Never on Earth would an NFL team operate without winning in mind
He reported that in talking to the agent for a top-10 draft prospect, the agent revealed that he wouldn't want the Cleveland Browns to draft his charge in April.
Miller seems fairly certain that this information is not the standard agent-to-reporter misdirection that is commonplace at the Combine, but rather the actual, if not rather unsettling, truth. I am prone to agree.
There's practically no reason for an agent to tell a member of the media they'd prefer their client not be drafted fourth overall (or earlier, depending upon who this agent is and who he represents) except as a plea to the Browns to back off their client and let him go to a team he's more enthusiastic about.
However, that's a pretty ridiculous piece to willingly put out there. The agent's direct quote is this:
"We don't want to go to Cleveland. Man they're not trying to win there, with that quarterback (Colt McCoy) and those draft picks last year. They ain't trying to build a winner."
Well then, mystery agent, what does that make your client?
Ostensibly, a player projected to be a top-10 draft pick can improve a team, though one player cannot single-handedly turn around a franchise (for all of quarterback Cam Newton's accomplishments in 2011, the Carolina Panthers ended the year with a 6-10 record). He can certainly serve as a jumping-off point for wholesale improvement.
So this agent is basically saying that though he represents a highly talented draft prospect, this player won't do enough to help the Browns win games.
He's saying this player is by no means excited to be drafted so highly, paid so well and be respected by the team's fans who hope that he'll bring about positive change in his rookie year.
What is your take on these "anonymous" comments?
The draft process is what it is for a reason, otherwise all the most talented players would gravitate to a handful of franchises and troubled teams would remain that way in perpetuity.
One would assume that a soon-to-be professional competitor such as the player this man represents would embrace the challenge that is joining a struggling team and helping it win games, rather than (albeit anonymously) disparaging the team that could very well draft him regardless.
Plainly stated, it's both rude and tactless. It also completely misses the point when it comes to the very rare opportunity to not only play in the NFL, but also to be drafted fourth overall.
Yes, the Browns have had a winning record just twice since the franchise was re-formed in 1999, but it should be exciting to this prospect to have the chance to turn that trend around. Instead, it's as though they're saying that the Browns will drag this player down rather than him helping to elevate the team.
Strategic, anonymous leaks of information to media in the weeks leading up the NFL draft is certainly nothing new, and comments such as these aren't uncommon either. However, whatever the intended purpose of saying such a thing may be, it comes off all wrong.
Clearly this player doesn't want to be part of any club that would have him as a member; hopefully, for the sake of the Browns organization, they don't try to bring him on board in April.