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Smokescreens? Smokescreens? What smokescreens?

Well, the Minnesota Vikings failed miserably. They tried to get people to believe the Cleveland Browns might draft Ryan Tannehil. You see, they wanted some team like, say, the Dolphins to panic and trade up to the No. 3 overall selection ahead of Cleveland to get Tannehill.

Except the Browns, sitting there with the No. 4 pick, were too busy talking up Justin Blackmon and sent practically the entire organization to Trent Richardson's pro day. So most folks are seeing the Browns not taking a quarterback with their first of two selections the first round of tomorrow's NFL draft.

Then, the Jacksonville Jaguars got involved in the screening of smoke. Fully aware they have the seventh pick in a draft containing perhaps six elite players, the Jags are eager to get out of their pick. And they see Tannehill as the only way of doing that by perhaps convincing Kansas City or Seattle or someone, anyone to trade to No. 7 for the right to get the Texas A&M QB.

That means you have to convince folks the quarterback will be off the board by No. 8, which of course is where the Dolphins pick.

Fine. Let's do that ...

"People know Miami's going to take him," Jacksonville director of player personnel Terry McDonough said on the Pete Prisco Show in J-Ville yesterday. "If a team wants a quarterback, they're going to have to come in front of Miami."

Convenient, right?

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are involved in their own agenda-driven campaign. You know about ProFootballtalk.com's report that owner Stephen Ross is pushing GM Jeff Ireland to draft Tannehill. I had Mike Florio, the author of the report on my radio show, Armando and Perkins, on Tuesday and he deftly sidestepped questions about his source, but it is clear that person is not in the Dolphins' organization.

So here's my question: How would a source not within the Miami organization thus not privy to conversations between an owner and general manager know what the owner is telling the GM?

Clearly, other teams want the narrative out there that the Dolphins are under pressure to pick Tannehill.

(Before I go on, allow me to clarify something: Florio's report was that Ross was "pushing" Ireland on Tannehill. That is not correct. But I know that Ross badly, badly wants a quarterback drafted by the Dolphins. There is a difference. Ross has let it be known he wants the right QB picked, be it Tannehill or whomever.)

The Dolphins, as I reported through sources, said the PFT report is not true. That's good. But then they went way further. And that's not good.

The Dolphins had Jeff Ireland issue an on-the-record denial of the story to Florio. And then Ross sent Florio and e-mail denying the story also. if the Dolphins had said nothing or issued a denial off the record, it would have given no clue they want Tannehill or don't.

But they went into the realm of protesting too much. And that sends red flags flying up staffs everywhere. So, believe it or not, the multiple denials actually worked against Miami around the league.

There are rumors today, by the way, that Miami wants to trade down from No. 8. Those are not coming from inside the Miami organization. Those are coming from one place, actually: Dallas.


I'm hearing the Cowboys want to move up to make sure they land safety Mark Barron. And obviously, Ireland as a former Cowboys employee would be a viable trade partner because of his relationship within the Dallas organization.

What does all this mean?

Believe nothing you're hearing except this:

The Dolphins love Ryan Tannehill for his potential but are aware he's a project. They are willing to take him at No. 8. They are not going to trade up to get him because they don't strongly believe anyone is going to get ahead of them to pick him.

The Dolphins are willing to trade down if a willing partner offers the right package. (Yes, I admit, the team wants that information out there.) And if in a trade down scenario Tannehill is gone, the club has other players fitting other needs that they would sell to the public as the right call for building their team.

Jeepers, this time of year is full of skullduggery.