Scouting the NFL Draft for Dummies

[fa icon="calendar'] March 31, 2017 / by Chris Barry posted in NFL Draft, NFL Draft Prospects, Football Scouting

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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.

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NFL's New League Year Begins

[fa icon="calendar'] March 09, 2017 / by Chris Barry posted in NFL Transactions, NFL Calendar, NFL Player Contracts

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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.

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Baalke Only GM to Fall on Blaacke Monday

[fa icon="calendar'] January 30, 2017 / by Adam Hayes posted in NFL General Managers

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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.

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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.

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2017 NFL Draft Prospects Live

[fa icon="calendar'] October 11, 2016 / by Chris Barry posted in NFL Draft Prospects, Site News

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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.

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2016 NFL Draft 20/20 Hindsight

[fa icon="calendar'] September 09, 2016 / by Chris Barry posted in NFL Draft, iGM Game

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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

[fa icon="calendar'] September 07, 2016 / by Chris Barry posted in NFL Salary Cap, NFL Transactions

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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

[fa icon="calendar'] August 16, 2016 / by Chris Barry posted in NFL Salary Cap, NFL Player Contracts

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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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Five 2017 NFL Draft Picks to Watch

[fa icon="calendar'] August 05, 2016 / by Rich Libero posted in NFL Draft Prospects

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The 2016 NCAA season is nearly upon us, and fans of the NFL Draft – as well as PowerhouseGM.com virtual General Managers – begin a new season of scouting the next generation of pro football superstars.

Here are five NCAA players who will draw attention at the top of the 2017 NFL Draft:

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Deep Running Back Pool in 2017 NFL Draft

[fa icon="calendar'] July 21, 2016 / by Rich Libero posted in NFL Draft, NFL Draft Prospects

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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

[fa icon="calendar'] March 19, 2016 / by Chris Barry posted in Site News

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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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PowerHouse Site Update 6/21/17

Site update (6/21/17): We have resolved the technical issue that was stalling the Live Draft in R4/R5. You should be able to complete your Live Draft and proceed in the timeline normally at this time.

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