125 players rated higher than Steelers T.J. Watt in Madden 21

Tommy Jaggi
T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

T.J. Watt was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2019. Here’s why the Steelers star defender is the most disrespected player on Madden 21.

There wasn’t a lot that T.J. Watt couldn’t do in 2019. He was constantly disruptive in passing situations and he bullied offensive lineman against the run. Even in coverage, Watt allowed just an 8.3 passer rating on his 52 coverage snaps. Yet despite grading out as the top edge defender in the league, according to Pro Football Focus, the Steelers All-Pro defender was incredibly disrespected when it came to Madden rankings this year.

Recently, Madden released the ratings of each player for Madden 21. Remarkably, 125 players were ranked higher than T.J. Watt:

Despite being a top-four Defensive Player of the Year candidate after a phenomenal 2019 season, Watt earned just an 86 overall grade in the latest installment of the Madden video game. In fact, 16 ‘edge defenders’ were graded higher than Watt this year – including players like Kyle Van Noy, Brandon Graham, Za’Darius Smith, and Melvin Ingram.

In addition, four players on his own team were rated higher than Watt and two players earned the same rating. One of those players was Maurkice Pouncey, who graded out as the worst center in the league last season, according to PFF.

These bogus Madden 21 ratings clearly are not an accurate representation of what we saw on the football field last season. Watt was dominant in 2019 – earning 14.5 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, 36 quarterback hits, 18 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions – all while leading the league in pressures and forced fumbles, according to Pro Football Reference.

In comparison to other top edge defenders from a season ago, Watt was the only one who was snubbed. Khalil Mack and Von Miller earned 97 overall grades on this year’s Madden. Meanwhile, Myles Garrett was a 93 and Joey Bosa was a 91, while DeMarcus Lawrence, Danielle Hunter, and Nick Bosa all earned 89 overall grades.

An 86 for T.J. Watt was flat out disrespectful. Fortunately, Madden ratings are far from an accurate representation of how players are in the real world. The All-Pro edge defender stands to be one of the most dominant defensive players in the league again in 2020, and there isn’t any evidence to suggest otherwise.

Though Watt may not be able to lead the NFL in pressures for the second straight year or earn a whopping 8 forced fumbles again next season, he has gotten consistently better each of his first three seasons and should be considered among the very best in the league at his positions.

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At the end of the day, Madden ratings don’t amount to a hill of beans when compared to what’s really happening in the NFL. The Steelers made one of the best picks in the 2017 draft when they took T.J. Watt 30th overall. He will continue to prove why he is one of the best defenders in the league.