Falling in love during the NFL draft almost always ends in heartache. I know that sounds a little bit callous, but we've all learned the lesson of staying away from that kind of puppy dog love a long time ago. We all remember when such infatuated love plagued most of us when our middle school heart throb (let's call her Kirstin) was asked to the school dance by that jerk who asked her even though he knew that you liked her first (let's call him Bobby). If only you hadn't told your best friend Ryan, who had mentioned it to Laura, who told Dana, who was telling Justin when it was overheard by Bobby, then maybe you would have had the chance to go to the dance with Kirstin.
And that's how you learn to live with regret.
You gotta play it cool when it comes to who you love or somebody is going to get jealous and try to beat you to the punch. That's why, after I read reports from Peter King saying that Gruden was becoming infatuated with TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, I had to bury my head in my hands. It was a classic rookie mistake.
One quarterback coach I know told me: "It's getting very hard for [Cincinnati offensive coordinator] Jay Gruden to hide how much he loves Andy Dalton."
Though the term is easily and often overused, there's a reason we hear so much about 'smokescreens' this time of year. Experienced GMs and managers don't want to get burned and miss out on going to the dance with their own heart-throb because another team picked up on their vibe and beat them to punch. Therefore they feign interest in Laura in hopes that Bobby foolishly falls in love with her instead of Kirstin. In this case, it's quite possible that the Bengals have been feigning interest in players like Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton who have received fairly widespread and public praise from the Bengals brass.
However, we've heard time and time again that the Bengals are probably looking for a QB who will fit their system, and TCU quarterback Andy Dalton is probably one of those guys. It's been rumored for sometime now that the Bengals are very interested in him, but part of me worries that if other teams catch wind that the Bengals are considering the option of drafting Dalton, they could easily move up to the top of the second round snatch him up before the Bengals do.
Of course, there's nothing really to say that Dalton himself isn't the smokescreen. It could just as easily be the case that the Bengals want to push up his value, so that a similar quarterback like Ponder might fall to them in the second.
But that's the crazy thing about love isn't it? On the one hand it makes you want to blurt it out on a mountain top, and on the other it makes you want to keep it locked away in a safe. But for the time being - maybe Gruden should keep things to himself.