DAILY RUMOR MILL by Profootballtalk editor Mike Florio POSTED 8:58 a.m. EST, February 3, 2005 KIPER PUMPING UP PAC-MAN? As former West Virginia University defensive back/kick returner Adam "Pac-Man" Jones continues to munch his way up Mel Kiper's "Big Board," we can't help but wonder how in the hell Jones merits consideration by Mel as the number six overall player in the draft. Don't get us wrong. We like Pac-Man. Yours truly saw him play in person at least 12 times over the past two years. The kid is good. But the sixth best prospect? To the trained eye, the fact that Jones is represented by Gary Wichard could help explain this phenomenon. We've previously called out Kiper for bumping guys up too high (e.g., Terrell Suggs) based on Mel's friendship with Wichard. We've also heard from two different agents that kids Wichard has recruited this year have said that Wichard told them that, if they sign with Wichard, Kiper will push up their draft stock. (Disclaimer -- We're not saying that Wichard actually said this. We're saying that kids he has recruited have supposedly have said that he said this. Also, we're getting this specific info from other agents, who have at times a vested interest in dissing their competitors. Still, there's a definite belief in the agent community that Kiper takes care of Wichard's clients, and that Wichard uses his relationship with Kiper as a selling point when trying to get clients.) In Mel's defense, the "Scouts, Inc." service on ESPN Insider also has Jones in the top five. Still, the guys with "Scouts, Inc." likely would be working for NFL teams if they really knew what they were doing, and since they work under the ESPN flag with Mel we don't rule out the possibility that, to a certain extent, they follow his lead. One high-level NFL personnel exec told us that Jones likely is benefiting from the annual reality that some underclassmen get extra attention in the press before the real scrutiny commences. "[T]eams haven't really studied Jones yet," the source said. "Every year there is a lot of hype around certain juniors who have more [reputation] than production. A lot of that is started by the media. Once people begin to really watch the tape, I think he's going to fall a little." Still, Jones apparently will be one of the first corners taken. "He's got great feet and body quickness," the source said. "The corner position is really tough. Teams will take a really gifted athlete and overlook how he plays. It's so hard to find good corners. "[Jones] has a lot of bad plays where you don't know what he's doing. . . . That said, he runs well, has good feet, and shows ball skills. He'll definitely go in the first [round]." It remains to be seen, however, whether he'll be a top ten pick. From the kid's perspective (and for Wichard), the difference in dollars and cents between number 6 and number 26 is enormous.