Define the Word "Reach"

In the coming days, weeks and months, Jaguar fans will hear opinion after opinion that rank the Jacksonville 2010 draft class as one of the NFL's worst. The general consensus being that the Jaguars drafted players, namely first round pick Tyson Alualu, that they defined as a "reach." But what exactly does it mean for a player to be a reach? Well the way I see it, there are only two qualifications that could warrant someone being labeled a reach:

 "To take a guy you could conceivably get 15 to 25 slots later, you're cheating yourself not just out of sixth- and seventh-round guys, but potentially a late second- or third-rounder. You have to know not just the pick, but the relative value." - Mel Kiper Jr. on the Jaguars' selection of Tyson Alualu

A) Pick Value:

As Mel Kiper said in the quote above, a team must understand that liking a player doesn't necessarily mean that you're maximizing the value of your pick. If the player you fall in love with isn't on the radar of any other team until the second round, you shouldn't draft them in the early part of the first round. You should try to trade down and try to get the full value of your pick while still getting your targeted player. I agree with Kiper on that point and I don't see how anyone wouldn't. Of course you want to maximize the value of your pick, who wouldn't?

Where the logic fails is when an assumption is made that Tyson Alualu would've been available deeper in the draft. The only ones that can make that assumption are those with access to the actual NFL draft boards. That company does not include the likes of Kiper, McShay, Mayock, Vic, myself or anyone else writing articles about the draft.

As far as we know, Alualu could've been a top 10 player on every draft board in the nation. For all we know, the Jaguars got the steal of the draft and there were teams attempting to trade up and draft Alualu before the Jaguars had the chance. I find it hard to believe that the Jaguars were the only team in the NFL to "discover" the talents of Alualu. 

The fact is we don't know. The "general consensus" was that Alualu was a second-round pick, but is it so unbelievable that the "general consensus" could've been wrong? After all, the "general consensus" was that Jimmy Clausen was a top 10 pick. If the Jaguars had drafted him, the folks at ESPN would be praising the Jaguars for maximizing the value of their pick, when in reality it would have been a huge reach considering he could've been available to them over 30 spots later. 

So that brings me to the other qualification for a player to be named a "reach":

B) Player Value:

This is the only way that a person with no access to draft boards can realistically say that a player was a reach. By looking at the film and the measurables and attempting to scout the player on their own. I made a plea on fellow SB Nation site, Mocking the Draft, for the members to give me a reason why Mr. Alualu didn't deserve his top 10 status. In three days I have received over 100 comments, yet no answer other than, "He was better for the 3-4" and claims that he would've been available later.

So I have come to the conclusion that if someone wishes to continue to label Alualu as a "reach" they need to substantiate with some logic. 

Alualu is nearly the exact same size as Gerald McCoy. McCoy ran a 4.96 at the combine, while Tyson Alualu ran a 4.87. That's significantly faster than McCoy and Suh. 

Take a look at vertical jumps and the difference is staggering. At the combine there was a 30.5 vertical from McCoy and Suh put up the best vertical jump since 2000 with a 35.5" jump. Alualu finished with a 35" jump. 

In school Alualu had better stats than McCoy and played in every game starting with his true freshman year. He showed durability and was also a leader on Cal's defense. He's a great character guy wife a wife and two kids and has never been anything but a pleasure to coach according to everyone around him.

On the field, Alualu was more productive than McCoy and was reveled for his nonstop motor.

So perhaps, I'm missing something in my logic, but the way I see it Alualu wasn't a reach and can't be considered a reach until someone gives a reason to substantiate his 2nd round status. 

- Adam Stites

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