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

It’s nearly 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 capacity) 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 the whole lot up in order that the digital GMs and coaches in “Madden 21” will probably be making the picks for us.

We’ve up to date the rosters to replicate free company strikes and imported a custom-made draft class to signify the 2021 gamers (we clarify all of that beneath). We even have the order set for the first spherical. Because of how difficult that is to arrange, we solely simulated the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. The whole 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 plenty of setup since there is not any official 2021 NFL Draft class in Madden 21 but, and rosters stop formally updating at the finish of the Super Bowl. If you are not interested by the setup of the draft then you can click here to simply get to the results.

MORE NFL DRAFT: SN’s latest 2021 mock draft | Top 100 big board

How the Madden NFL Mock Draft works

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Madden 21

NFL Draft prospects

Madden makes use of auto-generated draft courses in franchise mode and would not have an precise draft class of the 2021 gamers. But Madden does enable customers to create their very own draft class, and add them into the group information 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 create a draft class, however he is additionally an NFL Draft analyst. So his NFL Draft evaluation performs an enormous function in the rankings of the rookies for this class.

Accurate rosters

Madden rosters stop updating at the finish of the Super Bowl, which implies all of the large free company strikes aren’t up to date. So the large 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 because of the identical group information part, I used to be capable of obtain an up to date roster with all of the free company strikes. The rosters had been up to date by means of Wednesday, April 14, so if any large strikes occurred after this then it was missed in the simulation.


However, it isn’t 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 plenty of 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 just a few bottom-tier gamers had been misplaced.

There was additionally a small matter of retirements. Some energetic 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 replicate the gamers who retired by altering their stats. Fun reality: certainly one of the gamers who retired in-game was Julian Edelman, and he retired a day earlier than this experiment came about in actual life. 

Draft order

To get the draft order to replicate this 12 months’s draft, I first went by means of the 2020 season and compelled wins to duplicate the precise end result. This is not good as there are a selection of tiebreakers that do not come out the identical, but it surely a minimum of creates a baseline that form of resembles what the order appears like.

For all of the inaccurate groups, whether or not by means of a fallacious tiebreaker or as a result of the choose was traded, I merely made trades with groups till the order was correct (once more this simulation was carried out on April 14 so any trades after that day aren’t mirrored). To make this potential, 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 remove any random signings or releases.

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

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Madden simulation

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

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

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(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 also be an anticipated real-life choose.


3. San Francisco 49ers

Here’s the place issues begin to go a bit awry. The 49ers made an enormous pre-draft commerce to be able to transfer as much as No. 3 they usually’re fully expected to take a quarterback. That might both be Ohio State’s Justin Fields or Alabama’s Mac Jones. But as a result of the 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo (75 total) on the roster, the digital GM would not see QB as a place of want. So as a substitute they go together with the prime non-QB possibility accessible on the large board. This will not occur in actual life, but it surely is sensible inside the context of the recreation.

4. Atlanta Falcons

This transfer stunned me contemplating the Falcons have already got Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the roster. You’d assume the digital GM would acknowledge that and go a distinct route. Instead, they only take the finest non-QB accessible on the large board. It’s not fully out of the query, however this looks as if an unlikely real-life choose.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Since many mock drafts have quarterbacks going inside the first 4 picks, the Bengals debate has nearly all the time been Sewell or Chase. Protect Joe Burrow, or give him a well-known extensive receiver? Well, with each gone, the choice is a bit of simpler and the Bengals go together with star tight finish Kyle Pitts. This is a sensible choose even when Sewell and Chase are each accessible. Pitts is a superb expertise, and the Bengals might use one other receiving risk to assist out Burrow.

6. Miami Dolphins

  • DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

This is a really practical choose for Miami contemplating Tua Tagovailoa can be linked together with his former Alabama teammate. Many mock drafts have the Dolphins taking a large receiver on this scenario, so if Chase is already gone then it is sensible to go together with the Heisman-winning Smith. 

7. Detroit Lions

  • Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Another practical choose. Parsons was listed as an “ideal” choice 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 scenario to go together with Parsons. Another draft choose 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 practical alternative for Carolina at 8. He’s even included in some mock drafts to be chosen right here. Strengthening your offensive line will not be an attractive choose, but it surely’s not a nasty concept.

9. Denver Broncos

  • Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami

Again, not an unrealistic choose 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 anticipate this choose 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.

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(Madden 21)

11. New York Giants

  • Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Despite the Giants making an enormous splash in free company with the signing of WR Kenny Golladay, it seems they don’t seem to be carried out including to their receiving corps. Again, although, this can be a choose 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 large names are gone, Horn is the subsequent logical alternative. And he isn’t a random one. The Mock Draft Database has Horn as the No. 3 hottest alternative (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 try to shield their star quarterback in Justin Herbert. Darrisaw can also be listed in several mock drafts to land with the Chargers at 13. Another practical choice.

14. Minnesota Vikings

  • Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC

Vera-Tucker is the third-most common alternative 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 choose 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 handle the elephant in the room. Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones are all nonetheless accessible. 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 means of the simulation I believed for positive the Patriots would take Fields, who by the manner was the third total prospect on the large board. I do not actually have a proof for this. 

As for the choose itself, Farley is a participant the Patriots might think about. While not a well-liked alternative in response to 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 common choose 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 sort out 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 choose. 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 facet of the ball. Paye is a fairly popular choice as the Dolphins’ second first-round draft choose, 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 accessible). Fitzpatrick is older and would not have an excellent excessive total, and the workforce’s backup is a 60 total. Instead, Washington goes receiver, which is a bit of shocking 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 choose taking place, Bateman is projected in a few mock drafts to land with Washington.

20. Chicago Bears

  • Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State

Another logical choose 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 among 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 choose that is probably not projected someplace. Eichenberg is extra of a Round 2 candidate, per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. Although quite a lot of mock drafts have the Titans choosing both Jenkins or Cosmi right here, who had 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 received their quarterback of the future earlier in the spherical, and now get some safety for him. Humphrey is not a very common choose, however a report came out recently that the Jets “think really highly” of him. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

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

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(Madden 21)

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

After grabbing Trevor Lawrence first total, the Jaguars now flip to the defensive facet of the ball. This is a choose that is been stylish 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 stable 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 anticipate the Ravens to go extensive receiver right here, however Basham is not a horrible alternative. He was in the mock draft performed 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 anticipate the Saints to go QB right here in actual life, I believed they may sneak in late and seize certainly one of them contemplating they’re nonetheless accessible on this simulation. Instead, they go together with Odighizuwa, who’s a considerably shocking choose right here. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein has Odighizuwa as a Third-to-4th spherical draft choose. This is certainly one of the more odd 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 together with a extra practical choose of Wyatt Davis. Although it isn’t a totally wild choice, it isn’t one I anticipate Green Bay to make in actual life. I’d anticipate a large receiver right here, doubtlessly 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 think about, however viewed him more as a 3rd-round selection.

31. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Alex Leatherwood, LT, Alabama

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

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 a terrific NFL participant? Samuel is a stable choose right here for the Bucs, though most mock drafts have Tampa Bay going with a defensive lineman with this choose. But Samuel is not a wild choice in any respect.

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(Madden 21)

2nd Round

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

Team Name Pos. College
Jaguars Pat Freiermuth TE Penn State
Jets Jayson Oweh DE Penn State
Falcons Zaven Collins LB Tulsa
Dolphins Travis Etienne RB Clemson
Eagles Jaelen Phillips DE Miami
Bengals Phidarian Mathis DT Alabama
Panthers Dylan Moses MLB Alabama
Broncos Christian Barmore DT Alabama
Lions Terrence Marshall Jr. WR LSU
Giants Nick Bolton MLB Missouri
49ers Landon Dickerson C Alabama
Cowboys Trey Sermon RB Ohio State
Jaguars Kadarius Toney WR Florida
Patriots Andre Cisco FS Syracuse
Chargers Tylan Wallace WR Oklahoma State
Raiders Deonte Brown OG Alabama
Cardinals Rondale Moore WR Purdue
Dolphins Josh Myers C Ohio State
Washington Brevin Jordan TE Miami
Bears Chazz Surratt MLB North Carolina
Titans Javonte Williams RB North Carolina
Colts Trey Smith LG Tennessee
Steelers Walker Little LT Stanford
Seahawks Jevon Holland SS Oregon
Rams Tyson Campbell CB Georgia
Ravens Jackson Carman LT Clemson
Browns Paulson Adebo CB Stanford
Saints Shawn Wade CB Ohio State
Bills Tre Brown CB Oklahoma
Packers Marvin Wilson DT Florida State
Chiefs Ronnie Perkins LOLB Oklahoma
Bucs Seth Williams WR Auburn

Finishing ideas

Obviously the foremost takeaway right here is that Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Mac Jones are all accessible at the finish of the first and second rounds. Even if certainly one of 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 out certainly one of them earlier than they fell so far. Their slides had been the main cause for doing the second spherical simulation of the draft, they usually did not even go then.

I did not change the remainder of the draft so the picks had 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 situation, although, plenty of the alternatives in the first spherical appeared believable. There had been a number of gamers who’ve been connected to the groups that they had been drafted to. I believed for the most half the simulation adopted the wants of the groups, exterior of a handful of alternatives.



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