From Good to Great: The Cost of Developing Elite Players in Madden 17

Madden 17 Seahawks

There are three ways to get elite players on your team in Madden 17:

  1. Trade for them
  2. Draft them
  3. Pick the Seahawks

Trading can be hard because you have to give up a bunch of players or picks, plus elite players usually come with high salaries. Drafting can be hard because there are very few elite players in each draft so they go quickly. And picking the Seahawks can be hard because you have to relinquish all self-respect.

So what about a fourth way? What if you develop the players you already have? Is it possible to turn the raw talent on your roster into superstars? How much XP is it going to take to get you there? Are there any positions where this cost is prohibitive? That's what I want to find out. 

A few notes and assumptions here:

  • You are developing a player who is 25 or younger. The general idea behind the findings in this post will be the same if you try to develop old guys, but everything will be much more expensive and you'll be wasting your time. 
  • The numbers I use for XP cost are based on a player with average development and no coach package. These perks both just give you percentage discounts across the board, so again, the principles remain the same. Run Blocking will be just as hard to develop regardless of your development or coach.
  • I'm picking the 5 most important traits for each position based on my own experience playing the game (with some input from the guys over at Madden Bros). I can be pretty bad at the game so the traits I think are important may not be the same as you. If you think I picked a stupid trait, feel free to personally insult me in the comment section below.
  • Physical traits like speed and strength are generally prohibitively expensive to upgrade, so I won't include them in the top 5 traits for any position (except where I do). I will just assume if you want fast players or strong players, you will draft them (or edit the player because it doesn't show up in the transaction log and you have no morals). 

Let's count them down from easiest to develop to hardest.

11. Kickers / Punters

Top Traits: Kick Power, Kick Accuracy, Awareness

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
57,970 11,256 16,840 86,066
KPW KAC AWR TOTAL

Kickers are the easiest to upgrade pretty much just just because you only have two traits to worry about: Kick Power and Kick Accuracy. I threw Awareness in there too because EA insists it's important and we all know toughness and stamina are irrelevant for kickers and punters. It should be noted that Kick Power is in the 2nd most expensive tier for traits, just under the big physical stuff (Speed, Strength, Acceleration, and Agility). Find a Kicker with high kick power, and the rest should be pretty easy.

10. Free Safety / Strong Safety

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
26,575 16,840 11,256 16,840 24,972 96,483
ZCV PRC PUR AWR TKL TOTAL

Of all of the real positions, safety edges out wide receiver as the easiest to develop. Zone Coverage and Tackle are the hardest traits here to boost, so if you are looking for a new safety, find a guy high in one of these and it will make your life a little easier.

9. Wide Receiver

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
24,972 11,256 24,972 24,972 11,256 97,428
CTH RTE CIT SPC RLS TOTAL

The three catching traits are what keep WR from being the easiest to develop since Release and Route Running are so darn cheap. It's confusing though since so far [Warning: Subjective Opinion incoming] these both feel incredibly important for receivers. The only thing cheaper in the whole game than RTE and RLS is Injury. After a few seasons, every receiver on your team should be running routes like a paper boy in his prime. 

8.  Defensive Tackle / End / 3-4 OLB

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
24,972 24,972 24,972 11,256 16,840 103,012
PMV FMV BSH PUR PRC TOTAL

Last Madden, block shedding was one of the easiest traits to develop. Now it costs exactly as much as Power Moves and Finesse Moves, all in the middle class of traits. Note: I had tackle as more important for defensive tackles over finesse moves, but they both cost the same and I didn't want to make another little chart.

7.  Middle Linebacker / 4-3 OLB

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
26,575 24,972 24,972 16,840 11,256 104,615
ZCV TKL BSH PRC PUR TOTAL

Most players use the middle linebacker as their primary controlled defender (their "user" if you will), so you can skip zone coverage and pursuit and a handful of other traits and just find some big, tall, fast guy and run him all over the middle of the field. Otherwise, you'll need to upgrade more of these mid tier traits. 

6. Cornerback

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
26,525 26,575 24,972 16,840 11,256 106,168
MCV ZCV PRS PRC PUR TOTAL

Just like DBs have been getting harder to develop as each Madden passes, these little blurbs are getting harder to write as a lot of the traits are similarly priced. You may not be able to up Man or Zone a ton over the course of a career, but you should be able to boost play rec and pursuit and even awareness for good measure.

Developing Carson Wentz

5. Quarterback

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
11,256 16,900 25,355 45,040 24,972 123,523
PAC SAC MAC DAC TOR TOTAL

Throw Power is pretty much locked since it's one of the most expensive traits to upgrade, and Deep Accuracy isn't that far behind it. Luckily, even though they say they've toned it down, rookie QBs are still coming into EA drafts with accuracy numbers way higher than any rookies should have. If you cried when you saw how expensive Deep Accuracy is, you are probably a Miami Dolphins fan since there are almost 50 quarterbacks with higher DAC than Ryan Tannehill.

4. Tight End

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
44,232 24,972 11,256 24,972 24,972 130,404
RBK CTH RTE CIT IBL TOTAL

Tight Ends are up high because you generally want these guys to be good at blocking (unless you are Jimmy Graham), and blocking traits are the most expensive non-physical traits in the game. If you don't care about blocking for your Tight Ends, then bump this position down the list toward wide receiver (and hang your head in shame for being soft).

3. Fullback

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
44,232 11,256 57,970 24,972 24,972 163,402
RBK CAR TRK CTH IBL TOTAL

Why are you trying to develop a fullback? What the hell is wrong with you?

2. Running Back

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
57,970 57,970 24,972 11,256 24,972 177,140
TRK ELU SFA CAR JKM TOTAL

Running backs are the hardest skill position to develop. Want a power back who can truck everyone? That's gonna cost ya. Want a shift back who can elude everyone? That's just as expensive as trucking! You can upgrade your carrying for cheap, but based on the results I've seen in CFM, carrying doesn't seem to matter all that much. The silver lining here is that by the time you upgrade any of these traits significantly, you will lose it all to age regression. Where is my drink?

1. Offensive Line

Cost to Upgrade from 80-95
44,232 44,232 24,972 16,840 78,470 208,746
PBK RBK IBL AWR STR TOTAL

Offensive Line is such a strange thing in Madden 17. It actually costs more to upgrade a player from 70-80 pass or run blocking than it does to upgrade the same player from 70-80 in anything else...speed, strength, jumping. Anything. I defy anyone to provide a reason why this makes any sense. There is obviously something wrong with the way EA set up the cost for o-linemen traits. Combine the fact that traits are so expensive with the lack of awards XP available to offensive line, and you need to jack your XP sliders up to 300 just to give yourself a chance at developing your big boys.

I've written two things about offensive linemen (Part 1 and Part 2), and while I recommend you save yourself some XP by skipping the run blocking (disclaimer: I have been called an idiot for this belief), you are for sure going to have a hard time passing with a crappy line. 

So there you have it. Development is harder this year than it ever has been in the past. Don't expect to have a team full of 99 OVRs (unless you mess with your sliders and cheese your players). Which positions do you like to develop? What do you look for when developing your players?

Dan Chancellor

Orlando, Florida

I created Deep Dive Gaming as an excuse to post more charts about the games I love to play. I live in Florida with my wife, son, and a random assortment of cats.