The NFL Scouting Combine was this weekend, and the hype has continued well into the week as fans continue to dissect mock drafts hoping to learn who their team may take come late April. The Combine itself gets more and more media coverage, hype, and analytics each year, but does it translate well into Madden 19?
For this Round Table Discussion, we are looking at the way in which Madden 19 handles the scouting combine, specifically.
Mike Lowe: Do you feel the same hype when it comes to the scouting combine results in-game than what we saw over the weekend in real life? What could Madden do to make this part of the offseason more enticing?
Blake Rowe: As far as the combine goes, I had brought up to a buddy that it would be good to bring comparisons into the combine dating 3 years back.
So for madden 19, you compare the guys in the first offseason class to the Baker Mayfield combine class, the Myles Garrett combine class & the Jared Goff combine class and you get a comparison based on the combine results of the current class and the previous classes.
It would better help understand the numbers because a lot of guys simply look at where guys rank in their own class in whatever category (bench press, 40 yard dash etc) as opposed to actually understanding what good numbers and bad numbers are. There may be 10 blazing fast guys at WR, but if you see a guy ranked 9 as opposed to 3 you don’t think he’s very fast even though he may have only ran .07 seconds slower.
Mike Lowe: I’d love to see Madden incorporate RAS (relative athletic scores). This would go along with what you’re saying, Blake, in that we could compare players to previous drafts. I agree too about the rankings–Being 6th in the cone drill may not seem like anything special, but what if that particular draft class is incredibly agile? The 6th best cone drill for that year could be one of the top 10 from the past 5 years, for instance. A bit extreme, but possible. RAS scores would help tie this all together so that players are compared to more than just players in their own draft.
Blake Rowe: Right. For example, a Right Guard in our class in the hybrid league last year had the highest bench press amongst all guards in the draft but his strength rating wound up at only 84. The guy who drafted him looked and saw that green “1st” and assumed he’d be a monster when in reality it was just a weak class in the strength category at guard. Comparisons to a guard from a previous class would allow you to peek over at that players current strength rating and have a more fair assessment of what his attribute may actually be.
Mike Dieker: I totally agree that their needs to be a comparison. Except instead of 3 years, make it historically. I believe Madden 08 did this and it seemed to work well. I miss that aspect of it. When it comes to what the coverage is in real life, I’d like for us to be able to watch the combine in madden. Paper/visual will get you nearly every time. That makes it into a mini game possibilities if “connected career player” could have taken off.
Mike Lowe: A mini-game would be interesting. A tough balance between realistic, yet fun and somewhat arcade. How would you envision that looking?
Blake Rowe: Being able to watch the combine is one of the things I was interested in when I thought of this too but how could you do that without it being a real-time live event? And beyond that, once you’re finished watching it what would be next as replacement for what is currently shown on the combine results page?
Mike Lowe: I’d love if Madden used more of a daily calendar approach, similar to what Head Coach ’09 used. You could have some sort of radio show each day, similar to what MLB The Show now uses, where little tidbits could be mentioned highlighting some of the important scouting numbers of the day. This could all be summarized, and more-easily read, in the news section…which needs vast updating, by the way.
Blake Rowe: Franchise mode had a weekly radio show in a couple of games but I believe it ended in M07 or M08. That’d be a great way to bring that information. Would make things more immersive in the menu as well rather than feeling like you’re having to do A,B,C with nothing in between. Gives you motivation to explore the menus.
Mike Lowe: Yes, the Tony Bruno Show! That was really well done.
Side note: They also need to hide the team weekly training info (and remove it from the start of a streamed game!).
Justin Jones: Agreed the Tony Burno show was well done but I’ll be the first to admit that the deeper and deeper I get into seasons, the less I listen because it repeats. The “stories” that they use right now, I almost always bypass minus the draft stories. I’d love for there to be more scale inside of these vs just a two second blurb that some guy was an Olympic Weightlifter.
As far as the grading goes, you can find “draft charts” out there that will help you narrow down the combine results, so while a guy may have finished 9th in speed, you can still get an idea of his projection. I believe in recent years madden has changed from a guaranteed number to a round about number which is nice, we all see some guys just fly at the combine and then can’t run past anyone in the league with pads on.
The biggest thing I think they need to fix around the combine and draft is just the explosiveness of slower players. Far to many slower speed DBs and WRs almost because unusable when their Acc is in the low 80’s. It just feels that every big WR that’s 6’3 or higher enters the league slow, lumbering and can never get quality separation. Guys like Golladay, Green, Hopkins, Ridley, Burress, Boldin, Fitz have never been burners but use quick bursts to get separation and body contact to beat smaller and faster DBs. It feels like 90% or jump balls DBs either cut the WR low and the ball goes flying up or are able to jump up and contest these catches.
If we bring the comparison in, I would like to see sort of what NBA 2K does, they provide a floor and a ceiling for a player. They also show their college stats and how they performed to give you an idea as to their skill set. I’d love to know what players regardless of combine stats were high level top producing players. Was there a WR who went to a small school who dominated but isn’t as highly regarded. He could be the next AB or he could be a washout. He may come in at 65 Overall because he’s completely raw but has Star capability. So if a team wants to develop him they can make something of him.
Not having ANY clue into traits for players is a major major major issue for me when drafting. Other than “storied” players you just have no idea. Give me some sort of indicator how good a player good be, give me a comparison like 2K or give me his college stats so we can see if they were productive in multiple years, were they a one hit wonder like JeMarcus Russell? Were they a multi year stud like McCaffery?
Mike Lowe: I definitely agree about the traits–I refuse to even draft a QB in rounds 1-3 because I fear the “Sense Pressure” Trait which is far too impactful towards INTs magically going to a defender.
Blake Rowe: The issue with the comparison to 2k is that the 2k draft comparisons is only to a pool of roughly 50 players so you see a ton of repeats & the college stats are always outrageous numbers. For example, you could have 3 guys from Duke (just say Rj Barrett, Zion Williamson & Cam Reddish) and they will all average 27+ points, 5+ assists & 6-7+ rebounds. If they were to add a section for college stats for the draftees in madden I would like for them to be at least somewhat accurate and tell you more about the player than the 2k college stats do.
& I 100% agree about the lack of traits. They should be in the form of a story. For example, X Wide Receiver has 120 yard game with a TD against Y school but the lost in the end due to back to back open drops on the final drive of the game. He would clearly have “drops open balls” traits in that scenario. That would be a great way to give info on the player while also giving a nice little back story, especially if it’s vs a top DB in the same class.
Justin Jones: Maybe include a feature where you get to ask a draftee a preloaded question, that can indicate their traite. Ask a receiver his thoughts about going over the middle to find out possession catch skill or a Running back about going out of bounds or lowering the shoulder for fights for yards.
Allow the GMs to hunt down an answer to a trait that maybe important to them. Maybe each question is 25 scouting points. Save people from not scouting WRs or DBs until the combine and when you can see speed numbers
Mike Lowe: They can setup realistic stats by simulating a “college season” with the draftees and a ton of ghost players to help compile the stats. Granted, that’s obviously easier than it sounds and probably not worth the resources, but yeah perhaps they could handle “teammates” a bit better when it comes to stats being generated. You might not notice it as much in football as you would in basketball with just 5 starters.
I like an “interview” section being added to help learn traits of x number of players.
Justin Jones: Yeah the more I think about that the more I like the idea as well, if you want to spend more points on a high level QB to make sure you get it right, then the rest of your scouting may suffer but if you have the first overall pick it’s worth it
Blake Rowe: I like the idea of being able to interview the prospects as well. The better your scouts rating is maybe you could have different questions available that tell you different things about the player as well. Maybe a base set of questions that all scouts have and the better the scout the more/better questions
Justin Jones: Problem is we can’t pick scouts except as owners
Blake Rowe: I’ve always felt that the standard for Madden should be to be the GM as opposed to the Coach. Coaches aren’t in control of the roster and it still leaves that difference in Owners vs GM’s by having the ability to relocate as the owner. GM’s would be able to hire/fire staff which is a feature long needed in Madden again. Long shot to get there, but if that becomes so then you’re able to get a better/worse scout.
Justin Jones: Agreed, I would love to see it. I think with the new concept of Schemes, coaching matters more and there is far more separation now with that feature. But I do wish as a “Coach” on madden that you should have full control to hire and fire your staff. You should have an OC that helps to develop offensive progression vs it being a skill trait and the same goes for an DC.
What does Madden 19 get right when it comes to the hype surrounding the NFL Scouting Combine, and what needs improvement? Let us hear your thoughts about this Round Table topic!