It’s that time of year again, friends.
Madden season is upon us.
The latest installment of sports fans’
favorite only football game hit stores today with a promise to be the best version yet.
But you know what else Madden NFL 18 has to offer?
Buckeyes. Lots and lots of Buckeyes.
This year, Madden will feature at least 46 playable former Ohio State alumni. Their ratings range from Ezekiel Elliott (90 overall) and Joey Bosa (88), to Curtis Grant (60) and Jake McQuaide (44).
Here’s a complete list in descending order:
Former Buckeyes Madden NFL 18 Ratings
|Ted Ginn Jr.||WR||Saints||79||93||93||45||93||86|
I, for one, can’t wait to play with McQuaide (he actually was elected to the Pro Bowl last season).
Given the awesome amount of OSU players, we decided to put together a legit Madden 18 dream team of Buckeyes. Some slots were easier to fill (Cardale Jones is your quarterback, folks), while others required serious thought.
Let’s take a look at the All-Buckeye Madden squad.
QB: Cardale Jones
The only quarterback in Madden from OSU, Cardale Jones may be rated a 66 overall, but his throw power (96) and accuracy (71) aren’t too shabby. I’ll take a semi-mobile, inconsistent passer with a rocket for an arm any day.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott
Who needs a quarterback when you have Ezekiel Elliott lining up in the backfield? He’s the fifth-highest rated running back (90) in the game and is backed up by former Buckeye teammate Carlos Hyde (83). Good luck slowing these two down.
Backups: Carlos Hyde
FB: Rod Smith
Technically, Rod Smith isn’t a fullback anymore, but his 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame and strength rating (80) make him a perfect candidate to clear lanes as a blocker and split out wide as a pass-catcher.
WR: Michael Thomas
A quarterback rated 66 overall should have no problem throwing to stud second-year wideout Michael Thomas. @Cantguardmike’s historic rookie campaign earned him an 84 overall rating, not to mention a 91 catch rating. Behind Thomas waits Ted Ginn Jr. and Braxton Miller.
Backups: Ted Ginn Jr., Braxton Miller
WR: Terrelle Pryor
What a difference a year makes, huh? Terrelle Pryor’s pro career appeared to be floundering before the 2016 season began, and boy did he change that in a hurry. Pryor legitimized himself as a playmaker at receiver and his 83 overall rating is well-deserved.
Backups: Philly Brown, Noah Brown
TE: Jeff Heuerman
Another pair of former teammates in Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett reunite to form a solid duo at tight end. The steady, reliable Heuerman (79 catch rating) gets the nod over Vannett here.
Backups: Nick Vannett
An offensive line featuring nothing but Buckeyes is just unfair in Madden. We penciled in Taylor Decker (82 overall) at left tackle as he heads into Year Two, with Andrew Norwell (84) and Jack Mewhort (82) holding things down at guard.
Corey Linsley (82) fills out the interior at center. The only player with an overall rating under 80 is Alex Boone (79), who we moved to right tackle instead of his natural position at guard. Rookie Pat Elflein (73) provides good depth and rounds out an excellent O-line.
Joey Bosa starts us off here up front on defense. He’s rated as an 88 overall for a reason and anchors the defensive line. Veteran Cameron Heyward (81) mirrors him at the opposite end. Both Johnathan Hankins (76) and Adolphus Washington (71) compliment Bosa and Heyward nicely in the trenches.
Backups: Michael Bennett
OLB: Darron Lee
This could’ve been a toss-up between rookie Raekwon McMillan and second-year Darron Lee (both are rated 72 overall), but a season-ending injury to McMillan cleared that decision right up. Lee’s 80 tackling rating, coupled with his sideline-to-sideline speed (87) and acceleration (88), make him a great player to user-control.
Backups: Joshua Perry
MLB: Ryan Shazier
On the other hand, you could play with this guy. Few linebackers in all of Madden are as athletic as 81 overall Ryan Shazier, who has a 90 in both speed and acceleration, as well as an 88 in agility.
Backups: Curtis Grant
OLB: John Simon
Remember John Simon? If you haven’t kept tabs on his NFL career, let me fill you in: he good. Simon has grown as a productive role player and his 79 overall rating proves as much.
CB: Bradley Roby
The top cornerback on the team is Bradley Roby and his surprisingly low 77 overall rating. His primary backup is 2017 first-round pick Marshon Lattimore (76), who’s rated just a hair shy of Roby.
Backups: Marshon Lattimore
CB: Eli Apple
It was a tale of two rookie seasons for Eli Apple (77 overall) in 2016 and it reflects in Madden. Apple’s 6-foot-1, 200-pound rangy size contrasts well with his man coverage (81) and zone coverage (77) ratings.
Backups: Gareon Conley, Doran Grant
FS: Malik Hooker
Although it was tempting to slide Kurt Coleman over here from strong safety, I have confidence in star rookie Malik Hooker holding his own as a starter. He’s a 76 overall and has an 81 zone coverage rating with all-around athleticism that makes him an ideal user-controlled player.
Backups: Vonn Bell
SS: Malcolm Jenkins
Outside of Bosa, no other defender on this team is as impactful and disruptive as 85 overall Malcolm Jenkins. He’s one of the best safeties in Madden and is anything but easy to throw at due to his play recognition (88) and zone coverage (75) ratings. Coleman (78 overall) is as capable a backup as you’ll find.
Backups: Kurt Coleman
Malcolm Jenkins : 6 tackles & 2 INT's including a 34-yard pick 6 pic.twitter.com/SCXzuuvFSt— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) December 23, 2016
K: Mike Nugent
It remains to be seen if he’ll actually make an NFL roster or not, and that’s fine. This is Madden and it doesn’t matter if veteran Mike Nugent finds a home in the league. He’s the only kicker from OSU in the game this year.
P: Cameron Johnston
An undrafted rookie punter that won’t start the season? Count us in. Like Nugent, Cameron Johnston is the lone Buckeye punter in Madden. Johnston averaged 46.7 yards per punt in 2016 and was named the Eddleman-Fields Big Ten Punter of the Year.
KR/PR: Curtis Samuel
We have a couple options for return specialist on this team. Ginn and Corey 'Philly' Brown are both explosive and can obviously field kickoffs and punts. How could I turn down rookie Curtis Samuel, though? His 95 speed rating, 93 acceleration, and 91 agility are too much to ignore.