One of the most common questions we get asked every year is, “What is the most important attribute to upgrade for each position?” We are going to attempt to go through this position by position so that you know what players to draft, trade for, and what attributes to upgrade once you have them.
The most important quarterback attributes that you will want to draft in franchise mode is speed and throw power. If you don’t care about speed, then just focus on throw power. It is much better to draft a QB with A+ throw power and B- throw accuracy ratings than to draft a QB with A- throw power and B+ accuracy ratings.
The amount of XP it will take to upgrade a QB’s throw power from something like 91 to 98 is well over 100,000 (15,000 to 40,000 per upgrade). Upgrading throw accuracy ratings for young QBs is anywhere from (1,000 to 4,000 per upgrade).
Once you’ve drafted a QB, you’ll want to focus exclusively on short, mid, and deep accuracy. Don’t worry about anything else. Things like awareness don’t matter at all unless your goal is to increase your QBs overall rating.
The order in which you increase those ratings is up to you depending on if you prefer to throw short, medium, or deep.
When drafting a running back, the attribute that matters most is speed. Everything else should come as an afterthought. If given the chance to draft a running back with 96+ speed and C ratings or a running back with 90 speed and B+ ratings, you should always take the 96+ speed guy. He may not be as good in the first year, but his potential is so much higher if you are able to develop him.
After you have drafted a running back, focus on increasing his carrying so you don’t fumble. If you have a speed running back you will want to upgrade attributes like juke or spin. If you have a power running back, focus on increasing trucking.
Just like with every other skill position, speed is the most important thing to draft in a wide receiver. Everything else can be easily upgraded.
You’ll want to purchase the “Feet in Bounds” upgrade and then focus on upgrading the catch in traffic rating. Once you get that into the 90s, focus on the catch rating, and then spectacular catch. Route running is a good upgrade after you have increased all of the catch ratings. Don’t pay attention to ratings like awareness or release for receivers.
If you are a guy who likes to run the ball a lot, try to draft offensive lineman with high strength ratings. So look for guys with 35+ reps at the combine. In the passing game, the strength rating is irrelevant so don’t worry about it.
Past that, just draft guys that look good and fit what you like to do. If you like to pass the ball, try to draft guys with good pass block ratings.
After you have drafted offensive line, you’ll want to focus on upping their awareness rating to a reasonable level (somewhere between 70 and 80). This is a very rare situation where we recommend increasing awareness first. Once you get to that, you can focus on increasing things like pass block, run block, and impact block.
Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
The most important thing to draft in a pass rusher is speed/strength combo. So look at 40 yard dash time and bench reps.
Having a good finesse move or power move rating will also help. B+ or above hit power is always great too because that can lead to a lot more forced fumbles.
After you’ve drafted a pass rusher, focus exclusively on upping either finesse move or power move. Only one of them matters so only increase the one that is the highest already. For example if you have a player with 81 finesse and 72 power move, you should focus on increasing the finesse move rating exclusively.
Finesse and power moves determine how effective your guys are against the pass. Block shedding determines how effective you are against the run.
The recommendation here is to focus on one of the two pass rushing moves and block shedding.
You will want to draft defensive tackles with good strength and block shed. That will help you slow down the run.
After the draft, you will want to focus on increasing block shed and finesse/power moves. If your player has really low awareness or play recognition (below 70) you may want to increase those to above 70.
You will want to focus on speed at MLB in the draft. Having a middle linebacker that can cover a lot of ground is crucial so look to the 40 yard dash times at the combine. Also look for attributes like tackle, hit power, and zone coverage.
After the draft, you will want to increase block shedding and zone coverage as well as getting awareness up to a basic level (70+).
You may also want to purchase the “Big Hitter” and “Strip Ball” packages. These will help you force more turnovers.
Cornerbacks and Safeties
Like pretty much every other position, focus on speed at cornerback and safety. At safety, hit power can also be important.
Once you have a safety or cornerback on your team, you will want to first get their awareness and play recognition to a minimum of 70. Then focus exclusively on getting their zone coverage upgraded. You will want to try to get to 91 or above zone coverage.
You may also want to purchase the “Play ball aggressively” package so your cornerbacks and safeties jump routes slightly faster.