I don't play computer games....but then again Madden isn't a computer game. It's an experience.
Madden has become so advanced in recent years that it is essentially a simulation rather than a game. One of my favorite parts of this simulation, however, is the fantasy aspect—the fantasy draft, to be precise!
The fantasy draft is obviously something that could never happen in real life but that's what makes it so appealing.
The idea of putting together a franchise that can win now and build for the future from complete scratch is intriguing to me and I have spent countless hours doing just that over the years.
I imagine once the game is released this year I will once again resume this process and here are the 10 players I'll be targeting to build my franchise around.
*And no, there is absolutely no chance that Peyton Hillis will be on this list.
Just like real football, the quarterbacks are the most important and difficult pieces to find when you're looking to build a quality franchise on Madden.
In real life, Bradford and Freeman are most likely the best young quarterbacks in the league, so there's no reason why they wouldn't be on Madden either.
If you're an Andy Reid type of Madden coach and all you do is throw the football, then Bradford is the perfect guy for you. Ideally he would have better than 89 arm strength as I don't believe that ever really develops as players get older, but his 72 awareness allows a lot of room for improvement on an already impressive overall rating.
Bradford's rating is 85, but his passing accuracy of 89 and short throw accuracy of 92 with 95 in stamina and 88 in toughness make him the perfect player to build a west coast offense around. Or any other offense really.
His agility is surprisingly low at 62 but that shouldn't affect him with his quick release.
I've worked extensively with the NE Patriots offense—not as the Patriots—and Bradford is the perfect guy to be calling the shots if you want to light up the scoreboard.
Freeman actually has much better ratings than Bradford physically and I could fall in love with his 97 throwing power, but his release is a lot slower than Bradford's which is huge on Madden when you play on the All-Madden difficulty.
I could never compete on that level without a quarterback with a lightning release because offensive lines sometimes decide to go walk about rather than actually block anyone and the pass rushers teleport rather than rush at the passer.
Still, Freeman's 87 overall rating is reflected not only in his physical attributes but also in his accuracy. His throwing accuracy overall is only 82 which seems a bit odd because his short middle and deep accuracies are all in the 80s and on first glance look to be higher than Bradford's who has an 89 accuracy.
The best thing about Freeman is he will develop into a 90 and then 95-plus quarterback pretty quickly. His 77 awareness will probably jump by close to 10 points after just one season, while throwing accuracy drastically improves in comparison to throwing power.
Freeman is borderline elite on the day you draft him. After three years he'll probably be one of the best in the game.
In Madden, I've learned over the years that certain positions can be hidden while others are a must have.
Cornerback is definitely a must-have and there is no better young corner in the game than Joe Haden. While Darrelle Revis remains the premiere player at his position, he is 26 years old. For the long-term franchise fanatics—a la, me—Haden represents much better value at 22.
His 86 rating won't take very long to hit the high nineties as his awareness starts off at a lowly 72. His play recognition of 70 will also jump upwards pretty quickly while his most important attributes are already at the right end and can only get better.
Acceleration and agility of 97 will see him dart in front of a lot of passes for crucial picks while his man coverage of 94 already makes him an elite player for all those Cover 2 defenses. With an 88 in zone coverage, he'll have no problem playing in any scheme.
Unless you want to be burnt repeatedly by guys like Armanti Edwards and Chansi Stuckey on Jerry Rice pills playing All-Madden, then you have to get a corner or four. Joe Haden should be the top guy on your (fantasy) draft board.
Patrick Peterson hasn't played a down in the NFL yet. However when you're 21 and have a rating of 82 on Madden, you know you're pretty good—however, Kevin Kolb has an 84 rating at a few years older and no one knows what he is.
Peterson is going to improve very quickly in Madden as—like most first round rookies—the biggest thing he's lacking is awareness. His awareness rating of 60 will cost you some big plays in his first season or two, but after that he could be Darelle Revis-like with his speed of 97 and agility of 96.
His man coverage is already at 89 and his zone coverage is 82. Peterson will be lights out on Madden. There aren't too many lights out players in Madden at the cornerback position either, so you have to grab them when they come along.
By the way, there is a better cornerback than Revis in Madden, at least there was in last year's game, a regen by the name of Quan Henry. At least I think that was his name. I haven't been able to find him or Delino Sims in the countless drafts I have done since I first found them.
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