NFL Mock Draft 2021: Here’s what happens when we let Madden simulate the picks

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It’s virtually time for the 2021 NFL Draft, which implies the floodgates for NFL mock drafts are about to open.

Experts will break down workforce wants, watch movie of the prime faculty prospects and predict (to the better of their means) the place gamers will get drafted. We’re going to be doing none of that on this mock draft. Here, we’re going to set every thing up in order that the digital GMs and coaches in “Madden 21” might be making the picks for us.

We’ve up to date the rosters to mirror free company strikes and imported a custom-made draft class to symbolize the 2021 gamers (we clarify all of that beneath). We even have the order set for the first spherical. Because of how sophisticated that is to arrange, we solely simulated the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. The total draft would not be correct anyway due to compensatory picks that are not included in Madden.

First, we’ll go over how this course of labored. It concerned numerous setup since there is not any official 2021 NFL Draft class in Madden 21 but, and rosters give up formally updating at the finish of the Super Bowl. If you are not fascinated about the setup of the draft then you possibly can click on right here to easily get to the outcomes.

MORE NFL DRAFT: SN’s newest 2021 mock draft | Top 100 huge board

How the Madden NFL Mock Draft works

Madden 21

NFL Draft prospects

Madden makes use of auto-generated draft courses in franchise mode and does not have an precise draft class of the 2021 gamers. But Madden does permit customers to create their very own draft class, and add them into the group recordsdata the place others can obtain. That’s what we did on this experiment.

We used the TFGDraft2021 file created by Marcus Whitman. Not solely does he know learn how to create a draft class, however he is additionally an NFL Draft analyst. So his NFL Draft evaluation performs a giant position in the rankings of the rookies for this class.

Accurate rosters

Madden rosters give up updating at the finish of the Super Bowl, which implies all of the huge free company strikes aren’t up to date. So the huge Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff commerce did not occur, Jadeveon Clowney continues to be on the Titans and Bears QB1 Andy Dalton continues to be a Cowboy.

But due to the similar group recordsdata part, I used to be in a position to obtain an up to date roster with all of the free company strikes. The rosters have been up to date by Wednesday, April 14, so if any huge strikes occurred after this then it was missed in the simulation.

However, it is not simply as straightforward as downloading an up to date roster. Because the Madden offseason begins after the draft, I needed to simulate the 2020 season to get to the 2021 draft. This means numerous gamers ended up changing into free brokers in 2021, so I needed to undergo and re-sign all of them to ensure they did not depart in free company. This is a really tedious activity, so I solely saved gamers 65 total and better on every workforce to hurry up the course of, so a number of bottom-tier gamers have been misplaced.

There was additionally a small matter of retirements. Some lively gamers determined to name it quits in the digital world whereas their real-world counterpart continued on. To counter this, I simply edited a low total participant to mirror the gamers who retired by altering their stats. Fun reality: one among the gamers who retired in-game was Julian Edelman, and he retired a day earlier than this experiment happened in actual life. 

Draft order

To get the draft order to mirror this 12 months’s draft, I first went by the 2020 season and compelled wins to copy the precise consequence. This is not excellent as there are a selection of tiebreakers that do not come out the similar, but it surely no less than creates a baseline that kind of resembles what the order seems to be like.

For all of the inaccurate groups, whether or not by a fallacious tiebreaker or as a result of the decide was traded, I merely made trades with groups till the order was correct (once more this simulation was achieved on April 14 so any trades after that day aren’t mirrored). To make this attainable, I needed to make this an offline franchise and create a personality for all 32 groups so I might handle them individually. This additionally helps to eradicate any random signings or releases.

I did this for the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, and the outcomes might be seen beneath.

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Madden simulation

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

We’re off to a superb begin. The Jaguars do what’s anticipated in the real-life draft and take Trevor Lawrence off the board first total.

(Madden 21)

2. New York Jets

After updating the roster to ship Sam Darnold to the Panthers, it was clear that quarterback was an enormous want for the Jets. Their beginning quarterback pre-draft is James Morgan. And with Wilson being the No. 2 prospect total, it is sensible that he goes to the Jets, which can be an anticipated real-life decide.

3. San Francisco 49ers

Here’s the place issues begin to go a bit awry. The 49ers made an enormous pre-draft commerce with a view to transfer as much as No. 3 and so they’re fully expected to take a quarterback. That could either be Ohio State’s Justin Fields or Alabama’s Mac Jones. But because the 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo (75 overall) on the roster, the virtual GM doesn’t see QB as a position of need. So instead they go with the top non-QB option available on the big board. This won’t happen in real life, but it makes sense within the context of the game.

4. Atlanta Falcons

This move surprised me considering the Falcons already have Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the roster. You’d think the virtual GM would recognize that and go a different route. Instead, they just take the best non-QB available on the big board. It’s not completely out of the question, but this seems like an unlikely real-life pick.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Since many mock drafts have quarterbacks going within the first four picks, the Bengals debate has almost always been Sewell or Chase. Protect Joe Burrow, or give him a familiar wide receiver? Well, with both gone, the decision is a little easier and the Bengals go with star tight end Kyle Pitts. This is a realistic pick even if Sewell and Chase are both available. Pitts is a great talent, and the Bengals could use another receiving threat to help out Burrow.

6. Miami Dolphins

  • DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

This is a very realistic pick for Miami considering Tua Tagovailoa would be connected with his former Alabama teammate. Many mock drafts have the Dolphins taking a wide receiver in this situation, so if Chase is already gone then it makes sense to go with the Heisman-winning Smith. 

7. Detroit Lions

  • Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Another realistic pick. Parsons was listed as an “ideal” selection for Detroit by NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter. Detroit might additionally use a receiver, however with Chase and Smith off the board it is sensible on this state of affairs to go along with Parsons. Another draft decide that would really occur in actual life.

8. Carolina Panthers

  • Rashawn Slater, LT, Northwestern

The Panthers have each Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater on their roster, so regardless of some hypothesis of Carolina going quarterback, it makes full sense for the online game model of the workforce to not go QB right here. And Slater is a really real looking selection for Carolina at 8. He’s even included in some mock drafts to be chosen right here. Strengthening your offensive line will not be a horny decide, but it surely’s not a nasty concept.

9. Denver Broncos

  • Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami

Again, not an unrealistic decide for Denver, though a quarterback would make extra sense right here. Rousseau is a participant who’s been tied to Denver considerably in pre-draft talks. ESPN’s Broncos beat author Jeff Legwold listed Rousseau as a participant the Broncos “could be looking at” at 9. I would not count on this decide to occur, but it surely’s definitely a loopy choice.

10. Dallas Cowboys

  • Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Surtain is a participant who’s been tied to the Cowboys at 10 for some time now. In reality, he is who Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer has going to Dallas in his mock draft. He’s the overwhelming favourite to land right here in the consensus mock draft (via the Mock Draft Database) at 41%. So good job, digital Jerry Jones.

(Madden 21)

11. New York Giants

  • Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Despite the Giants making a giant splash in free company with the signing of WR Kenny Golladay, it seems they are not achieved including to their receiving corps. Again, although, this can be a decide that has an opportunity at really taking place. In reality, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Waddle projected to go the Giants at 11. Outside of 1 development (which you might have observed by now) this mock draft hasn’t been horrible.

12. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Most mock drafts have the Eagles choosing a large receiver right here. But since the huge names are gone, Horn is the subsequent logical selection. And he isn’t a random one. The Mock Draft Database has Horn as the No. 3 hottest selection (11%) to Philly behind Waddle and Smith. 

13. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Christian Darrisaw, LT, Virginia Tech

Not a loopy choice. Darrisaw is projected to go inside about the 10-20 vary and it is sensible for the Chargers to attempt to defend their star quarterback in Justin Herbert. Darrisaw can be listed in several mock drafts to land with the Chargers at 13. Another real looking choice.

14. Minnesota Vikings

  • Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC

Vera-Tucker is the third-most standard selection in the Mock Draft Database to land with the Vikings, showing in 11.3% of mock drafts. While Mel Kiper did not have Vera-Tucker going to Minnesota, he did decide an offensive lineman saying, “it’s a glaring hole on this roster.”

15. New England Patriots

  • Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Now that we’ve reached the near-midway level of the draft it is time to deal with the elephant in the room. Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones are all nonetheless obtainable. And spoiler alert, they will not find yourself getting drafted in any respect in the first spherical. This makes some sense since the groups close to the backside of the draft do not want a quarterback, however when I used to be going by the simulation I assumed for positive the Patriots would take Fields, who by the method was the third total prospect on the huge board. I do not actually have an evidence for this. 

As for the decide itself, Farley is a participant the Patriots might contemplate. While not a well-liked selection based on mock drafts, Patriots beat author Tom Curran mentioned Farley is an option with Stephon Gilmore getting older and J.C. Jackson nonetheless being a restricted free agent.

16. Arizona Cardinals

  • Azeez Ojulari, LB, Georgia

Not an extremely standard decide to land with the Cardinals, however not a complete shock, both. CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards has Ojulari touchdown in Arizona with his mock draft saying, “After losing Haason Reddick, it just makes sense for Arizona to replace a very productive player. The team has gone all in for the upcoming season and Ojulari gives them another piece that can be dropped into coverage or rush the passer.”

17. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

Oddly sufficient, Mayfield is a very popular pick to land with the Raiders … simply as a second-round choice. The Raiders definitely need assistance at the deal with place after buying and selling away Trent Brown, so drafting this place is sensible. The solely factor is Mayfield’s seen extra as a late first-round man or second-round man and never a prime 20 decide. But this definitely would not be the first time the Raiders reached in a draft.

18. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins went with an offensive playmaker earlier in the first spherical and now go to the defensive aspect of the ball. Paye is a fairly popular choice as the Dolphins’ second first-round draft decide, showing in a number of mock drafts (together with Mel Kiper’s).

19. Washington Football Team

  • Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Another workforce that stunned me in passing on a quarterback (particularly since Fields continues to be obtainable). Fitzpatrick is older and does not have a brilliant excessive total, and the workforce’s backup is a 60 total. Instead, Washington goes receiver, which is just a little stunning contemplating they added Curtis Samuel in free company. Samuel and Terry McLaurin make a robust duo, however the digital GM apparently wished a robust trio. While I personally do not see this decide taking place, Bateman is projected in a few mock drafts to land with Washington.

20. Chicago Bears

  • Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

Another logical decide from the digital GMs. Jenkins is the third-most popular choice in the Mock Draft Database to land with the Bears. Even Mel Kiper agrees as Jenkins was his option to land in Chicago saying, “He’d fill the spot created by the release of Bobbie Massie.”

21. Indianapolis Colts

Cosmi is the consensus choice to land with the Colts in the Mock Draft Database. Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer was amongst them, saying, “The Colts saw Anthony Castonzo go into retirement and the nice-sized and pedigreed Cosmi is a solid immediate replacement option.”

22. Tennessee Titans

  • Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

For the first time shortly we have a decide that is probably not projected someplace. Eichenberg is extra of a Round 2 candidate, per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. Although a variety of mock drafts have the Titans choosing both Jenkins or Cosmi right here, who have been each simply drafted with the two picks earlier than this. So it is a bit of a attain, however nothing surprising.

23. New York Jets

  • Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma

The Jets obtained their quarterback of the future earlier in the spherical, and now get some safety for him. Humphrey is not a extremely standard decide, however a report came out recently that the Jets “think really highly” of him. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

After shedding James Conner in free company, the Steelers are in want of a brand new operating again. Harris is the consensus pick to land with Pittsburgh in the Mock Draft Database with a reasonably excessive 15.9%. Harris makes numerous sense right here as each a place of want, and a proficient participant with the twenty fourth total choice.

(Madden 21)

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

After grabbing Trevor Lawrence first total, the Jaguars now flip to the defensive aspect of the ball. This is a decide that is been fashionable in current weeks. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah had Moehrig going to Jacksonville in his newest mock draft saying, “There are some intriguing options for the Jaguars with this pick, but Moehrig is just too clean a player to pass up.”

26. Cleveland Browns

  • Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

The Browns have a strong offense with Baker Mayfield main Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and Austin Hooper. So it is sensible they’d go protection right here. Owusu-Koramoah is the second-most popular choice in the Mock Draft Database to land at 26 with the Browns.

27. Baltimore Ravens

  • Carlos Basham Jr., DE, Wake Forest

I’d personally count on the Ravens to go broad receiver right here, however Basham is not a horrible selection. He was in the mock draft carried out by NFLMocks.com’s Sayre Bedinger. Bedinger said of the pick, “Basham has the ability to play multiple positions on the defensive line and the Ravens almost always seem to prioritize players who look more like defensive ends at that standup linebacker position.”

28. New Orleans Saints

Even although I do not count on the Saints to go QB right here in actual life, I assumed they may sneak in late and seize one among them contemplating they’re nonetheless obtainable on this simulation. Instead, they go along with Odighizuwa, who’s a considerably stunning decide right here. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein has Odighizuwa as a Third-to-4th spherical draft decide. This is one among the more bizarre picks we’ve seen on this simulation, however loopy issues occur in the NFL Draft so who is aware of.

29. Green Bay Packers

  • Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State

Part of me wished the Packers to go QB right here simply to frustrate the digital Aaron Rodgers. Instead, they go along with a extra real looking decide of Wyatt Davis. Although it is not a very wild choice, it is not one I count on Green Bay to make in actual life. I’d count on a large receiver right here, probably Rondale Moore or Terrace Marshall Jr.

30. Buffalo Bills

  • Quinn Meinerz, RG, Wisconsin–Whitewater

The Bills get some offensive line assist for Josh Allen, though most NFL Draft analysts do not see this as a place of want for Buffalo. Meinerz was named by CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso as a participant the Bills ought to contemplate, however viewed him more as a 3rd-round selection.

31. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Alex Leatherwood, LT, Alabama

The Chiefs want offensive line assist, and numerous mock drafts have Kansas City going o-line right here. But there have already been a variety of offensive lineman drafted on this simulation, so Leatherwood finally ends up as one among the prime choices obtainable right here. Leatherwood is seen extra as a 2nd-round man, however contemplating the insane offensive lineman run, he turns into a 1st-round decide.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

The Super Bowl champs added Antoine Winfield Jr. in final 12 months’s draft, so why not add one other son of an incredible NFL participant? Samuel is a strong decide right here for the Bucs, though most mock drafts have Tampa Bay going with a defensive lineman with this decide. But Samuel is not a wild choice in any respect.

(Madden 21)

2nd Round

(We will not give detailed recaps of the second spherical, however since numerous huge names did not go in the first spherical we thought it might be fascinating to see how the 2nd spherical turned out)

TeamNamePos.College
JaguarsPat FreiermuthTEPenn State
JetsJayson OwehDEPenn State
FalconsZaven CollinsLBTulsa
DolphinsTravis EtienneRBClemson
EaglesJaelen PhillipsDEMiami
BengalsPhidarian MathisDTAlabama
PanthersDylan MosesMLBAlabama
BroncosChristian BarmoreDTAlabama
LionsTerrence Marshall Jr.WRLSU
GiantsNick BoltonMLBMissouri
49ersLandon DickersonCAlabama
CowboysTrey SermonRBOhio State
JaguarsKadarius ToneyWRFlorida
PatriotsAndre CiscoFSSyracuse
ChargersTylan WallaceWROklahoma State
RaidersDeonte BrownOGAlabama
CardinalsRondale MooreWRPurdue
DolphinsJosh MyersCOhio State
WashingtonBrevin JordanTEMiami
BearsChazz SurrattMLBNorth Carolina
TitansJavonte WilliamsRBNorth Carolina
ColtsTrey SmithLGTennessee
SteelersWalker LittleLTStanford
SeahawksJevon HollandSSOregon
RamsTyson CampbellCBGeorgia
RavensJackson CarmanLTClemson
BrownsPaulson AdeboCBStanford
SaintsShawn WadeCBOhio State
BillsTre BrownCBOklahoma
PackersMarvin WilsonDTFlorida State
ChiefsRonnie PerkinsLOLBOklahoma
BucsSeth WilliamsWRAuburn

Finishing ideas

Obviously the essential takeaway right here is that Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones are all obtainable at the finish of the first and second rounds. Even if one among the prime groups shock us by not going QB early on, in actual life there’d most definitely be a commerce by somebody to pick one among them earlier than they fell so far. Their slides have been the main cause for doing the second spherical simulation of the draft, and so they did not even go then.

I did not change the remainder of the draft so the picks have been out of order after the second spherical. But at the prime of the third spherical we lastly noticed the quarterbacks begin to go. Justin Fields went to the Broncos in the third spherical, Mac Jones went to the Falcons in the third spherical, Trey Lance went to the Cowboys in the third spherical, Jamie Newman went to the Giants in the third spherical and Kyle Trask went to the Patriots in the third spherical. Only one different QB was drafted — Feleipe Franks to the Seahawks in the fourth spherical.

Outside of the quarterback subject, although, numerous the choices in the first spherical appeared believable. There have been a number of gamers who’ve been connected to the groups that they have been drafted to. I assumed for the most half the simulation adopted the wants of the groups, outdoors of a handful of choices.

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