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Improving the NFL Draft in Madden

Madden NFL 20

Improving the NFL Draft in Madden

The NFL Draft is the second biggest day in the NFL (behind the Super Bowl). It’s the date when there is renewed hope for your favorite franchise. It’s usually when the future seems brightest and teams hype up their picks with scouting videos, combine stats and even prospect interviews. The prospects even end up in MUT shortly after the draft is completed. Madden, on the other hand, uses the draft as just another day in CFM. Here are some ideas how Madden could showcase the second-biggest day of the NFL season in CFM.

Make It An Event

The NFL Draft has fans coming from all over the country to stand around and wait for their team to pick. The draft is held in a different city each year now as well, which shows some of the landmarks of that city. Multiple analysts are involved and there’s even interviews with the players themselves. Could Madden provide a similar stage? In Madden, we generally see a top view of an empty stage until a player is picked. Once the player is picked, we see some more details regarding that player. It would be a nice little addition if we got audible fan reactions to the pick. Every time a pick is made in the NFL, we see a ton of fans who cheer (even though they’ve probably never heard of the drafted player) or boo in disapproval. I would like to see how my fans react to the pick in the form of a quick chart displaying approval, disapproval and not sure.

The audio of the draft show is heard with some feedback regarding the pick itself. I think it would be a better experience if we could see the actual draft show that included interviews and pictures. One of the best parts of the draft is seeing the player walking up to the commissioner and displaying his new jersey. What if every team had a “legend” to announce the picks in rounds 2-7? Madden should already have rights to legends from MUT, so it would be a nice little touch to have the legend make the pick.

The draft in Madden also doesn’t have many variable camera shots. They pretty much keep it at the same high angle throughout the whole event. I think it would be amazing if we were able to watch a live show of the draft in the background. It would be great if the analysts talked about team needs, prospects that would be a good fit on the team, player storylines, etc. I think Madden already does some of this after the pick is made, but I feel like the developers could do it a little better in the lead up. Some camera shots I think Madden could provide you during the draft include fans reacting to picks, your draft room, player walking up to stage and getting jersey, analysts talking about the draft, players waiting to be drafted and city landmarks.

Showcase The Combine

If the draft is the second biggest event for the NFL, then the NFL combine might be the third biggest event. The combine is a chance to see these prospects running the 40, doing shuttle drills, running routes, and maybe most important of all, seeing true measurements. Madden does a decent job showcasing the tools of the combine as we get every player’s 40 time, bench press and shuttle drill. These times directly correlate to a player’s attributes. Teams should have a scouting department where their level (or rating) is based off their own previous success in drafting well. Making the combine more a part of the draft will allow GMs to be more invested in their picks. The NFL combine gives us a ton of data on players and Madden should be no different.

Madden has a lot of room to grow with the combine. It would be more realistic if you could actually see the player before drafting him. Maybe instead of using scouting points, you could actually ask the prospect a couple of pre-generated questions to tie back to his storyline. This would help give the story more of an impact and keep teams involved in the storylines. I also wish you could put these players through some mini-drills/games. Madden has the “gauntlet” available and it would seem like a perfect opportunity to use it. I would love to see how elusive my supposed elusive back actually is before drafting him. I know this may be a reach, but I would love to see video of some of the top storyline prospects doing the drills in the combine. Even if EA can’t generate video, some still images of them would also be better than nothing.

I would also love more detailed scouting reports regarding the prospects. Players should have a best-case, worst-case role on a team. Is a player destined to be a swing offensive lineman or could he eventually be a nine time Pro Bowl LT? Scouting reports should also include verbiage that helps display the positives and negatives of a player. Does a player have slow feet, does he have small hands, does he not rotate his hips quick enough to be successful at the next level? Stuff like this matters to scouts and it should matter to potential virtual GMs. I also wish we could still use scouting points during the draft. Let’s face it, teams are always scouting and getting information on players — even minutes before drafting them.

Draft Preview/Recap Show

Draft shows may be boring in real life, but I think they would serve a purpose in the Madden world. Draft preview shows do a good job of speculating how the early parts of the draft will play out. You get a good idea of who the top prospects are, and get a reading on what the teams before and after you are targeting. Mock drafts do a decent job of providing teams with information that can be used to help make a selection. There are no mock drafts in Madden and it’s something that could be used to help hype the draft. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay always have different opinions and predictions, and that would add to the intrigue if you had multiple analysts giving you different potential outlooks.

I know the Madden community has asked for a weekly studio show for years and I definitely think one is needed. Madden tried to do a better halftime show during your game, but it didn’t give fans what they really wanted: views from games that aren’t your own. Studio shows should be possible for a game with a big budget like Madden, so let’s start with a draft show. There should be enough pre-loaded content to talk about storylines — and especially with the upcoming scenarios it should be a focus. I would love to hear about things like how a bad combine impacted a player’s stock.

Something like a draft recap show could also be a good way to see who had a good draft and who had a bad draft. Even though it’s not a good idea to grade drafts immediately after the result, we all still do it. I would also love to see previous draft grades and how they panned out. My team got a C grade right after the draft, but it turns out I drafted three Pro Bowl players and now that draft is an A.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of ways Madden could improve the draft throughout the CFM game mode. The NFL Draft is a huge event that takes place over three days. Right now, there is not a lot to do during the draft besides hope your targets don’t get selected. It’s time to change that.

What are some of your suggestions to improve the draft? What are some of the aspects of the draft you enjoy? Please let us know your thoughts below.


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  1. Yeah. can't see the article (yet).
    For me, the draft needs to do a better job of letting me know if I need to trade up/down for targeted positions. Can do this with scouts or some really nice UI changes that show me projected needs vs who's available, highlighting for example that there may be a run on WRs since the next 5 teams have it has a high need and there are only 3-4 left with this round rating.
    Maybe these could present themselves in some form with the scenario engine in future iterations.
    Yeah. can't see the article (yet).
    For me, the draft needs to do a better job of letting me know if I need to trade up/down for targeted positions. Can do this with scouts or some really nice UI changes that show me projected needs vs who's available, highlighting for example that there may be a run on WRs since the next 5 teams have it has a high need and there are only 3-4 left with this round rating.
    Maybe these could present themselves in some form with the scenario engine in future iterations.

    A lot of this. If the AI could be improved to have legitimate roster building logic and they had real draft strategies with contingency plans then that alone would make up for all the presentation shortcomings in the draft. Trading up and down would be more organic. Players would also potentially be getting picked at more realistic places. No more of it being one extreme or the other where we see 10 QBs taken in the 1st round or it gets patched and even the best QB in years falls to the 3rd round.
    Get an AI that is much more realistic and complex with their thinking and a lot of things will start taking care of themselves, draft included.
    What they need to do, not need but MUST do is completely overhaul the ridiculous scouting, you should receive scouting reports from your area scouts ect. Also, they should implement NHL's cloud of war scouting for the young players in your league even those on your team.
    Sent from my SM-G965U using Operation Sports mobile app
    Mock drafts. Idk how many times i lose out on players i have scouted only to lose out on them. Because i don't know what the other team needs are.
    Trades i noticed that no trades get completed when using the custom draft classes unless i decide to trade back.
    Compensatory picks, I know this may be difficult to add in. But i think if you lose out a player on your team 85 ovr or higher in FA you should get compensatory picks for losing those players.
    Sent from my SM-G955U using Operation Sports mobile app
    There are No trade offers unless I want to trade down and then for my i.e. #12 pick, I get offered a 2nd or 3rd. I don't even get offered their later round 1st or sometimes I get offered a 2nd in the next years draft.
    This forces me to go out of the draft and into the trade section to get a better deal.
    I'm not expecting miracle to fix so many things in 2020 but these things should have been improved during the many years EA didn't do anything.
    I'm still in a wait and see approach before I buy the next game. I'm just not buying into this hype.
    I have a lot of ideas to improve Madden but I never have been sure what needs to be done to the draft to improve it. Scouting and the lead up to the draft I think is where much of the focus needs to be. As for the draft itself, I want to be a big event that everyone in league is excited to participate in. I really don’t have ideas of what that would be though? Where’s that Deuce fellow? He may have an idea or 2.
    All great ideas in these comments but they don’t fit EA’s framework (or Madden’s for the matter) or trajectory (they don’t even have one) for the game.  And we still have a menu system that is so laggy, all these details would be agonizing to sift through.  Just getting into the trade menu and adding picks/players is slow (relative to other games, and the snappy NFL 2K5 menus).  

Scott plays a variety of sports games and is a commissioner of USDA & USBA 2K online leagues. I am huge Chicago sports fan (Bulls, Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks) and try to play with them any chance I can get.

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