JACKSONVILLE – We're getting into the meat of this thing now.
The biggest names in the 2015 NFL Draft – names such as Winston, Mariota, Cooper and the like – are off the board in the jaguars.com 2015 reader mock draft. So, as we move into the bottom of the Top 10, we're past the stage where every player is at the tip of every draftnik's tongue.
It gets tougher now, and opinions sway a little more wildly. But that's OK.
Our loyal reader/mockers are a resilient, passionate bunch. And it was with resilience and passion that they tallied forth on Day 7 of the reader mock, a day marked the year's first move toward a quicker pace.
That meant the one-selection-a-day pace that yielded Jameis Winston to Tampa Bay, Leonard Williams to Tennessee, Dante Fowler Jr. to Jacksonville, Amari Cooper to Oakland, Vic Beasley to Washington and Marcus Mariota to the New York Jets is behind us now, gone into a not-too-distant past.
In its place is a quicker trot, one that will carry us quickly through the first round and into second by next week. That's when we'll move toward the grand finale of this mock: the Jaguars' second-round selection, the No. 36 overall.
But that is in the future (a few days into it, anyway …)
For now, we focus on the present. And for the present, the reader/mockers' task for the day was clear, if not particularly simple. The task: make selections for the Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and St. Louis Rams.
The senior writer offered wide receiver Kevin White of West Virginia for Chicago, Nebraska edge rusher Randy Gregory for Atlanta, Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton for the Giants and Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff for the Rams.
The first selection of the day – White to the Bears – was relatively warmly received. That's partly because while Shelton to the Bears was an early popular choice among analysts, that has changed to the point that most reader/mockers figured Chicago must be thinking receiver.
With Cooper gone, that made White a popular choice.
"Chicago needs to rebuild a very old and broken defense," reader/mocker Shawn Clement wrote. "Still, it is too hard for them to pass up on a flashy receiver. Kevin White."
White was hardly unanimous for the Bears, with several reader/mockers still wondering if the franchise wouldn't go defense. Specifically, several reader/mockers thought Gregory night be a choice for the Bears.
Gregory was once considered the best pass rusher in the draft and a sure top-five selection. That was before a positive marijuana test at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. Now, he may be sliding, but he won't slide any further in this mock.
"At No. 8, The Falcons well documented pass rush issues make the choice easy for them with Randy Gregory," reader/mocker Ben "J-School" Corby wrote.
That made the senior writer two-for-two on the day, a streak that was bound to end soon. Bound or not, it indeed ended with the No. 9 selection to the Giants. A few readers indeed considered the senior writer's selection of Shelton, but a few more figured this selection was going to end up on the other side of the ball.
That meant a few reader/mockers suggesting Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat, but those suggestions couldn't overcome more pertinent feeling that the Giants would go another direction and choose Scherff at No. 9.
"We all know Coughlin loves the big guys up front," reader/mocker Bruce Wahyne wrote. "Last year, they had issues protecting Eli Manning and get immediate help with best offensive tackle in the draft. The Giants take Brandon Scherff at 9."
There were differing opinions for the Rams at No. 10. And as often happens on multiple-selection days in the reader mock, some reader selections on the day's final pick were negated because the suggestions already were off the board.
Reader/mocker Scott Ennis sorted through the thicket of reader mock confusion. After a shake or two, out came the Rams selecting "Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford."
That leaves Shelton still on the board as we exit the Top 10. That probably won't happen in real life, but if it does, he won't last much longer. So, through 10 selections the, the '15 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
7.Chicago | Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
8.Atlanta | Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
9.New York Giants | Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
10.St. Louis | Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
That brings us to Nos. 11-16, and we're moving fast now. We'll offer up Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker to Minnesota at No. 11, Shelton to the Cleveland Browns at No. 12, Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead to New Orleans at No. 13, Georgia running back Todd Gurley to Miami at No. 14, Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes to San Francisco at No. 15 and Missouri defensive end Shane Ray to the Houston Texans at No. 16. Whew.
Have at it.