Remember when they took him with the 23rd pick in round one? Oh wait, they didn’t.
Remember when they took him with the 31st pick in round one? I think you get the point.
And this is broader point: There’s so much bullcrap being peddled to reporters who are under so much pressure to fill the void between free agency and the draft with news that it’s really all just noise. Yes, we pass the noise along (we have to fill the void, too), but we do so by adding the caveat that, with so much smoke, it’s nearly impossible to find the fire.
It’s gotten so bad that even the stuff that’s true is believed to be baloney, like the Baker Mayfield to the Browns buzz that caught fire this week. Some thought the Browns were simply trying to get the Jets to move to No. 1 in order to get Mayfield.
On Thursday night, the Patriots had two cracks at Jackson, and they didn’t take him. At pick 31, they opted for a running back — a running back! — over a five-year commitment from the potential successor to Tom Brady. Running backs are anywhere, everywhere. Quarterbacks that may revolutionize the game while also replacing one of the best players in NFL history are hard to find.
Jackson was supposedly the if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em choice by the Patriots, who have struggled to handle mobile quarterbacks since Colin Kaepernick ran roughshod on them in 2012. And yet they passed on Lamar Jackson, twice.
The media may not have been the only ones who took the cheese. Remember when former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds was being dubbed the quintessential Patriot? The Pats didn’t draft him; the Ravens did, in round six. And Reynolds never did anything in the NFL.
Did the Ravens become more interested in Jackson because the Patriots were pretending to want him? We’ll never know the truth because no one would ever admit that. Still, there’s a chance that New England feigned interest in Jackson in order to get someone else to take a swing on a guy Bill Belichick privately thinks will be a bust.
Regardless of whether the Jedi mind trick was applied to Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome, Belichick’s decision to pass on Jackson with not one but two first-round picks only confirms my belief that, if Belichick were interested in Jackson, we wouldn’t have known it until the moment Belichick drafted him.