JACKSONVILLE – We're almost there.
No, we're not on the eve of the jaguars.com 2014 reader mock draft finale. That doesn't come until early next week, but as we near the end of the third week of this process, one inarguable fact is now crystal clear:
We're a heck of a lot closer to the end than the beginning.
Is that good? Is it merciful? Is it a gift from above?
The senior writer will let far wiser minds than his answer those questions, and while such minds aren't difficult to find, this perhaps is not the time nor the forum for such wisdom.
The purpose of this forum, after all, is to mock the 2014 draft, and to let those jaguars.com readers who are interested be the engine of the process. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. Even when an end seems nowhere in sight.
That last part is no longer the case. Not after blazing through 15 selections on Days 11-13 of this reader mock, with Day 13 giving us five more selections and getting us No. 25 in our process.
Not that the rapid-fire format doesn't have flaws; it does, without a doubt.
One flaw is it allows the attention of some reader mockers to … well … wander a bit, as was the case with muddlylips, who either was a reader mocker or a just-plain reader lost and a-rambling in this little corner of the world wide web.
"Guess I'm not clear about this," muddlylips wrote. "Why, when it's been repeated over and over about how important the quarterback is to a winning franchise, and how desperately this team needs a franchise quarterback, why wouldn't we use our third round pick to select one? I realize that it's a gamble…"
Muddlylips went on. And on. And he/she did run through some salient points, which we'd address here except that they've been addressed a whole bunch on various parts of the website and except that this ain't the forum for that.
Reader/mocker Jonathan Russell took time to discuss another fundamental flaw in the rapid-fire portion of the reader mock, nothing that "the five-a-day format we have going here makes key players slide more than they should."
"Thus I conclude that only the first pick of each new set is a somewhat accurate consensus of what might be with the talent available," Russell wrote. "As far as keeping us fans entertained and giving us something fun to do however. Oh yeah, it's still plenty of fun!"
You know what? Russell's probably right – on all counts. The five-a-day format may have more flaws than strengths, but its main strength is it gets us through the bottom half of the draft in a week rather than a month and a half. Experience tells us that's a very, very important strength.
On Day 13, it was time to get through Nos. 21-25 in this mock. That began with the Green Bay Packers at No. 21, and while the Louisville safety Calvin Pryor got serious consideration, the pick there by a nose was the senior writer's offering of Alabama middle linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Mosley got some mention to Philadelphia at No. 22, which speaks to Russell's point about a flaw in the five-a-day system, but in the end, Louisiana State wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., went to the Eagles – a selection that seems to make a whole lot of sense if indeed Beckham is there in the "real" draft.
That thrust the reader mock onward and downward to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 23, and though the reader mockers thoughts were all over the place, J-School Corby's thoughts on tight end Jace Amaro of Texas Tech there made enough sense to shift the balance.
"You know what Andy Reid always had in Philadelphia?" he wrote. "A great pass-catching tight end. You know what he doesn't have in KC? A great pass-catching tight end."
Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier went to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 24, less because the senior writer offered him there and more because the pick made sense on many levels.
"When you cut James Harrison you have a hole," Russell wrote. "They are open about wanting to fill it and underclassman Ryan Shazier is exactly the strong but fast, flexible option for the ever-changing defense in Cincinnati."
Reader/mocker Scott Ennis was succinct in pushing the direction at No. 25, writing, "San Diego takes Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State," and reader/mocker Fred Barnes provided the reasoning.
"Chargers are rather desperate at CB after releasing Derek Cox and Johnny Patrick for being bums," he wrote.
And while the sentiment was perhaps strong he was right that cornerback makes sense for the Chargers, which means after 13 days and 25 selections the jaguars.com 2014 reader mock looks like:
- Houston | Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
- St. Louis | Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
- Jacksonville | Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
- Cleveland | Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
- Oakland | Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Atlanta | Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
- Tampa Bay | Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
- Minnesota | Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Buffalo | Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
10 .Detroit | Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
- Tennessee | Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
- New York Giants | Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
- St. Louis | Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
- Chicago | Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh | Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
- Dallas | Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
- Baltimore | Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
- New York Jets | Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
- Miami | Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
- Arizona | Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
- Green Bay | C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
- Philadelphia | Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, Louisiana State
- Kansas City | Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
- Cincinnati | Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
- San Diego | Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Which brings us to the back, back end of the first round. The idea is to wrap this by next Tuesday, so here's the plan: seven today (yes, Jonathan Russell, seven), followed by the first six selections of Round 2 on Monday. That may not get us through the next 13 selections with pinpoint accuracy, but it could give us a general idea of who could be available on Tuesday. That's when we'll close out the reader mock by selecting for the Jaguars at No. 39.
Toward that end, we'll offer up Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller to the Cleveland Browns at No. 26 because they took quarterback at No. 4, Auburn defensive end Dee Ford to the New Orleans Saints at No. 27, Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses to the Carolina Panthers at No. 28, Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy to the New England Patriots at No. 29, Southern California wide receiver Marquise Lee to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 30, Brigham Young outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy to the Denver Broncos at No. 31 and Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Seattle Seahawks at No. 32.
With that, the senior writer is out of breath. And as of Friday, we'll be out of the first round. For better or worse. In sickness … oh, never mind.
Have at it.
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