Have you ever put a tea kettle on the stove to boil some water? I’m sure most of you have, so you understand how water rumbles under the flame as the kettle begins to heat up. It usually starts out slow and steady, but as the temperature rises to 212 degrees it seems like the pot might just jump off the stove and land on the floor. Suddenly all that built up energy lets loose and results in a high pitched whistle.
Part of the process
So goes the NFL Draft. For the better part of the past three months, and really even the entire college season prior, the tea pot of evaluation has been on a slow boil. After the NFL Combine the rumbling has gotten louder and louder, and all that built up steam is about to burst. Fans and the media can’t help themselves in trying to pick up any little tid bit of information that might lead them to guessing which direction a team might go with their first pick, perhaps their second, or in what direction their overall philosophy might take them.
A lot of speculation is made regarding whom from an organization showed up at a particular Pro Day. If an assistant coach is sent to work out a prospect then, “Surely that club has to be interested in drafting him.” Another club’s GM didn’t show up and therefore “They probably don’t have any inclination to take a player off this school’s list.” Three or four members of a team’s staff were at his workout and “They must be targeting him with their pick.”
Not much left to do
Believe it or not, this is a time of the season where there’s a lot to do as an NFL staff and not very much getting done either. Most of the pre-Draft meetings have long been finished and many of the club decision makers have a VERY good idea of where they’re going and what they’d like to get accomplished. They’ve poured over hours of game footage, compared and contrasted this player to that, anxiously awaited the results of Drug Testing, and taken every opportunity to meet with and or personally view a player display his skills.
Just yesterday in Denver a local columnist bloviated on how important this 2014 NFL Draft was going to be to John Elway and his staff, that the future of the Broncos hinged on finding immediate playmakers. So of course if Elway, or Ozzie Newsome, or Ted Thompson, or Dave Gettleman, or any one of the other NFL General Managers invites a player to their complex for an official pre-Draft visit, that has to be the penultimate indicator that the Broncos, Ravens, Packers or Panthers are going after that player. Why spend the money, take the time, and put forth the effort to talk to a prospect that you wouldn’t want to or have any inkling of selecting? What if a team invited no one or used their entire allotment of 30? Who then are they taking?
Nothing to gain
Let me reiterate this once again. Certainly the above scenarios are ALL part of the overall process for NFL teams; coaches attend workouts, GM’s might miss others, some staffs send multiple representatives, and players are invited to complexes. None of it means anything and all of it might mean something. But the VERY LAST thing that’s going to happen is a club representative; whether it be a GM, Head Coach, Personnel Director, Scout, PR person, or receptionist at the front desk, willingly tell a member of the media what they’re thinking. That includes the Houston Texans, who if they’re playing the game correctly, will wait the full allotment of time in hopes of landing a bonanza of a deal from some team willing to trade their entire draft for the first pick (well maybe, not since Ditka is out of the personnel business). But you get my point.
Everything to lose
Someone on Twitter recently called this the “lying season” and with good reason. Those that are saying they know what clubs are thinking and the direction they’ll take come May 8th are lying. They can guestimate and speculate all they want, but they won’t hear it from those in the know. Maybe from a “media insider” or “leveraging agent” but last I checked they don’t turn in the card. Seriously, too much is on the line and too much has been put into the process to leak or reveal any true intentions with just a few weeks prior to “The Texans are on the clock.” Ask yourself WHY any club would do that?
There’s really not much left to do but sit and watch the pot boil, perhaps let off a little steam, or go and watch “Draft Day”.
Smoke and mirrors, people…smoke and mirrors.