The NFL turns lying into an art form during draft season. General managers, coaches and scouts are so good at it that they wouldn't even admit it's lying.
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Lies have been rebranded "misinformation." Obscuring the truth ... that's just strategic. Ignoring specific questions at press conferences is simply good business.
Speaking vaguely in public is one thing, but teams and agents also go out of their way to set up smokescreens through sourced rumors during draft season. They leak potentially helpful information (about players, teams and everything in between), and then see which reporters will go for the information. The value of such strategy is dubious, but what else are teams going to do with all their time? They figure it can't hurt.
Smokescreens can be created through a long campaign of private misinformation or by showing public interest. With that in mind, here are four smokescreens from the 2014 draft season that we aren't buying.
It doesn't pass the sniff test. If the Rams were really interested in making a franchise-altering decision, they would do everything possible to keep it quiet. They would stand by their public affection for Sam Bradford, go about their business, let the Texans take Jadeveon Clowney and grab the Rams' new franchise quarterback at No. 2. That hasn't happened.
Instead, plenty of smart analysts and reporters that have spoken with the Rams have come away with the belief that their interest in Manziel was real. By keeping it all off the record, the Rams preserve plausible deniability when it comes to Bradford. (It's just media speculation! We said we love Bradford the whole time!)
The steady, increasing Manziel-Rams connection theoretically raises the value of the No. 2 pick. Any team that wants Manziel would have to hop ahead of QB-needy Jacksonville and Cleveland to ensure it gets Johnny Football.
I want to live in a world where the Rams take Manziel and then deal Sam Bradford in a blockbuster move. (Let's just throw Brian Schottenheimer in the trade while we're at it.) This is a world where Manziel takes on the Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals defenses six times a year. This is a fun world to live in, full of draft-night fireworks that deliver on all the pre-draft hype. It's just too fun to believe.
- -- Gregg Rosenthal *
Philadelphia Eagles are in the mix for Manziel
There is reportedly a buzz making the rounds in league circles that Philadelphia is interested in Manziel.
"I love the kid," Kelly added, via CSN Philly. "I think he's a hell of a football player."
There's no denying Kelly's interest in Manziel. But does that interest translate into a blockbuster move up the draft board? It doesn't pass the smell test.
-- Chris Wesseling
Cleveland Browns plan to wait before drafting QB
Manziel is exactly the type of player this franchise has been missing since it rematerialized in 1999. I think the Browns know this, and they're doing everything in their power to keep teams from making a play to jump ahead of them in the draft.
- -- Dan Hanzus *
Sorry, not buying it.
Bridgewater might be on the positive side of the "After Dalton" scale, but drafting a first-round quarterback doesn't make sense for a team that could win the division again with the help of the right first-round pick.
The Bengals should draft a quarterback who might eventually take over for Dalton -- but not in the first round. This has the feeling of a message directed at Dalton and his agent, telling them to lower the asking price on a contract extension.
- -- Kevin Patra*