Whether you play Madden 21 or not, you know that the Pittsburgh Steelers have been through a lot the past few years. From the headaches caused by Antonio Brown and Leveon Bell to the recent Mason Rudolph-Myles Garrett fiasco, the Steelers are probably all but done talking about things outside of actual football. With franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger nearing a return and their youth movement looking ripe for a postseason trip, things are looking up in the’Burgh.
But before Big Ben takes his cannon out for another run in real like, let’s first take a look what kinda of team he can expect to lead in EA’s virtual football playground. Here’s a look at the 10 highest rated Steelers players on Madden 21.
10. Alejandro Villanueva, LT
Previous rating: 86, Madden 21 rating: 82
The four point drop by starter Alejandro Villanueva is a theme for the Steelers’ offensive players who sorely missed Big Ben last season. Though his overall did take a hit, the former Army Captain still has one of the best awareness ratings in the team he will be a key piece in trying to ease Roethlisberger back into the game.
9. Joe Haden, CB
Previous rating: 84, Madden 21 rating: 83
If the theme on offense is ratings drops because of a sub-par season without the franchise quarterback, on the other side of the football it’s being underrated. For a defense that was top five in the NFL in points allowed and number one in forced turnovers, it is unacceptable that only a single player on Pittsburgh’s D is rated 90 or better. To start we cornerback Joe Haden who had his best season so far for Mike Tomlin with five picks and 17 pass deflections.
8. Eric Ebron, TE
Previous rating: 86, Madden 21 rating: 84
Ebron’s 2019 season looked like he was following his upward trajectory from previous years but an ankle injury would derail this and he would be put on season-ending reserve. After a career Pro Bowl year in 2018 with the Detroit Lions, Ebron was averaging a personal best of over 12 yards per reception before he went down and will now to restart his career with the Steelers.
7. T.J. Watt, LOLB
Previous rating: 82, Madden 21 rating: 86
Is it just me or a guy who gets 14.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a lead-leaguing 8 forced fumbles should get more than an 86 rating? The youngest of the three Watt brothers displayed his versatile defensive arsenal last season and I’m sure fans everywhere will agree that this overall is more than unfair. T.J. Watt was a contender for the Defensive Player of the Year award and he finished third in voting. C’mon, EA.
6. Maurkice Pouncey, C
Previous rating: 85, Madden 21 rating: 86
Pouncey made his fourth straight Pro Bowl team last year with fellow his linemen and was a steadying presence in a Pittsburgh offense that sorely needed it. Having Ben behind him this season should give Pouncey a little more comfort and hopefully, more wins.
5. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR
Previous rating: 88, Madden 21 rating: 86
It was JuJu’s first year out of Antonio Brown’s huge and distracting shadow but I don’t think things really played out the way he and the team wanted. He had his worst year as a pro so far and only caught 42 passes for less than 600 yards, even worse than his rookie season. JuJu did miss four games and again, the offense was desperate for Big Ben’s arm and filed vision. With that said, the drop isn’t too drastic and hopefully he’ll be able to raise his overall by the third or fourth week.
4. Stephon Tuitt, LE
Previous rating: 85, Madden 21 rating: 87
Stephon Tuitt was ready for a career year in 2019 but was another victim of injury. In just six games, Tuitt already had around 20 hits and 3.5 sacks, which would have put him on pace for a 10 sack season. His previous high was 6.5 and though he spent the rest of the year on IR, EA still rewarded the defensive lineman’s quality while he was on the field.
3. Minkah Fitzpatrick, FS
Previous rating: 80, Madden 21 rating: 87
The Steelers wanted a win-now team and back in 2019, the Pittsburgh franchise bet on free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Steelers sent a trio of picks to the Miami Dolphins for Fitzpatrick and they were rewarded with another outstanding season by the defender. In 14 games, the former 11th overall pick had nine pass deflections, a forced fumble, and five interceptions. His production and quality on the turf got him the largest ratings boost in his team but some can argue that it might still be a bit low. Also of note, Fitzpatrick is one of the best among Steelers in Madden 21’s new attribute, change of direction (COD).
2. Cameron Heyward, RE
Previous rating: 86, Madden 21 rating: 90
After and injury-shortened 2016 season, Cameron Heyward has tore it up the past three years and last year’s performance has earned him the sole 90 rating from the Steelers defense. Heyward’s tackle totals were outlandish in 2019 with over 50 tackles, 83 combined tackles, and 9 sacks. He also had nine pass deflections as part of Pittsburgh’s defensive line. Well earned rating but again, should probably get a bump or two.
1. David DeCastro, RG
Previous rating: 93, Madden 21 rating: 91
Even after dropping two points from his rating this time last year, right guard David DeCastro still tops the Steelers in Madden 21’s launch day grades. Another victim of Roethlisberger’s absence, DeCastro still played extremely well for Pittsburgh and made it to his fifth straight Pro Bowl. The former All-Pro lineman will hopefully enjoy a better with Ben’s comeback looming.