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Duke in the NFL: Madden 2021 edition

Daniel Jones will look to build on an encouraging rookie season once the NFL resumes play.
Daniel Jones will look to build on an encouraging rookie season once the NFL resumes play.

  

EA Sports' Madden NFL 21 is here and the annual tradition of real players reacting to their in-game ratings has begun. For some, these ratings are meaningless as the game is arbitrary and reflects nothing about their true selves, but for others, a high rating can mean the world, whether it be a confidence boost or bragging rights among teammates. This year’s ratings reveal has brought much controversy to the NFL world, leaving many players upset.

Former Duke football players who have achieved the dream of playing in the NFL are few, but recently the prevalence of those players has seemed to increase and with that, an uptick in their Madden ratings. In perspective of the entire Madden system, most of their ratings won’t qualify as “good”, but in reference to the progression of Duke players, these ratings are on the rise and impressive. 

It’s not over for a player when their Madden rating isn’t where they want it to be. The ideal job for any Madden fanatic is there to save the day: Madden ratings adjusters. These select individuals get paid to go to NFL practices and games, meet and watch players and report what they see back to EA headquarters to be adjusted in the newest Madden game. There’s always room for improvement and these former Blue Devils will surely be seeking out the closest ratings adjuster when the season comes. 

Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets

Madden Rating: 80 overall

Position Rank: 51st 

Best Stat: 95 agility

Crowder’s overall isn’t unfair to his ability, but his position rank may be disputable. His agility rating is tied for sixth among wide receivers and with his 90 speed and 91 acceleration, he will surely be an in-game weapon. The former Duke star had an impressive season that undoubtedly boosted his overall this year. A great connection with quarterback Sam Darnold allowed Crowder to post some career highs and make great plays all over the field. 

Laken Tomlinson, LG, San Francisco 49ers

Madden Rating: 75 overall

Position Rank: 15th 

Best Stat: 92 injury

Tomlinson was a solid starter all season for the Super Bowl-contending 49ers and thus earned a respectable 75 overall rating. Although that seems low, only two left guards held a rating of 90 or higher (Quenton Nelson and Richie Incognito). The 92 injury rating means Tomlinson is highly durable, which reflects his starting of 19 games last season, including the playoffs. The former first-round pick was also given a respectable 87 strength rating. 

Matt Skura, C, Baltimore Ravens

Madden Rating: 73 overall

Position Rank: 22nd 

Best Stat: 90 toughness

Skura’s position rank is an inadequate description of how good of a season he had. With MVP Lamar Jackson at the helm and Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram, the Ravens rushed for over 3,000 yards while only allowing 25 sacks. The offensive line had a tremendous year and Skura was a big help to that. His 90 toughness rating is in part due to his ability to fight in the trenches for a team that likes to run the ball a lot. 

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

Madden Rating: 72 overall

Position Rank: 30th 

Best Stat: 94 toughness

Both the rating and the position rank are disappointments for Jones. The No. 6 overall pick came into the season with high expectations and although he didn’t meet all of them, he surely wasn’t disappointing. He showed many moments of greatness with much room to improve, but being rated among the likes of Mitch Trubisky and Andy Dalton (two likely backups) is somewhat insulting. The rookie’s 94 toughness rating is above average for the position and comes from his ability to prevail through 41 sacks. He additionally boasts 84 speed, 83 agility, 87 throw power and 87 short throw accuracy, all commendable numbers in stats that matter. 

Other former Blue Devils include Joe Giles-Harris: 65 overall, Shaun Wilson: 65 overall, Lucas Patrick: 59 overall, Breon Borders: 59 overall, Daniel Helm: 57 overall and Thomas Hennessey: 31 overall. 

*Editor's note: Trevon McSwain is on the Chicago Bears but does not currently have a Madden NFL 2021 rating.

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