The art of deception. Deception is the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. With rumors swirling about Dwayne Haskins’ draft stock dropping, is it all a smoke screen and does it affect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Watch Carefully

However, not in the market for a quarterback, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are sure to be watching carefully. The more interest or lack of, from teams looking to draft a quarterback can have a huge impact on the draft. There are a few key teams in interesting positions drafting before the Buccaneers. The Arizona Cardinals, with the first pick overall are expected to take Murray. They could surprise everyone and not take a quarterback. Both situations could drive up the price of the following draft picks. Additionally, the Raiders could also draft a quarterback and move on from Derek Carr. This move could also increase the value of the Buccaneers pick, ahead of the New York Giants, who are highly favored to take a quarterback as well. If Haskins’ stock is really falling, all these scenarios will feel an impact. Not only is the value of each pick in flux, but the amount of quarterbacks taken in the first four picks will obviously change what defensive talents fall to the fifth overall pick.

High Praise and a Fall Off

Upon announcing his entry for the NFL Draft, Dwayne Haskins had received high praise. His stats this past year were through the roof. Haskins’ 4,831 yards, 50 touchdowns and only eight interceptions were good enough to break future Hall of Famer Drew Brees’ single season touchdown record. Prognosticators placed a first round grade on him for the 2019 draft. Some analysts projected him as the best or second best quarterback, behind only Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. His stock was on the rise.

Recently, reports from “insider” sources with “close access to team officials” have surfaced. Teams do not have Haskins as high as some had predicted prior to this month. Other reports stated team officials believe the media exaggerated Haskins more than anyone else did. Mock drafts are now starting to reflect this idea with Haskins falling behind one or both Missouri’s Drew Lock and Duke’s Daniel Jones which makes him the fourth quarterback off the board. That is a far drop from the predictions of being the second quarterback taken a month ago.

Smoke Screens

NFL teams practice deception as normal operating procedures. In order to manipulate other general managers and coaches, teams provide details that are in stark contrast to what they have evaluated and believe. This is done with hopes of making a trade or having a player fall to them in the draft without having to give up much in return. When it comes to the draft and trades, the following are a few tactics.

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Negative Impact

First is the negative media impact. This is the use of reporters to propagate the idea that a team is not high on a player. The goal is to impact draft stock in hopes they may fall a few spots or an entire round to the team that desires to draft him and not trade that far up to get them. We mostly see this with the draft process in the last month leading up to the event.

Load up on Hype

Next is the opposite. Teams will tout the skills of another player. Usually, this player is closely related to another player they desire to draft by either position on the field or a similar position on the draft board. This forces other teams to react and do more homework on the player receiving praise. The goal is that another team will buy some of the hype and draft the player with the excitement surrounding him. When it comes to trades, this is done to increase the perceived value of a player in the trade. A possible example of this was during the Odell Beckham trade. The Browns spoke highly about Jabrill Peppers before the Beckham trade. This could have been to influence the Giants into think he is still a first round talent.  Remember, the Giants originally wanted two first round picks for Beckham. Instead they received a 2019 first, Kevin Zeitler and a third round pick along with Peppers.

Bring on the Visits

Third is the visit. Each team brings in players for a visit. Teams can pad their visits with players that will make it seem they are high on a certain position. They can also bring in a player that they plan on giving additional hype to in order to manipulate other teams in the draft. You can reference the Oakland Raiders this year as an example. The Raiders listed Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins as visits and worked them out.  Either they are truly interested in drafting a quarterback or they want to drive the value of the fourth overall pick up in case of a trade.

Outside Influence

One thing to consider is not the teams themselves, but the agents involved. The releasing of certain information, thoughts on players and evaluations are done so by design. Every player and their agent pay attention to mock drafts circulating. The idea is to quietly influence teams in order to land a draftee on a particular team or avoid one all together. This is just another aspect of the draft process to navigate through.

Conclusion

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to wait on the first four picks to know where they stand in the draft. This year may hold more surprises in the first five picks than any other in the past decade. It will be fun to watch.

Lastly, do not believe everything you are hearing in reports about a player’s position on a team’s draft board.

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