JACKSONVILLE – And on this day …
Well, we'll be honest and up front: On this day, we blew everything up.
True, it's perhaps more accurate to say the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans forced us to blow everything up, but however you phrase it – and whoever's to blame – Thursday morning's draft-altering Rams-Titans trade did far more than just send the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Rams.
It made the first four days of the 2016 jaguars.com reader mock draft sorta, kinda ….
Well …* moot.*
But fear not, dedicated reader/mockers. For while there indeed has been change at the top – and while the Rams' bold move indeed means the Titans will not be taking Mississippi offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil No. 1 overall – all is not lost. And we will not be starting over.
This indeed will remain the climactic final day of this exercise.
And we indeed will still be making the Jaguars' selection at No. 5 overall.
What we also must do is adapt best we can, which means sorting this thing out and resetting the stage. That means the senior writer stepping in and doing some readjusting, shifting and assuming, but hey …
You can't plan for trades in this crazy pre-draft world.
Sometimes, you do the best you can.
To review, the first three days of the reader mock went as follows: Tunsil No. 1 to the Titans followed by North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz to the Cleveland Browns at No. 2 and Florida State cornerback/safety Jalen Ramsey to the San Diego at No. 3.
Today – Day 4 – was to be the Dallas Cowboys' day and in a close vote UCLA linebacker Myles Jack was the reader/mockers' choice to the 'Boys.
"Myles Jack," reader/mocker Ian MacDonald wrote. "They are desperate for defense after years of striking out in the draft and free agency. Jack is a perfect fit for them if Ramsey is off the board. Dallas should be in 'win-now' mode, and Jack gives them the best chance to do just that."
So, the reader mock would have been Tunsil/Wentz/Ramsey/Jack, but the Rams-Titans trade made a revised version necessary. We'll assume the Rams go quarterback, and for the purposes of this draft we'll try to remain as true to previous voting as possible under the blown-up circumstances.
So, quickly, the new rundown:
1)Los Angeles (trade from Tennessee). We've established that we're assuming quarterback here. Rams select: Wentz.
2)Cleveland.Quarterback is still a need. Jared Goff of California may be the best on the board. Browns select: Goff.
3)San Diego.This is where the draft will turn, with the Chargers having their pick of all non-quarterbacks available. The reader/mockers mocked Ramsey here before. Now, we'll assume that Tunsil is just too good to pass. Chargers select: Tunsil.
4)Dallas.Yes, the hearts and hopes of pro-Ramsey Jaguars fans rose when Tunsil went to the Chargers. Unfortunately for those pro-Ramsey Jaguars fans, the Cowboys seem unlikely to pass on him. Cowboys select: Ramsey.
So, in a very, very roundabout way – and in a way that may not satisfy anyone – that indeed that brings us to … yes, the Jaguars at No. 5.
The good news for the Jaguars is even with Ramsey off the board, there are a lot of elite players from which to choose. Jack and Ohio State edge rusher Joey Bosa likely will be the most debated among reader mockers. But don't count out defensive end DeForest Buckner from Oregon or even Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III; Buckner is an elite level talent who easily could be a Top 5 selection, and Hargreaves is the draft's top pure cover corner.
The projection here: Jack.
Have at it.