Guide: Scouting Projected Undrafted Players

Hi all. As many of you know, conventional wisdom states that scouting prospects projected to go undrafted is a bit of a waste of time in Madden 17 CFM. Even if you get lucky and find a guy worth taking with one of your picks, there’s about a 50/50 chance he won’t even be available on your board come draft day. For this reason, most experienced players traditionally avoid wasting their scouting points on players who might not even be draftable.

However…

What if I told you there is a pretty foolproof way of knowing which projected undrafted prospects will be available on your board in the draft itself? Read on to find out how!

Who this guide is for  

Drafting guys projected to go undrafted isn’t going to be a big concern for offline players since there are plenty of late round gems to go around (except for positions like FB, K and P who rarely have players projected to go in the first 7 rounds). But for guys who play online, finding some contributors from the projected undrafted talent pool will mean you can get great value out of your late round picks and gain a competitive advantage over your peers. If you’re the only guy in your league scouting that huge pool of projected undrafted talent, you have the potential to hit big on your 5th, 6th, 7th round picks when – traditionally – almost every half decent prospect is off the board regardless of their projected round, and the rest of the league is simming or completely wasting their selections. This is something I’ve done to great effect in some of my drafts, and snagged players like Steven Jasper. See below. This was in a 32 man online league full of highly experienced drafters, I might add!

And here’s a couple of other guys I just drafted when I was messing about a few minutes ago double checking my guidance here is accurate (N.B. you wouldn’t take these guys as early as I did, but in a 32 man online league, these two would be incredible value in the 5th, 6th or 7th round):

 

How the Projected Undrafted Pool Works

There are 224 players (7 rounds x 32 picks) who are projected to be drafted, but under your scouting you will see there are another 126 available, down to number 350. However, this group of 126 extra players does not stay static week to week. If you keep an eye on it, you’ll see that players in that undrafted pool move all over the place in the rankings and drop off altogether, while new players come in.

This is because there are two distinct groups of projected undrafted players who cycle in and out of your scouting board week to week. There is some degree of overlap between the two, but generally, if you look at your board in week 4, those guys will reappear in week 6, week 8 etc. but not in week 5, week 7, week 9. And that right there is the key to this whole thing.

The players in POOL 2 are the ones who will be available in the draft itself

Pool 2 players appear in the following weeks of the season:

  • Week 4
  • Week 6
  • Week 8
  • Week 10
  • Week 12
  • Week 14
  • Week 16
  • Superbowl week
  • Off-season Stage 2 (Combine week)
  • Off-season Stage 3 (Pro day week)

As I said earlier, this isn’t completely foolproof since some Pool 1 players will also be available on draft day and a very tiny minority of Pool 2 players will not appear on your board, but generally, this method gives you about 95% certainty of which projected undrafted prospects will appear as available in the draft.

So make sure if you’re going to scout projected undrafted players, you do it in the weeks specified above!

Top tips for finding projected undrafted gems

Here are a few tips to help you find good players out of the undrafted pool:

  • Add all Pool 2 players to your Watch List in Week 4 of the season. This will stop you accidentally scouting anyone not in Pool 2 during the year.
  • Use my scouting tool: This will help you identify guys who might come in over 70 OVR and rank prospects against each other on a big board.
  • Position changes are your friend: I’ve had great success moving big, heavy, strong defensive ends to DT (e.g. Steven Jasper above). This is the area you’ll experience greatest success.
  • The positions really worth looking at are FB, DE, OLB, CB, FS, SS, K, P, C and G. For other positions, it’s incrediby rare to find a player worth drafting amongst the projected undrafted pool, so keep that in mind when you’re thinking about where to use your points.
  • For QBs, only scout ‘strong arm’ or ‘mobile’ archetype players. They’re the only ones I’ve ever seen come out as decent from the undrafted pools.
  • For speed positions (WR, CB, HB), wait until after the combine before using any points on the projected undrafted guys.
  • Pre-combine, try to avoid unlocking more than Skill 1 for any projected undrafted guys. You need to know their combine numbers before you have any idea if they’re going to be half decent players, so hedge your bets and wait until after the combine to unlock skills 2 and 3 for guys you like.
  • Prioritise young players. Unless you get ludicrously lucky (or you’re drafting a FB, K or P), you’re not going to find a day 1 starter in the projected undrafted pool. At most, these guys are going to be 70-73 OVR and probably need to sit and develop for a season. That means finding 21/22 year olds is a better idea, as 23 and 24 year olds cannot afford to sit as they will never develop properly (remember, development is pretty much capped at 26).

     

Well there you have it, I’ve given away my biggest competitive advantage! I hope this helps some of you draft more effectively!

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