JACKSONVILLE – Day Three pretty much lived up to the hype.
In a sense, that's not surprising, because Day Three of the jaguars.com 2015 reader mock draft was the day the reader/mockers made the No. 3 overall selection. That's the Jaguars' selection.
That always means a more spirited level of debate than usual.
But there is a real sense of unknown around the Jaguars' selection this season, and that meant an opportunity for even more mystery than normal at No. 3.
Will the Jaguars select University of Florida pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. or Clemson pass rusher Vic Beasley? Or will they surprise many and take another pass rusher such as Shane Ray of Missouri or Randy Gregory of Nebraska?
Will they surprise even more people and go wide receiver?
Will defensive tackle/end Leonard Williams of Southern California slip past the Tennessee Titans and become a very real option for the Jaguars at No. 3?
Or will the Jaguars make their first first-round trade of the David Caldwell/Gus Bradley era?
All are significant questions to be discussed in the coming weeks, and all were offered up as very real possibilities as readers/mockers discussed the Jaguars' third selection.
One thing that became clear early was that the senior writer's offering of Fowler was going to be argued in significant fashion, and another thing was that it wasn't a two-player race between Fowler and Beasley.
It was also clear that certain reader/mockers were a touch "off the rails."
"With the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select....Rickie Fowler - PGA golfer, Oklahoma State University," reader/mocker j32bass wrote.
Silliness aside, we quickly got down to a discussion that didn't have a whole lot of that Fowler, but did have a very large dose of Cooper, a player many consider the top wide receiver in the draft.
"You have to pick a guy at 3 who will be a game changer for the next 10 years," reader/mocker TPrintz wrote. "Cooper is the only player here that instantly makes the Jags better as well as will have teams game planning for him every week."
Reader/mocker Bruce Wahyne went offense, too, but also went decidedly outside conventional wisdom.
"I am going with a surprise pick here with Todd Gurley," Wahyne said of the University of Georgia running back. "This pick only happens if Leonard Williams is off the board and if Caldwell firmly believes Gurley has or will heal completely."
Williams indeed is off the board in this draft, but Wahyne's Gurley selection didn't get nearly as much discussion as the possibility of a trade. Astute, long-time followers of the reader mock know trades aren't allowed, but that didn't stop reader/mocker Scott Sanders from succumbing to irresistible urge.
"We should take Fowler," Sanders wrote. "But we should probably trade to take him a little later. I like him a lot, but I'm not sure he's that high on the board. Sorry John, I know you said no trades, but just my opinion."
No apologies necessary. The Jaguars of course would almost certainly lo-o-ove to trade back, and the senior writer doesn't dislike the idea of trades. It's just that adding them to a reader mock would create more confusion/chaos than already exists, and we don't need that.
With trades out of the picture and receiver unlikely, Day Three indeed eventually settled into a Beasley/Fowler debate. It was a debate in which Beasley had quite a lot of support, something that was expected considering his growing popularity among Jaguars fans.
"Beasley, prototypical LEO, that is all," reader/mocker Ross Sprague wrote.
"The Jaguars will select Vic Beasley," reader/mocker Trenton Williams wrote. "Beasley has the skill to play OTTO and LEO in the Jaguars defense and he's the most explosive, disruptive, athletic pass rusher on the board."
Brandon Martin agreed.
"Vic Beasley is easily the best pass rusher on the board and seeing the lack of a consistent pass rush, Beasley seems like the perfect fit," he wrote, with Paul T adding, "The pick looks to be more tailored to Vic Beasley from Clemson. Fowler has size for a defensive end. but the mobility isn't there compared to Beasley who has better footwork and more capabilities to line up as an upright OLB and rush or drop into coverage."
That was a popular sentiment. It just wasn't THE most popular sentiment.
"I would like to see the Jaguars draft Amari Cooper, but that seems unlikely," John Mahan said. "The Jags will probably draft one of the difference makers on defense. Dante Fowler Jr. is the pick."
Charlie B agreed.
"Let's skip WR at pick 3 and draft a difference maker on D. My pick: Dante Fowler," he wrote.
But perhaps Brandon Jensen summed up the mood of the consensus when he wrote succinctly, "Dante Fowler Jr., baby!"
Indeed, which means after three selections, the 2015 jaguars.com reader mock draft looks like:
1.Tampa Bay | Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2.Tennessee | Leonard Williams, DE, Southern California
3.Jacksonville | Dante Fowler Jr., DE/LB, Florida
That brings us to the Oakland Raiders at No. 4. We'll offer up wide receiver Kevin White of West Virginia here. It's not that he's clearly the best wide receiver in the draft, but the Raiders like to do things a bit different, which could mean passing on Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper for the talented, potential-laden White.
The sense is the reader mock draft's weekend ahead will feature the same debate as the past couple of days. We'll see.
Have at it.
Take a look at images as Dante Fowler Jr. and other Florida Gators worked out for NFL personnel during Florida's Pro Day held inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.