Madden NFL 15 Versus: Sammy Watkins vs. Mike Evans
They are two of the best receivers taken in the 2014 NFL draft, and but who would you rather have in Madden NFL 15? We’re reigniting the debate between rookie receivers Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, and figuring out who we would rather be throwing passes to in EA SPORTS’ upcoming football video game.
With the top Madden 15 rookie ratings releasing yesterday, we’ve had a good amount of time to mull over the varying pros and cons of each of this year’s premier prospects. In particular, we’re extremely intrigued by one simple Madden fantasy draft decision: Do you take Sammy Watkins, or Mike Evans?
Each player has their own set of unique skills, but in a lot of ways they’re very similar, too, with each player only barely edging the other out in a few key areas, but coming into their own in others. It’s hard to tell exactly how good they are relative to the rest of the league until the rest of the Madden 15 ratings are revealed, but I think it’s safe to say these two are incredible Madden talents.
These Madden NFL 15 Rookies Have Skills
Sammy Watkins may have the highest overall rating of the two (80 overall to Evans’ 78), but the player overall has always been more of a general guideline for player quality, as well as their scheme fit. In truth, the ratings that matter most in Madden are the ones that best fit your style of play, and while it’s hard to paint everyone’s offense with the same brush, there are certainly qualities possessed by both players that allow them to be wildly effective in their own respects.
In terms of overall Madden ability, Mike Evans slightly edges out Watkins by surpassing him in many key areas, such as size, jumping, catching, release and spectacular catch. If you want to throw a ball up to a receiver and see who comes down with it, there’s little doubt that Evans is the guy you want. This is further evidenced by his insane 89 catch in traffic rating, which is other-wordly for a rookie receiver and will allow him to immediately be competitive with some of the best receivers in Madden NFL 15.
While Evans may have an easier time coming down with a pass, Watkins is much more dangerous once the ball is in his hands. With a clean sweep in speed, agility and acceleration ratings, it’s clear that Watkins is the bigger threat after the catch. Throw in a lethal trifecta of 93 elusiveness, 93 juke move and 90 spin move, and all of a sudden you have a Julio Jones-esque threat in the screen game. Indeed, Watkins made a living on turning short passes into big plays at Clemson, so it’s no surprise he’s hand-crafted to be just such a player in Madden NFL 15.
Making a Philosophical Choice
When choosing between Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, we’re very much looking at a matter of offensive philosophy. On one hand, we have an incredibly effective player in the short passing game with a ton of versatility in Sammy Watkins, while on the other we have more of the traditional you’re-big-now-go-get-it pass catcher in Mike Evans. If I had to choose between the two, however, I’m fairly sure I would go with Evans. With six points more press release (93 to 87) and an insane catch in traffic rating (89 to 77), I feel like Evans is going to be the more consistent players game-to-game than Watkins.
Watkins does have much better route-running than Evans (76 to 69), however both are low enough in this area that they will easily be covered by the first or second best corner in a game. What matters, then, is coming down with the pass and that’s where I trust Evans much more. Watkins has speed that you can’t teach at 93, and by comparison Evans is a bit lumbering at 88, but there’s quite a lot of hidden value to love in a 6’5″ receiver with 93 jumping. The high 93 release rating of Evans will allow him to exploit defenses in ways that force corners off the line, and his strength rating of 69 is significantly higher than that of Watkins, who only has 57.
Strength is a highly underrated attribute for receivers in Madden NFL, because it not only allows them to more easily shed tackles from what are typically low-strength cornerbacks, but it also allows them to stay up right much better after collisions. In a weird sort of way, strength acts as a bit of a balance rating by not allowing you to get knocked off your feet so easily by minor contact. The ability to catch a curl route in traffic, and shed a tackle immediately from strength and turn up field cannot be overstated. This is a powerful advantage to have, and it can punish defenses even when they have everyone in the right place — and that’s the kind of offensive player I like.
Explaining The Decision
I think the fact of the matter is that there are always a lot of speedy or agile receivers that you can plug in to fill some (but not all) of the roles Watkins is poised to do so well at, whereas finding a replacement for Evans is much more difficult. How many 6’5″ receivers with great hands, leaping ability and catch in traffic are there in the game? Not a ton, I can tell you that much, and those that do exist are almost all studs in the game for one reason or another. In a Connected Franchise this choice is a lot closer for me, and the pure quickness provided by Watkins might be enough to give him the edge, but in online match making I would likely take Evans and not feel too shabby about it.
Our Receiver Pick: Mike Evans (TB)
Who would you rather have in either Connected Franchise or online matchmaking, Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans? Check out the ratings matchup above featuring just the essentials, then let us know in the comments what you think. Alternatively, you can tweet us your pick on @GoMadden on Twitter.