As the draft approaches, more and more teams are conducting pre-draft press conferences. We sent the league office an email earlier regarding whether these sessions are mandatory. If they aren’t, there’s nothing to be gained by talking publicly about the team’s plans for the coming selection.
Anything you say can and will be used against you, by other teams drafting behind you and thinking about trying to trade up and draft in front of you. in order to get the guy they think you want before you can. If forced to say anything, the best play is to say something that advances your strategic goals.
Against that background, consider Texans coach Love Smith’s response to a question from Tuesday regarding the possibility of adding another quarterback to the roster.
“As a general rule, I guess you can have four,” Smith said. “Some teams have four. I think once you have three quarterbacks on your roster you should feel pretty good about that, and we do. We keep all options open, but we feel good about our quarterback room right now, leading off with Davis Mills. I’ve talked about him and our feeling about who our leader will be.”
The notion that the Texans already have three quarterbacks under contract shouldn’t exclude the possibility of acquiring one in the draft who will be better than the ones they have. So could Smith have been simply trying to throw dirt on the possibility of a quarterback being taken by the Texans at No. 13? If teams drafting behind them think they’re considering that (like the Steelers at No. 20), they may try to jump in front of them, by for example striking a deal with the Vikings to get the No. 12 selection.
And if the Texans truly are fine with Davis Mills (and some believe they are), why not create the impression that they’d consider a quarterback at No. 13? If they don’t want a quarterback but they can persuade someone else to trade up and take a quarterback, that pushes the players the Texans would select farther down the board.
It’s a simple psychological reality of the pre-draft process. If you’re interested in a given position, create the impression you’re not. If you’re not, create the impression you are. That basic reality needs to be considered when considering anything coaches and General Managers say in the days leading up to the draft.