Jameis Winston has been the consensus top pick for weeks now, the widely reported and rumored choice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the last week, a number of conflicting reports have emerged, and it would now seem possible that the Buccaneers will go with quarterback Marcus Mariota instead.
One of those scenarios is complete horse hockey, but there's enough doubt at the moment that you have to at least entertain both. If this sounds familiar—if you heard about four different trade up scenarios for Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack materialize at the end of last year, for example—that's because this is pretty common for this time in April.
We have reached the height of misinformation season during these two weeks before the draft, a time when teams are spreading lies, agents are jockeying for their clients and the media is going with their best sources and/or wildly speculating. All of this was already happening, of course, but it tends to intensify at the end. It's not dissimilar to political campaign coverage, where everyone involved has a vested interest in pushing the horse race. The Buccaneers may well have decided on Winston, but they like to sow that doubt, and it's certainly more interesting for ESPN and the like if they can find a semi-credible rumor that presents two divergent possibilities.
My advice, which I sometimes ignore (see: Clowney) is to simply give up trying to figure it out. The Falcons could go in many different directions, but pass rusher remains the likeliest pick. Beyond that, you're better off reading everything and buying nothing.
What's the weirdest rumor you've heard thus far?