After much anticipation, the Madden 16 video game was released last week. As expected, the individual ratings were a hot topic in the Cardinals locker room, with some players happy and others not so much. “I’ve got the full spreadsheet and I let everybody know what their ratings are,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “It’s a big thing. You grow up a gamer and then you’re finally on the game. You want to get a good rating.” Here is a look at some of the top-rated Cardinals on Madden 16:
Top overall player: Defensive end Calais Campbell (95 rating)
Campbell made his first Pro Bowl last season, and while he’s been underrated for most of his career, Madden has always been a fan. Campbell is given high marks for his agility, strength, awareness and tackling. While there are other Cardinals with lofty ratings, Campbell is the team’s clear-cut No. 1.
Honorable mention: LT Jared Veldheer (90); CB Patrick Peterson (89); G Mike Iupati (88); WR Larry Fitzgerald(87); WR Michael Floyd (86).
Campbell on being the top-ranked player: “You don’t want to talk too much trash, but you can talk a little trash to them. I can go over to Fitz and be like, ‘Hey, man, your rating score, what’s up, man? You need to step your game up a little bit.’ But they show Fitz love, too. It’s all fun and games. Madden gave me a lot of bragging rights in the locker room, so I appreciate it. Thank you very much, Madden.”
Fastest player: J.J. Nelson (96 rating)
This one is pretty easy to determine, considering Nelson ran a blistering 4.28 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting combine. He has showed off the top-flight speed in the preseason already, catching a 57-yard pass on a go-route against the Chargers. The second-fastest player on the list, though, doesn’t believe it should be all about straight-line speed.
Honorable mention: WR John Brown (94); CB Patrick Peterson (93); WR Jaron Brown (91); S Chris Clemons (91); RB Andre Ellington (90).
John Brown on Nelson getting the higher speed rating: “As far as 40 time, he deserves it since he had the fastest time at the combine. But as far as playing on the field, I think I play faster. If they had that on the Madden rating, I’d be faster than him.”
Best hands: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (93 rating)
Not a big surprise here. While some of his other skills may have lessened with age, Fitzgerald has some of the best mitts in the NFL. If the throw is in his catch radius, it’s rare to see the ball hit the turf.
Honorable mention: WR Michael Floyd (90); WR John Brown (87); CB Patrick Peterson (81); WR Jaron Brown (80)
John Brown on Fitzgerald’s velvet hands: “He makes all type of catches. Different directions. He makes the hard catches look easy. That’s the thing about Fitz. And even in practice, he’ll work his craft. He’ll make it look like how he’ll make it look in the game.”
Hit power: Safety Deone Bucannon (92 rating)
Bucannon launching with a full head of steam is scary for anyone in his path. Just ask Peterson and Campbell, each of whom has been on the wrong end of an accidental collision with Buccanon which left them hurting. He will try to save the big hits for opponents in 2015.
Honorable mention: LB LaMarr Woodley (88); S Tony Jefferson (85); S Tyrann Mathieu (84); DE Calais Campbell (84); LB Shaq Riddick (84); LB Sean Weatherspoon (84).
Linebacker Kevin Minter, whose hit power is only 78: “Deone, he does his thing, but I feel like I’m in that mix. I’m downhill. My nickname is ‘Hammer’ for a reason.”