EA Sports recently released its Madden 15 player ratings for the 13 highest-rated rookies from the 2014 NFL Draft class, including players such as Jadeveon Clowney and Sammy Watkins. Although some may scoff at the omission of Johnny Manziel, the top-rated rookies deserved their ratings and worked tirelessly to earn them. Take a look at who made the cut, and learn about the workouts that earned them their impressive numbers.
Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans OLB/DE
The first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Clowney is a freak of nature. His rare combination of speed and power is deadly, and his 83 overall rating is tied for first among all rookies. He has ratings of 88 speed, 92 acceleration, 89 jumping, 90 pursuit and 94 power moves.
Clowney told STACK, "I love hitting people hard and I take pride in that. It don't matter who I am hitting—linemen, running backs, wide receivers, quarterbacks—I just want to hit somebody hard."
EA Sports seems to have taken note of Clowney's affinity for bone-crunching hits, bestowing a 95 hit power rating upon him. Can you say hit stick? Check out STACK's exclusive video of Clowney's training, which includes Weighted Inverted Rows and Cable-Resisted Bench Press, to see how the University of South Carolina product earned those dominant power ratings; and click here to check out the workout that helped Clowney run a 4.53 40-Yard Dash at the NFL Combine to earn his incredible speed ratings.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills WR
Watkins comes in with an 80 overall rating, good for fifth among rookies. The first things you notice about Watkins in Madden 15 are his speed and quickness, as he has ratings of 93 speed, 95 acceleration, 95 agility, 93 juke move and 93 elusiveness. Those kind of numbers allow Watkins to turn a sliver of daylight into six points.
Watkins told STACK, "I'm fast, quick and explosive, but there are a lot of things I need to fix from a wide receiver's standpoint . . . working on break points and being quick out of my breaks."
His Madden ratings reflect that concern. His speed and quickness numbers are elite, but his route running is only 76. To see how Watkins earned his sick speed ratings, check out this STACK exclusive video of his speed workout, which includes Speed Bounds and Sled Pulls. Watkins also has an 88 catch rating, no doubt developing his great hands with help from the alternating tennis ball/football catching drill seen in this video.
Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans OT
An intense, mauling offensive tackle out of the University of Michigan, Lewan comes in with a solid 79 overall rating. He is a gargantuan 6-foot-7, 309-pounder who was the 11th overall pick.
Lewan told STACK, "My job is to take my man from point A to point B against his will, and fortunately that is my favorite thing to do."
Lewan should have no problem doing his thing in Madden 15 with ratings of 90 strength, 85 run blocking and 86 pass blocking. But you might be surprised to know that the big guy also came in with 75 speed and 87 acceleration ratings, probably because he ran a fleet 4.87-second 40 at the Combine. To see how Lewan earned such a unique combination of ratings, check out this STACK-exclusive video of his workout, which includes Barbell Hip Thrusts and Cable-Resisted Squats.
Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys OT
Martin is trading his blue and gold for navy and white, as the offensive tackle who started 52 consecutive games for Notre Dame was drafted 16th overall by the Dallas Cowboys. His durability earned him a 97 injury rating, so you won't have to worry about Martin ending up on the IR during Franchise Mode. Martin has an all-around game that should make him a stalwart starter for the Cowboys, with an overall rating of 78 and ratings of 89 strength, 83 run blocking and 84 pass blocking.
Martin told STACK, "This is what I love to do. I don't really want to do anything else. I love this game and I love playing it."
Given Martin's skills and durability, we're betting he will be playing the game he loves for a long, long time. To see how Martin earned such solid all-around ratings, check out this STACK-exclusive video of his workout, which includes Hang Snatches and super heavy Shrugs.
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