The Sports Desk – Picking The Right NFL Rookies In Madden Ultimate Team
Another NFL draft is in the books, and while teams and fans are (mostly) excited for their picks, we won't know for a while how these rookies will pan out in real life for a few years. However, players of Madden's Ultimate Team have more immediate concerns, and I'm here today with answers! I played with this year's first-round quarterbacks and half-backs, and tell you which one is the best of the bunch.
DISCLAIMER: The attributes listed below are for the Ultimate Team elite versions of these players, and their values will change as they are incorporated in the Madden NFL 18 base game and in various Ultimate Team cards in the future. This article is based on my own observations playing the game, and is not an attempt at any real-world equivalencies.
Mitchell Trubisky – Chicago Bears (Pick #2)
OVR-98 SPD-83 STR-75 AGI-87 ACC-86 AWR-94
THP-95 SAC-95 MAC-93 DAC-92 RUN-95 PAC-94
Fans laughed when the Bears traded up a spot to land a guy that few believed would go number two overall and who was only a one-year starter. In the game, while Trubisky doesn't have any major flaws, his deep ball could use some work (his first throw in the video below), and the next two throws should have been placed better for his receivers. That being said, the fourth throw in the clip (a corner route) shows he's capable of being accurate, and for the following throw (while incomplete) Trubisky impressively fits the ball between two defenders. The final throw is also an example of what he is capable of.
Patrick Mahomes II – Kansas City Chiefs (Pick #10)
OVR-97 SPD-82 STR-74 AGI-83 ACC-87 AWR-94
THP-96 SAC-95 MAC-92 DAC-89 RUN-93 PAC-93
Mahomes has a strong arm (he's the son of a former MLB pitcher), and can pair it with some good throws to various parts of the field. For the first throw of his highlight reel, he places the ball to the sideline away from the defender, and the subsequent bootleg pass is on a rope. The next to throws again show off his arm, although they also are a bit too ambitious.
Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans (Pick #12)
OVR-97 SPD-88 STR-67 AGI-92 ACC-92 AWR-93
THP-93 SAC-96 MAC-93 DAC-89 RUN-94 PAC-90
Like the Bears for Trubisky, the Texans also traded up to get their man at number 12. Also similar to Trubisky, while Watson didn't make any bad throws, there were times when he made his receivers settle for less due to throws that were placed less-than-optimally (as illustrated in the first two throws). But the third throw is a great example of leading his receiver down the sideline, and he allows his receiver to run under the ball in the next throw – even if the cornerback makes a better play on the ball. He could drive the ball a little better on intermediate routes, and he puts too much air on his swing passes, but he also shows some escapability out of the pocket and the ability to run downfield.
MY PICK: Patrick Mahomes II
Mahomes isn't the perfect passer, but his strong arm and ability to make all the throws are impressive.
Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars (Pick #4)
OVR-98 SPD-93 STR-90 AGI-93 ACC-96 AWR-92 CTH-68 JMP-90
TRK-96 ELU-88 BCV-94 SFA-95 SPM-87 JKM-90 CAR-96 RTE-61 CIT-51 SPC-57 RLS-63
RBK-58 PBK-65 IMP-60 KR-25
Fournette was the first running back off the board at #4, and for a power back, he also shows he can change directions. In the first clip he hits the backside option without breaking his stride, and you can also see this in the following example – where he also bowls over a few would-be tacklers (albeit with some help from Madden's physics). The remaining clips further speak to Fournette's physicality and stiff arm abilities.
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers (Pick #8)
OVR-97 SPD-94 STR-73 AGI-97 ACC-97 AWR-95 CTH-84 JMP-87
TRK-68 ELU-94 BCV-91 SFA-75 SPM-82 JKM-93 CAR-94 RTE-84 CIT-84 SPC-83 RLS-70
RBK-32 PBK-65 IMP-47 KR-88
McCaffrey's relatively low strength rating might lead you to believe he is just a speedy niche back, but he surprised me with his ability to run effectively between the tackles. He also didn't always go down after first contact. His high catch rating and speed make him well-suited to catching passes out of the backfield, which his last two highlights below amply demonstrate.
MY PICK: Christian McCaffrey
Everyone may have slightly different running backs they like to use, but McCaffrey's speed and pass-catching put him above Fournette. I also wouldn't hesitate to have him as my featured back, which makes him an every-down threat. He can return kicks, too.
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