The months leading up to the NFL draft are known to those in the scouting industry as key moments for misinformation. No player is seeing his draft stock attacked more frequently than South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. But why?
Every year it happens where the media and those in it seem to find a player to knock down. It may be in the interest of reads, or attention, or just pounding the table to assert their opinion—and there's nothing wrong with that. But the Alshon Jeffery rumors are getting out of hand.
If true, the rumor would do untold damage to Jeffery's stock. But something didn't match up. Our good friend @RosterWatch had just posted last week an update from Jeffery's own trainer who was working out with him in Tampa at the Athlete's Compound. Tampa, not Indianapolis.
As King Kaufman will tell you, sources matter. Especially in the rumor business. Having a source and trusting that source are two different, but very important things. In this case, the source clearly had misinformation and/or an agenda. A quick email from Bleacher Report Associate Editor Michael Schottey, with yours truly copied in, uncovered the truth regarding Jeffery's current location and workout status.
Confirmed...Alshon Jeffery has been in Tampa since January 8th. IF he ran a 4.88 in Indianapolis, it was over a month ago.— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) Feb. 13, 2012
Since Jeffery hasn't been in Indianapolis since at least Jan. 8, the nature of the first rumor is moot.
No one has taken more heat on Twitter or even on Bleacher Report for liking Jeffery as a prospect, and I stand by the fact that Jeffery is the best wide receiver prospect in this class. Untruthful rumors aside, he's the most dynamic wide receiver in the class and is nearly uncoverable at 6'4" and 235 lbs.
This isn't an article to expose Joe from Rookie Watch. He does a good job, but a rumor like this takes on a life of its own and has to be thoroughly vetted. Already other news sites are posting links to the tweet as proof. That's disinformation, and as such has no place in the news cycle.
Does Jeffery's 40-yard dash time matter? Not to this scout. The 40 has become an overinflated measuring stick. It should be looked at, but what matters most is field speed. How well does a player separate on the field, not on a track without pads on. How well does the player accelerate away from defenders? That's where Jeffery shows his worth.
The good news is that on Feb. 22 Bleacher Report's draft team will be in Indianapolis to cover the NFL Scouting Combine. An update, not a rumor, will be forthcoming.