Top Twelve Offensive Rookies in Madden 21

Best Offensive Rookie in Madden 21

Every year players and fans alike are eager to see what the rookie ratings will be. EA has already released the top offensive rookies in Madden 21. I planned on covering the top ten offensive rookies, but there was a tie between players nine through twelve. Madden gave no love to big men, as every single player on this list is at a skill position.

When I am deciding on a team for franchise mode, the rookie draft class is a high ranking factor. These players will develop the fastest and be under contract for four seasons (with a fifth year option for first round picks). If you can build around a young core, your team will have success. I always like to pick a team with young talent and then trade for some rookies with attributes that I know I can utilize.

Last year I was able to get rookie MLB Blake Cashman for very cheap, and he became the best player on my defense. I knew he would develop because he had 90 speed and acceleration as a MLB. I was able to rack up some crazy stats because he flew around the field. Starting with or trading to land one or two of these rookies could set your franchise up for success before you even play a snap.

Joe Burrow – 76 – Cincinnati Bengals

After having arguably the greatest season in college football history, Joe Burrow becomes the highest rated offensive rookie in Madden 21 (tied with Ruggs). I would expect Chase Young to be the highest player in the rookie class, but Burrow leads the way for offensive players. The first attribute that jumped off the page for me was his 83 speed and 86 acceleration. He beats out Tua in both categories, which I did not expect. Burrow is a good runner, but I’d be surprised if he could beat Tua in a race. Here are some key attributes for Joe Burrow:

Key Attributes

  • Throw Power: 86
  • Throw Under Pressure: 84
  • Short Accuracy: 88
  • Medium Accuracy: 84
  • Deep Accuracy: 85
  • Throw On The Run: 86

I definitely would be excited to develop Joe Burrow into a franchise quarterback. He has plenty of tools to be effective week one and could become one of the highest rated quarterbacks in just a few seasons. With his speed being slightly higher than anticipated, he could even become a serious threat in the run game. Since they changed the development system a few years ago, players speed and acceleration can increase regularly. Burrow is starting with a high rating. He could become an upper echelon running quarterback. Pair that with his pinpoint accuracy and you are looking at a dominant quarterback. Joe Burrow is tied for the best offensive rookie in Madden 21 at 76 overall.

Henry Ruggs III – 76 – Las Vegas Raiders

Henry Ruggs III earned the right to be paired with Joe Burrow as the top offensive rookie in Madden 21. He did so when he ran a blazing 4.27 40-yard-dash at the 2020 NFL Combine in Lucas Oil Stadium. That sprint was enough for the Madden 21 developers to make Ruggs the seconds fastest player in the game, trailing only Tyreek Hill. With 98 speed and 97 acceleration, Ruggs will be a nightmare of a match-up. Burrow has the potential to be a great quarterback, but no player will be more entertaining to have than Henry Ruggs.

Key Attributes

  • Catching: 83
  • Catch In Traffic: 79
  • Spectacular Catch: 82
  • Short Route Running: 76
  • Medium Route Running: 76
  • Deep Route Running: 80
  • Release: 69

Las Vegas will host one of the fastest players in the world this season. I will be targeting Ruggs first when building my trade target list. One issue with Ruggs is his release rating. He will struggle to beat most outside corners at the NFL level. He can take the top off the defense, but he will lose most battles in press coverage. My suggestion would be to move Ruggs to the slot in sets with three or more receivers. Ruggs will develop into a superstar if used correctly, but he should at least spend his rookie season in the slot. He will have more space to work with to get open, and be covered by linebackers in zone coverage. That is not even remotely fair, though you may want to possession catch over the middle of the field.

Jerry Jeudy – 75 – Denver Broncos

Jerry Jeudy was the top receiver at Alabama, over Henry Ruggs III. Ruggs went off the board first and even got a higher Madden rating after a massive combine. While Jeudy is not going to compete for the fastest time at the combine, he is still very fast. Jeudy was given 91 speed and 93 acceleration. He should be up to elite speed after one season in franchise mode if you can at least get him into the Rookie of the Year discussion. He was also one of the best receivers in college football with the ball in his hands. The top offensive rookies in the Madden 21 list would not be complete without this offensive weapon.

Key Attributes

  • Catching: 81
  • Catch In Traffic: 78
  • Spectacular Catch: 81
  • Short Route Running: 80
  • Medium Route Running: 79
  • Deep Route Running: 78
  • Release: 73

Jeudy made his money with elite route running in the college football space. It helps to be a five-star athlete with a Heisman Finalist at Quarterback and Nick Saban as your head coach as well. That said, Jeudy was able to make Division One players look unathletic in comparison on a regular basis. With reliable hands, good route running and a high development rate, Jeudy will become a top receiver in no time. At 75 overall, Jeudy is one of the best offensive rookies in Madden 21.

CeeDee Lamb – 75 – Dallas Cowboys

CeeDee Lamb is right at the top of the loaded receiver class in the 2020 NFL Draft. It would not have surprised anyone if Lamb went off the board before Ruggs and Jeudy. Lamb was a highly rated recruit that rose to stardom along with Oklahoma teammate Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. He had a laughable rotation of quarterbacks that would make any receiver jealous. He went from Heisman Winner Baker Mayfield to Heisman Winner Kyler Murray to Heisman Finalist Jalen Hurts. Now he will have another top quarterback in Dak Prescott, unless you can poach him in a trade.

Key Attributes

  • Catching: 84
  • Catch In Traffic: 80
  • Spectacular Catch: 84
  • Short Route Running: 77
  • Medium Route Running: 78
  • Deep Route Running: 77
  • Release: 71

CeeDee Lamb has solid receiving attributes across the board that will pair nicely with his 90 speed and acceleration. He has reliable hands and is another player that can make you miss in space. He is the biggest receiver on this list, combining his 6’2″ 198 lb frame with speed. As high draft pick, CeeDee should have a development trait of superstar or at least star. Lamb is a top offensive rookie in Madden 21.

J.K. Dobbins – 75 – Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens got an absolute steal when they drafted J.K. Dobbins out of Ohio State in the late second round. Dobbins was rewarded with the highest rating of all the rookie running backs, edging Clyde Edwards-Helaire and D’Andre Swift by one point. J.K. Dobbins is a very balanced back that will be solid in all facets of the offense. The Ravens consider Dobbins as an important weapon that will make an impact right away and could be a bell cow down the line. However, rookie running backs are historically easy to trade for in Madden and Mark Ingram’s presence in Baltimore will make Dobbins very affordable. I would recommend trading for and developing Dobbins. If you plan on using the Ravens, that backfield will be very dangerous and easy to lean on.

Key Attributes

  • Speed: 91
  • Acceleration: 90
  • Agility: 87
  • Catching: 68
  • Carrying: 87
  • Ball Carrier Vision: 84
  • Pass Block: 52
  • Break Tackle: 78
  • Trucking: 77
  • Stiff Arm: 82
  • Spin Move: 79
  • Juke Move: 84

A running back is asked to do a lot of jobs on the football field, so there is a lot to unpack here. His speed is about average for a starting running back. Dobbins’ agility, break tackle rating and special moves will give you a lot to work with in space. His carrying is high enough to make you comfortable giving him a large workload and his vision will make him a threat if you do not user him.

Dobbins’ pass blocking looks horrible but that is actually average given the fact that he only needs to slow down defenders. If it was in the 80’s he would be able to line up at left tackle and hold his own. Madden does not want that. Dobbins has always been a solid receiver and his rating is good enough for him to catch 50 passes over the course of a season and just ability after the catch will make him an offensive weapon. Something worth keeping in mind is that Dobbins is only 21-years-old, all of these attributes will rise quickly. At 75 overall, J.K Dobbins is one of the best offensive rookies in Madden 21.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 74 – Kansas City Chiefs

Clyde Edwards-Helaire was not considered to be one of the best offensive rookies in Madden 21 or the NFL heading into the draft. There was a consensus big three running back group of J.K. Dobbins, D’Andrew Swift, and Jonathan Taylor. However, he had one player in his corner, Patrick Mahomes. During the first round, Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach asked Mahomes what three players he would like to see added to his offense. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was his first choice, and Veach made it happen. Edwards-Helaire just competed for arguably the best team in college football history and will now join the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

“I think the first thing that stood out from Clyde is when the competition and the games got bigger, it seemed like he played better. I always like guys that can rise to the competition, and whenever you’re on the biggest stage, you play your best football, and you rise up and compete with your team. So, that was the first thing that stood out to me as I watched the College Football Playoff and at the end of the college football season. The way he’s able to catch the ball out of the backfield but still be able to run rough between the tackles.”

Patrick Mahomes on his decision to request Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Key Attributes

  • Speed: 86
  • Acceleration: 90
  • Agility: 89
  • Catching: 69
  • Carrying: 89
  • Ball Carrier Vision: 81
  • Pass Block: 47
  • Break Tackle: 77
  • Trucking: 75
  • Stiff Arm: 81
  • Spin Move: 82
  • Juke Move: 85

Edwards-Helaire is an exciting prospect in Madden 21. He is built like a power back at 5’7″ 207 lbs, but has solid speed and is very elusive. His power comes from his low center of gravity and his above average mass for his height. His abilities, however, are very balanced and will fit the Chiefs perfectly. He runs harder than anyone in the league and will use his 71 strength and 75 trucking to blast through the interior of the defense.

Edwards-Helaire is a great receiver as well and dangerous in space. 69 catching does not look great but it will get the job done in Madden, and his abilities with the ball are going to make him a solid contributor in the passing game. He also received an 88 in change of direction, a new rating this year that will allow Clyde Edwards-Helaire to make people miss without having to slow down by using a move.

D’Andre Swift – 74 – Detroit Lions

Swift has quite the highlight reel from scorching SEC defenses for three seasons. He made the loss of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel a mute point for the Georgia Bulldogs with 2,780 total yards and 21 touchdowns in the two years following their departures. He also was very productive in his freshman season when all three backs were on the team. Now Swift will create a new running back tandem with fellow SEC alumni Kerryon Johnson.

Key Attributes

  • Speed: 89
  • Acceleration: 90
  • Agility: 90
  • Catching: 70
  • Carrying: 83
  • Ball Carrier Vision: 82
  • Pass Block: 53
  • Break Tackle: 75
  • Trucking: 67
  • Stiff Arm: 78
  • Spin Move: 81
  • Juke Move: 83

D’Andre Swift is one of the best offensive rookies in Madden 21 because of his ability to do it all. He has good speed, very high agility and elusiveness, and can catch and run between the tackles. There is no clear weakness for Swift as he has a very solid base of ratings. A 74 overall is not going to be worth much on the trade market and his abilities will be capped in year one. However, if he can get close to double-digit touches a game, Swift could easily become a top back in just a few seasons.

Justin Jefferson – 74 – Minnesota Vikings

Justin Jefferson is the third player from the 2019 LSU offense to make this list. Jefferson was a solid receiver as a sophomore but absolutely erupted his junior season with 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. Remarkably, those stats were both second on the team behind Ja’Marr Chase, who will make this list in Madden 22. One thing that stands out about Jefferson is his size and speed. He measured in at 6’1″ 202 lbs and has 91 speed and 90 acceleration. Jefferson will be a serious deep threat in just a few seasons of franchise.

Key Attributes

  • Catching: 83
  • Catch In Traffic: 83
  • Spectacular Catch: 84
  • Short Route Running: 78
  • Medium Route Running: 77
  • Deep Route Running: 76
  • Release: 66

Jefferson showed off his impressive hands and sharp route running in his junior season for the LSU Tigers. Madden 21 rewarded the rookie with high attributes for a rookie receiver. One thing they feel like he needs to prove he can do at the NFL level is get a good release. I always recommend putting players with lower release ratings in the slot until they can improve in that category. Jefferson is just a bit smaller than Michael Thomas, and can run a lot of the shorter routes Thomas is known for, and follow that mold.

Tua Tagovailoa – 73 – Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa was the clear favorite to be the number one pick in the 2020 NFL Draft before Joe Burrow and the LSU offense erupted onto the scene. Still, Tagovailoa was selected fifth overall despite battling a serious hip injury that ended his college football career and inhibited him from participating in on-field drills at the combine. He will battle Ryan Fitzpatrick for reps and looks to be one of the best quarterbacks to develop in this year’s game. Tagovailoa is one of the best offensive rookies in Madden 21 as well as one of the more entertaining players to use.

Key Attributes

  • Throw Power: 88
  • Throw Under Pressure: 81
  • Short Accuracy: 86
  • Medium Accuracy: 81
  • Deep Accuracy: 80
  • Throw On The Run: 82

Tua Tagovailoa is one of the most interesting players in the rookie class partly because of his dual-threat ability. He enters the game with 81 speed and 85 acceleration. His accuracy is not at Burrow’s level but he does have high accuracy ratings for a rookie. He certainly will have a high development rating that will allow for a quick rise to the top of the quarterback rankings. You can certainly start Tua week one, though I recommend trading for some offensive help if you plan on sticking with the Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins are the lowest rated team in the league at 76 overall.

Cam Akers – 73 – Los Angeles Rams

Cam Akers was of the hardest players to evaluate in college football. He showed immense talent but was surrounded by such a bad team and offensive line that he was not allowed to flourish. Even still, Akers was able to prove himself enough to make the list of top offensive rookies in Madden 21. With 90 speed and 94 acceleration, Akers is one of the faster backs in the rookie class. He has a favorable situation, joining a Los Angeles Rams team without a clear starting running back. He will battle Darrell Henderson Jr. for the majority of his reps. Before the injury, Sean McVay used Gurley masterfully, giving Akers a nice landing spot in Hollywood.

Key Attributes

  • Speed: 90
  • Acceleration: 94
  • Agility: 93
  • Catching: 64
  • Carrying: 81
  • Ball Carrier Vision: 78
  • Pass Block: 59
  • Break Tackle: 79
  • Trucking: 79
  • Stiff Arm: 86
  • Spin Move: 80
  • Juke Move: 86

One thing that holds true about this rookie running back class is their overall versatility. Akers showed patience and explosiveness at Florida State, as well as some power. His trucking, break tackle, and ball carrier vision ratings show promise for Akers’ ability to run in-between the tackles. He is not a great pass catcher but can be deadly with the ball in his hands. If you give Cam Akers enough carries in franchise mode, he will develop into a solid starting running back.

Jonathan Taylor – 73 – Indianapolis Colts

Jonathan Taylor was the best running back in the draft class in my opinion. He slid in the draft and was only given a 73 overall in Madden 21. I fully believe Taylor could have a breakout season in 2020 and drastically improve his rating in next year’s game. That said, he is still one of the best offensive rookies in Madden 21.

He has 93 speed and 92 acceleration, creating a real opportunity to become a weapon in the backfield with some development. There are only two running backs faster than Jonathan Taylor in Madden 21 – Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. At 5’10” 226 lbs, that speed with his size is truly unique. He could develop into a star back if acquired in franchise mode. He will have Marlon Mack in front of him on the Colts, but I would make sure to get Taylor in the game as much as possible.

Key Attributes

  • Speed: 93
  • Acceleration: 92
  • Agility: 84
  • Catching: 63
  • Carrying: 80
  • Ball Carrier Vision: 83
  • Pass Block: 50
  • Break Tackle: 80
  • Trucking: 76
  • Stiff Arm: 80
  • Spin Move: 78
  • Juke Move: 82

Taylor is the best rushing back in the class with speed, vision, power, and the ability to make people miss. His catching was always in question with just 42 catches in his college career compared to 926 rushing attempts. I would put a focus on making Taylor an elite first and second down back, and then work on his catching later in his career. If you can increase his break tackle and trucking into the upper 80’s, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Jalen Reagor – 73 – Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Reagor has a lot of expectations in Philadelphia as a first-round pick receiver for a team that desperately needed help at that position. Goodwin and Jackson provide serious speed at the receiver position, but Reagor is tabbed as the future of the receiving core. With 93 speed and 92 acceleration, Reagor will have a chance to burn some defenses as a rookie. Reagor made a name for himself as a guy who was dangerous after the catch. His 94 agility and 91 change of direction ratings exemplify that reputation.

Key Attributes

  • Catching: 79
  • Catch In Traffic: 80
  • Spectacular Catch: 83
  • Short Route Running: 76
  • Medium Route Running: 74
  • Deep Route Running: 78
  • Release: 70

Jalen Reagor has a solid skill set to build on at 73 overall. His 70 release rating is pretty good, and his deep route running and spectacular catch lend himself to being an outside threat. However, with his speed and ability after the catch, I would place him in the slot and let my veteran speedsters stretch the field. Long term I believe Reagor could do the most damage in the slot, though he could be outstanding in either role. Jalen Reagor is the last player on the list of the best offensive rookies in Madden 21.

If you liked this article, check out the rest of my Madden 21 content. If you want to see the rest of Madden’s ratings, click here.