Eventually as the April smoke continues to get heavier and we begin to suffocate, serious questions have to be asked about the long-term strategy a team has at a certain position. This doesn’t mean there’s any truth contained in a specific rumor, but instead there’s a snowball effect. As multiple rumors mount, there’s some truth somewhere.

Confused? Good. That’s how you should feel right now, because 10 days away from the draft there’s little clarity. The specific rumor(s) that provided some fun fodder over the weekend came from Philadelphia, where Ryan Tannehill’s name just won’t go away.

The Eagles already have a quarterback named Michael Vick who was signed to a six-year deal worth $100 million last December that’s really a five-year deal worth $80 million. Regardless, he’s signed long term, which may not necessarily be a good thing. Vick will turn 32 this summer, and he’s already displayed a notorious inability to stay healthy. Combine that with the natural process of his legs–the key to his game–eroding with age, and drafting a quarterback early this year who could be developed isn’t an absurd idea.

But moving significant picks to move up to No. 4 and take Tannehill? That may be a little absurd. Yet that was the rumor Friday from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, a rumor that was then shot down. In just the past month between their reported pursuit of Peyton Manning and now a reported interest in one of the draft’s top quarterbacks, this is the second time the Eagles have been linked to a significant name at the position who would replace Vick, either now, or very soon.

That reflects a lack of confidence in both Vick’s health, and his ability to be a championship-caliber quarterback when he’s not nursing an injury. As Gregg Rosenthal notes, the Eagles have a history of gunning down rumors quickly, and then acting different later:

A report that the Eagles were interested in the No. 4 overall pick (for Ryan Tannehill) was shot down locally on Sunday, but that’s what the Eagles do. They shoot down reports. The Eagles appear to have some level of interest in Tannehill. If they can’t get him, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team invest a second round pick in someone like Brandon Weeden or Kirk Cousins.

Eitheer Weeden, Cousins, or Brock Osweiler would indeed make a lot of sense, and at least two of those second tier QBs should be available in the second round when Philly is on the clock with their 46th overall pick.

With Vick it’s never been about talent and ability as much as it’s been about health. Elite quarterbacks can often still play at a high level into their late 30s, but Vick is both uniquely talented, and uniquely injury prone, and therefore his time as an effective starter will be much shorter.

If the opportunity to draft a younger quarterback with upside who can be groomed over several years is there early, passing on it could be both difficult, and unwise.

And now you want to know the rest of the story…

  • As usual, Peter King is filled with interesting nuggets and commentary on a Monday morning, and one of the leading tidbits is his thought that at the No. 4 hole, the Browns will be the pivot point for this year’s draft. [MMQB]
  • Trent Richardson took a 17-year-old Cancer survivor to her prom. [Tuscaloosa News]
  • Bobby Petrino and Sean Payton have something in common. [Mike Freeman]
  • Tim Tebow was booed at a Yankee game, which clearly means the entire city of New York hates him, and hopes that he fails colossally. Or maybe Yankees fans are also Giants fans, and Jets fans are Mets fans, and this is common knowledge to anyone in New York, amirite? [New York Daily News]
  • Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn worked out Fletcher Cox over the weekend. [Bleeding Green Nation]
  • The Bucs did something pretty awesome for an employee who celebrated her 35th anniversary with the team. [Tampa Bay Tribune]
  • It’s always fun debating and wondering about the truth of rumors and the presence of fire where there’s smoke. That’s what makes the draft entertaining, and more importantly, keeps us employed (see: the Vick debate above). However, the chances of the Vikings drafting someone not named Matt Kalil if they don’t trade out of the No. 3 spot seem very, very slim. [Daily Norseman]
  • So you’re telling me that the new rules allowing casino advertising will be a highly profitable business venture for teams? Weird. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
  • This is a pretty sweet David Akers painting. [Niners Nation]