2016 NFL Draft 20/20 Hindsight

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When you sign up to run a virtual NFL team here on PowerHouseGM.com, you start in the timeline at one week after the most recent Super Bowl. We do this in order to give newcomers lots to do right away and an immediate opportunity to put a thumbprint on their teams. After all, if you start in July, you’ve already missed the NFL Draft and free agency, and the waiver wire options are pretty lean.

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NFL Player Contracts Updated, Part 2

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Since I posted Part 1 of this 2-part series, I’ve done a bunch more updates to our contracts. Hearty thanks to Jason Fitzgerald of OvertheCap.com, who was very responsive when I reached out with a bunch of questions and suggested edits. Jason’s site is a great resource for us, and belongs in all of our browser bookmarks.

Going through the process of updating the contracts in our system is always an interesting exercise, and there is much to be learned from the moves that teams make and how contracts are structured. Here are some things that stood out this time around, in no particular order…

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NFL Player Contracts Updated, Part 1

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I spent a ton of time over the past week meticulously going through all of the player contracts on our site and updating those that needed updating. As our General Managers running virtual NFL teams on our site know, their players’ contracts match (exactly, or nearly exactly) the real-life contracts of their players.

Going through this process can be tedious, but it’s also very educational, and it provides some great insights into how NFL General Managers manage the salary cap and their rosters overall.

First, a few words about our source, OverTheCap.com. Jason Fitzgerald, who runs OTC, is a kindred spirit – a fellow NFL geek (and I mean that lovingly,) who devotes countless hours to the tiniest contract details and gives us all a reliable resource for this esoteric data. So, thanks Jason!

Examining contracts on OTC is a great way to see the NFL’s salary cap rules in full effect. Most of our audience has a pretty good understanding of the basics of how the cap works. If you were not aware that signing bonuses are pro-rated over the years of the contract, for example, you may have some catching up to do, but don’t worry, you’ll get there.

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Deep Running Back Pool in 2017 NFL Draft

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The 2016 NCAA season will re-focus on running backs as not only potential Heisman Trophy candidates, but top candidates to be selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Next year’s NFL Draft could see a number of running backs earn first-round grades. Experts say the running back position no longer presents high first-round value due to the trend of spread offenses and greater emphasis on passing.

What must a modern running back do to achieve a first-round grade?

  1. Pass protect. In order to become an every-down-back, runners today must be able to protect the quarterback first and foremost. Any ‘back who can’t pick up a blitz will find himself second or third on the depth chart.
  2. Immediate acceleration fits in with draws and screens. Today’s passing schemes require backs to gain speed from positions where they have to wait for the ball.
  3. Yards After Contact is a key metric measured by “Moneyball” analysts. The ability to break tackles remains a key attribute running backs in any era.
  4. Pass catching due to screens, check-downs and flat passes.

Which running backs will garner the most attention this season?

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NFL “Business Season” Updates

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There is a rhytm to the NFL year, and there’s likewise a rhythm to our year here at PowerHouse. In the fall, our attention is on the on-field competition on Sundays, but even before the Super Bowl, the college all-star games begin to usher in the next phase of the year. NFL General Managers and their virtual counterparts here on our site shift the focus to preparing for free agency and the NFL Draft.

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2016 NFL Draft Prospects Updated

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With the 2016 all-star games and scouting Combine now behind us, it’s full steam ahead through pro days to the 2016 NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday, April 28th. The NFL is unique among all major sports in that you could make a credible argument that the “business season” (don’t call it the off-season around these here parts, buster) is every bit as dramatic as the regular season.

And that’s just fine with us, as in our little corner of the world, this is our favorite time of the year.

We have had our 2016 NFL Draft Prospects up on our site since November. We typically start with about 1,000 draft-eligible prospects, then delete a few (more on that in a moment) and add a bunch. No matter how hard we try to get everyone, it happens every year in the sixth or seventh round, when we are beyond bleary-eyed: someone (I’m talking to you, Belichick) drafts a prospect that’s not on our list, and we have to scramble to add him. Other additions come from our Members, so if there’s a prospect you think we’re missing, let us know.

Over the weekend, we made a major revision to this list that included 149 additions of prospects that got on the radar since November. We also removed a few dozen prospects who were generally expected to be in this draft class, but for whatever reason are not. Some of the more notable deletions are:

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NFL Draft Prospect Grading Systems

[Note: This article is the first in a long series of new permanent content being posted to the PowerHouse Library. Yes, long-suffering PowerHouse friends, the “under construction” image has been removed, and we are at last building out this content…]

A Standard for Communications

It’s one thing to have an opinion of a draft prospect, but it’s quite another to articulate that opinion to a group of your colleagues in a way that can be useful in the decision-making process, and can be understood even if you’re not standing there waving your arms and gushing about him or crinkling your nose in disgust.

Real NFL scouts use descriptive language and common verbiage to clearly and efficiently explain traits that prospects have or lack, and they have plenty of opportunity to explain in words anything unique about the person behind the facemask.

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Complete 2016 NFL Draft Order

On the Clock in Chicago in 2016 for the NFL DraftCongratulations to the Broncos for their victory in Super Bowl 50, to Peyton Manning for winning his second championship, and to Von Miller for his superb play throughout the playoffs and his Super Bowl MVP award. Miller is one of the most dynamic young defenders in the game, and was one of the nicest young men I have met in person in my years going to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. Both the Broncos and the Panthers offer great lessons for our virtual NFL General Managers playing our iGMTM game, but that’s a topic for another time.

The NFL is truly the game that never stops, and this time of year is about turning the page and looking forward to the Scouting Combine, free agency, pro days, and the NFL Draft, where the teams that will vie for championships in the near future will add key pieces that will help make them contenders. NFL scouts have been hard at work since last summer, but this is the time of year that the rest of us shift our attention to our own scouting. For us, this time of year is as much as or even more fun than the actual competition of the NFL’s season.

With the Super Bowl in the books, much of the NFL Draft order has been determined. This year, there are no coin flips to break ties. However, the final draft order will not be known until the March owners’ meetings, where the 32 Compensatory draft choices for net free agents added and lost will be awarded to teams at the end of rounds three through seven.

We do now know most of the draft order, though, and we have uploaded it to our site for our virtual GMs to use in mock drafts by this weekend (and then updated for the Compensatory picks when those are announced.) The draft order is determined by a relatively simple process, as NFL processes go. Many in our audience will already be familiar with it, but in a nutshell:

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PowerHouse Turns 20… Sort of…

I use Outlook calendar, and sometimes I get reminders that I totally forgot about (I know, that’s what reminders are for.) But this was a good one: February 2nd is one of PowerHouse’s milestone anniversaries. It was on that date in 1996 when I first had the idea that would eventually become our NFL General Manager simulation. Twenty years ago yesterday.

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