2012 NFL Draft: Smokescreens For Dummies

March 28, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks cornerback Stephon Gilmore participates in drills during the South Carolina pro day at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

Many smart draft analysts, Mike Mayock included, have said the Jaguars will definitely not pass on Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon if he's available at the seventh pick. Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union told us all on Thursday to "keep an eye on" Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill.

Peter King reported yesterday that the Jaguars like South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore "a ton" to which NFL Network's Michael Lombardi added by saying on NFL Total Access that they like Gilmore more than LSU CB Morris Claiborne.

Yeah...sure they do. It's become very clear in the last few years that the direction the Jaguars will go in the first round has usually become clear to the media in the days prior to the draft. Oh wait...no it hasn't. It hasn't at all, actually. Instead, the Jaguars have been exceptionally good at hiding their first round interests since Gene Smith took over as general manager.

It's certainly possible that some of these reported interests that have been leaked could be true, but the fact is, they scream of smokescreens.

Why would a team want to leak interest that they don't actually have to the media? The answer is simple: to serve themselves and help them out in the draft. More than anything, feigning interest in players can help a team set themselves up for a trade down.

Think about it; in order for a team to make a trade up for a player, they must have the belief that the player they have in mind won't be available to them any later. They must believe that if they don't make a trade to get that player, they're simply not going to get them.

By feigning interest in a player, the goal is, most often, to drive up the value of the player and better set yourself up for a trade down.

So do the Jaguars love Gilmore? Peter King and Michael Lombardi certainly think so. Do I? Not so much. It's possible, but I'm much more inclined to think it's propaganda from the Jaguars in an attempt to set up a trade down.

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