Smokescreens are everywhere with 37 days until the the first round of this year's NFL draft begins. Owners, GMs, coaches, and the media have all converged in Arizona for the Annual NFL Owner's Meetings to vote on rule proposals, discuss trades, and spread believable/unbelievable rumors about the draft. We've heard them before, but it's a new week and that brings new messengers to start the fires.
ESPN's John Clayton appeared on the radio earlier this month and stated that the Redskins would draft Marcus Mariota if he was available at #5. He stated that if Mariota was available the Redskins would select him to fix the quarterback problem in Washington. He also said Dan Snyder does not see the problem, but Jay Gruden and everyone else in the front office does. The Redskins will not trade up for him though, especially after their previous QB trade for Robert Griffin III.
So the Redskins are definitely going to draft Mariota according to Clayton...or they're building up interest to force another team to trade ahead of them, pushing a player they really want down to them. The Tennessee Titans have been putting out the faith in 6th round pick Zach Mettenberger message for months now, but that doesn't rule them out of the Mariota race. But If they were deciding between Mariota and the top defensive player, an offer from a team below the Redskins could sway them.
Today, former Yahoo Sports and current Bleacher Report "Insider" Jason Cole is pretty much on message with John Clayton about the Redskins interest in Marcus Mariota.
Cole cites a "high-level Washington source" that he spoke to on Monday, and says the interest in Marcus Mariota is real. He says the team is ready to move on from Robert Griffin III, and go in a different direction at quarterback. He cites the fact that Redskins GM Scot McCloughan was scouting Mariota at Oregon's Pro Day two weeks ago. Cole also says the Redskins are not going to spend additional picks to trade up for the QB, and "they aren't that in love with him" McCloughan needs the picks they have to rebuild the roster.
So nothing earth-shattering or new there. Cole's report is basically everything that Clayton reported, but adds in the fact that McCloughan was at Oregon's Pro Day...along with representatives from every NFL team...to view a number of top prospects from Oregon.
Yesterday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport had the following to say about the Redskins intentions for the 5th overall pick in this year's draft.
"Do not be surprised if the Redskins are open for business -- more than open -- to dealing that pick," NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said from the NFL Annual Meeting in Arizona on Monday. "There is speculation that the Jets (at No. 6) could go for Marcus Mariota if he does fall to them. Possibly there's a team that is looking to jump over the Jets and draft Mariota. The Redskins, who we know gave up all those picks to draft RG3, could wind up reaping some of those rewards of trading down at No. 5."
Again, nothing new here as there has been speculation since Scot McCloughan was named the new Redskins GM in January that he could use the 5th overall pick as a trading chip to acquire more picks to rebuild the team. The Redskins won't be the only team sending out feelers through the media about wanting to trade down. This could create a buyer's market for trades and if there isn't a franchise QB(Mariota) available at 5, or the top defender in the draft(Williams) they might not get anyone to bite. Maybe a team looks at one of the top two wide receivers(Cooper and White) as worth giving up a pick, but we won't know until Draft Day.
It's lying season, and everyone's got a source.