While drafting for a NFL is a bit more intense in the real world, it can be just as stressful in Madden 12 thanks to a few upgrades that make draft day more adventurous than in past versions of the game. And while far from perfect, Madden does simulate the draft process better than ever; It’ll test you. The question is, will you become a Bill Polian, or a Matt Millen?
Here are some tips on how you can win on draft day in Madden 12.
Be a scout
Your success -- or failure -- on draft day in Madden 12 will be determined long before you make your first pick. This year, scouting is more important than ever. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to size up potential prospects. Through the course of the season, you can scout up to 75 players which reveals a few key attributes.
Madden also added the scouting combine and individual workouts to the equation, giving you even more chances to flesh out a prospect’s ratings. Ultimately, you can discover the complete rating sets for five players. Choose them wisely.
Who you should scout largely depends on the weakness of your franchise. If you have a young and talented quarterback with a good potential grade, you probably won’t want to waste too much time scouting QBs. During the first two rounds of scouting, I chose to focus on players who filled specific team needs. I also focused on players who fit a certain mold when it came to size.
Also, I didn’t put all my attention on players projected to go in the first round. I scouted players who were slated to go in the later rounds at some of the positions of need. If you get lucky with one of these players and find one with a high potential rating, it could be a boon for your franchise.
Later in the season, I turned my scouting sights to positions where an upgrade would be nice, but one wasn't necessarily needed. By the time my scouting time was done, I had a list of potential blue chippers, sleepers and risk-reward guys.
Work the combine
The combine phase of of the draft process, while a nice addition, could have been done better.
The biggest gripe I have with the combine is I only get speed ratings of the 20 scouted players. There is no chance a NFL team would attend the combine and only get the 40 times of a mere 20 players. The same could be said for shuttle times (agility rating), vertical leap (jump rating) and bench press (strength rating). I should be given those ratings for every prospect, regardless of whether I scouted him or not. The combine is just another scouting week tossed in during the offseason and serves as another opportunity to get a glimpse of the talent available. Team days are similar, they're just mini-combines.
Choose your "Fab Five" wisely
To me, the personal workout phase of scouting is the most important part of the process.
You can work out five players in this phase, thus revealing all of their ratings. Be careful, though. These five guys should be the five you are very high on and not necessarily all first-round potential picks. They should be the five most intriguing prospects. Whiff on one or more of these and you will be left grasping for straws on draft day.
Moment of truth
Speaking of draft day ... it’s still rather boring.
Madden did do a good job, though, making sure teams like the Patriots and Eagles aren't drafting QBs in the first round. The draft logic is much better. This makes the draft a bit more enjoyable, because you can better predict what the teams in front of you may do with their picks. It makes for some anxious moments as you watch the picks unfold, especially if you are drooling over a prospect at a position of need in the first round and are praying like Tebow that he falls to you.
Draft-day trades are still hit and miss. I found it much too easy to move up in the draft. It simply isn’t that simple in real life -- just look at what the Falcons had to cough up to snag Julio Jones.
The experience is a bit different depending on whether you use a generated draft class from Madden or an imported draft class from NCAA.
The NCAA classes are a bit better this year. Still, some players are rated far better or far worse than they should be, and the player models seem very, very off.
Madden did randomize its generated classes this year, which is a welcome addition. Although it is still possible to cheat by finding one of the many draft guides here at OS or elsewhere -- colleges, heights and weights of the prospects don’t change -- it is a bit more difficult to know who are the studs and who are the duds.
The overall draft experience has improved. It will take much more skill than ever to pull off a winning draft day.
What are some of your experiences and tips on how to win on draft day?