Every year EA Sports uses the release of their player and team ratings to hype up their eventual late August release of the newest edition of Madden 17. Over the past years as the Pittsburgh Steelers have been rebuilding their team, their team ratings have not been the highest in the game and several of their best players were not of the highest rankings in the game. This article previews the ratings this year coming into the release of the game and beginning of the season.
This year the Pittsburgh Steelers received their highest rating for a release since after their appearance in Super Bowl XLV. A rating of 85 overall rating between a 93 offensive rating and an 81 defensive rating. This ties them with the Kansas City Chiefs as the second highest team rating of the AFC, and tied for third overall in the NFL. We will breakdown each of the positional ratings for the team for review.
The only real story to tell for the Steelers' quarterback position is that their starter, Ben Roethlisberger is rated at a 93 overall with a 95 throw power rating and a 90 deep accuracy rating. His medium and short accuracy ratings have been very high for multiple editions of Madden now, but the 90 deep accuracy rating makes his throw power rating that much more valuable. The Steelers have multiple speed threats on their team as receivers which could be a deadly combination with these ratings for Roethlisberger. Prepare yourself for a lot of chances to make big plays with a deep passing attack.
Le'Veon Bell is the highest rated running back in this year's Madden with a 94 overall rating. His 90 speed makes for solid straight line moving, but his 93 acceleration, 95 agility and 97 juke ratings make for him to be the shiftiest player at the position. Combine that with his 85 trucking ability, 92 stiff arm and 99 carry ratings and Bell is the most complete back you could ask for in this game. Thanks to his 99 carry rating, you can feel safe that Bell will almost never fumble.
His backup DeAngelo Williams may only have an 81 overall, but his 85 speed, 90 acceleration and 89 agility make him a reliable spell back for Bell, especially with a 88 carrying rating.
Despite his playoff fumble, Fitzgerald Toussaint has an 89 carry rating, the second highest on the team. However Daryl Richardson has one point higher in both his speed and catch abilities, which may make him a tempting choice as a receiving back if Bell is not available.
LaDarius Green brings a new element to the Steelers' offense in this year's Madden. His 89 speed, 83 catch and 91 acceleration makes him more a serious receiving threat for defenses to cover. His 88 jump rating also makes for a problem considering his height, so many defenses could have headaches trying to cover him. Do not let his 81 overall rating fool you, Green is going to be very important in this game.
The problem is that even with Jesse James and Xavier Grimble, no tight end makes up for the run blocking skills that Heath Miller brought to the table, as all of the players' run blocking talents were below 70.
None of the Steelers' offensive line has an overall in the 90s, but there are four strong players in Maurkice Pouncey with an 88, David DeCastro with an 84, Marcus Gilbert with an 83 and Ramon Foster with an 82. The left tackle position has the new addition of Ryan Harris with a 76 and the starting left tackle from the end of last season, Alejandro Villanueva, at a 70.
Despite having a group of solid linemen ratings, Pittsburgh fans should feel their group was a bit slighted. Marcus Gilbert went throughout the entire regular season without surrendering a sack and upon twice facing the Super Bowl MVP and NFL premier pass rusher, Von Miller. Gilbert only had an 85 pass blocking rating (lowest between the other top four linemen) and a 79 run blocking rating (also lowest of the top four).
David DeCastro's 84 rating makes for arguably the biggest surprise as he was the anchor for a highly successful offensive line in 2015, made his first NFL Pro Bowl as well as the first team of the AP All-Pro list. His run blocking skills proved time and again it was on par with the best in the league and he was never a liability in pass protection. His rating is definitely a surprise.
Like Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown is the highest rated player at his position in all of Madden. His 97 overall rating comes with 93 speed, 99 catch, 98 route running, 97 spectacular catch and 98 catch in traffic. Essentially he is the ultimate weapon in the passing game, as he is in real life.
Martavis Bryant, despite his year-long suspension, will be available for use. He also packs a 93 speed, 93 acceleration 87 catch in traffic and 97 spectacular catch. In Madden 16 he was the ultimate deep threat with his speed and ability to win tough jump ball situations. With Roethlisberger's high throw power rating and Bryant's numbers, it could be impossible to stop this passing attack.
Markus Wheaton is still a solid third wide receiver to have because of his 89 speed, 92 acceleration and 92 agility. However do not sleep on Darrius Heyward-Bey or Sammie Coates as options with both having 91 speed and similar stats across the board, except for Coates' 87 catch in traffic rating.
All in all, the passing game should be easy with this group.
Cameron Heyward receives his just due with an 88 overall rating, 93 blockshed, 89 tackle and an 86 player recognition rating. It has taken awhile, but it appears the NFL has started to recognize the wrecking ball that is Heyward.
The problem however is that after Heyward there is not much. Stephon Tuitt who will hope to prove these rating as an extreme undervaluing of his talents in the NFL. He received a 78 overall rating with an 83 rating to block-shed.
The rest of the unit has their overall in the 60's and should only be used in the event of injury or to spell Heyward and Tuitt.
Oddly enough, the oldest linebacker on the team, James Harrison is the highest rated linebacker this year with an 85 overall. Despite his extremely slow speed of a 68, his 85 block shed, 88 player recognition and 88 hit power make him a formidable foe.
Both Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier were given 79 ratings despite their play last season which was a big part of the Pittsburgh turnaround. Shazier's 90 speed, 90 acceleartion and 87 hit power make him a nightmare over the middle, and Timmons is a problem for anyone trying to run up the middle. Just because their overall ratings are low, do not mistake either as being slouches at their position in the game. Shazier will be a player that many users will want to play with because of his stats.
Bud Dupree still has only a 70 overall rating and Jarvis Jones is not that far off with his 73 overall.
Mike Mitchell with an 84 and William Gay with an 82 are the best two overall rated players in the Pittsburgh defensive backfield. Robert Golden makes it in with a 74 overall rating, and Artie Burns ties with Ross Cockrell at 73 overall. Artie Burns' 91 speed makes him a potential player to run with burners, but Ross Cockrell's 82 zone coverage skills make up for it.
Overall the Steelers see their three big names get significant boost in their ratings to show that EA Sports respects the major players. But the many role players on this team that have shown their skills still could be higher. Whether you think these ratings were too high, too low, or pretty much accurate, Pittsburgh will be a fun team to use in Madden 17.
You can review the full list of Steelers players, here.