How To Draft In Madden

NFL_Draft

With the NFL Draft right around the corner and speculation growing on what every team will do once they are on the clock we are going to shift to our only option of NFL Draft Day in gaming.

Madden’s draft and draft presentation has improved over the last few years.  Are there some short-comings?  Sure. Regardless, today we are going to focus on how to make your team better through the draft in Madden.

First Up Is Scouting.  Personally, I am hoping for a drastic change to this in Madden 15 as Madden 25 basically lets you ‘buy’ individual scouting reports for players throughout the season.  Here is your best bet for good scouting.

Spread The Love – I am all but convinced that if you put more scouting into one prospect over others that the AI takes that into account and will have a team swipe that player from under your nose.  This happened to me with numerous players (and drafts) while running my Browns.  Make sure that you are scouting only the initial ‘Grade’ for players in order to make it cheaper (and more realistic) to get an idea of their THP and THA.

Awareness (?) – If you take a look at our last article you will see that awareness is key in terms of how a player performs.  One of the things about the AWR rating is that while it almost always makes the player play better – you can also upgrade this rating with relative ease until you get into the 80’s-90’s.  I personally make it a house rule to never scout awareness.  Why?  Because I have always felt that it is a window to the Overall Rating and I never liked knowing it until after the draft.

Position Specific Ratings – This is and should always be the first thing you look at when it comes to any player.  Why is it third on this list?  Mostly because I feel that the categories above are more holistic in terms of how to look at scouting as a body.  When it comes to position specific ratings you can simply check out the article posted for Madden 13 (as we said, not much has changed).

Finally we come to the actual draft.

Write Your Own Big Board Down – For some reason, you can’t rank your favorite players scouted in Madden 25.  I can promise that every team in the NFL does this as it is basically the most important aspect of the draft outside of determining your weaknesses/needs.  Get a piece of paper and pencil and at the end of the season (after free-agency) go look at your scouting screen.  Take the time to write down and RANK your favorite players as they fit your needs.  You should take into account where you think they could be taken ahead of you and whether you would want to trade up for them if you must.

Determine Your Needs – As you play through each season you will start to find that certain players might become your favorites.  On the other hand, you might start noticing how many times your QB is getting sacked because your Right Guard is such garbage.  These are the moments when you need to either write down on your big board (see above) or take a mental note as you enter scouting/the draft.  Do you really need that QB?  Do you really need another 6’4″ 220lb WR (that seem to over-populate the Madden draft classes)?  Decide what you need and stick to that list.  If you don’t see anyone of value – trade down.

Trading Down – This used to be a more broken feature of Madden games in the past.  Trading down should always be an option if you don’t see a player you truly want/need in the draft.  If you think you can take that player only a few picks later you might want to consider trading down.  On the other hand, you might want to reconsider how far down you trade if you do see players you want.  The way Madden’s drafting logic seems to work it is as if they are reading your mind and that player is always gone just a few picks from your own.

Strike While The Iron Is Hot – One of the biggest lessons I learned in Madden (and in real life) is that if a team likes a certain player and truly wants him on their team – even if he is projected a round later… or two?  Take him.  Madden is a video game and you should enjoy these risks.  There are numerous prospects that are ‘projected’ to go in the 3rd or 4th round that always get taken by the CPU in the 2nd or 3rd round every single draft.  If you see ‘Leon Sandcastle and realize that it is the Deion Sanders clone projected to go outside of the first round and you need a CB… Take the guy – please.  This will be the same for Jerry Ricecake in Madden 15, I can almost promise this.

Top Needs of Madden Connected Franchise Mode (CFM)

There are all sorts of needs when it comes to Madden from a game-play perspective.  As many of you know by now – I almost exclusively play Offline Madden Franchise Mode.  There are so many aspects of the NFL that keep us interested all year and today we are going to focus on some of the things that Madden (or any other future football game… Are you listening 2K?) needs in Franchise mode.

Benjamin TD

Player Contracts, Morale and Agents 

If you have paid attention to any of the contracts signed by NFL players in the last few years you will see that many of these contracts are not nearly as simple as just throwing out a number and having it accepted or declined.  Madden has always had a problem with making contracts too simplified.  In that regard it has also made Franchise Mode exceedingly easy from a management perspective.  You can always low-ball a player or get someone on the cheap if you know your way around the salary cap.  Here are a few ideas on what would make this a bit more realistic and more challenging as you advance through multiple seasons.

  • Tiered Contracts – We should have the ability to front load or back load contracts for players just like in real life.  (NBA 2K has been doing this for years)
  • Incentive Based – There have been numerous contracts in recent memory laced with performance incentives.  (See Ben Tate’s deal with the Browns for an example).  This could be something that gamers need to focus on as they are building their teams around specific players.  You want that young WR you have made into a superstar to sign an extension?  Make it worth his while with money up front and incentives based on performance or staying healthy.
  • Battling Through Injuries – In this regard I like to see it being somewhat tied to the incentives listed above.  If a player tweaks his hamstring or maybe has a sore shoulder and needs to play a certain % of snaps to earn an incentive.  A good example of this is the contract of Jason Campbell for the Browns in 2013.  He did an admirable job trying to tough it out and play.  When it comes to staying healthy and getting paid to play a certain % of the snaps – you bet that is an important aspect for some players.
  • Morale – Something that never ceases to annoy Madden gamers is the thought that many features have been added and taken away as the wind blows at EA.  Morale was in Madden 2005 and played a large role in realism.  Players in the NFL have serious egos and morale swings almost daily.  In this case, a simple morale bar would be nice to see when it comes to making players happy to be on your team.  In that same breath, it should effect their performance as well.
  • Holdouts – Yet another part of the game that was removed is player holdouts.  This happens quite often and has at times caused many teams to lose important players or show them the money they demand in order to stick around.  This needs to be back in the game.

Another part of Franchise Mode that has been getting better incrementally over the last couple years is the NFL Draft.  As we enter the final week before the NFL Draft (in real life) there are many things that are becoming more apparent when looking at the draft and scouting in Madden.

  • Big Boards – I’m not talking about the main screen where they have thrown up the top players based on the CPU’s programming.  I am talking about as the GM/Coach/Owner making your own Big Board.  This could be as simple as taking a lesson from the NCAA Football team when they made a recruiting board for up to 35 players to recruit.  In this manner it should be expanded quite a bit (maybe to 50-70 players) so you can work your way through the draft like real teams do.
  • Measurables and Grades – I am  sick of the simple scouting method of paying to find exact ratings.  At most there should be grades or maybe a rating range made available through scouting.  When it comes to the combine in real life it is the biggest part of the pre-draft experience.  I want to see 40 times, bench press reps, interview notes, etc.
  • Coach Input – If you have seen the movie Draft Day you will know what I am talking about when I refer to Denis Leary’s portrayal of the Browns coach that basically tells the GM he is quitting if he takes a certain player or doesn’t help him fill the missing pieces in the draft to fit his system.  This is very important needs to have a greater presence in the game (perhaps Coach Morale as well?)
  • Scouts – This is something that is desperately needed in Madden for the sake of realism.  It would be great to not only streamline the process but also to add some variation to how players are rated based on what qualities that scouts have.

Da Bears – 2012 NFL Draft Recap and Tutorial/Experience Review

THE DRAFT – Recap

  1. ChiefsLT, Dequarius Sparks (Colorado St.) – He is an absolute beast and should be their anchor for a long time in KC.
  2. Jags QB, Clinton Derricote (Oklahoma State) – Called by some to be the “Next Mike Vick” he is just trying to avoid the QB controversy that is bound to happen with Gabbert still in town.
  3. Browns – LE, Lenard Patrick (Colorado) – A puzzling pick as the Browns run a 4-3 Defense. Perhaps they are looking to move him into the interior line?… Who knows with those idiots.
  4. Rams (From Bears, Via Bucs) – ROLB, Aaron Ross (Nevada) – Speed, power and an all around beast. He is only 6 feet tall but brings hits that would break anyone in half.
  5. Giants – Charlie Brooks (Miami OH) – He is a pure freak that reminds many of Jevon Kearse. No wonder the GMen let go of Kiwanuka.
  6. Cardinals – RG, Zack Milles (Hawaii) – He is a good player, but a RG at #6? No wonder the Cardinals are bad.
  7. Bengals – FS, Phillip Grove (Auburn) – A hard hitting FS that moved up the Bengals draft board after a good interview.
  8. Titans – DE, Tramon Saunders (BYU) – He is 6’4″ 292 lbs and looks like he could eat you. No worries, he only eats QBs.
  9. Vikings – OT, Jared Riddick (Oklahoma State) The Vikings had this guy at the top of their list after Sparks and he fell into their lap. A good pick.
  10. BEARSHB, Amos High (Georgia Tech) – The whole package! He reportedly ran a 4.35 40 Yard Dash at his Pro Day and at 6’1″ 218 lbs with moves?! The Bears had Zero HBs on their roster and now they look like they might have a Franchise Back!
  11. Saints – OLB, Darrion Lattimore (S. Miss) – The Saints moved up to get this guy. He is solid, but we wonder if they really needed to move up from 18.
  12. Jets – TE, Brent Curette (Michigan) – Looks like Dustin Keller’s days are numbered. Curette is athletic and just the drama queen the Jets love.
  13. Cowboys – CB, Rayquez Joseph (Pitt) – The second coming of Revis, but faster. The Cowboys got a steal here.
  14. Bills – LG, Carter Miller (Oklahoma State) – The third Oklahoma State guy taken, he is a solid guard and the Bills look like they are serious about building a solid core… finally.
  15. 49ers – WR, Jocqua Coleman (S. Miss) – He is sizable as he switched from HB to WR his junior year. 6’1″ 232 lbs at WR?… ok
  16. Eagles – DT, Khalek Grady (Nebraska) – The meanest player in the draft might be the final piece that brings this team to the Super Bowl.
  17. Chargers – LT, Landon Walker (Wisconsin) – Another big Badger OLineman?… Maybe the Chargers want to protect Rivers after he broke his leg due to a crap OLine in 2011.
  18. Panthers – CB, Jayden Nix (LSU) – The best ‘big’ CB in the draft, a burner with a high motor and desire to hit like a MLB… Look out NFC South!
  19. Falcons – SS, Leventrice Carswell (Penn State) – Left early after the scandal, a solid pick up to help their struggling DBs.
  20. Texans – WR, Shontrelle Quick (Virginia) – Ran a 4.27 40 at the Combine but questions about his character caused him to drop to the Texans.
  21. Dolphins OT, Case Adams (Florida) – Jake Long finally got some help from the other end!
  22. Redskins – MLB, Antwan Clements (Arkansas) – Somehow, the next Ray Lewis fell to the team that needed him the most. The NFC East is going to be a tough Division!
  23. Colts – CB, Dom Briggs (Illinois) – He is only 5’8″ but the Colts hope he plays as big as he did in the Big 10.
  24. Patriots – HB, Coco Vereen (UCLA) – He is a solid pick for a team in need of a good HB. But they really should have gone with Defense.
  25. Jags – RT, Latevin Graham (Tenn) – He is hoping to come in and compete for a starting job after the Jags moved up to take him.
  26. Steelers – LG, Martaze Bolton (Florida State) Athletic and the strongest man in the draft. The Steelers keep building winners even late in the draft.
  27. Raiders – RG, Devan Crawford (UL Monroe) – Leave it to the Raiders to draft the fastest OLineman in the Combine. Hopefully he pulls a lot?
  28. Giants – LT, Nico Archer (Kentucky) – An absolute steal that broke the hearts of Bears fans.
  29. BEARS – CB, Chandler Carter (Texas) – Projected as a 2nd Round pick, the Bears scouted him all season and fell in love with his 4.29 Speed and 39 in. Vertical Jump to go with 13 INTs his senior year at Texas!
  30. Ravens – HB, Chauncy McCorkle (Cal) – Ray Rice needs some help and McCorkle’s 6′ 244 lb frame should do just that.
  31. Lions – CB, O’Dell Tyler (USC) – The Lions traded down with the Pats and took this risk as he has a history of injuries. The upside is tremendous but the risk is crazy given their competition in the division.
  32. Packers – C, Geno Monroe (Georgia) – He is going to have a lot to worry about as he is now the #1 guy that Rodgers will talk to every snap… The defending Super Bowl Champs have a new Center… look out A Rod!

Da Bears Franchise Update (Weeks 2-11, 2011) – Madden 12

It looked like a great season from our first few games, but between the blowout against the Saints and a couple other games that told us a change was needed… something happened to our dream season.  The Bears have gone on a journey into the depths and are hoping to come out of the battles with a miracle trip to the playoffs that requires some help from the Cowboys, Lions and Seahawks.  The Lions would love another shot at the Bears as they have trounced them twice (as you will see in the video).

The Bears are entering Week 16 with a 7-7 record and needing to win out just to have a chance at the playoffs.  There are many needs for this team as their stars on defense are showing their age in allowing big plays.  Look for a complete run-down of the coming draft class and some guesses as to who some teams might target to turn things around.  Including a detailed discussion about who the Bears are looking at in the coming 2012 Draft!