Last week, we bemoaned the absence of Mike Shanahan smokescreens from this year’s pre-draft process due to the Redskins’ spot at second overall in the draft. We talked about how he had dozens of respected reporters believing that he was going to pull off a deal to move up in the draft to take Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Of course, the Redskins not only didn’t deal up but they traded down from their original 10th overall pick with Gabbert on the board.
But that wasn’t the only smokescreen that Shanahan was throwing out there a year ago. Here is a clip from a 2011 Peter King article where he was discussing his mock draft and the 10 toughest decisions he had to make when putting it together:
3. The Redskins passing on Ryan Mallett. This one has Mike Shanahan/Jay Cutler written all over it. Remember how, five years ago, Shanahan didn't tell anyone, even in his own building, until draft morning he was taking Cutler? There's another shroud of silence around Shanahan this year. Look out.
So Shanahan had King convinced that he just might pull the trigger on the Arkansas quarterback in the first round, with the 10th overall pick.
As it turns out, there wasn’t anything to look out for. The Redskins passed on Mallett four times. They could have taken him with the 10th pick and didn’t, trading back instead. With the 16th pick, they took Ryan Kerrigan. They had two picks in the second round with Mallett still on the board but they used one on Jarvis Jenkins and traded back from the other one.
The Patriots took Mallett in the third round, with the 74th pick.
The point here is not to pick out King for not knowing what he’s talking about. Mock drafts are difficult and even the most well informed observers usually end up looking dumb when looking back on them. But it is amazing how Shanahan, by saying and doing nothing, was able to get King to think that he could be dead set on taking a quarterback that in whom he apparently had no interest.