Ray's Replies: Are pre-draft visits a ploy?

Ray's Replies: Are pre-draft visits a ploy?
April 7, 2012, 3:56 pm
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Q. I have noticed the Eagles have begun hosting potential draft picks for visits. I was wondering how much the Eagles pre-draft visits have correlated with their actual picks in the past few years. Do they use these visits to intentionally throw teams off?

--Matt from Warminster
A. It is a shell game that every team plays. Teams appear to show interest in one player while actually coveting another. That way teams drafting behind you wont know what you are thinking so they wont be able to jump ahead of you to get the player you really want.

I have to admit it crossed my mind Thursday when I saw the Eagles bring Dontari Poe, the defensive tackle from Memphis, to the Nova Care Complex for a visit. Gee, it just happened to be the same day they invited the press to meet Demetress Bell, the newly-acquired offensive tackle.

Line coach Jim Washburn made it a point to walk Poe past the reporters. Considering Poe is roughly the size of a Greyhound bus, it wasnt like the team was trying to be discreet. It had to know the Poe sighting would be on the wire in a matter of minutes and every team in the league would know about it.

If a team drafting 15th really was that interested in a player, would they announce it to the world and set themselves up to be blindsided on draft day? That would be pretty foolish, no?

So was it a smoke screen? Do the Eagles have their sights set on another defensive lineman and they are just using Poe as cover? I dont know but I was thinking that on Thursday.

The most famous story along these lines was the 1982 draft when Eagles coach Dick Vermeil was planning to draft Perry Tuttle, a wide receiver from Clemson. Vermeil told Chuck Knox, a good friend (or so he thought) that he would take Tuttle in the first round.

Knox, then coach in Buffalo, pulled off a draft day trade to jump ahead of the Eagles and take Tuttle. Vermeil had to settle for a guy named Mike Quick. Tuttle was a bust and, of course, Quick had a great career with the Eagles.

Funny how things work out sometimes.

E-mail Ray Didinger at viewfromthehall@comcast.net

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