header decal

Madden

06 Jul 2018

Madden 19 Cover Vote: 10 prospects likely to be the cover star

Madden 19 Cover Vote: 10 prospects likely to be the cover
star

Madden 19 is only a month away, and yet the cover athlete is still unknown. We predict the player who deserves this great honor.

Jump To
link decal

Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars

link decal

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

link decal

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

link decal

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

link decal

 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

link decal

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

link decal

Carson Wentz & Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

link decal

Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders

link decal

Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers

link decal

The Philly Special

(Photo credit: EA Sports)

Making the cover of Madden is something only a few players can brag about. To this generation of players, who grew up playing as their heroes on early versions of EA Sports' flagship franchise, it is a special honor that has no parallel in the sport.

In recent years EA Sports ran a fan poll to determine who would be on the cover, but this year the star on the front of the box has been held tightly under wraps.

Right now we have a "Hall of Fame" edition that will feature Terrell Owens, but for those Madden players that don't want to pay twice as much for the game are still in the dark. With the game scheduled for release on August 10, EA Sports can't hold off on telling us who it is for much longer, but which players most deserve the honor? And who fits the mold of cover athletes in the past? RealSport predicts who could be the next Madden 19 cover star.

Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars

(Credit: EA Sports)

Only two defensive players have ever been on the cover by themselves; Ray Lewis in Madden 05, and Richard Sherman in Madden 15. That is shamefully poor representation, especially in an age when defensive players are starting to take over games and dominate in their own right.

One of those players in Jalen Ramsey. The Jaguars selected Ramsey fifth-overall in 2016 and all he has done since then is talk trash and make wide receivers disappear. He made his first, and far from his last, All-Pro team in 2017 after picking up five interceptions and registering a stunning eight games in which he allowed 25 yards or fewer. He is the future of the cornerback position and more than deserving of a spot on the front of Madden 19. 

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

(Credit: EA Sports)

If Ramsey fixes a lack of defensive players, then Aaron Donald would break new ground as the first lineman to grace the cover of Madden. A first-round pick in 2014, Aaron Donald has quickly become the most dominant defensive tackle in the NFL since Warren Sapp, and the best pass rushing DT the league has ever seen. 

In 2017 he picked up 11 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and 27 quarterback hits. It's debatable as to who is the best player at any position right now, except defensive tackle. Fans argue back and forth about if Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady is better, if Julio Jones or Antonio Brown are better, but Aaron Donald is untouchable right now. No one dictates blocking schemes and can ruin offenses like Donald. He has already been handed a 99 overall rating to start Madden 19, there can be no doubt he deserves a spot on the cover too.

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

(Credit: EA Sports)

Speaking of pulling down a starting 99 rating, the same honor has gone to Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, and with good reason. Brown is the only player to be in the last four All-Pro teams, he's averaged 101.9 yards per game over the last five seasons and pulled in 52 touchdowns in that time.

At 5'10" and a sixth-round pick, Brown was never slated for stardom, but through hard work, dedication, and not a small chip on his shoulder he has become one of the most deadly wide receivers to ever play the game. Brown turns 30 on July 10, the Madden 19 cover would certainly be a nice gift.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

(Credit: EA Sports)

The folks at EA Sports have never put a rookie on the cover of Madden, though there has been a Cleveland Brown before.

In a league where young quarterbacks are consistent headline grabbers and the Browns are on Hard Knocks it would make sense to go with Mayfield this year. The 2018 #1 overall pick played three monstrous seasons at Oklahoma, throwing 119 touchdowns and 12,292 yards with just 21 picks. He was the 2017 Heisman winner as well. It would be a bold step to put a rookie on the cover, but with Mayfield coming in as the #3 rated rookie (81 overall) and the would-be savior of a franchise it would be the perfect time to roll the dice for EA Sports.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

(Credit: EA Sports)

If EA Sports wanted to go safe though, they would put Aaron Rodgers on the cover.

There have been seven quarterbacks on the Madden cover, and with Drew Brees being on the Madden 11 cover and Tom Brady on Madden 18, it makes sense to get the last of the "big three" quarterbacks on there.

Rodgers missed nine games last year as the Packers missed the playoffs, but when on the field he's undeniably brilliant. The two-time MVP hasn't thrown double-digit interceptions since 2010 and had one of the best seasons ever by a quarterback in 2011 as he threw 45 touchdowns. If Mayfield is a risk, Rodgers is the rightful heir to the Madden cover after Tom Brady.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

(Credit: EA Sports)

Terrell Owens is in his Cowboys uniform for the "Hall of Fame" edition, so it would make sense to go with a Cowboy for the regular edition too.

One of the promoted new features for Madden 19 is the ability to accelerate and stop on a dime with new "one cut" abilities to beat defenders in the open field. That sounds like Ezekiel Elliott to me. The Cowboys back has averaged 104.6 yards per game since coming into the NFL as the #4 pick in 2016, and has already amassed 25 total touchdowns. While he was suspended to start the 2017 season that shouldn't prevent him from being on the Madden cover, and let's not forget that the Cowboys are still America's Team.

Carson Wentz & Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

(Credit: EA Sports)

Wentz was the unquestioned MVP of the 2017 season until he blew out his knee in a wild game against the LA Rams. While he underwent surgery and began the long rehabilitation to get back for the 2018 season, Nick Foles took over as the quarterback for the Eagles. Foles played well, but had a few struggles until Wentz returned to the sideline and started to become a proxy QB coach. Together they crushed the Vikings in the NFC championship game and then the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. The victory was theirs, the Madden cover should be theirs too. It wouldn't be the first time Madden has split the cover either. Madden 10 featured both Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu after the Cardinals and Steelers played out a brilliant Super Bowl the season before. 

Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders

(Credit: EA Sports)

The Raiders are moving soon, and the Black Hole will be no more. The Raiders are one of the most recognizable sports brands in the world, and one of the few American ones that has global popularity. Putting the silver and black on the cover of Madden before they move would be a nice touch to a franchise that is seeking to reclaim former glory.

The best Raider at the moment is obviously edge rusher Khalil Mack. The fifth-overall pick in 2014, Mack has been downright unblockable at times in his career with the Raiders. He picked up five sacks in a famous demolition job against the Broncos in 2015 and finished last season with 10.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and 22 QB hits.

Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers

(Credit: Mike Morbeck)

A lot of the players I have brought up so far came into the NFL in the last four years. That isn't a surprise as the NFL is becoming a young man's league, but there are a few elder statesmen still getting it done that deserve the spotlight too. One of those is Julius Peppers.

The #2 overall pick in 2002, Peppers is now 38 and still playing defensive end at a high level. The position requires immense athleticism, and while he isn't playing every snap, he finished the 2017 season with 11 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and 17 QB hits, all of which led the Carolina Panthers team. He will go into the Hall of Fame as soon as he's eligible, and in a year when they are running a "Hall of Fame" edition, what better thing to have than a sure-fire first balloter on the cover?

The Philly Special

(Credit: AFCA Insider)

This is a little outside the box, but hear me out. Football is just as much about the plays as the players, and like defensive players, coaches get almost no recognition when it comes to the Madden cover. Now putting Doug Pederson on the box may be a little far, but what about the play art for the Philly Special?

That was the name of the play that saw Nick Foles catch a touchdown pass from Trey Burton in Super Bowl LII on the way to Philadelphia's first Super Bowl title in February. The play has been printed on mugs, t-shirts, and people in Philadelphia, and what better way to truly commemorate the play than putting it on the Madden cover? Just as long as it's in the game too.