Success in football is premised on successfully lying. As the draft approaches, the lying often reaches a fever pitch.
There are plenty of reasons for lying in the top 10 this year. If, as expected, quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson become the top two picks, the next guy on the consensus list of top quarterbacks — Mac Jones — will be there for the taking.
So how far will he fall? And will someone trade up to get him?
The Dolphins, at No. 3, could go with a quarterback or trade the pick to the Texans as part of a Deshaun Watson package. Houston then would possibly take Jones.
If not Miami, the Falcons would have to decide whether to use the fourth pick on a quarterback, on some other player, or to trade down.
Then come the Bengals, who have both a starting quarterback and a history of trading down.
These dynamics potentially explain the recent report that the Eagles don’t want competition for quarterback Jalen Hurts. That report could be aimed at throwing other teams off the notion that the Eagles would go quarterback at No. 6.
In contrast, if the Eagles truly don’t want a quarterback at No. 6, they should create the impression that they do, in order to enhance the possibility that someone will spring in front of the Eagles to take a quarterback, pushing farther down the board a player who better fits with Philly’s draft objectives.
Here’s the bottom line — the last thing the Eagles should be saying or leaking is the truth. Instead, they should leak the opposite of it. (Unless, of course, they’re trying to deploy some sort of Jedi mind trick.)
The same thinking applies to the Lions. They’re not running from the possibility that they’d take a quarterback at No. 7. That could be an invitation to another team to cut the line in front of the Lions, take a quarterback, and leave behind someone else whom the Lions would want.
These are basic themes that come up every year as the draft comes around. No team should ever disclose what it plans to do in the draft, unless it holds the first overall pick. Even then, there’s wisdom in keeping cards close to the vest. If the team trades down a spot or two, it can then claim it got the guy it would have taken at No. 1, plus other stuff as a result of the trade.
Discretion is easier said than done. People like to talk. The question is whether the talking being done is the truth. For teams that understand how to play the game, it never should be.