The 2012 NFL draft begins two weeks from tonight. And so now is as good a time as any to remind anyone and everyone that the stuff that trickles out regarding players a team may or may not be targeting could all be part of a deliberate effort to fool other teams.
Case in point: The Rams hold the sixth overall pick in the first round. They have a running back who, while closer to the end of his career than the beginning, still has tread on the tires. And yet coach Jeff Fisher is creating the impression that the Rams may take Richardson with said sixth pick.
“I think he’s a very, very talented player,” Fisher said. “He doesn’t have a lot of wear-and-tear because it’s been a one-year deal for him [as a feature back]. But he’s got great explosion and quickness in the hole and change of direction with the jump cut, and power, and ball security.”
But what about Jackson, a first-round pick in 2004?
“One could make the case that it may be one of those positions that you could consider passing up because of Steven’s presence on roster,” Fisher said. “I don’t think we can pass on any position at that pick because of our need.”
(So . . . the Rams will be drafting quarterback Ryan Tannehill if he’s on the board?)
Look, the team’s far greater need is at receiver. And everyone knows it. And it’s far more likely that Fisher hopes the Browns take Richardson (and not Justin Blackmon) at No. 4 or the Buccaneers take Richardson (and not Justin Blackmon) at No. 5, so that the Rams can then take Blackmon at No. 6.
And if both guys are gone, then Fisher can take a guy like cornerback Morris Claiborne at No. 6, who could be paired with Cortland Finnegan as part of a secondary that will be better suited to deal with the new pass-crazy NFL.
Either way, the Rams have too many needs at too many other positions to devote the sixth overall pick to a tailback who may not be dramatically better than players who can be obtained later in the draft, perhaps with one of the Rams’ two second-round picks.
Indeed, if Fisher were dead set on taking Richardson, Fisher wouldn’t be openly singing his praises.
Unless, of course, Fisher has taken pre-draft subterfuge to the next level, pretending to like a guy in the hopes that other teams will think he actually doesn’t, when in fact he actually does.
My brain hurts after that one.