It’s spring, when a middle-aged man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of figuring out how to get a coveted prospect to slide down the board.
As the draft approaches, some teams love a player enough to spread negative information and/or opinions about him in the hopes that he’ll be on the board when they are making their pick.
The highest-profile example (so far) for 2015 comes from the recent article featuring an unnamed executive comparing quarterback Jameis Winston to quarterback JaMarcus Russell. The former G.M. of the team that is expected to select Winston has gone on the record to strongly disagree with the comparison.
“I think it’s rude,” former Buccaneers G.M. Mark Dominik told Jorge Sedano of ESPN Radio, via JoeBucsFan.com. “I think it’s completely off base to call him JaMarcus Russell. I just don’t see the comparison. Look, if you want to say one thing about Jameis [as a football player], the only thing I’d sit there and say is at the end of the season, he lost 17 pounds to go to the [Scouting] Combine. I didn’t like that. You now, because I’d like to think he’s playing as well as he can all the way through the bowl series and then getting himself ready for the Combine, instead of having to get himself in shape. But from a football standpoint, from a football intelligence, from a competitor, from a leader, it ain’t close. It’s embarrassing. For my personal opinion, whatever G.M. said that, probably should not be a G.M., quite frankly.”
While that G.M. would likely respond by saying, “Well, I’m a G.M. and Dominik isn’t,” that G.M. can’t say anything because that G.M. hasn’t gone on the record with the Jameis-JaMarcus comparison.
Yes, the anonymous sourcing of information fuels the journalism industry in many ways. But the anonymous sourcing of opinion can be harder to handle, since the anonymous source of the opinion may be hoping to get the Buccaneers to waver on Winston, ultimately passing on him or trading the pick for less than the Bucs would otherwise want.
Without knowing who the anonymous source of the opinion is, it’s impossible to know whether that source secretly hopes the opinion will prompt the Buccaneers and other teams to get out of the way, so that the team for which the anonymous source works can draft Jameis Winston.