Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Today in manufactured NFL draft intrigue
By Dan Graziano
So Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted that the team was having a private workout today with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and that they wanted to have one as well with Robert Griffin III but that Griffin's agent turned them down. This has, as everything that has anything to do with the NFL does in the age of Twitter, become a huge deal.
Knowing that it's certain to fall on deaf ears, I hereby offer a plea for everyone to relax. We'll never make it through the next 23 days if we keep up like this. Do you want to know what it means that Griffin turned down the Colts' invitation for a private workout? Nothing. Ab. So. Lutel. Ly. Nothing.
There is no event in sports (other, apparently, than uniform unveiling) for which the hype and anticipation exceeds the quality and importance of the thing itself than the NFL draft. And part of the outsized hype is this desperate need to find clues in every little thing everyone says and does. Here are some key things to remember, on this Griffin issue and in general:
- Almost everything that any team official or agent says publicly about the draft at this time of year is somewhere on the spectrum between misleading and outright false. Posturing, smokescreening and negotiating are the order of the day, and teams love to play games and drop clues that lead people in the wrong direction.
- Irsay and the Colts are almost certainly taking Luck, leaving Griffin for the Washington Redskins, but there's absolutely no reason for them to make their decision on April 3. And even if they did, there's absolutely no reason for them to tell anyone what it is. There are 23 days left before the draft, and no one knows what might happen to or with Luck or Griffin in that time. The Colts have every right to wait right up until the night of April 26 to decide, and they owe it to no one to let us know what they're thinking.
- The Colts weren't the only team to ask Griffin to do a private workout, and he declined all such invitations. Griffin wanted teams to come to Baylor's pro day instead, in part because he wanted to share some of his spotlight with his college teammates. As I understand it, he didn't work out for the Redskins either.
- These private workouts are, like almost everything else this month, overblown. Teams decide which players to draft based mainly on the players' college tape. And they can meet with these guys in private at the scouting combine. Just because a guy is having a private workout for a team doesn't mean that team is drafting him. And just because he isn't having a private workout for a team doesn't mean that team isn't drafting him. The Eagles are working out Ryan Tannehill even though there's no way they're drafting him. Some teams just like to take an opportunity to meet a guy and get to know a little bit about him. You never know when that might come in handy down the road -- whether you're playing against him, considering acquiring him, whatever.
The overwhelming likelihood is that the Colts are taking Luck and have known it for some time, and that the Redskins will get Griffin. But nothing that's happening today offers any viable clues about this. And if you're the Redskins -- and this really is the most important point I can make here -- it doesn't matter. Andrew Luck is your worst-case scenario? Plenty of teams would trade places with you.