JACKSONVILLE – On Day Four, the waters calmed a bit.
That was to be expected, considering the turbulence that was the first three days of the jaguars.com 2014 reader mock draft. Still, even with slightly calmer environs, Day Four wound up looking at least a little like the entire first week.
There was debate. There was disagreement. There was a whole lot of Sammy.
There was a lot of Johnny, too. Of course.
And at long last, with the Cleveland Browns on the clock at No. 4, a longstanding jaguars.com reader mock tradition returned: Criticism of the senior writer.
Ah, yes …
The noble senior writer – who sifts through infighting to grab the mock daily by its throat and shake out a selection; who diligently makes sense of the mock’s daily commenting chaos … this hard-working, humble man often endures harsh criticism from reader mockers.
It came a bit late this year, but it was in retrospect inevitable. Once it arrived, the criticism wrapped the reader mock draft like a warm blanket, making the whole process feel just plain right again.
At issue unsurprisingly was Day Three – the No. 3 overall selection. With the selection belonging to the Jaguars and with this being a Jaguars-centric website, the day had a bit of emotion attached.
The voting was close. Real close. It came down to Khalil Mack versus Sammy Watkins, with Mack getting the edge by a few votes.
Not that reader/mocker Jaguarrior was buying that. Not for a second.
“By my count, I thought there were more votes for Watkins than Mack for the Jaguars pick at number 3, but I didn't actually count …” Jaguarrior wrote.
Jaguarrior continued, “I'll concede to the selection of Mack... mostly because I don't have a choice. What's done is done.”
Jaguarrior’s counting commitment or lack thereof aside, he was right on one front. He doesn’t have a choice. The senior writer has reader mock veto power, so he theoretically could have mocked J.P. Shadrick to the Jaguars at No. 3 and Jaguarrior would have had to live with that decision.
In this case, when votes were tallied Thursday afternoon, Mack indeed had an edge, and his selection to the Jaguars left the bulk of the debate at No. 4 between Johnny Manziel and Sammy Watkins.
Not that they were alone.
Reader/mocker ST.ORM spoke for several reader mockers when he said, “Browns take Bridgewater,” calling Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater “the safest QB most ready to start day one,” also noting that Bridgewater would address the Browns’ “biggest need after multiple recent failed experiments.”
Offensive tackle also got some consideration.
“Greg Robinson is the logical choice here,” reader/mocker Charlie B wrote, mocking the Auburn offensive tackle to Cleveland. “The Browns need OL help badly, and the remaining top-tier players are fairly close in terms of talent. They could draft both need and BAP at the same time. Under the new GM, I don't see them taking the risk on Johnny.”
A new name also entered the mix, with reader/mocker Infamous offering up quarterback Derek Carr of Fresno State.
“Every year someone sneaks into the top ten,” he wrote. “Usually it’s Oakland who makes that strange pick but this year Cleveland ‘Falls in love with their Guy.’ Write it down O-Man!”
The senior writer indeed did write it down, doing so just below a few choice things he jotted down about Jaguarrior. That didn’t take long, because mostly the tallying and note-taking on Day Four was about choosing between a dynamic entertaining quarterback and game-changing wide receiver.
The wide receiver, Watkins of Clemson, got plenty of support.
“Since Sammy didn't go to the Jags he ends up in Cleveland,” reader/mocker Brandon Gordon wrote. “That will be quite the pair with (Josh) Gordon on the outside. That will make their next first round pick probably a quarterback.”
Reader/mocker Jason Nored agreed, writing, “The Browns should take Watkins here, and target a QB with their second first round pick.”
That makes a lot of sense. Perhaps that’s even what the Browns will do, but on this day, the consensus of the reader mock leaned more toward College Station, Texas and quarterback Johnny Manziel.
“With 4th pick of the 2014 draft the Cleveland Browns pick Johnny Football!” reader/mocker CBT533 wrote. “They can get Kelvin Benjamin at pick 26 so they take Johnny instead.”
Reader/mocker Colin agreed, writing, “If I were the Browns I would go Bridgewater, but I think they will take Manziel and he'll turn out to be a bust. So Manziel at pick 4.”
If that wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence for the Browns and Manziel, it was at the very least a vote. And this one was in early enough to be tallied, which meant after four days the jaguars.com 2014 reader mock looks like:
1. Houston | Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
2. St. Louis | Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
3. Jacksonville | Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
4. Cleveland | Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Which brings us to the Oakland Raiders at No. 5. We’ll offer up Watkins here, because it seems like his time. Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.
Have at it.
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