PFT and MMQB both talked about the agenda’s behind leaking injury concerns. As both accurately point out, no team is going to talk about injury concerns. If they have them, they want to let other teams miss those concerns and take a prospect they don’t want, leaving the guys that a team does want for them to select. Or they want trade partners for teams that want a player they don’t want.
This means that when a team source talks about someone they’ve ‘removed’ from their board or are ‘concerned’ about some part of them, there’s only two things that are probably happening:
1. It’s misinformation, designed to sour other teams on prospects that they want. Say the Lions like Bowers, then they’ll start talking about his bad knee to media guys a lot. They’ll do it under anonymity. The writer will know the team that gives him that info, and his job will be to try to incorporate it somehow without breaking the trust of his source, but everyone who reads that information sees it as “teams souring on Bowers.”
2. Its a genuine slip that the team let out. It’s not this case 95% of the time I would guess, but look at the example of Rob Gronkowski last year. Several teams did evaluate him and remove him from their draft boards because of his back. I would be willing to bet, however, that once the Patriots saw some leaks, they only encouraged them by having a source confirm the injury concerns.
You can see, either way (by starting or encouraging rumors), the intent of injury comments is to lower a prospects stock and to maximize value.
So lets look at a couple injury concerns at the top of this year.
There are teams that have him rated as the top prospect in this draft. Still. I think that most of the teams at the top of the draft do not, however. To me hes a 4-3 end only (but I think the same of Robert Quinn and he’s being talked about as a stand up LB. It’s not that they couldn’t do it, but the potential for a Vernon Gholston style bust coming from that). At the top of the draft you have the Panthers, Broncos, Bengals, Browns, and the Titans, who are all 4-3 teams looking for a defensive end, but I don’t believe they have Bowers rated higher than say Marcel Dareus or AJ Green etc etc. He looks like he could fall to the Browns, Titans, and his floor looks to be either Minnesota or Detroit (who I think are really pushing the rumors about his injury concerns. There’s no doubt his knee is a concern, but the level is not as high as i think others are making it.
Taylor’s stock has been up and down because of weight concerns. Once he ran well at the combine he’s been moving back into the mid to late 1st. Teams like the Chiefs and Jets have liked Taylor. The Chiefs don’t want him to climb past them, and the Jets want to bring him down to the late 30s. Both teams have an agenda to start a rumor about his foot being a problem area for him.
Ingram is an interesting situation. The way running backs are valued is pretty low. Entering this season at Alabama, people were talking about him as a top ten pick, but since he left ‘Bama he’s been slowly slipping out of the first. There are some concerns about his work load (the same thing pushed Ray Rice down a bit when he was drafted late 2nd by Baltimore a few years back) and his leg which he had surgery on at the start of his last season in. There’s reports that the Patriots like Ingram and will sit on their late first pick to see if someone will move up for a quarterback. If they don’t get good value they’ll snag Ingram there.
There’ll be more talk of injury and character bugs that drop players. The character ones are generally valid concerns generally, but some people can over play them like injury concerns. The next 10 days ought to be very confusing for anyone reading a lot of information about the draft, but keep in mind, we generally know where most players will be slotted. Now its a matter of teams working to ensure the guys they like are available to them.