EA Sports announced earlier this offseason that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown will appear on the cover of Madden 19. There is a full season of football to be played before we can really start thinking about Madden 20, but the early favorites should probably include San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
NFL.com writer Adam Rank put together a list of five likely candidates for next year’s cover. Garoppolo was listed, along with Todd Gurley, DeShaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins in a rare combo cover, Jalen Ramsey, and Alvin Kamara. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a Garoppolo-Ramsey combo cover!
Plenty could change between now and next summer, but if the 49ers are in contention for a playoff berth, Garoppolo would likely be a big reason for that. If that’s the case, his merchandise will be a big seller, and I imagine that has some impact on the cover athlete decision.
I’ll be a big, fat homer and say that a deep sleeper for the cover could be DeForest Buckner. His teammates have nicknamed him DPOY. He is coming off a year in which he got consistent pressure on the quarterback. If he can break through and turn more of those pressures into sacks, maybe that’s enough. I would be surprised given that defensive linemen don’t usually get this kind of honor, but I’ll list him as the deepest of sleepers.
Given expectations heading into the 2018 season, Gurley makes a lot of sense. The Los Angeles Rams are the favorite in the NFC West. After a shaky 2016 season, thanks primarily to Jeff Fisher’s ineptitude, Gurley bounced back in a big way with Sean McVay directing the offense. He finished with 2,093 yards from scrimmage, and that number could very well climb this season. My money would be on Gurley.