Despite earning recognition as the top wide receiver currently playing in the NFL in a recent poll of coaches, scouts and other league personnel conducted by ESPN, Julio Jones is the third-highest rated receiver in the upcoming "Madden NFL 21" game.
Jones comes in behind Saints receiver Michael Thomas, who earned a 99 rating from the game, and Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was given a 98 rating and was traded by the Houston Texans this offseason. Jones earned a 97 rating, putting him just one point higher than Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill.
Not since the 2013 season, when he missed all but five games due to injury, has Jones finished outside of the top three in receiving yards for a season. That level of elite consistency has made him one of the most feared receivers for opposing defenses, but it has not yet been rewarded with ultimate recognition by those at EA Sports, the developer who makes the "Madden" franchise.
"Somehow Jones has never been a 99 in the game at launch, but for the first time since Madden '16, Jones won't start off as a top-2 receiver in the game," ESPN's Michael Rothstein notes. "Like Hopkins, he could move up fast after building off his sixth straight 1,000-yard season in 2019 (1,394 yards)."
Matt Ryan is also among the 10 best players at his position, earning an 87 rating in the upcoming game, which placed him seventh among starting quarterbacks. Ryan and Jones have long formed one of the best tandems in real life, and they should once again do the same in the virtual world.