Home » NFL Draft » Reaches and values.

Reaches and values.

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Hours of number crunching has confirmed only one thing: The Enigma of Berkeley.


After my Ogletree pick (and my earlier Rhodes pick), I got thinking about the idea of ‘reaching’ on picks in the NFL Draft.

After all:  the value of pick is established by an imaginary market comprised of dozens/hundreds of reporters/bloggers/analysts who know markedly less than the football people who are determined to be overpaying.

It’s absurd and we do it every year.

Tyson Alualu is a reach.  Brian Bulaga is value.

I thought I’d take a look at how it goes when we annually fall into this trap.  Let’s compare a mock database to the actual picks taken that year.  Let’s see if there’s anything to the ‘reaches’ and ‘values’ assessments that are laid down.


The dicey part of this is finding old mocks.  Our friends at WalterFootball still have their old mocks up going back to 2003.  That is why I chose Walter as the arbiter for ‘reach’ and ‘value.’


Credit where it is due.

On a quick tangent, let me take a moment to congratulate Walter on their accuracy.  

Out of 322 first round picks since 2003, 211 were +/-6 of the actual pick.  That’s 65.5% of the time they’re hitting the mark.  63 times nailed it.

There are no metrics on mocks so we can’t say with certainty that that’s great… but it seems great to me.  There are misses (mocked Quinn to the Browns at 3 in 2007), but there’s also a few hits (DHB to the Raiders at 7 in 2009).  And sometimes they get it more right than the pros (mocked all-pro Beatty 20th in 2009; he fell to the Giants late in second round).  

For the most inexact of sciences, I’ll give them a ‘job well done’ rating.


For our purposes we’ll just say that if you pick someone twelve slots higher than the mock, it’s a reach.  Twelve slots lower, it’s value.

I only looked at the first round.  So if someone was mocked in the second or third round, I’m saying their mock position is 33.  That’s why Alualu (mocked at #53, taken at #10) isn’t far and away the Reach Champion.  Likewise, the best value picks are in the second, third, etc., rounds.  I don’t account for those here either.

If you’re interested in the raw data, here’s the messy spreadsheet.  

I’ll keep the whole list in the sidebar for reference for the next couple days.

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Biggest reaches since 2003.



What’s the batting average when one defies Walter?

If we eyeball the biggest reaches shown to the right:

Bad picks:  Anderson, Mayo, Alualu, Moreno, English, B. Johnson, E. James.

Good picks:  Whitner, Rivers, Warren, Timmons, Vilma, C. Pace, Hall, Flacco.

Damn, it’s a tie.



Maybe the other side of the equation will yield something more definitive?



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Best first round value picks since 2003.


Repeating the same process for ‘value picks,’ who wins:  the mock or the pros?  This measure is admittedly inaccurate since the ‘value’ picks are found in later rounds and I didn’t look at those.

Good picks:  Wilkerson, Bulaga, Rodgers, Oher.

Bad picks:  Udeze, Wells, Heyward, Quinn, Hughes.


I can’t make out anything here either.

Welp.  They can’t all be homeruns.



All I’ve got for a takeaway on this is that there’s more validity to mocks (Walter’s anyway) than I expected.

And data like this is what makes Thursday night compelling TV.



  1. Kanicki-

    You’re the man.

    I would say that the one thing that impresses me about the way the Giants and Steelers draft is that they really wait for other teams to panic around them and then take a really good player that’s fallen to them (see DeCastro, David). Some of the other “good drafters” like Dimitroff and Belichick have a habit of trading around a lot and quite honestly, I think you can get too cute with that. At some point, Belichick has to stop trading around draft picks like they were baseball cards and actually pick players that can play.

    Love the visual aids.


    • jimkanicki says:

      decastro’s return is like adding another top 20 pick to this year’s [good/great] draft. 6-1 cortez allen will wind up as a fine replacement for keenan allen.. knowing the steelers, he’ll be an upgrade. cheap william gay will prove to be a better nickel CB than any of the browns smurfs.

      reports of pittsburgh’s decline will be shown to be pre-mature.

  2. “the only tangible associable is the time burn both for the producer and consumer.”

    Agree x1000.

    Unrelated – but oh, Quentin Groves. This offseason is the gift that keeps on giving. And we haven’t seen Lombardi (Banner) run a draft yet.

  3. Reaches and Values truly have no meaning. It’s all subjective – that is until you review a ten-year old draft. I can’t begin to state how needlessly dumb draft grades are. If a player is a good player, then they are a value. If not, then I guess they were a reach.

    Either way, every number one overall pick falls into either category. If Andrew Luck blows out both knees and suffers a Tim Couch shoulder injury, then he was a reach. Same goes with RG3’s Achilles or Knee or whatever.

    These days, if an NFL team can get five years out of a player (non-QB), then that player is a great value.

    • jimkanicki says:

      not only are they entirely subjective, there is no measurable trending to confirm or deny their validity.

      mocks are truly ethereal.

      the only tangible associable is the time burn both for the producer and consumer.

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