Scouting Tool Guide Part 4: Blue Chip Draft Status Criteria

This series of posts form a detailed guide to my Madden 17 CFM Scouting Tool, which can be downloaded from this location:

http://www.operationsports.com/forums/madden-nfl-football/893155-scouting-tool-madden-17-cfm.html

  1. Part 1: Introduction
  2. Part 2: Data Input
  3. Part 3: Scouting Tips
  4. Part 4: Blue Chip Criteria
  5. Part 5: Red Chip Criteria
  6. Part 6: Off-Season Planning
  7. Part 7: Draft Day

Introduction

The Draft Status column in the tool helps you to make a decision about whether or not to draft a player. This column uses a lot of diverse criteria for different positions, which are as below. These are divided into a separate set of checks for blue chip players (prospects who project to be at least 75 OVR) and red chip players (prospects who project to be between around 70 and 74 OVR). The original set of blue chip criteria were based on the excellent work done in this blog post by Michael Belote at Reboot Christianity. I give full credit to Michael for coming up with the original set of criteria. Indeed, the initial idea behind me building the tool was to take his work and provide a handy spreadsheet that helped people use his criteria without having to do some rapid mental math while looking at 3 cone and shuttle times!

During my testing though, I’ve found ways to further improve and build upon Michael’s good work to further reduce the risk of missing top players or accidentally drafting scrubs. My updated criteria also work with the latest (as at October 2016) Cloud CFM draft class tuning, as well as offline CFM. I’ve found that Michael’s original criteria are a little bit too stringent for the new draft class tuning, which seems to provide far fewer top rated prospects and more prospects who are ‘borderline’ in terms of their scouted skills, rather than slam dunk elite players. My updated criteria will help you find blue chippers even with the new tuning.

So, without further ado, I have detailed the scouting criteria I use in the tool for each position to determine if they should be drafted, and given an approximation of the % Predictive Power (probability that player will be >=75 OVR) and the % Missed Opportunities (probability that the tool will tell you not to draft a prospect that turns out to be a high OVR/75+ player). I’ve based this on about 30 simulated draft classes where I (and some kind users who uploaded their completed sheets to the Operation Sports thread) painstakingly recorded all of the players’ skills and combine stats pre-draft and then compared them to their real stats in-game after the draft finished. The tool is the culmination of a heck of a lot of testing and trial and error, though as you’ll see below, isn’t completely fool proof. Some positions are “riskier” than others, so please keep that in mind when drafting and don’t lynch me if the tool tells you to draft a player who turns out to be a 72 OVR or tells you not to draft a player who turns out to be a 78. You’re still massively, massively better off with this tool and without it, and, on average, you will be drafting plenty of starters every year despite the odd miss here and there.

Blue Chip Criteria

Quarterbacks

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one A-
  • Throwing Power at least A-
  • One B from Short Throw Accuracy, Mid Throw Accuracy or Deep Throw Accuracy.
  • Minimum grade B

Predictive Power: 85%

Missed Opportunities: 10%

The only nuance with the QB blue chip criteria is QBs with low throwing power who are extremely accurate. Sometimes these guys can be as high as about 78 OVR in the right scheme and if they have good combine stats, but they will always be designated as red chippers by the tool.

Halfback

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B+
  • One B from Carrying, Trucking, Elusiveness or Ball Carrier Vision.
  • 4.71 or less on the 40 yard dash.
  • <11.37 sum of 3 cone and shuttle times.
  • Minimum grade B

Predictive Power: 90%

Missed Opportunities: 15%

I’ve found that HB is a pretty solid position to draft in terms of certainty, at least with v2 of the tool and newer. The only thing to keep in mind is that some power backs end up being red chippers because they’re not fast or agile enough (and I couldn’t up the physical requirements or a load of scrub speed backs will make it in).

Fullback

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B
  • One B- from Carrying or Run Blocking
  • Minimum grade C+
  • Talent round must not equal Undrafted

Predictive Power: 70%

Missed Opportunities: 30%

I haven’t done much testing against the FBs since you shouldn’t really bother drafting them anyway in my opinion, but these checks should mean any blue chip fullbacks are pretty good players.

Tight End

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B.
  • One B- from Catching, Catch in Traffic or Spectacular Catch.
  • 4.91 or less on the 40 yard dash.
  • <12.21 sum of 3 cone and shuttle times
  • At least 14 reps on the bench press
  • Minimum grade C+.

Predictive Power: 85%

Missed Opportunities: 15%

Before V3 of the tool, the big knock against the scouting criteria was that blocking TEs never got a look in, but now with the red chip criteria too, they are considered draftable by the tool. That said, I’ve not yet found a blocking TE over 75 OVR, so the blue chip checks are still skewed in favour of receiving TEs.

Wide Receiver

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B+
  • 4.61 or less on the 40 yard dash.
  • <11.11 sum of 3 cone and shuttle times.
  • Minimum grade B-.

Predictive Power: 95%

Missed Opportunities: 15%

So for V3, I’ve upped the blue chip criteria for WRs to say they need a B+. This means some red chip receivers sometimes end up being up to 76-78 OVR, but means the blue chips are always top players. However, it is very hard to predict whether a WR will be a 75, a 78 or an 81. It seems to be pretty random. I’d recommend not using first round picks on wide outs since you can often pick up ones that are just as good in the later rounds and you’re not risking a high pick on a player that might only be about a 76 OVR. WR are actually one of the easiest positions to draft in Madden 17  in terms of numbers of potentially elite prospects in a draft class.

Left Tackle

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B grade
  • Pass Blocking at least B-
  • At least 30 reps on the bench press
  • Minimum grade C

Predictive Power: 95+%

Missed Opportunities: 5%

LT is now one of the best positions to draft using this tool, in terms of accuracy. One thing to keep in mind though is that some run blocking LTs may be a ‘do not draft’ at their original position, but become studs if you move them to RT.

Guard

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B-
  • Top skill must not be Impact Blocking
  • At least 32 reps on the bench press
  • Minimum grade C

Predictive Power: 80%

Missed Opportunities: 25%

I’ve actually found that Guards are one of the hardest positions for the tool to predict. But you can rest assured that if it tells you to draft a guard, the worst I’ve seen is the player turns out to be a 73 OVR as opposed to a 75+. The rule to ignore players whose top skill is IBK may seem strange, but these players are where the randomness of Madden drafting comes into play. About 80% of these guys will look great but only be a 73 OVR, but the other 20% will be studs. I’ve chosen to kick them all out of the blue chip lounge for this reason.

Center

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B
  • At least 30 reps on the bench press
  • 5.44 or less on the 40 yard dash.
  • Minimum grade C+

Predictive Power: 85%

Missed Opportunities: 20%

Right Tackle

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B
  • At least 30 reps on the bench press
  • Minimum grade C

Predictive Power: 90%

Missed Opportunities: 10%

RTs used be one of the tool’s problem positions, but I think I found a good sweet spot after V2. Problem is, that most draft classes don’t have many/any good RTs! So don’t be disheartened if the tool isn’t finding any RTs it thinks you should draft. You may be better off drafting a LT or G and kicking them out to RT.

Defensive End

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B+
  • At least two B grades
  • One B+ from Pursuit, Block Shedding, Finesse Moves or Power Moves.
  • <12.11 sum of 3 cone and shuttle times.
  • At least 23 bench press reps.
  • Minimum grade B-
  • Talent Round must not equal Undrafted

Predictive Power: 80%

Missed Opportunities: 10%

Post-tuning update, DE has become a very hard position to scout, hence the large numbers of checks above. Often, players who look for all the world like they should be studs turn out to be 67 or 68 OVR, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason why. But the criteria my tool uses mean you should do pretty well drafting them, even if there is the occasional miss.

Defensive Tackle

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B
  • Must have at least two B- grades
  • One B- from Tackle or Block Shedding
  • At least 29 reps on the bench press
  • 5.2 or less on the 40 yard dash
  • Minimum grade C+
  • Talent round must not equal Undrafted

Predictive Power: 95%

Missed Opportunities: 20%

Outside Linebacker

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B+
  • One B from Block Shedding, Power Moves, or Finesse Moves
  • <11.61 sum of 3 cone and shuttle times.
  • Minimum grade C+
  • Talent round must not equal Undrafted

Predictive Power: 90%

Missed Opportunities: 20%

With this position, you’ll find that some coverage OLBs miss out on the blue chip criteria but can still turn out to be great players. But with pass rushing OLBs, stick to the criteria above unless you want to get burnt.

Middle Linebacker

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B+
  • Tackle at least a B+
  • <11.46 sum of 3 cone and shuttle times.
  • Minimum grade B

Predictive Power: 90%

Missed Opportunities: 10%

Cornerback

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one B-
  • One B- from Zone Coverage or Man Coverage.
  • 4.61 or less on the 40 yard dash.
  • <11.09 sum of 3 cone and shuttle times.
  • Minimum grade C+
  • Talent Round must not equal Undrafted

Predictive Power: 95%

Missed Opportunities: 20%

You’ll find that some CBs that specialise in zone coverage don’t meet the blue chip criteria and end up slipping into red chip territory. Keep this in mind if you primarily run zone schemes on defence.

Free Safety

Scouting Criteria:

  • At least two B- grades
  • At least one C+ from Tackle, Zone Coverage or Pursuit
  • 4.65 or less on the 40 yard dash.
  • At least 33.5″ on the vertical leap.
  • Minimum grade C

Predictive Power: 80%

Missed Opportunities: 10%

Very occasionally you’ll find a bad FS with an OVR of about 72 or so will slip into the blue chip lounge, but it’s pretty rare. Something else to keep in mind when drafting Free Safeties is that they are the least populous position in the game in terms of stud prospects, so if you think you’ve got a shot at landing a good one, you should take it because it might be several years before you get that chance again.

Strong Safety

Scouting Criteria:

  • At least one B- grade
  • One B- from Zone Coverage, Play Recognition, Pursuit, or Tackle
  • 4.6 or less on the 40 yard dash.
  • At least 34″ on the vertical leap.
  • Minimum grade C+

Predictive Power: 80%

Missed Opportunities: 25%

I’ve made some good improvements to the predictive power of SS, but it’s still one of the hardest positions to predict, unfortunately.

Kickers and Punters

Scouting Criteria:

  • Must have at least one A
  • Kick Power at least A
  • Kick Accuracy at least A-
  • Minimum grade F

Predictive Power: 90%*

Missed Opportunities: 15%*

* Based on a very limited sample size at these positions. But as with FBs, you’re probably better off saving your picks and finding kickers/punters from free agency after the draft.

Conclusion

So those are the blue chip criteria. The tool will automatically check against these to ensure you spend your scouting points wisely and can correctly designate players as high-value prospects.

Navigation

 < Previous Post in the Series: Part 3: Scouting Tips | Next Post in the Series: Part 5: Red Chip Criteria>

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10 thoughts on “Scouting Tool Guide Part 4: Blue Chip Draft Status Criteria

  1. First off, thank you for all your hard work! I can’t even begin to imagine how many hours you put into this. I don’t have the requisite version of Excel to run your official tool so I use this series of guides to make do.

    In the OLB section, the second bullet point says “One B- …”; the fourth bullet point says “Minimum grade B” which contradicts #2. Which one is true?

    Thanks, again!

    Like

      1. I’ve placed in brackets below…

        Outside Linebacker

        Scouting Criteria:
        •Must have at least one B+
        [[HERE ‘”B-“]] •One B- from Block Shedding, Power Moves, or Finesse Moves
        •<11.76 sum of 3 cone and shuttle times.
        [[HERE "B"]] •Minimum grade B
        •Talent round must not equal Undrafted

        Unless I'm having a huge brain fart, if I must have one of BSH, PMV, or FMV with a B-, that would mean I'd have a grade below the "B" minimum, right? I've drafted a few with the B- and they ended up in the 72-76 range so I've just mentally changed the B- to a B.

        Once again, thanks for all you do!

        Like

  2. This is awesome. Thanks for doing all this.

    I’ve read somewhere that one of EA’s goals for scouting this year was to have the “type” of prospect have different outputs than another type. For instance, a speed WR who ran a 4.4 will have a higher speed attribute than a Red Zone threat WR who also happened to run a 4.4. I’m not recalling whether or not what I read or heard said that the speed WR would simply always have a faster 40 time or if the resulting Speed stat would be higher if they ran the same 40 time.

    Just curious, have you done any testing on this? Have you attempted to factor in type as one of the fill in categories? If you haven’t tested it, is there a plan to in the future?

    Like

    1. Not done any testing on this, but I’ve started capturing player archetype in my own drafts now so I can start investigating this stuff, with a view to eventually incorporating different checks, TVRs etc. for different archetypes.

      Like

  3. All of this is awesome information! Its greatly appreciated that you put the work into all this and made it so detailed and organized. I’m in a CFM with 31 other people so drafting every year is crucial. If there is anyway I can help provide some data for research I would gladly do it.

    Liked by 1 person

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