Reaches are an unavoidable aspect of the NFL Draft. They're littered throughout draft history. There will be some Thursday night. As the picks flow in from commissioner Roger Goodell, I will be the reach watchdog. When I see a reach, I will add it here and provide all the reasons why.
Let's hope there aren't many.
Disclaimer: the selections will be based on, not the aggregate CBS Sports prospect rankings.
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No. 8: Atlanta Falcons -- Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Robinson is a stud. He's compact, super-elusive, with outstanding vision, plus contact balance and soft hands. But this reach is not about the player himself. It's a reach because it's a rebuilding team whose rookie fifth-round runner in 2022 (Tyler Allgeier) put up 1,000-plus yards at nearly 5.0 yards per carry last season.
Yes, head coach Arthur Smith adores the run game more than any head coach in the game today. It's his identity. Which speaks to likely why the pick was made. But it was unnecessary. And with this pick, the Falcons missed on other more valuable needs -- running back wasn't even a need! -- like cornerback and outside pass rusher with premium selection inside the Top 10.
Robinson absolutely will create highlight-reel plays early in his Falcons career. And the NFC South is wide open. But in the long run, we'll realize Atlanta would've been better off picking a different position at No. 8 then adding another running back -- in what's an incredibly deep running back class -- later in the draft.
No. 12: Detroit Lions -- Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Almost everything written above applies to this selection of Gibbs to the Lions. Except the fact that the Lions are not in a rebuild mode. They're trying to win right now. That matters. A little. Look, Gibbs can really go. His 4.36 speed at the combine translates to the field. He's a smooth mover when avoiding tacklers. Glides on the field. And moving back before making this pick helps.
But this isn't what the Lions absolutely needed. It's a major luxury. They have David Montgomery and D'Andre Swift and a tremendous offensive line. ANY running back could be efficient behind it. Just because the Lions didn't have super-glaring needs -- couldn't they have drafted a corner, receiver, tight end, defensive linemen or Will Levis? -- doesn't make the pick any better.
No. 15: New York Jets - Will McDonald, EDGE, Iowa State
McDonald is a fine prospect. Burst and bendy type, although he isn't always flexible. Pass-rush move arsenal is there. He's older and needs to get considerably stronger. That combo is concerning. Nolan Smith, with higher upside, was on the board. Hmmm.
And last year, the Jets picked edge-rusher Jermaine Johnson in the first round and got better production from fifth-round defensive end Micheal Clemons. So this the biggest need? Not that the biggest need has to be addressed in Round 1, yet New York's pass rush was already one of the better units in football. McDonald is a solid edge rusher. There's nothing remarkable about his game, and he was a top half of the first round pick. Not nearly as much of a reach as the two running backs.