Madden’s Safety Ratings: What Went Wrong

Madden’s Safety Ratings: What Went Wrong


Recently, as EA begins to market the newest edition of their cornerstone game, they have released the top-ten player ratings at each position. While most of these lists have a few discrepancies, someone needs to talk about their most recent release, the safeties. Madden missed on nearly every single one, with no rhyme or reason in many of the ratings. Before we break it down, here are Madden’s official safety ratings for reference.

  • Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs – 95
  • Budda Baker, Cardinals – 93
  • Devin McCourty, Patriots – 92
  • Jessie Bates, Bengals – 91
  • Justin Simmons, Broncos – 91
  • Jamal Adams, Seahawks – 90
  • Harrison Smith, Vikings – 90
  • Eddie Jackson, Bears – 89
  • Adrian Amos, Packers – 89
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers – 89

What They Got Right

First off, I would agree that eight of the players that made the list deserve to be in the top-eight. Adrian Amos is one I am surprised was recognized by Madden so well, but is certainly deserving at a top-tier safety.

I think keeping Simmons and Bates attached at the hip is a solid move, as I very much see them being on similar levels. Budda Baker is certainly an elite safety, and his rating shows that well.

Jamal Adams caught a lot of slack for not playing his traditional role last season. However, that is not what Seattle asked of him, and the role he did play, he did so at an elite level.

I think Tyrann Mathieu is an incredible and versatile player, and although I would not have rated him quite so high, I am not terribly mad at the rating he did get. Once again, his ability to impact a defense in so many ways makes him one of the most feared defensive backs in football.

Where They Went Wrong

Devin McCourty

Oh man, where do I start. First off, putting Devin McCourty’s name in the same breath as the rest of these guys in 2021 should be a crime. I know he is a good player, even great at times. However, he is not nearly as dynamic and game-breaking as any of the other names on this list.

Not only should he not be THIRD with a rating of 92, but I can name six safeties who should be higher than him, in addition to the nine others on this list. Just for fun, they are Micah Hyde, Kevin Byard, Marcus Williams, Marcus Maye, John Johnson, and MAYBE even Darnell Savage.

Regardless, I would have been okay with any of those safeties making the list over him. McCourty is a no slouch, of course, but a rating around 83-85 would have been much more acceptable.

Derwin James

Next up, the omission of Derwin James is mind-boggling. I understand his injury history, but Madden has already shown that they disregard that in their Christian McCaffery rating. When healthy, James is the most dynamic safety in football.

If you want to talk about attributes, I cannot think of a safety with a more diverse and prototypical skillset. Being left off this list is madness.

Eddie Jackson

As I mentioned, the majority of the list certainly deserves to be on the list. However, the order is flawed. Consistently elite performers like Adams and Harrison Smith being a step below Budda Baker, yet so close to Amos and Eddie Jackson is a crime.

In fact, they have Jackson rated as though this is 2019. He was not quite on a top ten level last season, and carrying an 89 rating is pretty steep.

Minkah Fitzpatrick

Lastly, placing Minkah Fitzpatrick on the same tier as Jackson and Amos is absolute disrespect. Minkah has proven to be a complete gamechanger in Pittsburgh. He is on a playmaking level much higher than the other two at this point in their careers.

To say he is slightly lower than Hitman and Adams is one thing, but being placed on the same pedestal as Amos and Jackson is just a lie. I cannot find reasoning for this rating, no matter how much I try to see it.

What the List SHOULD Look Like

Without further ado, here are my adjusted Madden ’22 safety ratings…

Adrian Amos – 87

This is another one that Madden almost got right. Amos is a very solid and at times great player, who helps make Green Bay’s defense what it is.

That being said, there is certainly a gap between the top eight, and players like him and Byard. While many of these guys could move up in the rankings, I think it is entirely possible that Amos gets passed up by Maye, Williams, or even his own teammate in Savage.

Kevin Byard – 88

Byard fails to record four+ interceptions for the first time since 2017, and Madden assumes that means he is no longer top ten material. Boy were they wrong.

In fact, Byard took a step ahead in his run support, posting his first season with 100+ tackles. Not missing a single start in four years, or a single game all five years while playing at an elite level is uber-impressive. He’s in the top ten, take notes Madden.

Jamal Adams – 91

As I mentioned earlier, many were disappointed in Adams’ 2020 season, citing his less often and less effective work in coverage. However, Adams was essentially playing an entirely different position with Seattle, which he did effectively.

His ability to impact the game as a second-level pass rusher helped the Seahawks keep offenses behind schedule. Almost touching double digits, Adams’ new role may be something we have never seen before, allowing him to set the standard.

Minkah Fitzpatrick – 91

Much like James, I have already talked about the abilities that Fitzpatrick brings to the table. After being traded to Pittsburgh, Fitz has become one of the most exciting safeties in football.

He may not quite be on the level of James and Bates as far as young safeties go, but he is definitely a step ahead of the rest of the league. With his dominant streaks, he has the potential to jump the guys above him by the season’s end.

Justin Simmons – 92

Simmons was a promising rookie in 2016 and has only gotten better every year of his career. His coverage abilities especially have been impressive, watching his interception total rise every season since 2017.

With a truly dominant secondary in Denver lined up for 2021, I only expect Simmons to get better. As his role becomes more refined, and the entire defense improves, Simmons could end the year as number one.

Tyrann Mathieu – 93

The anchor of Kansas City’s defense the past three seasons, the Honey Badger is a one-of-a-kind player. They use him across the entire defense, lining him up at essentially everything but defensive tackle.

While I have him graded slightly lower than Madden, this is no knock on Mathieu. If anything it is just giving the proper representation to the players above him.

Harrison Smith – 93

Underrating Harrison Smith the way Madden did is ridiculous. To perform as a top-five safety nearly every year of his career and still be kicked below Devin McCourty… you should be ashamed Madden.

While last season was a difficult one for the Vikings’ defense, Smith was at times keeping the unit afloat by himself. You do not undercut a legend who carried a faltering and injured team at the age of 31. With perhaps Minnesota’s best defense yet on the way, watch out for Harrison Smith.

Budda Baker – 93

This is one of the few right ones on Madden’s rankings. Budda is one of the most versatile players in the entire league, and I am guessing those abilities contributed to his rating.

If he was just a little faster, (yes, that is a D.K. Metcalf joke) Budda is truly a mold of a great safety. 93 is a very great rating, and he may only build it as the year goes on.

Derwin James – 94

I’ve already spoken on James’ potential and his ability to do legitimately everything on the Chargers’ defense. I truly believe that the only thing that holds him back in real life is his health.

However, talent and attributes should be the only keys in determining Madden rankings. Health is unpredictable, and just should not be a part of lowering a rating in a video game. Get right Madden.

Jessie Bates – 95

Bates was transformative last year, being a lone bright spot in a lost season. He was dominant in every game in 2021 and deserves his place among the top safeties.

He is equal parts ballhawk and run enforcer and utilizes those different skillsets perfectly. Even if his run at the top is short-lived, he deserves his claim as Madden’s best safety.

Nick Lawler

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