The folks at Madden are publishing on a daily basis the initial ratings at the various positions for the upcoming edition of the game. (For those of us who play Ultimate Team, all that matters is our collection current and historical 99s will soon give way to 59s. Again.)
At edge rusher, the folks at EA Sports have spotted no 99s.
Myles Garrett of the Browns ranks first with a 98. Next comes Khalil Mack of the Bears, at 96. Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt is third at 94. Chandler Jones of the Cardinals (for now) is fourth, also at 94. Next comes J.J. Watt of the Cardinals, who is a lot more than an edge rusher, at 94.
Cam Jordan of the Saints is sixth at 93, Broncos linebacker Von Miller is seventh at 93. The Bosa brothers, Joey and Nick of the Chargers and 49ers, respectively, are eight and ninth, respectively, with a 92 and 90, respectively. Then comes Za’Darius Smith of the Packers, at 89.
Watt arguably should be higher. Trey Hendrickson, now of the Bengals and who had 13.5 sacks last year (tied for No. 2 in the NFL), could feel snubbed. Ditto for Haason Reddick, now of the Panthers.
And where’s Chase Young of the WFT? Sure, he had only eight sacks as a rookie. But he won the defensive player of the year award, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be great this year.
Ultimately meaningless, these rankings take on meaning to the extent that they give players a little extra external motivation.