The annual Madden player ratings release is one of my favorite times throughout the NFL offseason.
Because it feels like the one time the world is truly united... in disagreement with EA Sports and the staff responsible for player ratings. This year, San Francisco 49ers fans will undoubtedly have no concern with the edge rusher rankings, installing Nick Bosa as the top edge rusher with a 98 overall rating.
Steelers fans (yes, I’m speaking for all of them here), on the other hand, have a question. What in the world did T.J. Watt do to rank fourth on the list?!
Watt is graded on the list of Superstar X-Factor players for Madden 24, which provides users the opportunity to unlock special abilities and traits inherent to that ball player. Watt’s X-Factor skill is the Unstoppable Force ability, which gives him the ability to shed blocks quickly in order to win in pass-rush situations. Still, the 94 overall rating feels... underwhelming, to say the least, particularly when comparing past performance to players like Myles Garrett and Nick Bosa over the course of their careers.
In the 2022 season, Watt registered 5.5 sacks and 39 tackles (8 for a loss), as well as two interceptions and a forced fumble in 10 games played. Unfortunately, the star linebacker suffered a torn pec that forced him to miss the next seven games in Week 1’s matchup against the Bengals. He notched a sack, six solo tackles (three for loss), an interception, and two pass deflections before leaving the game, which tells us all we need to know about what could have been, had it not been for the injury. While out, Watt also underwent knee surgery for an injury suffered in the preseason, eventually returning in Week 10 after the bye to finish out the season.
Watt will return to the field this year, hopefully a bit healthier, with plenty of motivation thanks to the Madden and ESPN rankings alike.