has the slight edge in athleticism and size, but Gronkowski wins out in both catch in traffic and blocking. Tight ends were prone to getting hit as soon as they touched the ball (whether or not they’ve landed yet), and Gronkowski’s CIT made him extremely difficult to light up on streaks up the seam or on corner routes. His pass blocking and run blocking also was key in case major heat was coming your way.
13. SS – Troy Polamalu (5’10 207)
Key Ratings: 90 SPD/87 SPC/92 JMP/96 PUR/95 PRC
Ever since I could remember, Troy Polamalu has been absolute terror in Madden. In his prime, he was one of those players whose skills would just translate perfectly into Madden (Ex: Vick, Megatron, CJ2K). These days, he’s still a handful to deal with and has everything you could possibly want in a Madden safety. Speed, tackling ability, catching skills, and the awareness needed to know what’s coming before it happens. Polamalu gives Steelers users versatility as well, allowing them to use Troy to cover middle field on an island, or in the box to stop the run.
12. RE – Haloti Ngata (6’4 330)
Key Ratings: 98 STR/96 AWR/92 PMV/97 BSH/94 PRC
Madden and football fans in general are all too well acquainted with the first layer of that Ravens defense that is Haloti Ngata. His pure strength and size alone make it seem like he comes through on every single play. He’s also extremely difficult to run on. My fondest memory of Ngata comes from an online game. My opponent often threw out max coverage on third downs, only to leave Ngata as the lone rusher. Whether it’s a knock on Madden or not, Ngata came through eventually every down, and in good time too.
11. MLB – NaVorro Bowman (6’0 242)
Key Ratings: 91 ACC/98 TAK/91 POW/94 BSH/80 ZCV
The best linebacking core in the game (3-4 or 4-3) resides in San Francisco, and NaVorro Bowman is a big reason for that. Some people will say that Bowman is a product of Patrick Willis, but in my opinion, you could place Bowman on any team in real life or Madden, and he could captain that defense. Bowman is elite at every linebacking rating that’s important, and also has an impressive 80 zone coverage, which means throwing over the middle on San Fran isn’t a good choice.
Make sure to check back here on FRIDAY at Gamesided as we continue my reveal of the “Top 25 Offensive and Defensive Players of Madden 13″ list. Next up, the top 10.
Note: Kristian Cuaresma began playing Madden in 2004 when introduced to the game by a circle of friends who had their own league. He then started playing competitively in 2006, and has since competed in several tournaments (both in Canada and the US) as well as various online competitions. Highlights including finishing top 16 in Canadian Madden Challenge, as well as finishing top 32 in the 2009 MLG Online Madden Challenge.