Madden 19 Ratings: All the best rookies

Young players on cheap contracts are how you build a Super Bowl winning team. Who are the best rookies in Madden 19?

Toby Durant by Toby Durant

The 2018 draft class was full of terrifically talented athletes that had glittering college careers. There were some surprises on draft day, with big trades and shocking slides, but by and large the best prospects came off the board first.

How to find the best rookies on Madden 19’s Franchise Mode

To find the best rookie you want them to have a good OVR, but perhaps even more important than that is their development trait. You want your rookies to be your best players after three or four years, and the better their development trait the faster they will improve. Speed and strength are important for rookies, and while veterans will almost always have better awareness and play recognition, if you can find a rookie who is strong there it is a big help. Here are all the rookies with an OVR of 77 or better.

Quenton Nelson, Left Guard, Indianapolis Colts (OVR 83)

Age: 22

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 4 years/$23.9m

2018 Cap Hit: $5.79m

Best Stats: Strength (97), Run Block (85), Pass Block (82), Lead Block (88), Impact Block (90)

Quenton Nelson is the best rookie in Madden 19. The Colts picked Nelson sixth-overall after trading down with the New York Jets. Nelson had a brilliant and destructive college career at Notre Dame, with his junior year full of the most dominant blocks you’ll ever see. His bowl game against LSU established him as one of the best offensive line prospects to come along in years.

In Madden 19 Nelson is a brute. With 97 strength he is already the strongest guard in the NFL and his run block power (86) is second among left guards. His pass block (82) and run block (85) are not yet the best, but with his superstar development trait he can quickly become the best blocker in the NFL.

Saquon Barkley, Running Back, New York Giants (OVR 82)

Age: 21

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 4 years/$31.2m

2018 Cap Hit: $7.57m

Best Stats: Speed (92), Acceleration (93), Agility (94), Carrying (87), Juke Move (91), Catching (72)

The New York Giants made Saquon Barkley the second-overall pick in this years draft. The former Penn State running back played three years in college, picking up at least 1,000 yards rushing in each season. In his junior year Barkley ran for 1,271 yards with an average of 5.9 yards per carry and scored 18 touchdowns. He also made 54 catches for 632 yards and three touchdowns. Barkley finished his career at Penn State with 5,038 yards from scrimmage and 51 touchdowns on offense.

In Madden 19 Barkley is already one of the most dynamic backs in the NFL. With good speed (92) and terrific agility (94) Barkley can run through and around defenses. His juke move (91) is his best weapon for avoiding tacklers, but with a good spin move (86) and solid trucking (83) and stiff arm (83) you can find multiple ways to beat a defender and find your way to the endzone.

Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns (OVR 81)

Age: 23

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 4 years/$32.7m

2018 Cap Hit: $7.94m

Best Stats: Throw Power (94), Short Accuracy (88), Throw On The Run (88), Throw Under Pressure (87), Break Sack (86), Speed (81)

Baker Mayfield was the number one pick in this years draft for the Cleveland Browns. He followed up his stellar junior campaign for Oklahoma with a Heisman-winning 2017 season in which he completed 70.5 percent of his passes, threw for 4,627 yards with 43 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. Mayfield was the most electric playmaker in the college game for the last two years, so it wasn’t a surprise that Cleveland made him the #1 pick.

In Madden 19 Mayfield has great mobility. With 81 speed and 88 throw on the run you can move him around the field easily. He’s also tough to sack with that 86 break sack stat. He has strong throw power (94) and solid short accuracy (88). His downfield accuracy (83 medium, 80 deep) is perhaps the first thing you should improve, but it ‘s good enough to work with in Week 1.

Roquan Smith, Middle Linebacker, Chicago Bears (OVR 81)

Age: 21

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 4 years/$18.4m

2018 Cap Hit: $4.46m

Best Stats: Speed (89), Tackle (88), Hit Power (87), Pursuit (89), Acceleration (91), Zone Coverage (80)

Chicago took Roquan Smith with the eighth-overall pick in the 2018 draft. He spent three years at Georgia and became an all-powerful tackling machine in his junior year, finishing the 2017 season with 137 tackles, 14 of which were for a loss, and 6.5 sacks.

With his 89 speed and 91 acceleration Roquan Smith is the fastest middle linebacker in Madden 19. That speed gives him a really good pursuit stat (89) and makes him an electrifying user linebacker. Even if you don’t want to control him, his zone coverage (80) means he is very useful on third downs, while his good tackling (88) makes him a force against the run. Smith is a Week 1 starter for most teams.

Denzel Ward, Cornerback, Cleveland Browns (OVR 80)

Age: 21

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 4 years/$29.2m

2018 Cap Hit: $7.08m

Best Stats: Speed (95), Man Coverage (83), Zone Coverage (79), Acceleration (95), Agility (95), Press (87), Jumping (92)

Cleveland took Denzel Ward with the fourth-overall pick this year. Ward didn’t have much of a college career due to having to sit behind other first-round corners like Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple at Ohio State, but when he was finally free to start in 2016 and 2017 for the Buckeyes he was dominant. An All-American in 2017, Ward got just two interceptions because quarterbacks were so afraid to throw his way.

In Madden 19 Ward has amazing athleticism. His 95 speed, 95 acceleration and 95 agility stats make him one of the best athletes in the game. With solid man coverage skills (83) already and good zone coverage (79) Ward can fit into any defense, and his ability to play press (87) is rare for a rookie.

Derwin James, Strong Safety, Los Angeles Chargers (OVR 80)

Age: 22

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 4 years/$12.4m

2018 Cap Hit: $2.98m

Best Stats: Speed (90), Zone Coverage (74), Tackle (77), Acceleration (91), Man Coverage (81), Hit Power (90)

The Los Angeles Chargers made Derwin James the 18th-overall pick this year. James played three seasons at Florida State and made an impact all over the field. He racked up 186 tackles, with 15 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks as well as three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, and two forced fumbles.

A versatile strong safety in Madden 19, James has good man coverage (81) for the position already, and terrific hit power (90) which will help him jar the ball loose. He’s a good tackler (77), and one of the faster strong safeties in the game. With his star development trait, James can soon be on a par with the likes of Malcolm Jenkins and even Eric Berry if you develop him correctly. 

Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens (OVR 79)

Age: 21

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 4 years/$9.47m

2018 Cap Hit: $2.27m

Best Stats: Throw Power (94), Short Accuracy (83), Throw On The Run (85), Break Sack (89), Speed (91)

The Baltimore Ravens traded into the #32 pick to take Lamar Jackson as the final selection in the first round. Jackson played three years at Louisville, wowing fans and scouts alike and winning the 2016 Heisman. Over the course of his college career Jackson completed 57 percent of his passes for 9,043 yards and threw 69 touchdowns to 27 interceptions. He also rushed for 4,132 yards, at an average of 6.3 yards per carry, and ran in 50 touchdowns.

Jackson is the fastest quarterback in Madden 19 with his speed (91) and acceleration (93), making him a nightmare for defenses if you can master plays like the read option and triple option. He isn’t a brilliant passer just yet though, with short accuracy (83) being his best and deep accuracy (74) being pretty poor. You’ll have to develop Jackson’s accuracy before you can really open up the offense with him, but he’s a good candidate to take over from Joe Flacco in his rookie year.

Vita Vea, Defensive Tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OVR 79)

Age: 23

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 4 years/$14.8m

2018 Cap Hit: $3.57m

Best Stats: Strength (97), Block Shedding (83), Power Moves (79), Tackle (81), Acceleration (81)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Vita Vea with the 12th-overall pick this year. Vea is a monster of a defensive tackle at 6’5″ & 344 lbs, and he used that frame to eat up blocks in his three years playing college football at Washington. Vea finished with 99 tackles, 15 of which were for a loss, and 9.5 sacks.

In Madden 19 Vea is a beast. His 97 strength is second-best among defensive tackles, and his 81 acceleration is also good. His block shedding (83) and power moves (79) are good for now, but with veterans like Malcom Brown boasting 88 block shedding you’ll want to improve that part of Vea’s game quickly.

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Free Safety, Miami Dolphins (OVR 79)

Age: 21

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 4 years/$16.4m

2018 Cap Hit: $3.97m

Best Stats: Speed (90), Zone Coverage (83), Pursuit (78), Acceleration (93), Man Coverage (83), Hit Power (78)

The Miami Dolphins took Minkah Fitzpatrick 11th-overall in the 2018 draft. Fitzpatrick played three years at Alabama all across the secondary, from outside corner, to slot, to both safety positions. He finished his college career as a two-time All-American and with 171 tackles, 16.5 for a loss, and five sacks. He also made nine interceptions, scored four touchdowns on defense, and forced two fumbles.

Fitzpatrick’s versatility in college makes him a unique safety in Madden 19. With 83 in both man and zone coverage and solid hit power you can put Fitzpatrick wherever you want. He can play as a deep safety with that 90 speed, or as a low safety with his 78 pursuit and 78 hit power. None of his stats are the best at free safety, but he’s so well rounded that he is already one of the best at the position.

Bradley Chubb, Outside Linebacker, Denver Broncos (OVR 79)

Age: 22

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 4 years/$27.2m

2018 Cap Hit: $6.61m

Best Stats: Tackle (82), Hit Power (87), Speed (83), Power Moves (77), Finesse Moves (85), Block Shedding (87), Strength (91)

The Denver Broncos took Bradley Chubb fifth-overall this season, pairing the former NC State defensive end with Von Miller to terrorize quarterbacks in Denver’s 3-4 defense. In college Chubb racked up 25 sacks and 54.5 tackles for loss in three years, as well forcing six fumbles.

As a pass rushing outside linebacker in Madden 19 Chubb is already deadly. His 91 strength and 83 speed give him a good mix of athleticism and physicality, and his finesse moves (85) are already very good. His block shedding (87) will make him a force in the run game, and with 87 hit power he can already force fumbles when he does crash into the quarterback.

Other star rookies

Name Position Team OVR Development Trait Contract 2018 Cap Hit
Hayden Hurst TE Baltimore Ravens 78 Quick 4yrs/$11m $2.65m
Mike McGlinchey RT San Francisco 49ers 78 Star 4yrs/$18.3m $4.43m
Will Hernandez LG New York Giants 78 Star 4yrs/$7.44m $1.78m
Josh Rosen QB Arizona Cardinals 78 Quick 4yrs/$17.6m $4.25m
Derrius Guice RB Washington Redskins 78 Star 4yrs/$4.52m $1.06m
Michael Dickson P Seattle Seahawks 77 Normal 4yrs/$2.69m $640k
Daniel Carlson K Minnesota Vikings 77 Normal 4yrs/$2.65m $640k
Mike Gesicki TE Miami Dolphins 77 Quick 4yrs/$6.61 $1.57m
DJ Moore WR Carolina Panthers 77 Star 4yrs/$11.2m $2.69m
Dallas Goedert TE Philadelphia Eagles 77 Quick 4yrs/$5.6m $1.35m
Sony Michel RB New England Patriots 77 Quick 4yrs/$9.62m $2.31m
Isaiah Wynn LT New England Patriots 77 Star 4yrs/$11.4m $2.75m
Calvin Ridley WR Atlanta Falcons 77 Star 4yrs/$10.9m $2.62m
Frank Ragnow C Detroit Lions 77 Quick 4yrs/$11.8m $2.83m
Jaire Alexander CB Green Bay Packers 77 Star 4yrs/$12.1m $2.9m
Da’Ron Payne DT Washington Redskins 77 Quick 4yrs/$14.4m $3.48m
Ronald Jones II RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers 77 Star 4yrs/$7.05m $1.68m
Kolton Miller LT Oakland Raiders 77 Quick 4yrs/$13.5m $3.25m
Taven Bryan DE Jacksonville Jaguars 77 Quick 4yrs/$10.1m $2.43m

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Toby Durant

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