This is how your NFL draft sausage is made, and it's not pretty: with lies and misdirection and identity fraud and a whole lot of desperation.
Take the Jacksonville Jaguars, sitting on the No. 7 pick in a draft without a clear seventh-best player. Beyond Luck and Griffin, the first round looks like something of a crap shoot, and the Jags know they're not a single pick away from contending. Fully committed to The Blaine Gabbert Experience, they've been eagerly trying to trade down by touting the best available QB: Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. He's the only "sexy" option left on the board, and Jacksonville is telling anyone who will listen that he's not going to be there after No.8.
"People know Miami's going to take (Tannehill)," said Jacksonville Jaguars director of player personnel Terry McDonough. "If a team wants a quarterback, they're going to have to come in front of Miami."
That's desperation. Just coming out and saying that the guys behind us are taking him, so if you want a quarterback this year (hint hint, Kansas City or Seattle), you're going to have to trade picks with us. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, GM's aren't stupid. They see this for what it is — not a statement of fact, but a plea to get a deal done with just hours left to deal.
Much more effective would have been anonymous sources, purporting to come from inside the Dolphins camp, claiming the Fins have their eye on Tannehill. Oh wait: the Jaguars did that too! On Sunday Mike Florio reported that "a league source" says Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is pushing hard for Tannehill. On Monday Peter King was told that new Miami OC Mike Sherman loves him too.
Maybe the Dolphins do want Tannehill. Who knows? (The Dolphins denied the reports, but what else were they going to do?) You can be sure of one thing: if they do have their eye on Tannehill, no one in that front office is casually telling the media he's in their draft day plans. The most important rule of draft rumors: If you hear a team likes a guy, that info didn't come from that team. So when you see a report that Browns President Mike Holmgren wants Tannehill at No. 4, that's from the Vikings at No. 3, trying to trade down.
The key is to start the disinformation campaign early, so that it seeps into the collective pundit wisdom. That's been pretty successful—Tannehill's gone from questionable first rounder to consensus top-10 pick since Pro Day. But not successful enough for the Jaguars, who are still stuck with the seventh pick they don't want. Their last-ditch effort was to literally go on the radio and plead with interested teams to make a trade. The Jaguars are not great at this draft rumor stuff.