NFL Draft 2013: Biggest Reaches from Day 3
Reaches are a certainty with the NFL draft.
We came into this year's festivities knowing that things were going to be a little hectic. Elite quarterbacks were at a minimum, but the talent in the trenches and at other positions was overflowing.
As such, it was expected to be an unpredictable draft with even more reaches than normal.
The word "reach" brings with it an unwarranted negative connotation. Sometimes a reach can mean a bad pick, but more often than not, it's simply the result of a team selecting a less-talented player because he fills a need.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the biggest ones from Saturday's final three rounds.
Nico Johnson, LB, Kansas City Chiefs: No. 99 Overall
Nico Johnson is an intriguing player from the nation's best defense. He plays with a lot of physicality and possesses the traits necessary to help clog the running game.
However, the Kansas City Chiefs just signed both Akeem Jordan and Zac Diles to pair with Derrick Johnson in the middle of that defense, so this is nothing more than a depth pick at a position they clearly see as a priority.
There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but it suggests why they reached for Johnson, who Scout Inc. ranked 60 spots lower than his actual draft position.
Edmund Kugbila, OG, Carolina Panthers: No. 108 Overall
If you need proof of just how much of a head-scratcher this pick is, check out Bleacher Report's Matt Miller's take on Edmund Kugbila (via B/R's Collin McCollough):
Paraphrased @nfldraftscout on new CAR OG Kugbila: "I'll be honest, I haven't seen this guy play football 'cuz he's not in my top 500."WOW!— Collin McCollough (@cmccollo) April 27, 2013
Neverthless, the Valdosta State megastar is relatively raw with enticing potential, and in the fourth round, it's sometimes worth it to reach for a risk of that nature.
J.C. Tretter, OG, Green Bay Packers: No. 122 Overall
Think the Green Bay Packers are interested in improving their running game?
Not only did they draft two running backs, but after seeing several guards go off the board on Thursday, Friday and right before them in Round 3, they reached for Cornell's J.C. Tretter to improve depth on the interior.
That suggested he would probably go somewhere around the sixth round, but the Packers' need to get more physical meant otherwise.
Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Baltimore Ravens: No. 130 Overall
Kyle Juszczyk is a hard-nosed runner and aggressive lead blocker who fits Baltimore's physical style to a tee.
If you're a Ravens fan, you should be ecstatic at bringing this guy onto your team.
However, you probably could have been even more ecstatic in the fifth, sixth or even seventh round—Scout Inc. ranked the bruising fullback as an undrafted player.
Drafting a backup for 31-year-old Vonta Leach makes plenty of sense, but doing so in the fourth round—especially considering the position—felt premature.
Steven Means, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: No. 147 Overall
Nevertheless, the athletic, rangy defensive end has the ability to serve as a rotational pass rusher and important piece on special teams.
Still, though, a player who so few had probably even heard of before today was extremely likely to fall to the later rounds on Saturday.
Sam Martin, P, Appalachian State: No. 165 Overall
The Detroit Lions were clearly in need of a punter, but in the fifth round?
While it's not quite on the level of the Jacksonville Jaguars using a third-round pick on Bryan Anger last year, I'm still a proponent of waiting until the last round to nab someone who kicks the ball. To make it even more perplexing, Appalachian State's Sam Martin ranks just 10th among punters on CBS Sports' big board.
This pick couldn't have waited?
Jeff Locke, P, Minnesota Vikings: No. 155 Overall
Apparently punters really are people, too.
The Minnesota Vikings were in the market for a replacement for incumbent Chris Kluwe, and Jeff Locke is the No. 1 punter in this draft, but come on.
Once again, this is a selection that could have happened much later in the day.
Eric Kush, C, Kansas City Chiefs: No. 170 Overall
If you're wondering, "who?" then you're not alone.
Eric Kush out of THE California University (Pa) is an unknown commodity that most had pegged as a candidate for Mr. Irrelevant or simply an undrafted free agent.
There is certainly potential here, and depth is always crucial on the offensive line, but it feels a little bit like Andy Reid and the Chiefs wasted an early sixth-round pick, which still holds value.
Kush is unlikely to contribute anytime soon, and there were other offensive linemen—David Quessenberry, Jeff Baca, Travis Bond—still on the board that would have made more sense at this position.
Rex Burkhead, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: No. 190 Overall
Rex Burkhead put up some impressive production at Nebraska, but most draftniks don't see his game translating to the NFL.
Not only does he lack top-end speed, but he isn't a great pass protector and has had problems with durability in the past.
At the very best, most believed he would be a late seventh-round pick.
The Cincinnati Bengals reached for him in the middle of the sixth, which was not only perplexing because of his projected draft spot, but because Marvin Lewis' squad had already selected Giovani Bernard.
Brad Sorensen, QB, San Diego Chargers: No. 221 Overall
It's difficult to call a seventh-round pick a reach, but this pick felt a little surprising considering signal callers like Zac Dysert, Tyler Bray and Matt Scott were still on the board.
Nevertheless, the final round is a time for taking risks, and while Sorensen feels like a reach because of the seemingly better prospects still available at the same position, it's clear the Chargers felt he fit their system better.
It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for 'em.