The Madden Simulation: Creating the Path For a Dwayne Haskins Comeback Story

 The Madden Simulation: Creating the Path For a Dwayne Haskins Comeback Story

Madden NFL 21/XBOX Series X/UncleJus10

Dwayne Haskins has been the center a major NFL story line since being drafted by Washington in 2019. The Ohio State standout QB was one of the top prospects in that draft class. No one could have predicted that a year later, he would be looking for a job.

The release made Haskins “the first first-round quarterback over the last 20 years to be outright released before the end of his second NFL season,” writes Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “Haskins showed he wasn’t a better option than Taylor Heinicke, and his play didn’t reflect much change in his prep, and that was that.”

A move that shocked ESPN’S Stephen A. Smith:

The cliffhanger to tomorrow.

The 6’4 Quarterback has since been signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, putting him in prime position to learn from legends like Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger. It’s a view of the window to tomorrow for the young QB’s career. But, it’s not a view of tommorow.

Truth be told, that’s unknown. We used our simulation to help answer what happens next for Haskins. According to that simulation, he could be on the way to becoming league MVP and hosting up the coveted Lombardi trophy.

An obvious unsolved mystery: Off the field.

Off-the-field behavior and character development are things no simulator can predict. So, before we can discuss the statistical nature of his comeback story, we’ve got to admit the obvious unsolved mystery of his character.

Days before his release from Washington, Haskins was fined $40K for two breaches of COVID-19 protocol. A photograph had surfaced depicting Haskins mask-less at his girlfriend’s birthday party. The troubled Washington club had also criticized Haskins for “having a poor work ethic,” per ESPN. Despite impressing head coach Ron Rivera in the off-season, he still felt that Haskins needed to become a better leader.

There’s no way to account for character traits on Madden. Honestly, we just want them to focus on the game play right now. It’s no secret that in order for Haskins to complete the comeback journey, he will have to account for the reported character deficiencies.

That’s something that I believe Tomlin and the Steelers can bring to the young QB. Not to make excuses for him but there are more distractions than fans in Washington. Focus has historically been a concern for many players in the district.

Pilot of the “Flight Club”.

Navigating away from those off the field issues, Haskins has a cannon. I’ve always been more enamored with talent than mental concerns because there are some physical abilities that cannot be taught. Natural talent is something to be praised and Haskins can make a wide range of throws. But, what good is a talented arm without the receiver-corp to open up the field?

During his tenure in D.C, his only reliable receiver was Terry McLaurin. The Football Team finished the 2020 season 24th in passing yards across the league. They were dead last in 2019. Again, not making excuses for Haskins who has even admitted that he has a lot of room to improve. But, I’m also not ignoring the fact that he didn’t have the basic passing weapons in his arsenal while in D.C.

My brother, UncleJus10, was aware of that talent. After selecting the Detroit Lions to use in The Simulation, his next pick was Dwayne Haskins as his Quarterback. He has since pledged himself to building the roster around that talented arm, giving him weapons of all sorts.

Especially, the basics:

  • The possession receiver – Roddy Cole, WR, 6’4 Exp. 1
  • The speedy receiver – K.J Hamler, WR, 6’2 Exp. 8
  • The “Golden” reliable – Bryan Gray, WR, 5’11 Exp. 6
  • The tight end of “Tomorrow” – Shannon Strong, TE, 6’4 Exp. 2

Weapons spread the field out and the proof is always in the stats. In 2019, Haskins threw for 1,365 yards with a Passer Rating of 76%. The following year, he threw for 1,285 yards with a slight increase in the QBR, 77.6%. Those were the (abbreviated) Washington years.

Our simulation took over thereafter, placing Haskins in Detroit and giving him an extra, reliable threat: Bryan Gray. Upon arrival, he already had Kenny Golladay Jr. and Marvin Jones Jr. The QBR climbed to above 100% and has consistently remained above that mark since then.

Let’s have a look:

I feel as though I may be laboring the point. I’m a little excited about all of this. But, the second point is rather clear and I think The Simulation does a great job of projecting it:

Dwayne Haskins has an arm talent that is still worth building around.

Wheels are valuable.

As a Washington Football Team fan, some of my favorite Haskins moments were when he felt confident enough to run downfield. QB mobility widens the field and opens the pocket. It also keeps defenses on their toes, not knowing which threat is going to strike.

I asked my brother about his favorite part of coaching Haskins through The Simulation. He would like me to share this clip with you:

Notice how he spread out the field by using Haskins’ wheels. This Dolphins defense, currently ranked 22nd in The Simulation, couldn’t account for both Haskins’ arm talent and wheels.

In reality, Haskins’ comeback will be heavily infused with his mobility. I think he’s got untapped potential when it comes to tucking the ball and running. It also can buy him some time to develop time with his new receivers in Pittsburgh.

The bold prediction.

Dwayne Haskins will have a comeback story, of some sort. It’s hard for me to fully commit to his reign because of the off-the-field issues that we cannot account for. However, if Pittsburgh can commit to keeping a solid core around his arm talent and help him develop his confidence, he really can make a comeback.

Here’s what The Simulation predicts:

  • 4 Pro-Bowl Appearances
  • 1-time league leader in QBR
  • 2023, 2025 Offensive Player of the Year
  • 2025 Most Valuable Player
  • 2025 Best QB
  • 2025 SB winner

Do you agree with any of these predictions from The Simulation? Share in the comments.

Brians World

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