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Assembling the ultimate All-Ohio State ‘Madden NFL 18’ team

Madden features more than 40 playable former Buckeyes.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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

Name Position Team Overall Speed Acceleration Strength Agility Awareness
Name Position Team Overall Speed Acceleration Strength Agility Awareness
Ezekiel Elliott RB Cowboys 90 92 91 81 94 90
Joey Bosa LE Chargers 88 80 87 82 85 82
Malcolm Jenkins SS Eagles 85 85 91 67 90 88
Michael Thomas WR Saints 84 89 92 71 91 87
Andrew Norwell LG Panthers 84 62 74 87 49 89
Carlos Hyde RB 49ers 83 88 90 81 91 84
Terrelle Pryor WR Redskins 83 91 91 74 89 86
Jack Mewhort LG Colts 82 60 74 89 53 83
Taylor Decker LT Lions 82 65 79 90 61 86
Corey Linsley C Packers 82 71 80 91 66 88
Ryan Shazier MLB Steelers 81 90 90 83 88 82
Cameron Heyward LE Steelers 81 72 79 90 72 87
Ted Ginn Jr. WR Saints 79 93 93 45 93 86
John Simon ROLB Colts 79 82 80 82 73 77
Alex Boone LG Vikings 79 64 79 90 55 83
Kurt Coleman SS Panthers 78 85 90 58 81 87
Philly Brown WR Bills 77 90 94 39 92 83
Eli Apple CB Giants 77 92 92 67 90 71
Bradley Roby CB Broncos 77 93 92 60 91 74
Marshon Lattimore CB Saints 76 94 94 71 91 63
Malik Hooker FS Colts 76 88 91 76 88 68
Johnathan Hankins DT Colts 76 61 79 93 64 82
Gareon Conley CB Raiders 75 90 93 73 88 67
Vonn Bell FS Saints 74 88 89 67 85 78
Jeff Heuerman TE Broncos 74 79 87 75 74 63
Braxton Miller WR Texans 73 91 92 68 94 63
Curtis Samuel WR Panthers 73 95 93 58 91 69
Pat Elflein C Vikings 73 62 76 88 59 71
Raekwon McMillan ROLB Dolphins 72 85 87 83 81 64
Darron Lee MLB Jets 72 87 88 72 89 74
Adolphus Washington DT Bills 71 71 83 75 77 67
Devin Smith WR Jets 70 91 90 62 89 65
Nick Vannett TE Seahawks 70 76 83 73 81 50
Jalin Marshall WR Jets 69 87 89 69 87 63
Joshua Perry ROLB Chargers 68 83 87 77 75 58
Noah Brown WR Cowboys 67 87 88 72 87 52
Michael Bennett DT Jaguars 67 71 82 79 68 65
Doran Grant CB Jaguars 66 90 92 76 84 50
Cardale Jones QB Chargers 66 81 85 76 78 62
Nate Ebner FS Patriots 65 87 90 78 86 62
Rod Smith RB Cowboys 63 86 88 80 82 57
Tyvis Powell SS Colts 60 91 89 69 87 47
Curtis Grant MLB Giants 60 82 87 76 75 56
Chase Farris RG Patriots 59 64 77 77 64 44
Jake McQuaide TE Rams 44 68 84 72 68 65

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.

Offense

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

Offensive Line

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.

Defense

Defensive 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

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.