Draft season is lying season. And those lies inevitably start showing up in the media during the week before the draft whether it's through unnamed sources or news conference misdirection. Here are five smokescreens we aren't buying as Thursday's draft approaches:
Christian Hackenberg could be a first-round pick
The two names that have been elevated in recent days: Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg. We could see Cook sliding into the back of the first round, but Hackenberg is much harder to buy. We've seen reports that the Bills will consider Hackenberg at No. 19 despite the rough tape he's put up over the last two seasons and legitimate concerns about Hackenberg's leadership ability. NFL analyst Jon Gruden similarly said he'd take Hackenberg in the first round. Just "looking the part" shouldn't be enough to get taken in the first round, although it was for another Bills first-round quarterback: J.P. Losman. --Gregg Rosenthal
Saints with first-round designs on Drew Brees successor
On Tuesday, Drew Brees told The Rich Eisen Show he doubted the New Orleans Saintsconsidered making a move for the No. 1 pick, dismissing an NFL Media report that New Orleans had internal discussions about a mega-trade with the Tennessee Titans. Now we're hearing the Saints could have interest in moving up from No. 12 to grab Paxton Lynch, the tools-rich Memphis passer widely believed to be the best quarterback in this class after Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
There's logic to all this, of course. Brees is coming off another productive season, but he's now 37 years old. Garrett Grayson, a quarterback selected in the third round a year ago, hasn't generated positive buzz. Selecting a QB of the future makes sense, but the Saints are also trying to win in Brees' twilight, which means the team is better served addressing other areas of need. If anything, we could see New Orleans using this QB smokescreen as a way to acquire more picks in a trade-out scenario. -- Dan Hanzus
Dolphins 'comfortable' with backfield? Try again
The depth chart -- Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, Jahwan Edwards, Daniel Thomas and Isaiah Pead -- is missing a lead dog, something the 'Fins must agree with after swinging and missing on both C.J. Anderson and Chris Johnson in free agency. Ajayi showed sparks as a rookie, but will new coach Adam Gase trust the second-year runner to carry the load? Don't bank on it. Armed with the No. 13 pick, Miami remains a candidate to trade up -- maybe with the Browns at No. 8 -- for Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott.
Ezekiel Elliott to Dallas
Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones believes Ezekiel Elliott is worthy of a top-10 pick. Dallas has been connected to the Ohio State running back throughout mock-draft season. I'm not buying it. The Cowboys added veteran Alfred Morris to the backfield after watching Darren McFadden post more 100-yard rushing games than any NFL back except Adrian Peterson in 2015.
A massive drop for Laremy Tunsil?
In recent days, reports have surfaced about Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley rising on teams' draft boards. Some analysts have preferred him to Laremy Tunsil, considered by many as the No. 1 overall prospect in this year's draft. Tunsil is still No. 1 on NFL Media senior columnist Gil Brandt's Hot 100 rankings and is the top tackle on NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock's latest positional breakdown. We aren't challenging those takes, but we are challenging the notion that a player's stock could rise or fall this rapidly just before the draft at a position like left tackle. Does it happen? Sure. But if a team like the Chargers preferred Stanley to Tunsil, wouldn't that have been the case all along? Left tackle isn't like quarterback, there aren't as many variables to measure.
Some of this is just now coming to light thanks to the Eagles and Rams shaking up the draft. The Chargers probably did not expect to be in the position to draft the top tackle available back in February during the scouting combine. Now they can, and they now prefer Stanley. This won't mean a huge drop for Tunsil if at all -- players who are this consistently rated the No. 1 prospect in the draft rarely bomb out of the top 10 without the help of some off-field incident. -- Conor Orr