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Chris Ballard on pre-draft negative stories about players: “It’s bullshit”

Mike Florio and Chris Simms analyze the Texans’ move to select C.J. Stroud with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and explain why he didn’t deserve the negative talk before the draft.

Every year, the days and weeks preceding the draft include a flurry of negative stories about certain players. This year, the guy who got the brunt of it was quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Last night, Colts G.M. Chris Ballard took a deliberate left turn from comments about his first-round selection, quarterback Anthony Richardson, to offer a “sidebar” about this dynamic.

“I get frustrated,” Ballard told reporters. “All the crap that comes out about these kids. It’s crap. Like, it’s bullshit. I’m sorry, but it’s bullshit. Like people that leak these stories, these negative stories on kids. I just don’t -- I don’t agree with it. It’s bullshit.

“These guys work their ass off to get where they need to be, and then all week you’ve got to read . . . and then they’ve got to answer questions. So, anyway, not on Anthony it’s on some other kids int the draft that are good kids, and I thought had to take a little bit of a beating that they shouldn’t have had to take.”

Ballard didn’t name names, but Stroud is obviously the guy he was referring to. Someone wanted him to fall. Someone tried to make it happen, to knock the Texans wobbly at No. 2.

It didn’t work. But if the snowball had started to roll, who knows what would have happened? It could have continued, beyond five and 10 and who knows how far?

Good for Ballard to speak up. Too many scouts and coaches spread bullshit in order to get a player they love to slide. Too many agents do it to get their client taken before someone else’s client. Too many media step right into the bullshit bear trap without realizing they’re being used.

It will never end completely. The goal is to get people to understand why it happens, and to maybe get it to happen less often.