The Madden '21 player rankings have been released for fans and gamers to pore over and analyze and, as always, there's plenty for Patriots fans to digest when it comes to how their team stacks up. Madden puts an incredible amount of time and thought into their rankings, which will be updated throughout the season.
For the Patriots, there's now a notable absence atop their rankings for the first time in many years, but Tom Brady has been replaced by the newest Patriot to join the 99 Club, Stephon Gilmore. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year will once again be counted on for a shutdown season.
Let's break down some of the biggest risers and fallers from last year's initial ratings, who's the fastest and who got snubbed, and then count down the Top 25 Patriots ratings.
(+7) Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, Adam Butler; (+6) John Simon, Isaiah Wynn, Chase Winovich; (+5) Stephon Gilmore, Dont'a Hightower
The defense is well represented on the biggest risers list, led by a trio of youngsters who emerged into more significant roles in 2019. Jonathan Jones signed a new contract extension, while Adam Butler was retained with a second-round restricted free agent tender after making the team as a undrafted rookie in 2017. J.C. Jackson grabbed five interceptions in 2019, giving him eight in his first two seasons, and could be a star in the making.
John Simon has carved out a solid role in two seasons with the Pats after spending time on three different teams to start his career, while Isaiah Wynn and Chase Winovich will be looking to match breakout years with their jump in Madden rating. Gilmore and Dont'a Hightower are coming off two of the best seasons of their careers.
(-6) Cam Newton; (-4) James White, Sony Michel, Marcus Cannon
After two seasons marred by injuries, Newton can take even more motivation from his drop in Madden rating which now has him coming in at 78. Newton ranked as high as 94 overall in Madden 17's initial rankings and will be looking to prove he belongs back among the league's best quarterbacks.
The Patriots running game struggled for large parts of 2019 and the drop in ratings for James White, Sony Michel and Marcus Cannon reflect it. All three will be counted on for bounce-back seasons, though White remains the Patriots most effective weapon and still had one of his more productive years in 2019.
(94) Jonathan Jones, Damiere Byrd; (92) Stephon Gilmore, Quincy Adeboyejo; (91) Jason McCourty
Jonathan Jones is rightly dubbed one of the two fastest Patriots, with new wide receiver Damiere Byrd hoping to bring a much-needed field-stretching element to the Patriots attack. Gilmore has enough speed to stick with almost any receiver, while practice squadder Quincy Adeboyejo will be looking to make some noise in training camp. Jason McCourty edges his twin brother by one speed rating point, 91-90.
Jarrett Stidham beat out Brian Hoyer for the backup job last season, but still comes in one rating point behind Hoyer, 62-61. Matthew Slater might only play special teams but a 65 rating feels disrespectful to one of the best and most impactful players on the roster. Same goes for steady long snapper Joe Cardona, who brings in the lowest ranking on the team with a glaring 26 overall. Jermaine Eluemunor received an original-round restricted free agent tender this offseason and could be an important backup on the offensive line, but still comes in with a dreadful 58 ranking.
Top 25 Patriots
|Rank||Player||Madden 21 Rating||Change||Notes|
|25.||Chase Winovich, OLB||75||+6||Has prime opportunity for increased role after nabbing 5.5 sacks as a rookie.|
|24.||Rex Burkhead, RB||75||-1||Re-worked contract means Burkhead will again be a rotational piece in the backfield.|
|23.||Marcus Cannon, RT||76||-4||Veteran right tackle battled injuries in 2019.|
|22.||Adam Butler, DL||76||+7||Effective interior pass rusher became a key contributor in 2019.|
|21.||Marqis Lee, WR||77||-3||Veteran receiver looking to bounce back from injury-ridden end with Jags.|
|20.||Ja'whaun Bentley, LB||77||+3||Third-year 'backer poised for big increase in snaps.|
|19.||Adrian Phillips, S||78||Same||Free agent is another versatile piece in secondary.|
|18.||Cam Newton, QB||78||-6||Former MVP motivated to bounce back from two injury-filled seasons.|
|17.||Isaiah Wynn, OT||79||+6||Third-year tackle showed promise in 2019.|
|16.||Mohamed Sanu, WR||79||-3||Ankle injury slowed Sanu's progress in New England.|
|15.||John Simon, OLB||80||+6||Veteran has emerged as solid edge player.|
|14.||Sony Michel, RB||80||-4||Third-year back had a down year after stellar rookie playoff run.|
|13.||Lawrence Guy, DL||81||-1||Free agent find has emerged as most valuable defensive lineman.|
|12.||James White, RB||82||-4||White had 72 catches in 2020.|
|11.||J.C. Jackson, CB||82||+7||Emerging talent took solid strides in second season.|
|10.||Jonathan Jones, CB||83||+7||Contract extension locked down fast and versatile slot corner.|
|9.||Patrick Chung, S||83||+1||Nagging injuries slowed down the valuable safety in 2019.|
|8.||David Andrews, C||84||Same||Stellar center looks to return after a lost 2019 season.|
|7.||Joe Thuney, OG||85||+1||Franchise tagged guard is as solid as they come.|
|6.||Jason McCourty, CB||85||Same||Veteran cornerback was missed in second half of 2019.|
|5.||Shaq Mason, OG||86||-2||Despite some uneven performances in 2019, Mason's athleticism continues to shine.|
|4.||Julian Edelman, WR||87||-2||Veteran battled through 2019 for 100 catches.|
|3.||Dont'a Hightower, LB||88||+5||Leader of the defensive front has stayed healthy the last two seasons.|
|2.||Devin McCourty, S||92||+3||Veteran safety is the glue in the secondary and will be a vital leader.|
|1.||Stephon Gilmore, CB||99||+5||NFL's Defensive Player of the Year is the best shutdown corner in the game.|