The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

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Mothman
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The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

Post by Mothman » Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:40 am

I just ran across this 2012 piece from writer Andrew Garda and loved it:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1143 ... -is-a-myth

From the column:
I'm here to tell you, though, that there are no reaches in the NFL draft. That's a complete and total myth which gets perpetuated every year because teams do stuff that doesn't compute to you or me.

I'm not saying there's no such thing as a bad pick. They happen equally to the so-called reaches (Ted Ginn, Jr.) as they do to the no-brainer top-10 picks (Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell).

What I am saying is that calling a pick a reach is about your value chart, not a team's.

That's not to say your value chart isn't a good one, that your big board is worthless. It can help you get your opinions down and clear your head, it's a great discussion starter, and it gives you an idea of what could happen.

It's not usually a reflection of an actual team's big board, though. Try as you might, you can never fully understand exactly what teams thinks. You can guess; you can research like hell and still be wrong.
More at the link.
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Re: The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

Post by Mothman » Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:45 am

Here's a link to another intelligent take on "reaching", written by a Texans fan and pertaining to this year's draft:

http://www.stateofthetexans.com/blog/20 ... s-a-reach/
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Re: The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

Post by Mothman » Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:49 am

A good take from Scott Kacsmar as well:

http://captaincomeback.wordpress.com/20 ... nfl-draft/
Rather than try to do a Twitter rant with a 140-character limit, I just wanted to share some thoughts on NFL teams “reaching” in the draft.

Let’s look at a hypothetical. A team holds the 15th and 47th picks in the draft. The player they want is roughly the 32nd-best prospect on the board according to most teams and experts. Should the team still pull the trigger on that player, which could be considered a reach, or should they take someone with closer “value” to the No. 15 pick?

(Note: Literally just as I was going to hit “Publish”, I saw a link that made me realize this hypothetical is essentially the real-life example of Seattle and Bruce Irvin last year.)

I say you take the player you want and ignore the so-called “reach” criticism. What’s valuable is getting the player that you feel best fits your system and need. There’s a good chance that player would not be there when you pick again at 47. There is no guarantee you could trade down and get the player in the 20s or 30s; supposedly closer to where he is “supposed to go.” It takes two to tango.

Remember, when these Mel Kiper/Mike Mayock types rank players, they are looking at every position in the draft. The reality is teams are looking at a limited number of positions when it comes to that premium first-round pick. If Geno Smith is the best player available at No. 17, that doesn’t mean a damn thing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, because they have a quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger.
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Re: The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

Post by Eli » Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:02 pm

Mothman wrote:A good take from Scott Kacsmar as well:
Which is the polar opposite of the philosophy behind taking the BPA. If you're selecting a player, say, 15 positions above where you have him on your chart, then you're almost certainly passing on numerous players that you could use. Obviously there will be players who you have no use for in that bunch, either because you have the position covered, or their skills don't fit into your system. But in the end, you're picking primarily out of need, not best value.

It's just another opinion. Neither approach is better than the other and ultimately all teams pick out of need at times and at other times they jump on a player that they just can't pass up.
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Re: The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

Post by VikingLord » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:27 am

Mothman wrote:I just ran across this 2012 piece from writer Andrew Garda and loved it:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1143 ... -is-a-myth

From the column:
I disagree with this. While it's possible individuals may differ as to value at a given spot in the draft, there is a collective opinion on players that is less subjective, at least within a range of picks. Further, the concept of "value" at a pick isn't about being "right" or "wrong" per se, but rather whether a team's choice is in at least rough alignment with that consensus.

So I may not know or understand how Brad Childress decided it was worth trading up in the 2nd round in the 2010 draft to grab a backup running back, but I can look at what a large sample size of people thought about that move and draw some conclusion from it.

I agree with the author regarding the assessment of picks, however. It is impossible to say with certainty whether a particular pick turned out well at the time the pick is made, but the concept of a draft grade is completely valid IMHO as it can be determined how well a team's choices match up with the wisdon of the group. But it's important to remember the grade is not a predictor of whether the player will succeed - it's really just an indicator of how far the choice deviated from the overall consensus, which itself is not a predictor of ultimate success.
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Re: The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

Post by Mothman » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:47 am

VikingLord wrote:I disagree with this. While it's possible individuals may differ as to value at a given spot in the draft, there is a collective opinion on players that is less subjective, at least within a range of picks. Further, the concept of "value" at a pick isn't about being "right" or "wrong" per se, but rather whether a team's choice is in at least rough alignment with that consensus.

So I may not know or understand how Brad Childress decided it was worth trading up in the 2nd round in the 2010 draft to grab a backup running back, but I can look at what a large sample size of people thought about that move and draw some conclusion from it.

I agree with the author regarding the assessment of picks, however. It is impossible to say with certainty whether a particular pick turned out well at the time the pick is made, but the concept of a draft grade is completely valid IMHO as it can be determined how well a team's choices match up with the wisdon of the group. But it's important to remember the grade is not a predictor of whether the player will succeed - it's really just an indicator of how far the choice deviated from the overall consensus, which itself is not a predictor of ultimate success.
I think the problem is that any "consensus" we have tends to be a very loose consensus at best and it's based on the projections of draft insiders, fans, network analysts, etc., not on the evaluations of the teams. That consensus is useful enough to say a player widely projected to go in round 3 is a reach in round 1 but even if he is a reach based on the most common projections, I'm not convinced that means much. More often than not, people are getting worked up over a perceived reach of 10-20 spots, not of multiple rounds and we know that a player's value can vary from one team to the next based on how well he fits into their roster, system, etc. so his value can vary from team to team and again, it's subjective.

Talk of reaches, value and draft grades is fun but it's all a little like grading a test before it's been taken. Without the results, none of it adds up to much.
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Re: The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

Post by kurtkeoki » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:52 pm

It mostly comes down to trades. If you're picking 10th, and the guy you have as bpa will likely be available at 20, then you didn't get max value by taking him 10th. You would have been better off trading down to say 18th and picking him. If a trade is not available, then taking him 10th is not a reach. Another thing to keep in mind is that even though McShay, Kiper, and Mayock have a guy 10th, it doesn't mean NFL teams do. Look at Sheriff Floyd last year. We got what appears to be a steal, since Mayock had him as a top 5 pick. But what if the other nfl teams felt he was the 25th best player? If the Vikings, or any team, have a guy 10th overall, chances are other teams do as well, even if Mcshay and co. do not.

You see this a lot with fantasy football as well, and every year Berry writes in his draft manifesto that it's okay to reach for a guy if you think he's the bpa. If you're picking 3rd, and the guy you want is the consensus 8th best player, you should take him anyway assuming you can't trade down. He won't be available when you pick again.
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Re: The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

Post by Cliff » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:17 pm

fiestavike wrote:I think perhaps I would define a reach this way. A reach is when you take a player because you are afraid another team will take him before even if he's not the most highly rated player on your board. For various reasons, sometime evaluators just fall in love with a particular guy and don't want to miss out on him. He might be a great value with the 64th pick, but with the 32nd pick he is not a value. The trouble is between 32 and 64 some other team might also want him. If you pick someone because you are afraid of losing out on them, I think that's a reach.
The problem is that the public and analysts are only making guesses about what the “board” says.

For example, if the Vikings take a player at #8 who some draft expert projected at #24 does that make it a reach? Even if the Vikings had him ranked #1 on their board?

That’s the problem with the “reach” term as discussed by this article. Unless you happen to see the team’s board you have no idea if it’s a “reach” or not.

In the end, what you’re really disagreeing with is where the Vikings had a player ranked. You can't argue that it was a "reach" because you don't really know where they had the player ranked.
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Re: The Concept of 'Reaching' in the Draft Is a Myth

Post by Mothman » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:05 pm

Cliff wrote:The problem is that the public and analysts are only making guesses about what the “board” says.

For example, if the Vikings take a player at #8 who some draft expert projected at #24 does that make it a reach? Even if the Vikings had him ranked #1 on their board?

That’s the problem with the “reach” term as discussed by this article. Unless you happen to see the team’s board you have no idea if it’s a “reach” or not.

In the end, what you’re really disagreeing with is where the Vikings had a player ranked. You can't argue that it was a "reach" because you don't really know where they had the player ranked.
Exactly, If we knew where all the teams had players ranked, that would provide a better measure by which to determine if a single team had a player ranked much differently than all of the others but we don't have access to that information either.

I also think "value" in the draft is relative. How are we determining value? We can't base it on where other teams ranked that player. We can't base it on future performance, which is ultimately where it will be determined. Some players may be much more valuable to a team running one system than a team running a different system. It's very, very subjective.
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