It is fairly common knowledge that misinformation is routinely dispensed in massive doses in the weeks and months prior to the NFL draft. Fibs, half truths, smokescreens, and flat-out lies come out of the mouths of coaches, general managers and various other personnel types from the end of the regular season until Mr. Irrelevant is selected on a Saturday afternoon in late April.
But does the lying stop when the draft ends? Are we supposed to believe that the same people who have been have been making up stuff for all these months all of a sudden are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in their post-draft comments?
And yet there is a tendency to do just that. Not to pick on our friends at Pro Football Talk but just as an example take a look at this article on what Bengals.com had to say about Cincinnati’s selection of Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler.
The Bengals traded down from the 21st pick to the 27th, where they picked Zeitler. Per the team’s webiste, they would have taken Zeitler at 21 anyway had they not moved back.
This “fact” makes the Bengals look like smart, shrewd operators during the draft, picking up New England’s third-round pick essentially for free. And the PFT writer reports it as though it
But is it? Do we have any way of really knowing of the Bengals would have taken Zeitler at 21? We just don’t. So if we can’t prove it one way or the other, why are such self-serving statements routinely treated as factual?
Again, it’s not just PFT. Nobody in the Redskins media or outside of it has questioned Mike Shanahan’s assertion that Kirk Cousins was the third-best quarterback on their board. Perhaps that truly was the case. Or perhaps Shanahan embellished Cousins’ spot on their board in order to justify taking him with a fourth-round pick.
It doesn’t really matter much in the grand scheme of things, but fans should take statements regarding how their teams got this player for much less than they were willing to give up or how high a particular draft pick was on their board with a grain of salt, perhaps a whole shaker full.