Much discussion has been had in these parts as to whether or not the Detroit Lions selection of Ryan Broyles in the 2nd round was a reach. I will admit I thought it was at first even though I really liked him as a player coming out of college. He was a guy that I would have been very happy if we had drafted in the 3rd round but not higher than that. After doing much research on him as a player and reflecting on what a reach actually is in a draft I have come to a few conclusions and have a few questions that I would like answered. What is to follow is a series of thoughts about the Ryan Broyles pick which I hope will stimulate discussion.
- First and foremost we need to define our terms. What is a reach? In general a reach is a draft pick where a team selects a player too soon. This can take many forms.
Need reach/Slight Reach When team takes a player in a spot where there were more talented players available but the player fills a need and is talented. Often times when it seems like a team could have traded back and still got the same player that pick falls under this category of reaching.
Serious Reach - If it is likely that a team would have been able to draft the same player in the next round it is a serious reach. Most people think that was the case with both Seattle's pick of Bruce Irving and the Patriots 2nd round safety pick.
Crazy Reach This is where a player that wasn't supposed to be drafted at all or at least for another couple rounds is drafted.
At first I thought the Ryan Broyles pick was a Serious Reach because I believed he would still be available with our 3rd round pick. Then I downgraded our pick to a slight reach because I thought for sure we could have traded back with Tampa and still gotten him. But the more research I did the more it became clear that both St. Louis and or Houston could have been strongly targeting Ryan Broyles.
So while I still think there was a chance we could have traded back to get Broyles I am now actually of the opinion because of how well he fits what our team wants to do that we took him with the absolute first pick that made any sense whatsoever and therefore did not reach for him. What do I mean by this? I mean that if someone where to look at Ryan Broyles draft stock they probably would have said that Houston in the 2nd or St. Louis in the 3rd was the first possible landing spot for him in an optimistic view. Now knowing how much the Lions thinks he fits us it would seem we would have been the spot where Ryan Broyles would have started to actually think he could have been picked. It just so happens he was picked at the spot that was probably his best case scenario.
The question then remains as to what would have been his draft status if he was fully h
ealthy. I expect vigorous debate on this but I actually don't think he would have went much higher had he not been injured. I defenately don't think he would have cracked the first round. Do any stat guys know when a sub 6 foot smaller WR that does not take the top off of defenses has been picked in the first round? Titus can take the top off and can go get the ball in the air. Those are two things receivers have to be able to do if they are shorter to be taken high. Titus is a legit number two type receiver with big play ability. Broyles by all accounts is a slot guy. One of the best slot guys ever? yep. So I am guessing he would have gone in the top of the 2nd round. But could you really take Ryan Broyles over Alshon Jeffrey or Stephen Hill? I don't think so if you are a team that needs a legit number one or number 2.
So I think there is a strong chance he would have been taken in the middle of the 2nd round. It seems like his injury didn't knock him down even close to a full round and it seems like he was fortunate there was a team that was so perfectly suited for him in a position to draft where most of the elite talent had been taken already. Did we reach for Broyles? According to conventional wisdom we did. But it wasn't a serious reach and if he comes back to full strength, which it looks likely he will, than we drafted a player that would have been seen as a solid value where we took him, who perfectly fits what the Detroit Lions need and do.
And if it turns out that Bentley does comparably well in the NFL to Josh Robinson and Trumain Johnson and Broyles turns out to be a slot machine killer than MM will look like a genius once more.
P.S. What is the over under on how many people will comment on my post without having read it that they hate me and or get mad at me because I am not supportive of the FO. I put it at 2.