The Biggest Reaches from Day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft
We'll never know what players will end up being great picks. Players considered a reach at the time may become stars and plenty of draft steals will end up being busts. There's a lot that goes into being a successful NFL player, and all the prospects drafted need further development in the pros.
Opinions vary on the talent level of the prospects in the draft, and drafting well very much has to do with having a strategy and getting value. The smart teams maximize position value, and that's especially true in this draft because the talent was all clumped together on Day 2.
Most of the players that were reaches on Day 2 were filling desperate needs for a team. The biggest head-scratchers were players clearly chosen ahead of superior picks at the position.
Arthur Brown was the best inside linebacker on the board, but the Bills selected Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso. It’s not that Alonso is going to be a bad player, but there’s no good reason for him to have gone off the board ahead of Brown.
The Bills needed a linebacker, but reaching for a need on a player with off-the-field questions and drafting him ahead of a cleaner prospect doesn’t make sense. Brown ended up landing with the Ravens to replace Ray Lewis.
Kevin Minter was drafted one pick ahead of Alonso, so you have to wonder if the Bills panicked that all the inside linebackers would be off the board before they had a chance to address the need. That still doesn't explain drafting him over Brown.
Alonso was the third-ranked inside linebacker on Matt Miller’s board, but he was the 86th overall player and drafted 46th overall. This was clearly a reach.
Teams start reaching for needs on Day 2, and that’s exactly what happened when the Bears drafted inside linebacker Jon Bostic with the 18th pick in the second round. Arthur Brown was on the board and would have done better trying to fill the gap at linebacker left by Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach.
Bostic was ranked 89th on Matt Miller’s board and went over a full round earlier with the 50th overall pick. It’s not like Brown’s size made a difference, because Bostic has basically the exact same build but lacks the amazing athleticism and instincts that Brown possesses.
The Bears needed a linebacker, and there was a steal on the board in Brown. Instead, the new leadership reached for an inferior prospect.
The Redskins went with the big cornerback David Amerson, which seems to be an odd fit for their defense unless they plan to move him to safety. Amerson is a physical specimen, but was drafted ahead of Robert Alford and Jamar Taylor, both of whom seem like better fits for Washington’s defense.
It’s a gamble taking Amerson this early, but he has some undeniable upside. The Redskins must feel like they can take some chances in the draft now that they have Robert Griffin III to cover up any blunders.
Matt Miller had both Taylor and Jordan Poyer ahead of Amerson on his big board when the Redskins picked. Several other players were just below Amerson, but don't carry the risk. Amerson has huge upside, but risky picks should be saved for Day 3 when the expectations are low.
The Redskins are clearly hoping Amerson's ability to make plays translates to the NFL and reached for the chance to find out.
The Broncos need a running back to pair with Ronnie Hillman and found their man in Montee Ball. The player and the need fit, but the value was horrible. Ball was ranked lower than several other prospects.
Eddie Lacy, Christine Michael, Johnathan Franklin and Marcus Lattimore were all still on the board when the Broncos selected Ball. The Broncos didn’t really need to reach for a running back because there was a ton of depth at the position.
Matt Miller’s top-ranked running back was Franklin, who remains available going into Day 3 of the draft. The Broncos could have drafted a quality running back that fit their scheme much lower without much issue. Their were also still needs on defense to address when the Broncos reached for Ball.
Keenan Allen and Markus Wheaton were still on the board when the Patriots selected wide receiver Aaron Dobson.
Are you kidding me? Dobson would have been considered a reach even if only Stedman Bailey and Marquise Goodwin were on the board (and they were there too).
Dobson was Miller’s 15th-best wide receiver, and only five of them were off the board. Miller had 10 receivers graded higher than the 6’3”, 210-pound receiver out of Marshall.
A great quarterback can often turn any receiver into a productive one, but that doesn’t mean Dobson was a good pick ahead of several receivers with more game-breaking ability. Dobson was a reach, but knowing the Patriots, he’ll probably go out and break rookie records because Tom Brady is throwing him the ball. He does have great hands.
Need is a terrible evaluator, and the Jaguars reached to draft cornerback Dwayne Gratz because they basically had to have a cornerback and they were flying off the draft board on Day 2.
In the case of the Jaguars, they were looking for the right type of cornerback to fit Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme, but Gratz isn’t nearly as tall as Richard Sherman or Brandon Browner, who played for Bradley in Seattle. Gratz is an aggressive press-man cornerback that will compete, but the Jaguars needed a guy with more refined technique to come in and play immediately.
If the Jaguars had waited to draft Gratz, then there is a good chance he or a player of equal skill would have been on the board later. Gratz was the 99th overall player on Matt Miller’s big board and went 64th overall.
Gratz is a classic case of a team reaching for a need and scheme fit on Day 2 instead of letting the draft come to them.
Of all the quarterbacks to choose to push Josh Freeman, the Buccaneers thought Mike Glennon was the best one? Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Tyler Bray or Zac Dysert wouldn’t have been better options? Of course they would have.
If you are going to gamble on a big arm, Bray would have been a superior option. Wilson also has a solid arm and is capable of executing Tampa Bay’s offense. Only Barkley could have been totally taken off the board because of his arm strength, and yet the Bucs still took Glennon.
It’s a wasted pick because Freeman isn’t going to lose the starting job to Glennon. At best, the Bucs drafted a developmental quarterback that also needs to add bulk at the NFL level. Glennon was worth a draft pick for a team, but not for one hoping to light a fire under Freeman and ahead of superior options.
The Dallas Cowboys have had a disastrous draft. They took a center in the first round and followed that up on Day 2 with a solid tight end in Gavin Escobar that will probably not play much in 2013 behind Jason Witten. They reached for a second time by drafting safety J.J. Wilcox.
With players like Shawn Williams and Shamarko Thomas on the board, Wilcox wasn’t nearly the best safety available. Matt Miller had Wilcox as his fifth-rated free safety and 150th overall player, and the Cowboys made him the 80th player selected in the draft. That doesn’t even include some of the free safeties that may be able to play in the box.
The Cowboys are trying to compete in a tough division, but have totally mismanaged their draft so far and missed out on much better prospects. The Cowboys have a great history, but Jerry Jones is slowly following in the footsteps of his late friend Al Davis.
Kayvon Webster barely made it onto Matt Miller’s big board as the 34th cornerback, his 283rd-ranked player. The Denver Broncos selected Webster with the 90th overall pick. Either the Broncos know something we don't or this is one heck of a reach.
Webster played at South Florida and was a starter for the last two years. He ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash at the combine and played in the East-West Shrine Game, but was a late-round prospect.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network put it nicely:
"This is an interesting pick. This is a big, good-looking back with good foot-pedal skills. He opened some eyes at the East-West Game. Obviously, Denver believes in him enough to take him late in the third round."
A lot of cornerbacks went off the board on Day 2, but Webster was certainly a big surprise considering all the other quality players still left at the position. The Broncos must consider Webster a player with the prerequisite athleticism that they can develop to take over for Champ Bailey in a couple years.
These types of players are usually easy to find later in the draft, but by taking him with the 90th pick, he’ll need to become a starter within a year. Not a great draft for the Broncos with multiple reaches on Day 2.
The Patriots drafted an unknown safety out of Rutgers named Duron Harmon. This is a huge head-scratcher from the Patriots. You can only assume that the Patriots have some inside information, but if that’s the case why draft him at the end of the third round? Harmon should have been a sleeper pick at the end of the draft.
Although few teams have been better than the Patriots about manipulating the draft board, they haven’t been the greatest team at using those picks on players that are actually going to win a starting job in the future.
Knowing Bill Belichick, he probably has some minuscule role for Harmon on special teams. This pick is reminiscent of when the Raiders drafted safety Mike Mitchell out of Ohio University in the second round even though he would be nothing more than a third safety.