April SmokescreensApril 10th, 2014
Yes, Joe is as guilty as the next person. So-and-so is visiting the Bucs. NFL news!
Hey, Joe is hungry for the beast. And that beast is the draft. The beast got bigger this year because the NFL moved the draft two weeks later to
avoid a scheduling conflict collect big paychecks during May TV sweeps month.
So with NFL fans aching for every morsel of information in April, visits and pro days become news, TV events, chatter. But how much is real and how much is smokescreen? It’s possible these events are really nothing more than smokescreens.
Consider this little tidbit from Joe’s friend Jason McIntyre, founder and CEO of TheBigLead.com, which suggests visits by prospects to team facilities are a waste of time to discuss.
According to the site Draft Ace, the Patriots had 43 players in for a visit in 2013 leading up to the draft (teams are only permitted 30, so this list likely includes regional players, who don’t count against the 30). Guess how many of those 43 the Patriots selected in the 2013 draft?
New England had seven running backs visit and didn’t take a ball carrier. They had 10 wide receivers come in for a visit and selected two pass-catchers (Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce). There could be a dozen reasons this happened. Didn’t like anyone they saw up close? Plausible. Smokescreen? Perhaps. Already loved a guy they didn’t have visit, but wanted to take a gander at a few others at the position? Sure. Maybe some of the players flubbed their interview for whatever reason, and got crossed off the board? Maybe.
The same could be said for former Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik. Last year the Bucs brought in the following players, per DraftAce.com:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RB – Christine Michael, Texas A&M
RB – Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
OT – D.J. Fluker, Alabama
DE – Corey Lemonier, Auburn
DE – Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
DE – Cornelius Washington, Georgia
DE – William Gholston, Michigan State
LB – Dion Jordan, Oregon
LB – Sio Moore, Connecticut
CB – Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
CB – Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut
CB – Dee Milliner, Alabama
S — Ohrian Johnson, Ohio State
Naturally, the only guy in that list the Bucs picked up was Will Gholston.
Then there is the matter of pro days. Remember Mike Mamula, the combine workout warrior who had the Eagles in full erection mode so bad, they basically gave the Bucs the franchise’s lone Super Bowl win? Pat Yasinskas detailed it in a story for ESPN back in 2008.
After all, [the Bucs] sent a huge contingent of front-office types and coaches to Boston College for a post-combine workout, where Mamula solidly backed up his showing in Indianapolis. But Rich McKay, Tampa Bay’s general manager at the time, now admits that was all a smokescreen.
“Mike had a great workout,” said McKay, now team president of the Atlanta Falcons. “But we decided early on that he was an undersized, pass-rushing end and it wasn’t in our best interest to draft him that high.
“We were in a situation where we needed players, not just one player. We thought Mamula was a guy that might have greater value to other teams, so we didn’t dispute the speculation that we were interested and we did everything in our power to push him up the board.”
The Bucs had the seventh pick in the draft and swapped it for the Eagles’ first round pick along with two second round picks. With the pick from the Eagles, the Bucs drafted Warren Sapp. The Bucs then used the two second round picks to move up to select Derrick Brooks.
So remember, even it is draft news, be careful for the smell of smoke. The draft is a too long four weeks away.