Misdirection leading up to NFL draft

04/25/2013 5:44 PM ET
By Matt Hughes

Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan could be the No. 1 pick in tonight's NFL draft.(AP)
Discerning between the signals and noise leading up to the NFL Draft is high stakes for team executives.

The Kansas City Chiefs have reportedly made their decision about the No. 1 overall pick but aren't sharing that privileged information with anyone, and are still considering potential trade scenarios. It's widely assumed that the Chiefs will take one of the top offensive tackles in the draft, either Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan or Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M. But if the right trade presents itself the Chiefs could deal the No. 1 selection for a stockpile of later picks.

Another possible draft-day trade includes veteran quarterback Ryan Mallet. The strong-armed New England Patriots' backup is reportedly on the block and some NFL insiders believe the Patriots could land a top pick for Mallet. The Patriots aren't saying anything but the word on the street is that Mallet is available.

For team executives, misdirection is the name of the game leading up to the draft. Teams hoping for the slightest competitive edge are notoriously coy. Buffalo Bills General Manager Buddy Nix said it best this week: "Lying the month before the draft is not a sin."

The 2013 draft has been especially difficult to project. The draft class is deep in talent but relatively light at the top, particularly at the quarterback position. Adding to the confusion is the perceived drop in value at the running back position, with some predicting this will be the first NFL Draft since 1963 where a RB is not taken in the first round. Many long-time NFL insiders are no doubt scratching their heads.

NFL teams will bank their futures on their deal-making ability during the draft. Some will build winners by picking up on the key signals and some will inevitably get lost in the noise. 

The 2013 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. EST on Thursday. 

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