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Madden 21 ratings: Lamar Jackson’s game-breaking skills, Ravens’ speedy offense and a surprise top player

This image provided by EA Sports shows the cover of the Madden 21 video game, featuring Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, which will be released in August. (Photo courtesy of EA Sports via AP)
This image provided by EA Sports shows the cover of the Madden 21 video game, featuring Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, which will be released in August. (Photo courtesy of EA Sports via AP) (Jamie O'Connell/AP)

The game won’t be released for another month, but the Madden NFL 21 player ratings are already out.

Each year, players and analysts alike argue over the best players at each position. ESPN devoted a full “SportsCenter” special to the release of the ratings Friday night, complete with guest appearances from the most recent cover athletes: star quarterbacks Lamar Jackson of the Ravens and Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the Ravens in this year’s edition of Madden:

Unsurprisingly, Lamar Jackson is one of the game’s best players

Jackson was the fastest quarterback in Madden 20, but he entered his second season in the NFL with just a 76 overall rating, tied for 24th among quarterbacks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston. After winning NFL Most Valuable Player honors while breaking the single-season rushing record for a quarterback and leading the league in touchdown passes, the cover athlete is now one of the game’s top-rated passers.

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Jackson has an overall rating of 94, and while he wishes it was better, he’s the third best quarterback behind Mahomes (99 overall) and the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (97). He boasts a game-breaking speed rating of 96, higher than all but five players in the game, all of whom are wide receivers — the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill (99), Las Vegas Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs III (98), the Ravens’ Marquise Brown (97), the Philadelphia Eagles’ Marquise Goodwin (97) and the Chiefs’ Mecole Hardman (97).

Along with his high athleticism ratings — 96 acceleration, 95 agility, 81 break tackle, 91 jump, 82 spin move, 90 juke move — Jackson has one of the game’s strongest arms (92 throw power), solid accuracy ratings (92 short accuracy, 83 medium, 86 deep) and ranks third-best throwing on the run (95). His break-sack rating is 95, his awareness is 95 and his throw-under-pressure rating is 94. He could end up being as dominant in the virtual world as 2004 Michael Vick.

The Ravens have a lot of speed on offense

Jackson might be the fastest quarterback in the game, but he’s not the fastest Raven. Brown’s 97 speed rating leads the way, and his fellow receivers can get down the field in a hurry, too.

Along with Brown, rookie Devin Duvernay (92), De’Anthony Thomas (91), Miles Boykin (90) and Chris Moore (90) all have speed ratings of at least 90. Willie Snead IV (89), rookie James Proche (88) and Jaleel Scott (87) aren’t too far behind.

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The Ravens backfield is pretty fast, too. Rookie J.K. Dobbins — the highest-rated rookie running back in the game at 75 overall — leads the way with a 91 speed rating, followed by Justice Hill (90), Gus Edwards (88) and Mark Ingram II (88). Even a usually plodding position offers some athleticism. Rookie fullback Bronson Rechsteiner — who comes from a family of professional wrestlers and is a self-described “huge weight-room guy” — checks in with a speed rating of 88.

The Ravens’ backup quarterbacks don’t slack for speed, either. Second-year player Trace McSorley (87), undrafted rookie Tyler Huntley (86) and veteran Robert Griffin III (85) all rank among the top 15 at the position in that category.

Even the defense has some quick feet. Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen, the 28th overall pick in April, is tied for fourth-fastest among middle linebackers in the game with a speed rating of 89.

A newcomer is the Ravens’ highest-rated player

One might think Jackson, the cover athlete, is the clear top player on the team. That honor, however, belongs to a 33-year-old veteran who was acquired this offseason for just a fifth-round pick.

Five-time Pro Bowl selection Calais Campbell boasts an overall rating of 95, edging Jackson by one point. He ranks eighth overall among pass rushers, ahead of two players who just signed massive extensions — the Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garrett (93) and the Chiefs’ Chris Jones (92). Campbell’s awareness rating of 97 — roughly defined as football intelligence and instincts — is tied for the third-highest in the game with eight other players. His power moves (90), finesse moves (92) block shedding (94), pursuit (97), play recognition (96), strength (92) and tackling (94) make him a dominant defender.

Though the Ravens are coming off a record-setting 14-2 season, the roster isn’t filled with highly rated stars. Jackson, Campbell and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (93) are the only three Ravens to rank 90 or above, with cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Earl Thomas III falling just short at 89 and 88, respectively.

However, Justin Tucker (87) is the game’s highest-rated kicker, and Sam Koch (85) is the third-best punter. Tight end Mark Andrews (86) ranks among the game’s top 10 at his position, as does Humphrey, Thomas, fullback Patrick Ricard (81) and defensive tackle Brandon Williams (86).

Here’s the Ravens’ top 10 overall:

  • DE Calais Campbell – 95
  • QB Lamar Jackson – 94
  • LT Ronnie Stanley – 93
  • CB Marlon Humphrey – 89
  • S Earl Thomas III – 88
  • K Justin Tucker – 87
  • DT Brandon Williams – 86
  • RB Mark Ingram II – 86
  • TE Mark Andrews – 86
  • P Sam Koch – 85

Do any Ravens rank near the top — or the bottom — in any specific category?

Setting aside Jackson’s top-notch skills, the Ravens have some noteworthy ratings compared with the rest of the league:

  • WR Marquise Brown: 97 speed (tied for second best overall)
  • DT Brandon Williams: 96 strength (tied for fourth best)
  • RT Orlando Brown Jr.: 50 speed (worst overall)
  • WR De’Anthony Thomas: 89 kick return (tied for seventh best) and 43 strength (tied for third worst)
  • DE Calais Campbell: 97 awareness (tied for third best) and 94 tackling (tied for fourth best)
  • OG Ben Bredeson, Bradley Bozeman and Daishawn Dixon: 12 catching (tied for worst)
  • RB Gus Edwards: 95 carrying (tied for fourth best)
  • Jets and former Ravens QB Joe Flacco: 5 carrying (worst overall)
  • CB Anthony Averett and DE Derek Wolfe: 10 kick power (tied for fourth worst)
  • K Justin Tucker: 13 tackling (tied for third worst) and 36 jump (tied for fifth worst)
  • S Earl Thomas III: 97 stamina (tied for third best)
  • RB Mark Ingram II: 89 trucking (tied for third best)
  • LT Ronnie Stanley: 95 pass-block finesse (third best)
  • FB Patrick Ricard: 95 lead block (best overall)
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