Whether it’s Calvin Johnson out-leaping two defenders in the end zone or Rob Gronkowski making a diving catch over the middle, wide receivers and tight ends provide big plays for offenses.
In Madden NFL 25, the receiving targets are almost as valuable as a good QB. And just like in the real NFL, tight ends are critical assets to the passing game. Madden NFL 25’s top six passing targets include three tight ends and three of the NFL’s most prolific receivers: Calvin Johnson, Rob Gronkowski, Andre Johnson, Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham and Brandon Marshall. Let’s break down a few of their ratings to explore what makes these playmakers so special.
ROUTE RUNNING (RTE)
In order to give the quarterback a big enough window to throw to, receivers must run precise routes with the correct depths and cuts so the quarterback knows exactly where he’ll be when he breaks. But more important is the separation a receiver can get on his defender. Here’s the breakdown of what the run-route rating does on the field:
- Determines fake out chance when cutting against man coverage.
- Determines the amount of time it takes the receiver to adjust to the ball in the air.
- Determines the sharpness of cut moves in the routes.
Just like in the NFL, good route running is about getting separation, and separating takes a lot more skill than just raw speed. Calvin Johnson has elite speed, but he’s also a top five route runner with a 96 rating.
Madden Ratings Czar Donny Moore on Calvin Johnson: "How much separation does Johnson create? Enough to continue to break records while double-covered and be a league leader in Yards Per Route Run. That’s the key in Johnson’s run-route rating.”
Did you Know: While the Route Running rating has a lot to do with faking out defenders and gaining separation, it also determines the chance of a receiver slipping in wet weather conditions.
SPECTACULAR CATCH (SPC)
It’s a common belief in football that great players make 100% of the plays they are supposed to make… and make 50% of the plays they aren’t supposed to make. That’s what the Spectacular Catch rating reflects. This rating separates the elite from the rest of the pack. So when you see Brandon Marshall make a one-handed catch, it’s because of his 90-rated SPC. This rating produces some of the ”get-off-your-couch-and-yell-moments” in Madden NFL 25. Here’s what the rating does in terms of gameplay:
With all this talk about the great athletes on the outside, we can’t forget the tight ends. What makes these guys so special is their combination of size and speed. They are asked to be both a blocker, as well as a wide receiver, and nobody embodies this better than the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski.
Madden Ratings Czar Donny Moore on Gronk: “He’s a freak of nature. If this is the Matrix, Gronk is The One. Built like a transformer, Gronk runs like a deer mixed with a semi-truck, and catches passes like his name is Ricekowski, Mosskowski, or Largentkowski. And don’t forget the Patriots run the ball pretty well too – Gronk is a top-notch blocker as well.”
Gronkowski’s skill set can be seen in his ridiculous mix of elite ratings: 98 OVR, 90 CATCH, 83 RTE, 97 CIT, 87 SPC, 80 RUN BLOCK.
Let’s break down the rating that stands out the most for each of the three TE’s in the top six: the Catch in Traffic (CIT) rating:.
- Used against hit power to determine the chance of a hit stick on a receiver.
- Used against zone coverage and man coverage to determine the knock out chance when tackled during a catch.
When trying to jam a ball into a tight window or complete a pass through traffic, having a tight end like Gronk, Jason Witten or Jimmy Graham can be a very valuable asset. Can you say “Security Blanket?”
Did you Know: CIT is used in combination with the Carry rating to determine the fumble chance when a defender hits a receiver after a valid catch.
With a number of receivers and tight ends revolutionizing their position, there's never been a better time to be a pass catcher. The same goes Madden NFL 25. Assemble a nasty receiving corps and it may not matter who you're lined up against.