When it comes to sports games, rosters are always a major point of contention. There's usually plenty of bias and frustration when it comes to Madden's yearly unveiling of the official rosters. It tends to be as if not more contentious than the reveal of the cover athlete. Fans want to feel as though their favorite players are earning the respect they rightfully deserved. Every year, the team at EA Sports tries its hardest to provide gamers with the most accurate representation of real NFL players. Unfortunately, many fans feel as though not enough care and attention is paid towards each individual player. Every year there seems to be more than a handful of emerging stars and consistent veterans that are utterly shafted when it comes to their overall. Some players are victims of oversaturated positions, which makes it hard for developers to see all of the deserving candidates. Others suffer from playing for small market teams that rarely deserve the appropriate recognition.
It may be hard to remove a diehard fan's bias when it comes to arguing whether or not their favorite player's overall is accurate. However, some players do not receive the upgrade they obviously deserve. We can easily make a case for at least one player from each NFL roster, but we're going to narrow it down to fifteen. Let's take a look at some of the players that are more than deserving of a little Madden Roster Update love.
15 DeMarco Murray - RB - 87 Rating
Let's first talk about the impressively underappreciated journeyman, DeMarco Murray. Despite finishing the 2016 season third in rushing yards, Murray currently sits as the 12th overall running back in Madden 17. He was also a workhorse for the Titans, ultimately also finishing third in the NFL in carries. He's obviously proven that he can handle a heavy workload. Despite an off year with the Philadelphia Eagles, Murray has managed to rack up over 6,500 rushing yards over the last six seasons. A player's body of work should always be a contributing factor when it comes to their overall rating and Murray's track record easily showcases a player deserving of a 10th overall rating at his given position, at the very least. Unfortunately, DeMarco Murray is an example of the drawbacks that comes with playing in a small NFL market.
14 Danielle Hunter - LE - 83 Rating
Danielle Hunter's overall rating seems to be a casualty of the Minnesota Vikings fall from grace that was the 2016 season. He's managed to rack up an impressive 18.5 sacks through his first two seasons in the tundra. When you're 22 years old and your overall is already an 83, your legacy is in good hands at Madden. That being said, he's earned a spot in the top 10 left ends in the league at the very least, so look for Danielle Hunter's rating to hopefully skyrocket in the coming years. He’ll have the added bonus of playing in an up and coming defense alongside fellow stars Anthony Barr, Xavier Rhodes, Sharrif Floyd, and Everson Griffen. The potential return of Teddy Bridgewater should also provide much need rest to an overworked defense.
13 Markus Golden - LOLB - 81 Rating
When the Arizona Cardinals traded for Chandler Jones before the 2016 season, no one anticipated the success it would bring to second year pro Markus Golden. After posting four sacks in his rookie year, Golden more than tripled his rookie mark and posted 12.5 sacks, good enough to tie for the third spot in the NFL. Though his current rating seems to poorly represent his performance this year, he still must show consistency and growth. The possibility of another year rushing opposite of Chandler Jones should open the Madden team's eyes to an emerging star in the desert. Golden does have the added benefit of playing in front of the best secondary in the NFL, as well as a coach in Bruce Arians who constantly demands the best from his players.
12 Lorenzo Alexander - ROLB - 82 Rating
Lorenzo Alexander just so happened to finish the 2016 season with 12.5 sacks, tying him for third place in the NFL. Do you know what his reward was for accomplishing this feat in a lackluster season for the Buffalo Bills? He's the 15th rated ROLB and was given a disastrous speed rating of 72. Lorenzo Alexander may not be the fastest edge rusher in the league, but a speed rating of 72 seems a little harsh. Sadly, this is Lorenzo Alexander's first foray into this type of success. Considering he's currently 33 years old, he may have posted the best year of his career. There’s no factor as unpredictable and harsh as father time. The Buffalo Bills new coach Sean McDermott will look for ways to properly utilize Alexander’s aging talent.
11 Casey Hayward - CB - 86 Rating
Playing for a team with the worst offense in the NFL in terms of turnovers allows defenders plenty of opportunities. Hayward took full advantage this in 2016, leading the NFL with a league-high seven interceptions. He also managed to finish third in the NFL with 20 passes defended. An 86 overall rating is nothing to scoff at, if it didn't place you as the 18th cornerback in Madden 17. After a solid start to what seemed to be a stellar career in Green Bay, Hayward quickly fell out of starting contention and fought for years to get into games. This offseason, Hayward bolted for San Diego in hopes of re-emerging as a #1 corner. His chance has paid off in folds, but apparently, his efforts haven't peaked the interests of the Madden team.
10 Adrian Peterson - RB - 87 Rating
Not everything on this list is meant to be positive. We all know about the numbers Adrian Peterson has posted for the better part of eight years. That being said, he's only played 20 games in the last three years. Peterson was a model of consistency and arguably the best at his position. Unfortunately, Adrian Peterson has many glaring weaknesses that seem to be commonly overlooked. He can't catch the ball. He fumbles a lot more than you would expect. Now, Peterson did lead the NFL in rushing during the 2015 season, but his recent string of injuries can be worrisome. Does he deserve a major downgrade? No, but an 87 overall rating might be a little high for a player on the decline of his career.
9 Kwon Alexander - MLB - 80 Rating
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016 were the definition of peaks and valleys. They managed to surprise opponents week in and week out with their effort and competitiveness. A major contributor happened to be the man in the middle, Kwon Alexander. On top of posting a league-high 108 solo tackles, Alexander managed to bring in three sacks as well as a defensive touchdown. He's currently listed as the 15th highest rating among fellow middle linebackers. Unlike many other players on this list, Alexander has plenty of years to earn Madden's respect. He's currently only 22 years old and has the majority of his success ahead of him. Look for the LSU product, alongside perennial Pro Bowler Lavonte David, to roam the Tampa Bay defense for years to come.
8 Rishard Matthews - WR - 82 Rating
Small market syndrome strikes once again in Tennessee. It should have been a glaring signal that a receiver in a Titans uniform managed to come close to crossing the 1,000-yard threshold. Rishard Matthews' nine touchdowns may have been a product of the emergence of Marcus Mariota. That being said, nine touchdowns was good enough to land him sixth in the league, but Matthews currently holds the 40th spot amongst receivers in Madden 17. Are you going to tell me there are nine teams with at least two better receivers than Rishard Matthews? He showed glimpses of brilliance with the Miami Dolphins. Hopefully, this spark between Matthews and Mariota can lead to continued success and a possible increase to both of their ratings in Madden 18.
7 Marcus Peters - CB - 87 Rating
In his second year, Marcus Peters did nothing but add to the argument he has of holding the crown as the best cornerback in the NFL. Peters was not only the league leader in interceptions last year (eight), but has accumulated the most interceptions over the course of the last two seasons (14). Now, an 87 overall may seem like a high overall rating to begin with, but Peters currently sits as the 12th highest amongst cornerbacks. He may be a huge risk taker. He may only be two years pro. Marcus Peters at the very least is a top three cornerback, however. In a position where oversaturation and stacking can arise as a major problem, Madden needs to make sure the best of the best rise to the top. Marcus Peters is one of the fastest rising superstars in the NFL.
6 Tahir Whitehead - MLB - 74 Rating
This name might be a bit of a surprise to even the most devout NFL fans. Tahir Whitehead is a clear victim of the undecided commitment to a flash in the pan. He's not a rookie. He's not a multiyear proven product. He's simply a guy who had a really good year. By no means does he deserve a spot amongst the elites, but his 2016 stat line provides tangible evidence he's worth more than the 51st spot among middle linebackers. Whitehead managed to pull in an impressive 132 tackles, 99 of those coming the way of individual effort. The Detroit Lions defense was one of the biggest surprises of the 2016 season. It comes as no surprise when you see the man in the middle of it all. Hopefully, with another solid year under his belt, Tahir Whitehead can be gifted a more reasonable rating.
5 Jamaal Charles - RB - 89 Rating
For those who don't know, Jamaal Charles has started in five games over the last two seasons. Yes, I said five. How in the world is he still an 89 overall? This is a question that can't be answered in any logical manner. Jamaal Charles happens to be a very good running back when he's on the field. Therein lays the problem, however. There is no possible way the guys at EA Sports can justify placing him fourth overall amongst running backs. At some point, you have to decrease his overall if he can't manage to stay on the field. Has Jamaal Charles declined in his actual talent and statistical output? No, but he also doesn't deserve to have a higher overall than running backs who have put up the numbers the last two years.
4 Alec Ogletree - MLB - 76 Rating
Alec Ogletree, otherwise known as the 40th rated middle linebacker in Madden 17, touts a woeful 76 rating, even though Ogletree added to his impressive catalog of statistics in 2016. He finished the season with a whopping 136 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. The Los Angeles Rams faced tons of adversity this year under Jeff Fisher. Along with Aaron Donald, Ogletree willed the Rams defense to numerous victories. Over the last four years, Alec has posted over 400 tackles, five interceptions, and 11 forced fumbles. He's quietly emerged as the anchor point of the Los Angeles defense. Ogletree's quick rise to success was a major factor in the Rams parting of ways with long-time fan favorite James Laurinaitis. What else does Ogletree need to do to receive a rating boost?
3 Jordan Howard - RB - 82 Rating
Now, I already know what you're going to say. Isn't this guy a rookie? Yes, Jordan Howard is a rookie. He also ended the 2016 season as the second leading rusher in the NFL. His rookie phenom counterpart, Ezekiel Elliott, currently sits at an 88 overall. That is completely suitable and well-earned on his part. That being said, how is Howard going to be shafted with an 82 overall? He managed to do all of this in only 13 games in which he started. Howard also managed to only fumble the ball twice in the entire year. One of the lone bright spots on an injury-prone Chicago Bears roster, Howard deserves the credit he rightfully earned. The Pro Bowl alternate and 26th ranked Madden 17 running back will try to earn a higher rating in the coming years.
2 Vic Beasley Jr. - LOLB - 82 Rating
Vic Beasley Jr. came into the 2016 season with plenty of naysayers anticipating the same lackluster numbers he posted in his rookie outing. Those critics were quickly silenced, as Beasley came out like a man on a mission. He managed to post a league high 15.5 sacks accompanied by six forced fumbles. Those numbers alone make you question how he is still somehow only an 82 overall. He currently has a block shed rating of 69. How are you going to give the league leader in sacks a rating of 69 when it comes to shedding blocks? Vic Beasley is currently rated as the 10th overall LOLB in Madden. There are only two pass rushers who have earned the right to be ahead of him and they both play in the AFC West.
1 Johnny Hekker - P - 86 Rating
I know what you're thinking, but just hear me out. The problem isn't only that his overall rating is 86. The real issue is that Hekker isn't even the top rated punter. He managed to pin opponents an insane 51 times inside the 20 and led the NFL with a net average punt of 46 yards. That was a staggering seven more yards than any other punter. Guess how many times he managed to kick the ball into the end zone for a touchback? Once. Johnny Hekker is undeniably the best punter in the NFL and deserves, at the very least, a 90 overall. Punters have a hard enough time as it is earning respect. They don't need Madden adding on to the pile in droves.