All of this talk around the interwebs and television and all I'm hearing on the Oakland Raiders 2011 draft is "they reached for this guy," "they reached for that guy," "he was a huge reach." Reaching might just be the most overused, overly annoying, and overall irrelevant term in the NFL Draft.
See what I mean after the jump.
Reach- in NFL Draft terms, it means to pick a guy ahead of where he is projected by the media and experts to be drafted or where his talent/potential projects him worthy of being picked.
And right there we have it: MEDIA AND DRAFT EXPERTS. Not once I have I ever heard the phrase reach be used by an NFL scout, GM, or coach. Who knows, maybe I missed it. However, it's wildly tossed around by the media and alleged experts.
However, these media members and draft "experts" pretty much only know the same as we do. Only thing different is they get the occasional bit of inside "information". Why the quotes around information? Because about 90-95% of this "information" is nothing but a smoke screen by teams to fool other teams.
These smoke screens can also be used to deceive the fanbase as well. Take for instance the Miami Dolphins. They came out and said they tried to trade up for Ryan Mallet but didn't get high enough to grab him. Instead they drafted a running back. The Dolphins have said multiple times that they wanted to restructure the running game and that they were confident in Chad Henne.
Now then, if you know anything about Chad Henne and how he's viewed by Dolphins fans, you know statements like that would greatly frustrate the fans. However, Miami stuck to their draft plan (I assume because I'm not an "expert") and took the running back Daniel Thomas. Yet, they came out and said that they originally were going for Mallet.
The fanbase is pleased their team really tried to fix the hated QB situation, and the Dolphins drafted their running back. However, the average fan might not look that deep into it and neither would the typical draft "expert" or media personnel.
Thus the alleged value of a player as perceived by teams around the league is very much skewed. One team might say they absolutely love Greg Salas and think he's a third round pick. This might frighten a team that really wants him , forcing them to use a high pick on a guy that the other GM's might place in the fourth or fifth. This could ruin one team's draft plans while making it easier for another to get the guy they really want.
The only opinion of a player's value that matters is that of the 32 GM's of the NFL and/or the head coaches. Their smoke screens can skew values of "experts"/media as does the personal opinions of the "experts"/media.
Thus we return the concept of reaching. Fact of the matter is, if there's a guy you really want who fits what you want to do and you have a good feeling about him, take him. And that's what teams do. They don't give a flying fazoodle about what the media says about the pick. You think Oakland cares that Todd McShay says they reached for Wisniewski? No.
They needed Wisnewski, they really liked him, so they drafted him. They needed Van Dyke, they thought he fit the scheme, they liked him, so they took him. "They reached for him." "They reached on Van Dyke, bad pick value." Since when is it bad value to go for the guy that fits what you want to and fits a need?
I don't even want to hear about trading down. Trade downs are never guarantees and aren't guaranteed to find. So many people seem to think that any team can trade down at any time and still get the guy they want. How do you know?
Maybe you trade down and the guy you wants gets drafted right after. Or maybe right before you pick. But yet if you don't trade down and pick him then....."REACHING, REACHING, WHAT A BAD PICK, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE FOURTH OR FIFTH!"
It's not a reach if he's the right guy. Once again, the 32 NFL GM's opinions on player value/talent/ranking is all that matters. Just because Mel Kiper says it's a reach, or some draft site says it's a reach, doesn't mean it is. Reaching was invented by the media, for the media.
It's not reaching if the players is the right guy for your team.