While we’re on the subject of hope, maybe now’s a good time to share Wright’s unconventional career path, the one that since graduation from St. Cloud State in 2003 has had him working as a self-employed draft guru.
He has never had another job. Never had a boss. Never had a commute.
He has simply set up shop at home and gone about growing his DraftCountdown.com following by studying prospects, profiling their strengths and weaknesses and ultimately forecasting where their careers might head.
Last year, on the draft’s first day, Wright set a new traffic record for his site, drawing, he says, more than 185,000 unique visitors and collecting close to three-quarters of a million total page views.
“Every year I think, ‘Wow, that’s going to be tough to top,’ ” Wright said. “You’d think there’d be a ceiling.
“Somehow I’ve managed to top my numbers every year.”
Yet rather than question America’s draft infatuation, Wright rolls with it, understanding the obsession was the battering ram that opened the door to his dream job.
Wright’s original site, he says, was a primitive one-pager set up through an AOL account in 1997 when he was still just a junior at Hinckley-Finlayson dabbling with a hobby.
Yet the early mock drafts and complementary analysis Wright posted then gradually became more sophisticated and gained credibility while he was in college.
Quickly, his audience expanded. And when it came time to enter the real world, Wright opted against a career as a newspaper sports writer.
“I knew as a beginning reporter I was going to be in a newsroom, working the phones and taking the boxscores from the girls JV volleyball games,” he said.
The road less traveled offered Wright an opportunity to turn his draft-craze into his profession with the loyal following he’d already built instantly paving the way for advertising revenue through ad servers.
Now 10 years into that journey, Wright has never looked back.
He hasn’t struck it rich. But, he says, he makes a comfortable living each year through DraftCountdown.com and has seen no dip in his site’s popularity.
Nasty is nice
Chavous is four years into his post-NFL ventures, continuing to build DraftNasty.com with the expertise gained through 11 seasons playing with the Rams, Vikings and Cardinals.
And yes, Chavous admits, he receives more questions than he’d like about his company’s most powerful branding tool, the eye-catching Draft Nasty RV that he says has now been through 46 states since the company’s launch in 2009.
But Chavous also hopes true draft junkies find deep insight in the sophisticated grading scale he devised with the aid of his uncle Barney, a former NFL defensive end and assistant coach with the Broncos.