As you sit down for the 2009 NFL Draft, prepare yourself appropriately...
...for resident Boo-Yah network blowhard/NFL Draft "expert" Mel Kiper Jr. throwing around the word "reach" like he was in a toothbrush commercial.
The term "reach" makes little to no sense to me. If a player is selected by a particular team higher than Kiper thinks doesn't mean that they are ultimately wrong, it means they differ in opinion on a particular player's value. In many instances, the teams who have been scouting these players inside and out have a better insight on a certain player.
One analysis from Kiper is fantastic from the 2005 draft. Mel deems guard Logan Mankins drafted by the New England Patriots in the first round a "reach". He goes on to say that with his great size and nastiness, Mankins will fill the void left by free agent departure Joe Andruzzi. Is it fair to say that the Patriots didn't consider this a "reach" at all figuring that they just replaced their starting guard?
It was also during the 2005 draft that Kiper considered the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions as big winners because of the selections of Cedric Benson, Mark Bradley and Mike Williams. He applauds the Lions especially by going against need and taking the "best player available" in Williams.
From a Packers perspective, Kiper considered the draft a dissapointment. He concluded that Aaron Rodgers as a first round selection was solid, but considered "raw" Nick Collins as a "reach" in the second round. He loved the selection of Marviel Underwood in the fourth, and thought that Craig Bragg was a solid seventh round selection.
One could go on and on about Kiper's draft day misguidance, but that isn't the point. Let it be known that Mel Kiper Jr. has made some right predictions in the past as well. I'm more annoyed by the quick-trigger uproar of the Packers' draft picks based on opinion by some analyst. Words that spark this emotion are "reach" and "bust."
So what if the Packers "reach" for a player? If they feel he will be gone by the next pick and they want him, what does it matter?
In regards to "bust", I'm going to bring up a sensitive subject. Even at this point in his career, I don't consider Justin Harrell a "bust". While he has been extremely disappointing, I can't put that label on someone so young. Is it completely impossible for him stay healthy and be an anchor in the defensive front? While it seems unlikely, I haven't given up on him yet.
It just seems that many fans get wrapped up when the draft happens over players that they barely know. Outside of the Big Ten or the top 25 teams in the nation, there aren't many players I know in-depth. My feeling is that Mel Kiper Jr. is much like the fans, he watches tape and highlights of the top players in the nation, and that's about it.
Just remember, it's way too early to make judgments on players from the 2007 and 2008 drafts, how can you possible make quick decisions when those get drafted in 2009? I'm not saying they are going to succeed on every pick, but it doesn't hurt to be optimistic.
When he calls the Packers' #9 selection a reach, don't think about Justin Harrell, think Greg Jennings. I know it won't be tough for you guys to think about Greg Jennings.
Kiper deems such selections with such defiance and arrogance, it is sometimes utterly unwatchable.