We’re more than halfway through the 2018 season already – I’m constantly amazed at how fast the NFL season passes. It’s been a season full of surprises, and I just came across a blog article I started back in September and thought it would be interesting to finish it now with the benefit of a little hindsight.
I’ve been an NFL Draft nut for more than 30 years. I’m not afraid to admit it, because I know I’m among friends here! My love of the NFL Draft is actually where PowerHouse came from. I was never really all that interested in how well I could predict who the real-life NFL teams would draft; I was more interested in seeing how I could do as a talent evaluator myself; what kind of team could I build if I was an NFL General Manager?
I started keeping a virtual team in Excel in 1995, and the rules that would eventuallybe baked into our web-based NFL General Manager simulation evolved from that over several years. When we first went live in testing mode, we used data from 2011. So, my flagship virtual team – the one you see if you go to the game pages on our site when you’re not logged in – has played eight virtual seasons already.
The NFL’s brief off-season is over (the way we see it, football never really stops; it just slows down in May and June)! We’ve had a great year so far here at PowerHouseGM.com, and it’s only getting better with the action starting on the field.
Long-time PowerHouse members should notice that, over the past year or so, our site’s performance and reliability has improved by leaps and bounds. That’s due to several changes we made here behind the scenes.
First, we brought in a new developer, Marianne, in July of 2017. She’s been a godsend, to put it mildly. One of our biggest problems historically was that our prior developer, talented as he is, had increasingly found it difficult to devote the time that our project needed to really keep things running smoothly.
That’s no longer the case. Now, when a technical issue comes up, it not only gets fixed more quickly, but we also take the time to hunt down the root cause and take steps to prevent it from recurring in the future.
We’ve also made a number of improvements to the site that I think make a big difference. Most notable is the new Draft Prospects page, which rolled out last spring. We left the old page up, too, if for some reason you prefer that one.
You can now also look at your team’s historical seasons with a year drop-down selector on the Standings page. This is the kind of high-impact, but relatively simple to build, enhancement that we’re trying to do more of. If you have any ideas that you’d like to see us implement, please let us know in the Forum, via the Feedback tab on the game pages, or post a reply to this article.
Another big improvement this year relates to player contracts. We have always gotten our contracts
This morning at breakfast, my younger son, who’s eleven, asked me, “Dad, would you rather not watch the Super Bowl, or not watch the NFL Draft?” He was absolutely not kidding, and it speaks volumes that I had to think about it before deciding I co
uld deal with listening to some live Draft podcast if I had to. Any other answer would be putting the cart before the horse, wouldn’t it?
The Draft is very different than when I first started following it closely as a collegian at Lehigh in the mid-1980s. The event has taken on a life of its own, spawning an entire cottage industry, and nobody says “Draftniks” anymore (because there are so many of us now that we’re no longer a fringe element?)
While I’m still looking forward to springtime here in White Plains, NY, the first annual event that fills me with a sense of renewal is Senior Bowl week. It starts with the East-West Shrine Game, followed by the NFL’s Conference Championship games, then the week of Senior Bowl practices, then the game. Oh, and there’s the Super Bowl after that before we shift entirely to free agency and the Draft.
The grind of the college football season can change the dynamics of NFL Draft boards. As early-season favorites fail to impress, a new crop of draft-eligible candidates can emerge.
We identify five running backs definitely worth watching:
1. SAQUON BARKLEY, Penn State
With big-league quickness and sports-car-like acceleration, Barkley boasts a complete set of tools including the ability to evade tacklers. In today’s multi-unit, heavy-passing game plan, Barkley can serve as an all-down back thanks to a fine balance of rushing and receiving yards. Adding a player with Barkley’s ability can really provide a wide range of options for quarterbacks at the line of scrimmage.
Amateur Scouting & Draft Season
If you’re our kind of person, this is your favorite time of the year. Baseball is on the horizon, and the NCAA tournament is in full swing, but the real March madness for us is scouting for the NFL Draft.
Like most of you, scouting is a hobby for me. I have no professional scouting experience, but I have been to one degree or another forming my own opinions about NFL Draft prospects since around 1985, when I was in college.
I’m an old-school “draftnik” (does anyone really use that word anymore?) and I was at the Marriott Marquis in person when Vinny Testaverde was drafted first overall in 1987 and the idea of actually attending an event that consisted of guys handing cards to another guy who would read the name on the card aloud seemed off-the-charts nerdy instead of mainstream nerdy.
In this article, I describe my process for scouting, which has evolved considerably over the years, in hopes that you can borrow from it to improve your own process and thus your enjoyment of draft season, or that you can share something from your own process that helps me improve mine. Spread the love.
It’s critical to keep in mind that what should matter most to you is YOUR opinion. You decide how to scout, what traits you like, how you value different positions, and what you think of individual prospects. That’s our entire raison d’être… we built a website that’s a virtual NFL General Manager simulation because we want YOU to be able to see how you would do if you could run a team YOUR way.
Amateur scouting may be a hobby for me – or at least tangentially, as I do run an NFL virtual GM website, a marginally-professional activity – but I take it very seriously and take immense internal pride in my work.
As the NFL’s 2017 League Year opens, we here at PowerHouse and our Members and broader community are whipped into a frenzy. We’re in the midst of preparing for the NFL Draft, now just seven weeks away, but we’re taking a break from that work to focus on the veterans whose contracts are expiring and who will be on the market for anyone to sign.
The First 2017 General Manager Firing in the NFL
Black Monday has come and gone in the National Football League, and, as usual, there are a number of coaches and general managers who find themselves on the unemployment line. The first Monday after the end of the regular season is the day where struggling franchises try to right the ship by getting rid of the top decision-makers in the organization. What is interesting this season is there is only one General Manager who has lost his job right out of the gate.
That dubious distinction belongs to San Francisco 49ers’ ex-general manager Trent Baalke. Just a few short seasons removed from the team’s heartbreaking defeat in the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens, the 49ers decided to let go of a GM who seemed to be steering the ship in the wrong direction. After running highly successful, albeit erratic, head coach Jim Harbaugh out of the organization, many thought that the Niners had placed their full confidence behind Baalke.
With both the NFL and college football seasons in full swing, it’s not only time to enjoy both, but also time to crank up the scouting effort for the 2017 NFL Draft. We normally shoot for November 1st to get the draft prospects in place, but we beat that by a few weeks this year – the initial list of 1,000 prospects is now live on the Prospects page, under the Draft Room tab.
Thanks to our friends at CBSSports.com, once again our source for our draft prospects list. Rob Rang and his team are always among the first to not only produce a deep, comprehensive list, but also to write meaningful scouting content for our rabid draft fans.