TORONTO - It’s less than two weeks, give or take, to the first pick of the NFL draft.
Who do you believe?
The correct answer at this time of year should be no one.
There is so much misinformation out there, it’s quite possible, or even probable you can’t believe anything you hear.
When the Denver Broncos, who own the No. 2 pick in the draft suddenly start talking about needing a quarterback, is it because they truly believe none of Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn or Tim Tebow are sufficient or is it because just by sending that information out there they might entice a team that really does need a quarterback to trade up from the third, fourth, or even fifth pick to get the rock tosser they want?
The Broncos fall a few spots back in the draft, are compensated for the move by another later pick or a high one next year and likely still wind up getting the defensive tackle or cornerback they covet while the team that paid extra to leapfrog them takes a quarterback the Broncos probably had no intention of drafting anyway.
In all honesty, few people outside of John Elway, John Fox and the higher ups on the Broncos staff have any idea whether they’re going to draft a quarterback or not.
But for anyone to suggest they have a good idea of who is going where, especially in such an unpredictable draft as this one, well, they’re simply talking through their hat.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the draft process right now is deciphering what is truth and what is not.
It’s a cutthroat business. Misrepresenting your intentions might not seem ethical but then when have ethics ever really entered into the realm of professional sports? And if it brings your team an extra pick in a later round, isn’t that just doing what you can to make your team better?
The Broncos though, if they are in fact trying to deceive other franchise as to their intentions, are only practising one type of subterfuge.
There’s plenty more where that came from.
There’s also the team that will purposefully and publicly knock a player they themselves have every intention of taking for the sole purpose of hurting his stock with other teams. That kind of misinformation can work in a few ways for a team actually. It also serves to mask your true intentions so no one from behind you in the draft feels the need to move up to get that player you’ve been bad-mouthing. And by bad mouthing a guy, a team can hurt a guy’s stock for other teams.
Caught in the middle of all of this is Joe Fan who is reading every dispatch from his team’s hometown newspaper, is scouring the internet hourly for every morsel John Clayton, Mel Kiper, Todd McShay or Chris Mortenson will throw their way.
The problem is even those well-intentioned and veteran NFL news gatherers fall victim to the same fabrications and misrepresentations as the rest of us.
Using Blaine Gabbert as an example, the Missouri quarterback, based on media reports has gone from a can’t miss first overall pick at one point this year to a middle-of-the-first-round option with plenty of question marks.
All Gabbert has done in the interim is attend the NFL Combine where the 30 NFL teams collected his measurables, got a look at him throwing a few passes and interviewed him.
Gabbert, like most of the draft eligibles then followed that up with a pro day at his college where the same teams got another look at him in a different, more Gabbert-controlled environment.
Through it all his stock has gone up and down like a yo-yo.
Gabbert is still the same quarterback today, give or take a little advanced pre-draft prep work, that he was when he finished the season at Missouri.
It’s just hard to believe his stock has changed that much since he declared for the draft on Jan. 3.