With the release of Madden 25 comes the return of fantasy drafts for the connected franchise mode.
Queue massive sigh of relief.
One of the best parts of playing a franchise in this historic video game has always been the fantasy drafts, and while there are several different strategies you can employ, I'm an advocate of selecting mostly young studs and dominating the league within two or three years.
Let's take a look at some of the best rookies to target when building a franchise.
Eric Fisher, OT, 84
It's not necessarily sexy, but one of the best ways to build a franchise is to lock down the offensive line.
There's no better way to do that for the future than with No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher.
Ranked as an 84 at just 22 years of age, the big tackle out of Central Michigan is someone you can insert into your lineup right away and watch as he quickly establishes himself as one of the best linemen in the league.
He is rated slightly better in pass block than in run block, but no matter how you want to build your offense, he's an anchor who will make moving the ball a lot easier.
EJ Manuel, QB, 74
Call this the Jadeveon Clowney approach.
As a mere 74, EJ Manuel probably isn't going to win you many games in his first year. But if you start him during his rookie season, not only will you get a jump start on the 23-year-old's development, but you will also get a good shot at landing Clowney, one of the most dangerous defensive prospects of all time, if you download the draft class.
All of sudden, your team is going to be looking very enticing—and very young—on both sides of the ball.
Manuel is the prototypical video game quarterback. He already has 83 speed and 94 throw power, and as soon as he gets a year or two of development and improves those numbers, he's going to be a dominant weapon for your franchise.
Heck, with the way he looked during the preseason, it may not be long before his real-life self—and roster updates—take care of that improvement.
Dion Jordan, DE, 83
Pass coverage is always difficult in Madden, but adding someone capable of getting to the quarterback in a hurry is a good way to quell that problem.
Which rookie are you going to build a franchise around?
Look no further than Dion Jordan.
The No. 3 overall pick is not only an impressive 83 overall already, but he possesses scary speed (85), agility (86), finesse moves (93), pursuit (93) and hit power (90).
That all-around ability makes the electric Jordan the No. 1 target if you want a defensive rookie to build around, but should someone snatch him up early in the draft, there are still several other options.
Ezekiel Ansah (83 speed) and Barkevious Mingo (87), most notably, are explosive getting into the backfield.
Speed is the name of the game, and these youngsters have it in droves.