NFL Draft  

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When it comes to Georgia's Green, Carolina just blowing smoke

  • By Vic Carucci NFL.com
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You know the NFL draft is fast approaching. The smoke is getting thicker.

Example: Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is scheduled to meet with the Carolina Panthers Friday.

That has prompted some speculation that the Panthers might have plans to select him, and not Auburn quarterback Cam Newton (or any QB for that matter) with the top overall pick.

How likely is that scenario? On a scale of one to 10, I'll give it a minus-five.

This is Pinocchio time in the NFL. General managers and scouts are telling enough lies that their noses should be rivaling the redwood forest.

They're all in the business of creating smokescreens, constantly feeding the media -- and, by extension, each other -- all sorts of misinformation mostly designed to gain any edge possible when it comes to making choices. Does it actually fool anyone? No. But that doesn't stop them from trying.

In some cases, they're hoping to say something that might cause a player to drop to a particular spot. In other cases, they're hoping to encourage another team to make a trade to move up to where they're picking so that they can acquire an additional pick or picks while getting a targeted player at a lower spot.

There is some suspicion around the league that that is what the Panthers have in mind by visiting with Green. They might be taking a closer look at him with the intention of possibly taking him a few spots lower if they can make a deal with a team that's willing to move a few spots higher to be certain of perhaps drafting Newton.

Green is an extremely talented player, someone with game-changing skills. But he is a wide receiver, and the basic rule of player-personnel evaluation is that you don't take one with the first pick of the draft. The last time that happened was in 1996, when the New York Jets selected Keyshawn Johnson there. Johnson wore out his welcome with the Jets, and his career was solid but hardly strong enough to encourage the Jets or any other team to go that route again.

Once the smoke clears, don't expect the Panthers to, either.

Follow Vic Carucci on Twitter @viccarucci

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