George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers (90 OVR)
The first player that leaps off the page as being underrated by Madden 20 is San Francisco’s athletic marvel George Kittle. 2018 was just his second season in the NFL, and even with starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo getting hurt Kittle was still a terror on the field that defenses had no answer for.
He racked up 88 catches for a massive 1,377 yards and 5 touchdowns with backups throwing him the ball. Kittle’s biggest asset was his work with the ball in his hands as he piled up a record 873 yards after the catch. These numbers alone should be enough to make Kittle a strong 94+ OVR, but instead he is sat at 90, and the 4th highest TE.
The biggest issue with Kittle’s stats are the lack of open field strengths. His speed (88) is nice but his elusiveness (69), juke move (77), and stiff arm (75) are far from elite for a player that regularly carved up defenses. At least his catching (91) and run blocking (78) are good.
READ MORE: Top rookie quarterbacks on Madden 20
Derwin James, SS, Los Angeles Chargers (86 OVR)
Derwin James entered the NFL as the 17th overall pick in the 2018 draft and had an immediate impact on the Chargers defense. He was a do-it-all player and picked off 3 passes, got 3.5 sacks, and over 100 tackles in a regular season performance that saw him named to the First Team All-Pro, a very rare thing for a rookie.
James’ reward from Madden 20 was a launch rating of 86, putting him 7th among strong safeties behind players like Keanu Neal, who played just 1 game in 2018, and 31-year-old Malcolm Jenkins who has never been an All-Pro.
James came 33rd in Pro Football Focus’ top 101 players of 2018, ahead of many 95+ OVR rated players. but at least Madden 20 has accurately rated his hit power (91) and acceleration (92).
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (85 OVR)
This one was a shocker. Ben Roethlisberger is a 2-time Super Bowl winner and led the NFL in passing yards (5,129) last season. He’s almost a lock for the Hall of Fame when he eventually retires and has shown no signs of slowing down, posting a career-best 67 percent completion rate in 2018 while maintaining a strong yards per attempt total (7.6).
Big Ben comes into Madden 20 as the 9th best quarterback, which isn’t bad, but there is a massive gulf between the #8 QB Matt Ryan (89 OVR) and Roethlisberger. If EA Sports are set on making a tangible gap between a 90 OVR and an 89 OVR player than the gap from Roethlisberger to Ryan will be a chasm, and that’s just wrong.
Ryan is indeed a better quarterback, but not by a big distance, and Roethlisberger is far better and well-established than young players like Jared Goff (83 OVR) and Baker Mayfield (83 OVR). At least Ben’s throw power (91), strength (82), and accuracy (89 short, 89 medium, 87 deep) should be able to keep the Steelers competitive at the top of the AFC.
READ MORE: Top rated rookies in Madden 20
Chandler Jones, ROLB, Arizona Cardinals (82 OVR)
Chandler Jones has long been an underrated player. He went from a cog in the Patriots machine to an ignored star in Arizona, but he has been a sack-machine in the NFL for a while now. In 2017 Jones led the NFL is sacks (17) and tackles for loss (28) and he backed that up with 13 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 2018 even as the Cardinals defense disintegrated around him.
In Madden 20 Jones’ 82 OVR puts him 17th in outside linebackers, behind fossils like Terrell Suggs (83 OVR) and Lorenzo Alexander (82 OVR) who can’t come close to matching Jones’ pass rush impact in the last few years.
Jones’ tackling (85), power moves (84), and hit power (80) are all good, as is his acceleration (86) and awareness (86), making the low OVR even more surprising.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons (79 OVR)
The Atlanta Falcons offense is no longer just Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, but you wouldn’t know that from Calvin Ridley’s Madden 20 rating.
Ridley was the 26th overall pick last year for the Falcons and quickly paid dividends, bringing in 64 catches for 821 yards (12.8 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns, which is enormous for a rookie. Ridley also had some monster games, including a 146-yard, 3-touchdown performance against the Saints and 3 catches for 90 yards and a score in a win over Carolina.
That he comes into Madden 20 ranked below the likes of Ted Ginn Jr (80 OVR) and Marqise Lee (80 OVR) is awful. There is a big gap in the wide receiver rankings, with no one being ranked 84 to 81 OVR, but Ridley certainly deserves to be in that range, he should not be so far behind the likes of Golden Tate (85 OVR) and Allen Robinson (86 OVR).
With terrific speed (93) and acceleration (93) as well as strong route-running (82 short, 83 medium, 84 deep) Ridley should be able to perform well on the field despite his poor OVR.
Do you agree with our picks? Who do you think is underrated in Madden 20’s launch ratings? Let us know in the comments below!