Jon Gruden’s first two seasons back with the Las Vegas Raiders franchise haven’t exactly gone to plan.
After a disastrous 2018, Gruden’s team did improve last year ending at seven wins and nine losses. Led by some rebounding veterans, a relatively unknown tight end, and an outstanding rookie running back, the Raiders did look much better in 2019 and with another talented rookie class incoming, there’s reason for the Black Hole and the rest of the Raiders fandom to get excited.
But since the season won’t be here until September, optimistically, Las Vegas football fans will have to settle for jumping on the sticks and seeing their team in EA’s latest installment in the Madden series. In August, Madden 21 will hit shelves and everyone will get their first preview of the 2020 NFL season on their consoles.
Before we get there, let’s take a look-see at the top 10 highest rated Raiders players based on the pre-launch released ratings.
10. Gabe Jackson, RG
Previous rating: 77, Madden 21 rating: 79
The first and certainly not the last offensive lineman on the list, we start things off with seventh-year man Gabe Jackson. The former third-round pick wasn’t the most consistent last year missing some blocks here and there but he did have some really good games. Jackson’s time on one of the league’s best protection units probably contributed to his bump in this year’s rating.
9. Derek Carr, QB
Previous rating: 80, Madden 21 rating: 79
Another Madden season, another criminally underrated Derek Carr rating. Carr had career high’s in passing yards, yards per pass thrown, percentage, and passer rating in 2019 and instead of getting some much-needed respect from EA’s developers, the Raiders’ franchise quarterback’s rating dropped another point. A lot of love for his line but none for the man under center.
8. Tyrell Williams, WR
Previous rating: 83, Madden 21 rating:82
For the third straight year, wide receiver Tyrell Williams did not play a full season of NFL football and this might be the main reason his rating is where it is at right now. His overall statistics in 2019 are no impressive by any means, but if you watched him when was healthy and on the field, you would agree that he deserves better. Still faster than your average wideout, Williams’ 6-4 frame and top-tier agility always make him a threat to score and it showed in the games he played.
7. Lamarcus Joyner, CB
Previous rating: 85, Madden 21 rating: 82
At number, we have the Las Vegas franchise’s big offseason acquisition in 2019, Lamarcus Joyner. Joyner signed a $40 million contract last season and had a lot of Raiders fans hyped for his debut season with the team. Ultimately, the former Los Angeles Ram was a consistent part of their defensive secondary unit but I think people expected a lot more out of him especially when it came to breaking up plays. That being said, the three-point drop from his previous rating seems a bit drastic and hopefully, it gets a much-needed boost early in the season.
6. Damarious Randall, FS
Previous rating: 86, Madden 21 rating: 82
After a career year in 2018, defensive back Damarious Randall looked primed for another improved run last season but a hamstring injury would… hamstring his progress. Including the Steelers game, he was ejected from, Randall only played 11 games last year and due to the lack of field time, it was his first season without a single interceptions. The former first-round pick had an average of at least three picks per season since he entered as well as more than a handful of pass deflections, which was still a huge part of his game in 2019. Randall is another Raider defender who got a not so fair rating decline in Madden 21 and I’m sure he’ll be out to prove raters and the Cleveland Browns wrong this coming 2020 season.
5. Darren Waller, TE
Previous rating: 68, Madden 21 rating: 85
Tight end Darren Waller had himself a year to remember last year and it definitely shows in his new Madden rating. After a lackluster first four years in the league, the Georgia Tech alum finally broke into the NFL last year with a career-high 90 receptions for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns. His productivity didn’t go unnoticed as his 17 point rating jump is the largest increase for any Raider in this year’s game. He is one of three Las Vegas players who got a 10+ bump in Madden 21.
4. Trent Brown, RT
Previous rating: 78, Madden 21 rating:87
In March, the Las Vegas Raiders made Trent Brown the highest-paid offensive lineman in the entire NFL when they inked him to a $66 million extension and although his 2019 ended abruptly, the Pro Bowl tackle gave the Raiders every reason to pay him. To put things into perspective, in over 300 pass-blocking plays, Brown and every inch of his 6 foot 8 wall of a body only allowed a solitary sack. Insert a quote here about quarterbacks and paying their protection. Brown’s 87 rating is more than deserved but I for one believe he should at least be in the 90s.
3. Josh Jacobs, HB
Previous rating: 74, Madden 21 rating: 88
That Khalil Mack trade isn’t looking so bad anymore, am I right? Jon Gruden and the Raiders organization use the first-rounder they got for their former star linebacker to select Jacobs in the 2019 draft and I’m pretty sure they’re all satisfied with the rookie’s performance. The former ‘Bama running back rushed for over a thousand yards in his very first season while scoring seven touchdowns of carries. Jacobs was the first-ever Raider to rush for 1000+ yards in his debut season. The only thing lacking was his touches in the air game with only 20 receptions but I’m sure he will become a bigger part of Las Vegas’ passing game this season. 14 points up from his initial rating, the phenom’s rise looks to be in full swing.
2. Richie Incognito, LG
Previous rating: 76, Madden 21 rating: 90
Though Jacobs displayed his talent and IQ while running the ball, Richie Incognito on the massive O line is still the main reason he ran for all those yards. The 37-year-old guard is one of the best even at his age and he can still go head to head with any defender in the league. Gruden secured Incognito’s service for two years and rightfully so. Three years ago, the four-time Pro Bowler was all but retired from the game. Now, he’s back and a key cog in the NFL’s top offensive line. The 90 rating and 14 point increase are only right.
1. Rodney Hudson, C
Previous rating: 93, Madden 21 rating: 93
We’ve been talking up the O line this entire time and it’s only right that the game’s best center wraps up the Raiders top 10. Gruden locked up Hudson for three more years back in August and for good reason. The former Florida State Seminole has been a versatile and reliable leader for the Raiders line over the past five seasons and he will again look to guide this team in 2020. The All-Pro center is one of only two Raiders with a 90+ rating and it’s fitting that both of them are on the offensive line.