Talk about your difficult selections.
It pretty much has been the trend in the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock draft that the closer we get to the end of the first round, the more undecided things become.
That held true on Day 26; held true in a big way.
Baltimore was on the clock, and while the Ravens in recent seasons have emerged as one of the more stable franchises in the AFC – and indeed in the entire league – about the only thing the readers seemed to agree on was that they couldn&39;t quite agree on a selection.
Would it be a defensive end? Or a left tackle?
Or a wide receiver? Or perhaps a cornerback?
Possibilities were offered everywhere, and it may be a good sign for the Ravens&39; franchise that there was no real consensus – a good sign in that the Ravens are a good team without a whole lot of glaring, immediate holes.
It made for a somewhat confusing day, as has been the case late in the first round.
It also made for some intriguing discussion, not the least of which was a bit of riotous fun poked in the direction of the senior writer, who on Monday – after weeks of writing about Colin Kaepernick – referenced his evil twin, Alex.
The problem, upon research, is that there is no twin, evil or otherwise, and the reality was it was just a brain fade after weeks of staring at and analyzing names.
The readers delighted in the miscue; the senior writer would have expected no less.
"Who is Alex Kaepernick? :-) Colin&39;s twin?" Cris wrote, not realizing the senior writer would later steal his "twin" idea and use it as his own.
"I think the Ravens here pick Alex Kaepernick as their developmental guy to groom into the back up quarterback position behind Joe Flacco," Vignu Savadas wrote, adding, "Poor guy is never talked about but that other guy, man, he&39;s projected to be a 2nd rounder!"
The senior writer spent some time reminding himself how fortunate he was, being blessed with such a clever readership, then he finished taking his lumps before retreating to his quiet, safe "me" place.
The readers that focused on real prospects took an early liking to Cameron Heyward, enough so that the Ohio State defensive end made a solid run at being the day&39;s selection.
"The Ravens will take Cameron Heyward," Teal wrote, adding, "They run a versatile, mixed front, and Heyward moved all over the line at OSU. He can seal the edge as a defensive end on rushing downs and he can overpower tackles and beat guards on passing downs.
"He brings the relentless motor and power that the Ravens look for in their defenders. He plays with that dominant attitude. He&39;s a perfect fit."
There also was solid support for the Ravens taking an offensive tackle to play opposite Michael Oher.
"The Ravens need help on the OL," David Kaplan wrote, adding, "The top OTs still left are Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod. Carimi is a little better so the Ravens select Carimi."
Carimi got nearly all of the support from the pro-offensive tackle contingent, and as the day settled into an all-over-the-roster discussion, Georgia linebacker Justin Houston got a bit more than his normal small segment of support, and Texas cornerback Aaron Williams did, too.
Cornerback was an area of focus for the readers when discussing the Ravens, and Miami cornerback Brandon Harris – generally considered a first-rounder early in the pre-draft process – also got mention with the Ravens seemingly needing to address the spot.
But on a day when the senior writer caught some deserving grief early, the readers gave him a bit of a break late with a lot of support for his offering up of Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith as a possibility for the Ravens.
"Torrey Smith is the pick here," JaguarsGator9 wrote, adding, "Look at the Jags of the mid-2000s. They had a great defense, an average QB and a solid running game. What kept them out of the playoffs in 2006 and out of the Super Bowl in 2007 was their lack of a receiving corps. The Ravens have a solid receiving corps, and if they get one more WR can be a legit threat to Pittsburgh."
Jj Hj called Smith "an easy pick," and if Jj Hj believes it, who is the senior writer to argue? So, with the No. 26 selection of the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock draft, the Ravens select Smith.
That makes the board look like:
No. 1 | Carolina | Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
No. 2 | Denver | Patrick Peterson, CB, Louisiana State
No. 3 | Buffalo | Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
No. 4 | Cincinnati | Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
No. 5 | Arizona | Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
No. 6 | Cleveland | A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
No. 7 | San Francisco | Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
No. 8 | Tennessee | Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
No. 9 | Dallas | Tyron Smith, OT, Southern California
No. 10 | Washington | Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
No. 11 | Houston | Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
No. 12 | Minnesota | Jake Locker, QB, Washington
No. 13 | Detroit | Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
No. 14 | St. Louis | Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
No. 15 | Miami | Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
No. 16 | Jacksonville | Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
No. 17 | New England | J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
No. 18 | San Diego | Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 19 | New York Giants | Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
No. 20 | Tampa Bay | Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
No. 21 | Kansas City | Adrian Clayborn, OLB, Iowa
No. 22 | Indianapolis | Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
No. 23 | Philadelphia | Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
No. 24 | New Orleans | Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
No. 25 | Seattle | Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
No. 26 | Baltimore | Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
That brings us to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 27, and it means we're getting down to the final selections. It has been noted by some readers in recent days that there are some flaws in our board, particularly that no way does Gabbert go No. 1 overall to the Panthers. In retrospect, that may be true, but as at least one reader noted, that also speaks to the up-and-down nature of the pre-draft process. When this thing started a month or so back, that pick didn't seem far-fetched at all.
With the 27thselection, the senior writer will offer up Cameron Heyward, a selection some feel is overdue. We'll see the reaction.
Have at it.