(WVUE) - Sincere or smokescreen, that is the question?
In Peter King's latest MMQB article, Saints Coach Sean Payton was unusually pointed in his criticism of this year's quarterback class or at least the consensus top four of: Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield.
"I don't see Luck in this draft, and I don't see Carson Wentz, who I liked a lot coming into the draft," Payton told King. "I'd feel a little bit uneasy if I were at the top of this draft and I decided I had to have a quarterback. The pressure to get a quarterback is so great in this league, I get that. But we can't create 'em. I wouldn't be surprised if only one of these guys is left standing in four or five years, and if so, I'd guess it would be Sam Darnold.
So, let me get this straight. A head coach who NEVER wants to give any other team any motivation with his words comes out less than two weeks before the draft and trashes the top players at the position he knows he is going to be in the market for in the very near future? Remember, this came just a few weeks after he sang the praises of Louisville's Lamar Jackson at the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando.
Nope. Sorry, but I'm not buying it. Payton is up to something.
But what could he possibly gain by essentially saying three of the top four quarterbacks in the draft will be busts?
Perhaps Payton, a noted offensive guru around the NFL, is trying to get into the heads of the teams at the top of the draft. If he can get them to second guess their feelings about one of the signal-callers, one could slide far enough for the Saints to make a deal and grab one.
On the flip side, he could be telling the truth. Maybe he really doesn't believe any of these guys can play. There are legitimate concerns about each one.
Still, even if he feels that strongly he's never really gone public before with words that critical before a draft. Like it or not, those players will be the future faces of four franchises. Payton knows full well how competitive this league is and how much motivation his words will provide to each one of those teams.
This is pre-draft subterfuge at its finest.
We don't know what he's thinking. We just know that Payton is thinking something.
We're all talking about it. And if we're talking about it, you can bet the rest of the league is talking about it.
And it feels like, that's exactly what Payton wanted all along.