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Madden NFL 17 ties this year's rookies to the goalpost again

At least they didn't gett Icy Hot in their jockstraps

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

It has become an annual tradition for EA Sports to round up the NFL's incoming rookies — young men who have been told all their lives how special they are — and lay the wood to their self-esteem. Here again, they're asked to guess their ratings in the next edition of Madden NFL, and are confronted with reality.

They seem to be catching on. (Johnny Manziel, in the first year EA did this, called himself an 88 to a 92. He was a 77, probably his peak). Alex Collins, a running back for the Seattle Seahawks, pegged his overall at 80, which recognizes how rare anything in that range is (just five rookies opened the season at 80 OVR or better in Madden NFL 16). Yet Collins was drafted 171st overall — the fifth round. I don't think anyone has found an 80-rated player in the fifth round of their draft within a Madden season.

Ezekiel Elliott's (pictured above) expectation of an overall 84 seems a little more reasonable, as he was the fourth overall pick (by Dallas) and one of the biggest names coming into the draft back in April. An 84 would have made him the highest overall rated rookie last year by two points. But he's close! Elliott's opening OVR is 80, with plenty of room to improve if he shows Madden's designers something in training camp.

Cardale Jones, the The Ohio State University quarterback now with Buffalo, seems to know how to play the system, guessing a 103 for his throwing power (ratings rarely hit 100) so he looks like he's punked at 96 (still good!). Everyone knows throwing accuracy is where the money is at, though, and poor Jared Goff, the Cal Bear QB headed to the Los Angeles Rams, looks like he just got handed a parking ticket.

The top 10 rated rookies are available here; it should be noted the No. 1 first-timer, cornerback Jalen Ramsey of Jacksonville (82 overall) isn't even in the video. He's 82, Elliott's 80, and the rest are 79 or 78. Roberto Aguayo, the first kicker selected in the second round in 11 years, is fourth among the class.

Madden NFL launches Aug. 23 on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. For more, see our previews of the career-mode changes and the new commentary team.

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