JACKSONVILLE – And now, we pick up the pace.
We're doing it a few days ahead of schedule, but it's what we're doing – and that means we're mocking a few more selections than expected in this entry of the jaguars.com 2015 reader mock draft.
So, start prepping, reader/mockers, because in a few paragraphs, we'll ask that you enter your selections for not just the No. 7 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft to the Chicago Bears, but the Nos. 8-10 selections, too.
The New York Jets are on the clock at No. 6. With Jameis Winston already gone to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 1 overall and with Leonard Williams, Dante Fowler Jr., Amari Cooper and Vic Beasley going to the Titans, Jaguars, Raiders and Redskins, respectively, the '15 reader mock has held comparatively few surprises.
Fowler and Beasley are pretty much considered the top edge rushers in this draft after Nebraska edge rusher Randy Gregory's off-field issues dropped him down many boards, and few expect Winston or Williams to fall out of the Top 3.
The one player not in this Top 5 who many project there is also a player many others believe could slip out of the Top 5 and perhaps beyond.
That player: Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
There may not be a more polarizing player in this year's draft, and he and Winston are certainly the most-discussed. Like any top quarterbacks in the same draft class, they likely will be forever linked and forever compared.
There also is endless debate around each, but while that debate hasn't seemed to significantly hurt Winston's status, it seems to affect Mariota's every day.
One day, this expert projects Mariota No. 1 to Tampa Bay …
On another day, another expert projects this team or that team trading to No. 2 to get him …
On still another day, still another expert projects no team trading for him and no team selecting him in the Top 5. And on those days, you hear whispers of an Aaron Rodgers-like draft-day slide.
So, what'll it be? Well, if the jaguars.com reader mockers are to be believed, there's little chance he'll be available after new Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan makes the first draft selection of his tenure.
"Mariota," reader/mocker Scott Ennis wrote. "No way he is going to drop past this point."
Reader/mocker Shawn Clement joined us from the "Gee-let's-be-critical" section of the class.
"Boring discussion. 'Marcus Mariota.' Discussion over," Clement wrote.
Ben "J-School" Corby wasn't quite so rude, but the longtime reader/mocker also taunted the rest of the class with just how simple he was finding the process, saying "This one's easy."
Corby wasn't very nice to former Jets draft choice Geno Smith, either.
"The Jets have a new GM and a new coach," Corby wrote. "Usually, new general managers and new coaches want new quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota is a new quarterback. He could make a career of throwing the ball straight into the turf and still be an upgrade over Geno Smith."
Ouch. We could go on and on, and perhaps it feels we've done so already, but there indeed was little debate on this day.
"Well, the Jets are happy as a clam to have Mariota drop this far...they definitely pull the trigger," reader/mocker Kinzie09 wrote.
And indeed they are. So, with the No. 6 selection of the '15 reader mock, the Jets select Mariota, which means after six selections the reader mock 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
4.Oakland | Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
5.Washington | Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
6.New York Jets | Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
That brings us to Selection Nos. 7-10, which belong to the Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and St. Louis Rams, respectively. We'll offer West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White to the Bears, Gregory to the Falcons, Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton to the Giants and Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff to the Rams.
Have at it.