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In The NFL Draft, When Is A Reach Not A Reach?


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So there's this team.

They have one bruiser at running back and a generally talented team, but they are increidbly weak at wide receiver. We're talking the Falcons before Roddy White ate his spinach and started making necklaces out of cornerbacks' teeth. We're talking some primitive football team before the forward pass was even invented. We are talking about receivers so awful, my eyes are beginning to run out of my skull as I type this.

Defying all expectations, this team goes for a running back--a position where they don't even have a need!--and one who was widely believed to be a second round talent or lower. This team is widely mocked until said running back absolutely destroys the league in his rookie season and is behind one of the better years in the franchise's history. And a funny thing happened: no receivers went in the first round of the draft.

The team is the Tennessee Titans, and the year is 2008. The running back is Chris Johnson out of East Carolina. I was among the mouth-breathing draft pundits who said he was a huge reach. A year older and a little wiser, I find myself confronting a similar problem when I continually pick Virgina linebacker Clint Sintim for the Falcons with the exact same pick: good ol' #24.

I don't believe Sintim is a reach because he's clearly one of the top five linebackers in a deep class and the position is one of great need for the Falcons. Others would disagree, citing widely held "knowledge" that Sintim is a second round pick. The same could be said for Clay Matthews Jr. until recently, when he rocketed up the boards based on workouts and word of mouth. A guy's draft position can fluctuate, it seems, with little more to go on than a rumor about his drug usage or the position of Venus relative to Alpha Centauri.

My point is that nobody knows what's going to happen in the draft or how successful everyone's going to be. I'm a believer in Clint Sintim, but he could turn out to be a colossal bust. Guys like Scott Wright at Draft Countdown--whose opinion I value a lot, incidentally--think the Falcons will go for Larry English. All of us are fumbling around in the dark like T.J. Duckett during a lunar eclipse, and while it's pretty fun and entertaining to do so, we're fooling ourselves if we think we've got even a couple of the answers.

So while many of us grumble about Jared Cook being picked up in the second round of our mock or I get a couple of e-mails questioning my sanity for Sintim, the truth is that Thomas Dimitroff could pick either, both or neither of them. They could turn out to be great, average or terrible. The greatest favor we can do ourselves during this frenzied time of year is take a hard look at each prospect based solely on his merits and decide if he'd be a good fit for the Falcons, pick number be damned. And while I'll be the first guy in line to question the team picking Brandon Pettigrew with their first round pick, I'll also be the first to advocate for patience. When a team spends countless hours scouting a guy and thinks they can be an impact player, management will get their ink-stained paws on them however they can.

And that's when a reach may not be a reach, after all.

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a reach IMO is when you draft someone lower on your own board than someone else available . Key words: your board. Every team has a different ranking system based on need and fit in the system. Going against your own pre-draft evaluations is a reach. This isn't always a bad thing, if the GM and coaching staff just feels very comfortable about a prospect, or they take into account any other circumstance like value at that particular position later int he draft..

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So there's this team.

They have one bruiser at running back and a generally talented team, but they are increidbly weak at wide receiver. We're talking the Falcons before Roddy White ate his spinach and started making necklaces out of cornerbacks' teeth. We're talking some primitive football team before the forward pass was even invented. We are talking about receivers so awful, my eyes are beginning to run out of my skull as I type this.

Defying all expectations, this team goes for a running back--a position where they don't even have a need!--and one who was widely believed to be a second round talent or lower. This team is widely mocked until said running back absolutely destroys the league in his rookie season and is behind one of the better years in the franchise's history. And a funny thing happened: no receivers went in the first round of the draft.

The team is the Tennessee Titans, and the year is 2008. The running back is Chris Johnson out of East Carolina. I was among the mouth-breathing draft pundits who said he was a huge reach. A year older and a little wiser, I find myself confronting a similar problem when I continually pick Virgina linebacker Clint Sintim for the Falcons with the exact same pick: good ol' #24.

I don't believe Sintim is a reach because he's clearly one of the top five linebackers in a deep class and the position is one of great need for the Falcons. Others would disagree, citing widely held "knowledge" that Sintim is a second round pick. The same could be said for Clay Matthews Jr. until recently, when he rocketed up the boards based on workouts and word of mouth. A guy's draft position can fluctuate, it seems, with little more to go on than a rumor about his drug usage or the position of Venus relative to Alpha Centauri.

My point is that nobody knows what's going to happen in the draft or how successful everyone's going to be. I'm a believer in Clint Sintim, but he could turn out to be a colossal bust. Guys like Scott Wright at Draft Countdown--whose opinion I value a lot, incidentally--think the Falcons will go for Larry English. All of us are fumbling around in the dark like T.J. Duckett during a lunar eclipse, and while it's pretty fun and entertaining to do so, we're fooling ourselves if we think we've got even a couple of the answers.

So while many of us grumble about Jared Cook being picked up in the second round of our mock or I get a couple of e-mails questioning my sanity for Sintim, the truth is that Thomas Dimitroff could pick either, both or neither of them. They could turn out to be great, average or terrible. The greatest favor we can do ourselves during this frenzied time of year is take a hard look at each prospect based solely on his merits and decide if he'd be a good fit for the Falcons, pick number be damned. And while I'll be the first guy in line to question the team picking Brandon Pettigrew with their first round pick, I'll also be the first to advocate for patience. When a team spends countless hours scouting a guy and thinks they can be an impact player, management will get their ink-stained paws on them however they can.

And that's when a reach may not be a reach, after all.

Nice read. I have a feeling we may reach abit in this draft. I wouldnt mind Sintim at all at 24. If we dont go Sintim in the 1st we could get Freeman in the second.

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Nice read. I have a feeling we may reach abit in this draft. I wouldnt mind Sintim at all at 24. If we dont go Sintim in the 1st we could get Freeman in the second.

I wouldn't mind Sintim either. Most experts say he better suited for 3-4, but i think he can play 4-3 and every 1 said we reached for Sam Baker, but when healthy, he was great and didn't allow a sack.

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I wouldn't mind Sintim either. Most experts say he better suited for 3-4, but i think he can play 4-3 and every 1 said we reached for Sam Baker, but when healthy, he was great and didn't allow a sack.

Do you think that Sintim can be the DE/OLB that we are looking for. I think that he can play DE and OLB. I dont believe in that reach stuff. Like another poster said it all depends on the teams draft board not these analysts draft board.

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Do you think that Sintim can be the DE/OLB that we are looking for. I think that he can play DE and OLB. I dont believe in that reach stuff. Like another poster said it all depends on the teams draft board not these analysts draft board.

Clint Sintim's Scouting Report

Strengths: Nice height, size, and build ... Supreme versatility; Can play 4-3 SAM, 3-4 OLB ... Do-it-all linebacker in the appropriate schemes ... Athletic enough to be a consistent force in the pass rush ... Takes appropriate angles to ball-carriers ... Excellent strength ... Able to shake offensive linemen and make the tackle ... Highly productive and consistent playmaker even with the loss of Chris Long ... Will be an outstanding leader.

Summary: You have to love Sintim's build. He can play a lot of positions and he has a good feel for the game who gives it his all ... Underrated propspect who could shock many people and go in the top 20 picks.

Player Comparison: Julian Peterson. Both players can play the same positions and are athletic enough to be consistent pass rushers.

-got that off of walterfootball.com--I think he can play both OLB and DE. You can use his pass rush skills on the Dline as well. But like everyone has said, it depends on our draft board. I don't really have a pick at #24 cuz we have so many needs, but I would not be upset if we picked him at that spot.

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Clint Sintim's Scouting Report

Strengths: Nice height, size, and build ... Supreme versatility; Can play 4-3 SAM, 3-4 OLB ... Do-it-all linebacker in the appropriate schemes ... Athletic enough to be a consistent force in the pass rush ... Takes appropriate angles to ball-carriers ... Excellent strength ... Able to shake offensive linemen and make the tackle ... Highly productive and consistent playmaker even with the loss of Chris Long ... Will be an outstanding leader.

Summary: You have to love Sintim's build. He can play a lot of positions and he has a good feel for the game who gives it his all ... Underrated propspect who could shock many people and go in the top 20 picks.

Player Comparison: Julian Peterson. Both players can play the same positions and are athletic enough to be consistent pass rushers.

-got that off of walterfootball.com--I think he can play both OLB and DE. You can use his pass rush skills on the Dline as well. But like everyone has said, it depends on our draft board. I don't really have a pick at #24 cuz we have so many needs, but I would not be upset if we picked him at that spot.

Yeah i read antother report that said the he can play with his hand in the ground. If we do trade down, I think that we could definitely pick up sintim with a later pick in the 1st or a early 2nd, if we really want a DE/OLB like some reports suggest.

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