The official release of Madden 25 is less than 12 hours away, so that’s our cue to round off the final reveal of our list.
For insight on my assessment criteria/explanation in regards to the creation of the list, click here.
Here’s what the top 25 looks like up to this point:
25. Vernon Davis
24. Devin Hester
23. Julio Jones
22. DeSean Jackson
21. Dez Bryant
20. LeSean McCoy
19. Marshawn Lynch
18. Brandon Marshall
17. Jamaal Charles
16. Michael Vick
15. A.J. Green
14. Russell Wilson
13. Andre Johnson
12. Jimmy Graham
11. Rob Gronkowski
10. Peyton Manning
9. Colin Kaepernick
8. Chris Johnson
25. Sean Lee
24. Ray Lewis
23. Thomas Howard
22. Johnathan Joseph
21. Ndamukong Suh
20. Geno Atkins
19. Brian Orakpo
18. Bruce Irvin
17. Aldon Smith
16. Jason Pierre-Paul
15. Brandon Browner
14. Von Miller
13. Troy Polamalu
12. Haloti Ngata
11. NaVorro Bowman
10. Vince Wilfork
9. Champ Bailey
8. Clay Matthews
7. HB – Arian Foster (6’1 229)
Key Ratings: 92 SPD/96 TRK/96 JKM/93 CAR/79 CTH
Vegan diet or not, Arian Foster is perhaps the most complete back in Madden. Power running, beating a defender to the outside, receiving, and pass blocking – he can do it all. Playing behind an offensive line specially built to clear the path, Foster often doesn’t need to worry about holes closing quickly. Regardless, the game has a done a great job at capturing his quickness and cutbacks. And with zone running being introduced in Madden, sky’s the limit for Foster.
6. QB – Aaron Rodgers (6’2 225)
Key Ratings: 80 SPD/95 THP/95 SAC/87 MAC/87 DAC
Rodgers had a rough year last season, but the discount double check celebrations were plenty in the Madden world. It could be argued that he should be higher on this list, but he is where he is because we’ve seen better Madden incarnation of Rodgers before. Either way, we’re entering a territory where everyone left on the list can do it all, and Rodgers isn’t an exception to that rule. He’s got Manning’s rocket laser arm and the quickness to leave defenders behind, backed up with a receiving core that would make any team jealous.
5. HB – Ray Rice (5’8 212)
Key Ratings: 91 SPD/95 ACC/94 SPM/94 CAR/82 CTH
Just in like in the real NFL, you’ve typically got to be able to air it out in order to be successful over a long period of time. But in Baltimore, the man that makes everything click isn’t the quarterback made of money, it’s Ray Rice. For some reason, in my personal experience with Madden 13, it seemed like Rice never fumbled the ball. What made Rice even more dangerous was fullback Vonta Leach. Stuck defending the Ravens with only 1 yard to spare? Might as well just prepare for the next play, because you’re giving up that 1 yard.
4. WR – Calvin Johnson (6’5 236)
Key Ratings: 95 SPD/97 CTH/96 RTE/99 BRP/99 JMP
Megatron is the elite of the elite, and easily was the best wideout in Madden 13. Go on, play Revis on him, or that created player corner you just made, and Calvin will still get open. Double team, put a safety over the top, and he’ll still make the play. Anyone with even the slightest bit of user skills could turn Calvin into more of an unstoppable force than he already was. The only question that remains now: Is Calvin Johnson the most dominant wide receiver in Madden history?
3. QB – Tom Brady (6’4 225)
Key Ratings: 99 AWR/95 THP/96 SAC/92 MAC/82 DAC
Play with any other QB in Madden 13 for a couple of games, and then play one with Tom Brady. The difference is substantial, and it makes sense, Brady is the best quarterback in Madden 13. I’m not sure what it is, but his ratings don’t seem to match up with his throwing abilities. Perhaps it’s like that to make up for his wideouts that aren’t Madden spectacular? Regardless, Brady did have the short and medium throwing ratings to best make use of Gronkowski and Hernandez. We’ll see how he does in Madden 25.
2. HB – Adrian Peterson (6’1 217)
Key Ratings: 98 SPD/98 ACC/98 TRK/97 ELU/97 SFA
It was a difficult decision, but Adrian “All Day” Peterson will concede the #1 spot on this list and take the respectable #2 slot. However, this is not taking away from Peterson, he is truly the ultimate running back in Madden 13. As the Vikings’ personal one man wrecking crew, it was always frustrating attempting to stop him. You knew what was coming if the Vikings came out in strong close, but there still wasn’t anything you could do about it. Being able to sidestep a defender out of his shoes, and then following it up with trucking a safety over is as satisfying as it gets in Madden, and that’s a typical play for Adrian.
1. QB – Robert Griffin III (6’2 223)
Key Ratings: 92 SPD/95 THP/88 SAC/87 MAC/85 DAC
And the best offensive player of Madden 13 goes to none other than rookie sensation Robert Griffin III. Griffin is the closest thing we have ever seen to prime Madden Michael Vick, who is consistently seen as the greatest Madden quarterback of all time. And just like Vick, Griffin makes opponents rage quite like no other. His ability to run the various QB wrap plays and make every throw in the game make the elusive quarterback the ultimate nightmare. With the enhanced running and option controls in Madden 25, expect Griffin to continue his Madden dominance.
7. DE – Julius Peppers (6’7 287)
Key Ratings: 85 SPD/96 ACC/97 FMV/91 PUR/88 POW
Remember all those defensive end/outside linebacker hybrids we mentioned earlier on in the list? Well, here’s the equivalent but in a 6’7 frame. Towering over the offense, Peppers wrecks havoc on that Bears defensive line and must always be accounted for. He doesn’t have the speed and rushing moves like he used to, but Peppers always finds a way to get to the ball. With his height, it’s also difficult to throw on him should he be placed into coverage. Peppers is an all-time Madden great, and rightfully so.
6. CB – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (6’2 182)
Key Ratings: 98 SPD/96 AGI/73 CTH/99 JMP/88 MCV
Remember when Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, and DRC joined forces on the Eagles? Who would’ve thought that Rodgers-Cromartie would end up being the most successful Madden player of the bunch? For most top players who use the Eagles, DRC is their most dangerous weapon because of the amount of space he can cover. Whether he’s being used as corner, safety, or as blitzer, DRC gets to his spot, and he gets there quick. His 99 jump rating and 6’2 frame also makes it very difficult to beat him deep or on corners as well.
5. DE – JJ Watt (6’5 288)
Key Ratings: 971 CTH/82 JMP/95 TAK/99PMV/98 BSH
The reigning defensive MVP finally makes his appearance on our list as one of the fastest rising stars in the NFL. It only seemed like yesterday that Texans fans and media all over North American were criticizing the Houston Texans for selecting the Wisconsin Badger. But today, JJ Watt is a major annoyance to quarterbacks everywhere. His swatting antics have even made their way into game, with EA implementing the animation that ruins what could have been a perfect out route or drag over the middle.
4. CB – Richard Sherman (6’3 195)
Key Ratings: 91 SPD/97 JMP/98 MCV/88 ZCV/97 PRS
Richard Sherman is officially my best cornerback of Madden 13, and one part of that terrifying Seattle Seahawks defense. Though he doesn’t have the top end speed that DRC has, Sherman more than makes up for it with his elite man coverage rating. On top of that, good luck performing a streak anyways with Sherman’s 97 press coverage. And then let’s say the Seattle blitz doesn’t get to you in time and you do take off in a foot race, your quarterback is still going to have to make perfect throw over the extremely athletic Sherman too. I know- a lot of things have to go right.
3. ROLB – Demarcus Ware (6’4 260)
Key Ratings: 86 SPD/97 ACC/98 PMV/95 FMV/92 BSH
The Dallas Cowboys may not have performed as expected in the NFL, but in Madden, they continued to be an upper echelon team. Their elite offense and more than capable defense was a reason for that, and Demarcus Ware was one that defensive unit’s leaders. Ware has that perfect combination of power and finesse when engaging offensive linemen, but he also has that speed burst that make him deadly on properly adjusted blitzes. As a bonus, Ware is also fantastic in coverage.
2. FS – Ed Reed (5’11 200)
Key Ratings: 90 SPD/98 AWR/90 JKM/79 CTH/95 PRC/87 ZCV
Football fans know how the saying goes: Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the rest of it is covered by Ed Reed. Extremely removed from being the new kid on the block, Reed is still as deadly as ever in Madden. He’s the sole reason why players have to think twice about throwing the ball anywhere where Reed is in the vicinity. Reed’s awareness and play recognition ratings almost make it seem like he magically teleports to the ball when it’s in mid-air.
1. MLB – Patrick Willis (6’1 240)
Key Ratings: 90 SPD/96 TAK/98 POW/98 BSH/98 PUR
Here’s the easiest piece of advice you can ever give to a Madden gamer: Stay away from Patrick Willis. Even if your receiver looks like he’s open, don’t throw it that way. If it’s unavoidable, then drop to ground as soon as you catch it. On runs, don’t try to juke or truck him, just hold onto the ball and pray. Willis is a cheat code. He’s a fumble inducing, ball hawking, tackling machine of a cheat code. Willis looks and hits like a linebacker, but he also covers like a safety. It’s…just stay away from Willis.
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. You can catch him playing Madden 25 on Xbox Live under the gamertag: kingskross3dot0