On July 15th, EA Sports released the ratings for the latest installment in the Madden video game franchise. The game tries to create a realistic experience by scouting every single player and assigning an appropriate rating. While the folks at EA do their best, there are quite a few members of the Dallas Cowboys who should improve their Madden ratings as the 2019 season goes on.
Dallas Cowboys Whose Madden Ratings Are on the Rise
5. George Iloka (safety) – 73 OVR
The Dallas Cowboys signed George Iloka after a relatively pedestrian season with the Minnesota Vikings. The former fifth-round pick spent most of the year as a backup, recording just 16 tackles and one forced fumble throughout the season. This down year has clearly taken a toll on his overall rating, and he’s set for a bounce back.
Iloka spent the first six years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals and was a solid starter throughout the majority of his career. During his time with the Bengals, Iloka recorded 346 tackles, nine interceptions, and nine tackles-for-loss. The Bengals released him late in the off-season, which never gave him a chance to land with an ideal fit. Iloka’s ability to play both safety positions should play well in the Cowboys secondary and he should go back to playing like a solid starter.
4. Michael Gallup (wide receiver) – 78 OVR
Michael Gallup showed a lot of promise as a rookie, and the Colorado State product should take his game to the next level in 2019. The rookie finished with 33 receptions for 507 yards and two touchdowns but steadily improved his game as the season progressed. Gallup recorded 15 receptions for 203 yards and one touchdown over his final five games, and that includes the 23-0 loss to Indianapolis. He followed that up by making an impressive touchdown catch in the Wild Card round against Seattle and recording 119 receiving yards against the Los Angeles Rams one week later.
Former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan only had Gallup run a handful of patterns during his rookie. Linehan had a notoriously bland scheme which didn’t allow anyone to play up to their potential. With Kellen Moore in town, Gallup should see more creative concepts, which will only add to his production. He’s not the second coming of Jerry Rice, but don’t be surprised to see Gallup make a big jump in 2019.
3. Amari Cooper (wide receiver) – 89 OVR
This isn’t a disrespectful rating by any means, and Amari Cooper probably won’t increase his grade to anything above the low 90’s. However, Cooper has room to grow and should only get better with a full season in the Cowboys offense. During his nine games in Dallas, Cooper recorded 53 receptions for 725 yards and six touchdowns. When extrapolated to a full 16 games, Cooper was on pace for 94 receptions for 1,289 yards and 11 touchdowns, which would have easily been the best numbers of his career.
Cooper did all that despite joining the team halfway through the season. Now that he has an entire off-season to get comfortable with the playbook and develop chemistry with Dak Prescott and the offense. Additionally, Kellen’s Moore’s improved play-calling should help his production as well. He’s currently the WR14 according to Madden, but he could easily make it into the top 10 by the end of the season.
2. Leighton Vander Esch (linebacker) – 86 OVR
The Cowboys knocked it out of the park when they took linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Vander Esch played in all 16 games, starting 11, while developing into one of the best linebackers in football. Over the course of the season, Vander Esch recorded 140 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two interceptions, and seven passes defended.
Madden currently has Vander Esch rated as the LB11, but that’s going to rise as the season progresses. Vander Esch is a star in the making and should be the face of the Cowboys’ defense for the next decade. The sky is the limit for Vander Esch, and he could end up in the top five by the end of the season.
1. Dak Prescott (quarterback) – 81 OVR
Nobody is going to take a bigger jump than Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott finished 2018 completing 67.7% of his passes for 3,885 yards, 22 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He also added another 305 yards and six touchdowns on 75 rushing attempts.
Prescott did all this while playing in a bland, vanilla scheme without any serviceable pass catchers for the first half of the season. Prescott entered the season with Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, and a rookie Michael Gallup lining up wide. Only a Patrick Mahomes-level quarterback would be able to create a productive offense with those subpar options. Prescott isn’t Mahomes or Tom Brady, but he could elevate himself into a fringe-QB10 with Amari Cooper and Kellen Moore. Prescott will have the best season of his career, and his Madden rating will rise appropriately.
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