Tonight is our draft, and it is coming none too soon. Usually after a single day of contact we have a pretty good idea of our desired picks, and through a number of overt and less overt conversations and hints I think the coaches from the three teams have a decent idea of how the teams will shape up. I'm ready to move on to a smaller group and start focusing on installing the defense, getting the offense running, teamwork drills, etc.
We are doing a light practice tonight because of the extreme heat here in the Portland area (approaching 100) - no pads until the last half hour of practice, and water breaks every 20 minutes. We've had a few injuries this week and I want to make sure we take care of the kids, especially given that there will be little evaluation happening tonight.
The coaches will leave the field about 10 minutes before the end of practice to join up with one of the league commissioners and the coach of coaches to conduct our draft. Yesterday we had the 8th graders that did not make the varsity team (about 16 of them) practice with our group of 7th graders, and we will draft them after finishing the 7th graders. As I mentioned in my previous post, we've already drafted 6 impact players per team. The draft will be serpentine-style, with the coach having the first pick taking their second pick 6th overall. We will reverse this order with the 8th graders. We are picking 2nd in both drafts which gives us some nice options while never waiting too long between picks.
Our draft strategy is different this year than in past years. We usually go after athletes and good kids, not worrying about position-specific choices beyond our core impact players (running backs and guards). The older the kids get, the more we like to rely on experience in a position and the more important size becomes at positions like tackle and tight end. We are also placing a stronger emphasis on blocking ability of our halfbacks (who will usually line up in the wingback slot and provide key blocks on off tackle and sweep plays). We have a good idea on our first 5-6 picks to fill some position voids, then we will likely rely on a "best available athlete" approach to fill out the rest of the team.