There’s a “B” side to the mess into which Dan Orlovsky recently wandered by passing along anonymous negative opinions from teams about quarterback Justin Fields.
Teams spread bad things about players they really like in the hopes those players will slide. Teams also spread good things about players they don’t like in the hopes someone in front of them will take that player, pushing down the board a player that the team actually wants.
Thus, we take with a grain of salt any pre-draft reports that a team is “high on” or “really likes” or “covets” or whatever any specific player. Although some teams are indeed foolish enough to let their true assessments slip, the more likely explanation is that the team in question would love to see that player’s stock inflate to the point that he’s gone before the team is on the clock, increasing the chances that someone the team really wants will still be there.
That’s the prism through which we’ll view the notion that the Saints “like” Florida quarterback Kyle Trask as a potential long-term replacement for Drew Brees. With a run on quarterbacks expected at the top of the draft, other quarterbacks could get closer scrutiny as round one goes on. The Saints sit at No. 28. If the idea that the Saints “like” Trask takes root, maybe someone will leapfrog New Orleans, take Trask, and thus not take one of the players at the top of the team’s actual list.
The fact that coach Sean Payton has mastered the art of misdirection — and of generally keeping secrets secret — underscores the idea that, if he actually likes Trask, there would never be a report that he does. Four years ago, Payton and the Saints loved Patrick Mahomes, and no one knew it. During the 2020 season, Payton managed to keep quiet the identity of the starting quarterback after Drew Brees’ suffered umpteen broken ribs until the moment Payton wanted that information to be publicly known.
It would be extremely out of character for Payton to allow his true feelings about Trask or any other players — especially quarterbacks — to be leaked.
Regardless, we all need to have things to report and to discuss in the weeks leading up to the draft. This doesn’t mean that much, if any, of the information circulating from anonymous sources regarding the likes and dislikes of specific teams means much of anything.