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Against the majority


Sometimes you've gotta go against the vocal majority.

And sometimes it's the right of those moderating a mock draft to just, plain get in the way, which it may seem to some was the case on Day 17 of the 2012 reader mock draft.

So, go ahead . . .

Criticize us if you will for overriding the majority with the Cincinnati Bengals on the clock at No. 17, but in this case, there seemed some pretty good reasons to do just that.

We started off the conversation this day by offering South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore as the possible selection, doing so because the Bengals have a tendency to draft for need – and there's little question Cincinnati has a need at cornerback.

That got some support, and with reason. In recent weeks, Gilmore has gained traction as one of the rapidly rising prospects in the draft.

Still, while there was support for Gilmore it was pretty much overwhelmed by the support for Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.

"Luke Kuechly goes here," James from Jacksonville wrote. "Kuechly has AFC North written all over him because he plays that smash-mouth style of football. In addition, Cincinnati was fortunate find two very good skill players in the first two rounds last year, and I doubt that they roll the dice on another skill player in the first round this year.

"With a little luck, Kuechly will be the Bengals enforcer for the next decade."

James was far from alone. Kueckly in recent days has established himself as a darling of the reader/mockers and he has received plenty of support for multiple selections shortly after the Top 10. He in many ways fits the Bengals' draft-day formula – i.e., big-school product in first round, college production, definitely filling a need.

"Hate to sound like a follower, but I like Kuechly here, based on value," Iron John wrote. "I would listen to arguments for other positions that fill needs (I don't know Cincy's depth chart), but I don't see another player with this much value left in our mock."

Perhaps that's true, and the arguments were compelling enough that Kuechly very nearly got the nod here before J-School Corby pointed us in another direction.

"I'd rule Kuelchy out pretty quickly here," Corby wrote.


"The Bengals draft for need, and I doubt they're in any rush to give up on Rey Maualuga," Corby wrote. "I'd narrow it down to interior offensive line or secondary pretty quickly."

Corby offered up Georgia guard Cordy Glenn, and also lauded Gilmore as a rising prospect, but it was Matt who made a point that merited further thought.

"I find it hard to believe that we would make it to pick 17 and have four cornerbacks off the board (if we put Gilmore here), but no linebackers yet," Matt wrote. "I think it's about time for Kuechly to come off the board, so he's my pick for the Bengals."

Rather than sway the vote to Kuechly, it got us to thinking:

Is it really all that absurd to have four cornerbacks off the board with no linebackers? It may have been 10 years ago and certainly 20 years ago, but in an era in which teams need multiple cornerbacks to be able to play at a high level, perhaps it's simply a commentary on the state of the league.

Not that we were locked into Gilmore or Kuechly. The draft is considered a deep one at the defensive tackle position, and Dontari Poe of Memphis and Michael Brockers got some mention here, as did a pair of ends with first-round potential – Whitney Mercilus of Illinois and Nick Perry of Southern Cal.

Brian L. Jones considered a few of those options before settling on a player who has gotten a bit of play in recent days.

"This one's tough," Jones wrote. "Bengals need offensive help and all the BAP is Defensive. . . . I do know one thing - they aren't going cornerback with this pick. If you're drafting BAP, it depends on your board, and right now I see Mark Barron, Luke Kuechly, Michael Brockers and Dontari Poe as top 4.

"I say they go with Barron SS Alabama. It's too early for Cordy Glenn."

Teal was equally set against the idea of a cornerback, especially our offered corner.

"Is Gilmore worth this high of a pick?" Teal wrote. "Will he be graded better than guys like Poe and Kuechly? I say no. The Bengals aren't bad at linebacker, but Kuechly may be better than anyone they have. He is a tremendous player, the safest one left, so I think they pull the trigger."

And you know what? Maybe the readers are right, but at least once in every reader mock draft the overseer steps in – rightly or wrongly. And rightly or wrongly, Day 17 is that day in this reader mock, and the thought here is that Gilmore just makes too much sense here.

"Stephon Gilmore to the Bengals," J.School Corby wrote, and Jackson Hart added, "Stephon Gilmore."

So, while it's hardly a consensus, and while the moderators may take some heat, Gilmore is indeed the selection for the Bengals, which means after 17 selections the 2012 reader mock draft looks like:

1.Indianapolis | Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

2.Washington | Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

3.Minnesota | Matt Kalil, OT, Southern California

4.Cleveland | Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

5.Tampa Bay | Morris Claiborne, CB, Louisiana State

6.St. Louis | Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

7.Jacksonville | Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

8.Miami | Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

9.Carolina | Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

10.Buffalo | David DeCastro, G, Stanford

11.Kansas City | Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

12.Seattle | Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

13.Arizona | Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

14.Dallas | Janoris Jenkins,  CB, North Alabama

15.Philadelphia | Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

16.New York Jets | Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

17.Cincinnati | Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

That brings us to the San Diego Chargers at No. 18, and here we'll offer up Courtney Upshaw of Alabama. And we'll promise to stay safety out of the way this time. Probably.

Have at it.

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