On Monday, CBS Sports reported that concerns emerged regarding the knee of Boise State running back Jay Ajayi at the Scouting Combine medical re-check in Indianapolis. The only problem? Ajayi wasn’t there.
Agent Erik Burkhardt said on Twitter than Ajayi didn’t attend, and wasn’t asked to attend, the medical re-check. Which implies strongly that there were no concerns about Ajayi’s knee at the original Scouting Combine in February.
And for good reason. Ajayi’s knee injury happened four years ago. In 2014, he became the first player in FBS history to rush for more than 1,800 yards and to generate more than 500 receiving yards in one season.
If those reports originate from team visits, keep in mind that very few teams engage in extensive medical examinations during those sessions. Besides, Ajayi checked out at the Scouting Combine, where the poking and prodding nearly rises to the level of the nuances of an alien abduction. (I think I’ve used that one before. I’m too lazy to check.)
So why are reports emerging of concerns with Ajayi’s knee? Because one or more teams love Ajayi enough to trash him privately, in the hopes he’ll be available when they hope to land him in the draft.
That’s the most accurate rule of thumb about the pre-draft lying season. Teams that love a player will spread bad information about him so that he’ll fall to them. Teams that hate a player will pump him up, in the hopes that some sucker out there burns a pick on a player, pushing more viable candidates down the board.