1. Potential Madden 22 cover stars: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
The best skill position player in football in 2019 was Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. If he repeats his production from a year ago in 2020, he’ll be the Madden cover choice in a landslide.
We briefly talked about the devaluation of the running back position – and its true in Madden cover history. Not a single running back has been selected since Peyton Hillis donned the cover of Madden 12 (except Detroit Lions Hall of Famer Barry Sanders on the 25th Anniversary edition), so it is a bit of a leap expecting that trend to change for 2022.
However, McCaffrey is the most likely to buck that trend because he’s redefining the running back position. Last year he amassed nearly 2400 total yards from scrimmage, surpassing the 1000 yard barrier in both rushing and receiving yards. He also scored 19 touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl and 1st Team All-Pro selections. He debuted on the NFL’s top 100 list at #42, a number only held down by it being his first season of true superstar level production (though he had nearly 2000 yards in 2018, too).
The other element that makes McCaffrey a likely candidate is he is likely to continue seeing workhorse-level production for the foreseeable future. Plus, first-year offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who helped Joe Burrow set records at LSU in one year, could have fun working up plays for McCaffrey.
He is also the youngest member of the prestigious Madden-99 club (players with the highest rating, a 99, in the game). He is the only running back in the club, currently. For all of these reasons, we consider McCaffrey the most likely Madden cover athlete for the 2022 game.