We’ve already seen the Bayesian theories of Kevin in a previous post. This more of a “here are some useful tips I found!” kind of thing. I’ve drafted 10 times (in season 11 currently), and I’ve had my share of successes and busts.
— Kevin mentioned the in-season scouting’s usefulness for offensive linemen. I would also add linebackers and safeties. For those positions, I personally prize Hit Power, which is revealed there. Remember, tackling is the likelihood of making a successful tackle; hit power is how much bejeezus you can smack out of them (usually causing fumbles or injuries). You can get the play action rating of QBs and carry for all offensive positions but HBs — of marginal utility, to be sure, but not totally useless.
— Draft slots don’t matter a lot. The AI will “overdraft” or pick second round players in the first round if they’re good enough. It is far better to draft an awesome player in the first round, regardless of designation, than to hope he’ll still be there later on.
— Physical scouting is useful for every position. Probably most useful for halfbacks, wide receivers, cornerbacks, tight ends, and defensive linemen. It’s nice for QBs, but not necessary. If you’ve narrowed down your O-line pool, it can help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
— The “skills scouting” isn’t as helpful. It will give you general, short, and medium throw accuracy for QBs, as well as the other stats like throwing on the run, so it’s useful for them. You’ll get carry (and catch, I believe) stats for HBs. You’ll get catch for DBs as well, but not for WRs. It’s next to useless for linemen of any flavor; you can get tackling for linebackers, which is always helpful.
— The individual workouts are the most important tool you have. Consider this; the default settings give you 7 draft picks. If you choose wisely, you can know five people you’re going to draft right off the bat! Unless you have a top five pick, I wouldn’t waste more than two of your workouts on first round players; you have an almost zero chance of getting the best QB, LT or HB outside the top 5. Don’t be afraid to “waste” one on a fourth round player if you have the other stats you need; he might surprise you.
— I’m quickly realizing that potential is a little overrated. An 80 B player is always more valuable than a 70 A. Players jumping 20 points are really rare, and would take a lot of luck. The 70 As are usually late round picks, so it’s not the end of the world if you draft one anyway, but Bs are still potential Pro Bowlers and usually everyday starters. A B receiver with the right physical gifts can still be worth a first round pick. Remember: Awareness is a big component of potential, and for some positions (like QB) awareness is useless if you’re playing the games.
— The chances of your finding an elite QB outside the top 5 is pretty much zero. Trade up, if you can. Beg, borrow, or steal. It is much tougher to pass than run in Madden 12, and the QB is so big a part of that that it will be the single biggest limitation to your offense. A 99 QB, with a bad supporting cast, is FAR better than an 80 QB with a great supporting cast.
— Pay VERY close attention to the most important rating in the entire game: INJ. Is he an 85 overall with A potential? Great. Don’t draft him if he has 50 injury unless you’ve got an awesome backup at the position. INJ rarely gets better (can you confirm or deny Kevin?).
Those are my notes. I hope you find them useful.