Inside the Panthers

‘Madden NFL 18’ rookie ratings just might have dissed the Panthers’ top draft pick

Christian McCaffrey shows speed and elusiveness

Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler discusses rookie running back Christian McCaffrey's speed and elusiveness around the big bodies in the middle on the second day of camp. Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer
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Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler discusses rookie running back Christian McCaffrey's speed and elusiveness around the big bodies in the middle on the second day of camp. Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer

While there’s plenty of real-life drama and questions surrounding the Carolina Panthers, the video-gaming world offers some Panthers-related plot of its own.

The “Madden NFL 18” ratings for rookies taken in the first round of the NFL draft were released this week. At least one reviewer expressed surprise that the top two running backs in the draft – the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette and the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey – didn’t top the Madden rankings.

“There is a reason they are the two top favorites to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year,” notes Will Brinson, a senior NFL writer at CBS Sports. Running backs “are going to have the most success as rookies in the NFL relative to other positions.”

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The top two running backs in the real NFL draft –the Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey (22) and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette – didn’t top the Madden NFL 18 rankings. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

However, the top rookie in the Madden ratings was the top guy in the real draft as well. That’s Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who earned an 83 overall ranking in Madden’s alternate world.

Brinson points out Garrett’s 83 – though it matches the rating of last season’s NFL defensive rookie of the year Joey Bosa – would not have made the top five last year. That’s a reason to question the ratings for Fournette and McCaffrey. Here’s another.

A tight end, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ O.J. Howard, though selected just 19th overall in the real draft, scored an 82 overall rating from Madden to come in second. Rookie tight ends don’t always make a quick adjustment to the NFL. Howard, however, enters the NFL “with decent blocking numbers for a rookie TE” according to the Madden website.

LSU’s Fournette and Stanford’s McCaffrey scored an 81, part of a three-way tie for third with strong safety Jamal Adams, the New York Jets’ top pick.

Despite the rating, McCaffrey draws high praise on the Madden site from Daniel Williams.

“From the looks of it, he’ll ... shake up your Madden gameplay,” Williams reports. “With great base stats, McCaffrey could end up being a crucial cog in your Madden game plan.”

Bears Trubinsky Football
Former North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubiskey, the 2nd overall pick in the NFL draft, tied for 12th in Madden NFL 18 rookie ratings Nam Y. Huh AP

CAROLINAS PLAYERS

Sporting News has the full Madden ratings for all the first-round draft picks.

Three players from schools in the Carolinas were taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Here’s their Madden rating:

▪  Former Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams (Los Angeles Chargers, 7th overall in the NFL draft, tied for 6th in Madden) notched a 79 rating from Madden.

▪  Former North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubiskey (Chicago Bears, 2nd NFL, tied for 12th in Madden) earned a 77 Madden rating. Perhaps this is a real diss.

▪  Former Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson (Houston Texans, 12th NFL, tied for 15th Madden) fell just behind him at 76.

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